Yesterday evening, Robert Enke, goalkeeper of Germany's national soccer team, committed suicide. At a press conference today, his wife revealed, that he had been suffering from depression for 6 years and had been in therapy. He covered it up out of fear to lose custody of his adopted daughter and his career as a professional footballer. [more inside]
A gene variant associated with serotonin transport (STG) , and normally associated with depression is strangely more prevalent, but also less likely to induce depression in collectivistic East Asian cultures. The study took data from 29 countries, and found a consistent trend towards this same genetic variant being strongly associated with episodes of major depression in Western cultures.
A free website that helps you learn to diagnose and work through negative though patterns. Having seen so many posts on AskMeFi about depression, anxiety and related topics, it seemed almost a duty to share this. It's a free website (well, you have to register but it's anonymous and no cash changes hands) that's run by the health service here in the UK. [more inside]
The First Bank of the United States was Americas first attempt at forming a Central Bank. Inaugurated by Congress in 1791, it was followed by The Second Bank of the United States, which was dissolved in 1836.
And then The United States of America was without a Central Bank for 77 years. [more inside]
And then The United States of America was without a Central Bank for 77 years. [more inside]
Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. Wired's David Kushner examines the work of two young, competitive AI researchers, and the eerie circumstances of their deaths.
The economy is abjectly terrible, right? It's so bad that nowadays, a picture is only worth 200 words. On the other hand, the recession is over in Germany and France, and in the United States, the unemployment rate dropped just a smidgen last month. [more inside]
"Web professionals are often expected to be “always on”—always working, absorbing information, and honing new skills. Unless our work and personal lives are carefully balanced, however, the physical and mental effects of an "always on" life can be debilitating." Burnout: Running On Empty [more inside]
Product Panic - Bruce Sterling on industrial design in the slump.
The Swedish JAK bank (site in Swedish) is, in effect, a strongly ethics-driven co-operative bank which has declined to have any external commercial interests. It lends money to its approx 30,000 members free of charge, and has managed to stay in business doing so since 1965. Wikipedia has more. Also; Documentary about JAK on YouTube (part 2, part 3, part 4)
They are known as “quants” because they do quantitative finance. Seduced by a vision of mathematical elegance underlying some of the messiest of human activities, they apply skills they once hoped to use to untangle string theory or the nervous system to making money. "They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street." [spoiler inside] [more inside]
Certain clues seem to indicate that we may be facing a second depression. But what would another Depression mean in literary terms? Would it produce a second 'Gatsby'? While circumstances might be different this time around, perhaps it's worth revisiting some of the experiences of some who lived and wrote through the first Great Depression.
Ecstasy's long-term effects revealed. "Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe." [Via]
Peter Wallison, an economist who arguably predicted the housing crash and bailout in 1999 explains his current views on the crash: "Other players...played a part" but "...government policy over many years--particularly the use of the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to distort the housing credit system-- underlies the current crisis."
Say goodbye to Blockbuster, Sbarro's, Rite Aid, Krispy Kreme and Chrysler. 15 US companies that probably won't make it through 2009.
LayoffDaily.com -- thoroughly cataloging each day's depressing layoff news, from the very small companies to the very large, and updated several times a day. (But there's also a small section of the site devoted to news of companies and government org's that are hiring.)
"Civilization is Just a Thin Veneer. In the absence of law and order, men quickly revert to savagery. As was illustrated by the rioting and looting that accompanied disasters in the past three decades, the transition from tranquility to absolute barbarism can occur overnight. People expect tomorrow to be just like today, and they act accordingly. But then comes a unpredictable disaster that catches the vast majority unprepared. The average American family has four days worth of food on hand. When that food is gone, we'll soon see the thin veneer stripped away." [more inside]
The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
Hungary may be the gloomiest country on earth. Believed by its people to be suffering from a centuries long curse, it's most famous modern musical export is probably the "Hungarian Suicide Song" - Gloomy Sunday. Originally popularized by Billie Holiday in the US (with an upbeat ending tacked onto the original lyrics), it's been covered dozens of times since then. Links to a few of my favorites inside: [more inside]
Ladies And Gentlemen… Dow 25,000! A few years ago, some financial wizards thought the good times would go on and on and on. The mega-market could bring Dow 30,000 or Dow 36,000. Maybe the real estate boom will not bust.
TARP, SSFIP, EESA, CPP, TALF, MMIFF... Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the new acronyms coming out of the US Treasury Department lately? Here's a handy PDF reference guide to untangling the US government efforts to rescue banks, financial corporations, and other companies.
In the last Depression, professional sports were a cheap source of entertainment. With today's contracts, can teams survive?
By one measure, this stock market is as bad as any in the last 180 years.
Ex-Director of Operations of Sababa Toys Paul Nawrocki lost his job after the parent company filed for bankruptcy. Posting, faxing, and emailing thousand of copies of his resumes (including through LinkedIn) did not get him anywhere, so he's resorted to standing at a Manhattan street corner wearing a sandwich board saying "Almost Homeless". Business blogger Barry Ritholtz blogged about Nawrocki, which led to a Businessweek interview describing his difficulty affording his wife's medical needs or even the cost of relocation. He's been noticed by an executive recruiting firm, and a job-hunting website was made in his honour. Will his Depression-era tactic bring him luck in this recession? (Via MetaChat)
Why are our kids so sad? Positive psychology (previously) and our friends at Pepperidge Farm thinks its all a matter of fishful thinking. [more inside]
In 2007, Stuart Godard (alias Adam Ant) published his autobiography in which, among other things, he discussed his lifelong battle with manic depression (bipolar disorder). Our friends at YouTube have posted a tv special about his life: The Madness of Prince Charming Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 [more inside]
Depression 2009: What would it look like? "Lines at the ER, a television boom, emptying suburbs. A catastrophic economic downturn would feel nothing like the last one." [Via]
Influential billionaires like Carl, Thomas, Kirk, and Warren have been losing their shirts. And it's being felt around the world. [more inside]
Polly wants a Prozac. Fred the Parrot tries to bite his neck off after his owner dies, vets prescribe bird-friendly anti-depressants.
The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace, Rolling Stone (warning: long article; could make you cry)
"The arts are more dangerous [than other professions] because they require sensitivity to a large extent ... If you go too far you can pay a price -- you can be too sensitive to live in this world." Pondering the link between creativity and depression. [more inside]
A housing boom and bust, interbank lending rates reaching record highs, people losing faith in complex financial instruments, a stock market crash. We've seen it all before... The Great Depression of 1929? No, the Panic of 1837...
Book of Short Stories :: Short stories written by New York State 5th graders in 1931. (Be sure to read the About page to get a sense of the setting of the times.) (via Thingamababy)
Suppose you have a problem with your thinking, your mood, or your relationships. Come in, sit down, and let the internet help. Meet MoodGym and its newer sister site, e-couch. [more inside]
Last week the second largest US physicians group endorsed medical marijuana. On Friday the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a report which explains why they are wrong.
Songs that clearly and directly address or reference economic hardships and injustice in America, not to mention that do so in a bitter, regretful tone, don't often become enormous hits. Matter of fact, it's such a rare phenomenon that you could count such songs on... um, one finger? Yes, Yip Harburg and Jay Gorney's iconic Brother Can You Spare a Dime is that song. Covered by a surprisingly wide range of singers through the years, the song still resonates. [more inside]
"Hard Numbers: The Economy is Worse than You Know" [full article for Harper's subscribers, a different abridged version] discusses how the Consumer Price Index and other US economic statistics have been manipulated over time. Among other things, the article claims, these changes make Social Security checks 70% lower than they would otherwise be. [more inside]
The Financial Crisis: An Interview with George Soros. "We are in the midst of a financial crisis the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression." (video, April 4)
Tent cities spring up in L.A. With foreclosures rates still rising, shantytowns have started springing up in Los Angeles.
I honestly do not remember a time in my life when I didn't have headaches Wilco's Jeff Tweedy discusses his lifelong battle with migraines, panic attacks, depression, drug addiction, and the influences of all on his music.
A new peer-reviewed meta-analysis of clinical data demonstrates that four widely-prescribed SSRI anti-depressants, including Prozac and Effexor, are not more effective than placebos. Summary from the Guardian. [more inside]
Hank Stuever's 3000-word Washington Post article thinks about the Depression and what it means to the U.S. now. via Snarkmarket
"Researchers found that failing to publish negative findings inflated the reported effectiveness of all 12 of the antidepressants studied." See also: Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature. [more inside]