A Shaky Psychiatric Drug Market and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 4, 2013

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NextDraft will not be published tomorrow in observance of Rosh Hashanah.

  1. The Gap in Psychiatric Drug Research

    From Gary Greenberg in the New Yorker: “Sales of psychiatric drugs amounted to more than seventy billion dollars in 2010. They have become yet another commodity that consumers have learned to live with or even enjoy, like S.U.V.s or Cheetos.” So why are so many pharmaceutical companies shrinking or shuttering their neuroscience research facilities? Here’s the answer Greenberg gives: “By 1960, the major classes of psychiatric drugs — among them, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs, known as anxiolytics — had been discovered and were on their way to becoming a seventy-billion-dollar market. Having been discovered by accident, however, they lacked one important element: a theory that accounted for why they worked (or, in many cases, did not).” At least Cheetos seem to work 100% of the time.

    + It’s possible to alter your mind without taking any drugs. Scientists now know a lot more about the ways meditation affects the brain. Warning: Side effects may include increased focus, less anxiety, more creativity, and a better memory.

    + It’s usually pretty easy to determine one’s mood by their posture and demeanor. But can your body also influence your mind? Research suggests that sitting up straight or walking tall can actually make people feel better. The mind-body connection is a two way street. You can “fake it until you make it.”

  2. The BackRub Turns 15

    Google is fifteen years-old today. The company was originally called BackRub. The day they went public, about a thousand employees became millionaires — including a company masseuse (that’s what I call a happy ending). From The Guardian, here are fifteen things you probably didn’t know about Google.

    + Take a look back at what Google looked like when it was just a toddler.

  3. The Red Line

    Speaking in Sweden, President Obama made the case that the “red line” crossed by Syria was not his, but the world’s.” “The world set a red line when the governments representing 98% of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent.”

    + Why can a government kill tens of thousands of its own citizens without crossing a red line? Why are chemical weapons worse than conventional weapons?

    + The Conversation: Chemical weapons and the scientists who make them.

    + Here’s a look at the key arguments being made by Congressional members in favor of, and opposed to, a strike on Syria.

    + FP: A doctor reports from the front lines of Bashar al-Assad’s war on civilians.

    + The Daily Beast: Life in Assad’s Army.

    + “Her hand is clawing up the girl’s arm; the girl keeps her eyes down and her jaw set. None of the children are smiling. They look as if they are about to be tortured, which is not an unreasonable speculation on their part.” From the New Republic: The Assads’ Creepy Instagram Account. And here’s some background on a Facebook post that could have come from Assad’s 11 year-old son: “I just want them to attack sooo much, because I want them to make this huge mistake of beginning something they don’t know the end of it…” Whether the post is real or a hoax, it’s an example the impact of social media on international discourse.

  4. Declaration of Independence News Delayed

    Contrast the immediacy of today’s social media messaging wars with the way news traveled a  couple hundred years ago. Syndicated from Kottke: BREAKING: American Colonies Declare Independence — An interesting look at how news of the Declaration of Independence spread through the American colonies and around the world. Because trans-Atlantic journeys took awhile back when, the first European news of the Declaration was almost a month and a half after July 4. (And the first retweet took at least a week.)

  5. Ariel Castro Hanged Himself

    Ariel Castro, the man who kidnapped, assaulted and imprisoned three women over the course a decade, did not like being imprisoned himself. On Tuesday, he hanged himself in his cell. While his crimes stood out, his demise does not. Suicide is much more common than homicide in prisons and jails.

  6. Behind Microsoft’s Nokia Acquisition

    Microsoft acquired Nokia for $7 billion. That’s a fifth of what Nokia’s market cap was six years ago. James Surowiecki takes a look at where Nokia went wrong: “What happened to Nokia is no secret: Apple and Android crushed it. But the reasons for that failure are a bit more mysterious.” Long story short: We’re a fickle bunch. The day someone launches Next-NextDraft, I’m history.

  7. Why Football Matters in Alabama

    Given what we now know about the dangers of concussions, much of the news about football has been negative. And that’s probably justified. But there is of course another side of the football story; it’s about teamwork, competition, and community. SBNation’s Ray Glier reports on the lessons learned from a tragedy in Choctaw County: This is why football is so important in Alabama.

  8. Stay-at-Home Dads By The Numbers

    Over the past decade and a half, the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled. So we’re looking at a major cultural shift, right? Not so much. As The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann explains, there’s a lot of hype about some very small numbers. “A decade ago, you could pack every stay-at-home dad into the University of Michigan’s football stadium. Now, you’d just need Michigan and Ohio State’s.” I think more dads would stay at home if they knew they’d be packed into football stadiums.

  9. Greek Yogurt Culture

    A few months ago, my local supermarket stopped carrying my favorite brand of garlic butter. You might have noticed that something similar happened to one of your favorites. We’re both victims of the same thing. The seemingly unstoppable rise of Greek Yogurt.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    Welcome to the digital age: We post nothing about our daughter online. And welcome to the digital age: Media elites are creating Twitter accounts for their babies. I’m more concerned about the day my kids are old enough to find my old tweets. Hopefully someone will have figured out a way to erase the Internet by then.

    + Those gang member voices sound pretty realistic in Grand Theft Auto 5. That’s because a lot of them are actual gang members.

    + This is a really high trick shot.

    + Dust in the Wind: A look back at Burning Man 2013 in photos.