Archive for January, 2013« Older Entries | Newer Entries »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 26, 2013 by admin in Editorial & OpinionSaturday, January 26th, 2013
Maybe we’ve all focused our aim in the wrong direction. Maybe it’s not guns that need more regulating, but DRUGS.
Do a Google search for phrases like “antidepressants and mass shootings”, and you’ll get page after page of results proclaiming the undeniable connection. But disappointingly, most of the results point to sites like InfoWars, Rense, and Above Top Secret. It’s unfortunate that wingnut conspiracy theorists are so convinced that there’s a connection between anti-depressants and mass shootings, because it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’re the only ones who are going to talk about the notion, thereby undermining its credibility as a possible explanation for the phenomena. Why? Because for the most part, the only other likely sources of information about a possible connection between pharmaceuticals and violent behavior are likely to have considerable bias on the topic. The drug companies that produce the psychotropic agents intended to treat mood and behavioral problems sure won’t want to talk about it, the agencies intended to regulate them (like the FDA) are essentially controlled by revolving door appointments, and the end-user in this scenario will be not only a person who has already been identified as mentally unfit, they will additionally have the consumer bias that comes with not wanting to face the fact that their troublesome and expensive mental health treatment could possibly have such a tremendous flaw built right into it. And “credible” news sources? The triumvirate of insurance, pharmaceuticals, and health care probably comprises more advertising and lobby dollars than all other business sectors combined. You don’t need to be a conspiracy nut to understand why mainstream media outlets aren’t going to start bashing big pharma and health care, unless the masses have already picked up their torches and pitchforks.
This is all a shame, because the notion definitely warrants a closer look. The list of top ten legal drugs linked to violence is topped by three familiar names: Paxil, Prozac, and Chantix. And of the credible, readily accessible studies and data that are available, the link does seem clear. For example, the research article Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others identified 1527 cases of violence disproportionally reported for 31 drugs. And for some probably biased – but at least comprehensive – data on the topic, “SSRI Stories” has compiled a database of over 4800 incidents related to antidepressants or SSRI’s, with links to news stories about the incidents. That link is to one huge sortable table; you might prefer to start with a subset like School Shootings & Incidents or Highly Publicized Cases. The CNN video below is typical of the softball references to the issue that you’ll find from larger media sources; CNN’s Sanjay Gupta talks for a while about the obvious connection between mental illness and mass shootings, but he barely addresses the pharmaceutical angle until the end, and immediately back-pedals on the notion: Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 25, 2013 by admin in Missing LinksFriday, January 25th, 2013
Our weekly roundup of the best GIF’s we saw this week.
As we come careening around the corner of Friday and heading into the weekend, what could be more appropriate and lazy-brained than some amusing GIF’s? Thank God It’s Friday, and Thank God for (animated graphic) Image Files. Enjoy our new weekly Friday feature, where we round up the best GIF’s we see each week. We like to think we’re choosy mothers, and choosy mothers choose GIF’s. Even if they ARE an outdated file format, and a hackneyed meme from last year. Got a suggestion for next week? Send us a link. Have a great weekend! Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 24, 2013 by admin in TechnologyThursday, January 24th, 2013
Is social networking dead? Of course not. It just doesn’t feel good. And the latest Facebook alternatives like Diaspora, SocialNumber, and Identi.ca aren’t exactly thriving. Theorize all you want about social media, but in the end it’s all about US, not the platform.
If you’re a nobody who wants to
meet nobody, SocialNumber may be
just what you’re looking for.
People have been asking for some time now (myself included) if Facebook is dead. A couple of years ago, an article with that title was usually a whiny piece by a socially inept nerd who probably felt just as peeved at every party they attended as they did on Facebook. But the answer to the question “is Facebook dead?” has evolved quite a bit. Some say social media is healthier than ever. But that piece was published as SEO linkbait by a marketing consultancy. Of course social media is alive, if your income is derived from telling people to use it. But the argument used in that article – that Nielsen data indicates that “more people than ever are using social media” – is one of the best arguments that it IS dying. AOL, MySpace, and just about any other previous “big thing” you can name had the largest number of users at exactly the moment they sucked the most and began their decline. If you ask people who are more interested in accurately understanding how social media actually functions rather than how to exploit it, you’ll get a different kind of answer. Like Social Media is Dead and marketers probably killed it. Or it’s not quite dead, it just needs CPR. And if you ask people who look at the money, you get an equally unenthusiastic response, with observations about Zynga, Facebook, and Groupon’s stock performance. Remember when Groupon was valued at SIX. BILLION. DOLLARS? And while a lot has been written about Google+, that’s about the extent of it. Except for rabid Googlephiles, the place has tumbleweeds blowing through it. So what about other conduits in the social media realm? Twitter and Pinterest are noisy as hell, and provide little in the way of meaningful connection for people who speak in more than 140 characters or don’t like communicating with thumbnailed images. And Instagram, Spotify, and others? They’re fun, they’re shareable, but they’re really just part of the “entertainment system of social”. So what’s next? Who knows. That’s the whole idea behind the concept of disruption in tech or media realms. And are there alternatives to Facebook? Well, the last few options to get any buzz remain a little less-than-populated. We checked out two of them – Diaspora and SocialNumber – and have shared screen shots below to make some points. And a third called Identi.ca actually looks pretty intriguing, but you have to install software to actually participate. We may do a followup piece on it, but you can rest assured you won’t be hearing about it on cable news in the next year. So below are some quick thoughts on Diaspora and SocialNumber, but now I have to get moving and share this piece on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, like a good little social media murderer. Because our boredom isn’t killing Facebook; our marketing, spamming, and “self as brand” behaviors are. Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 23, 2013 by admin in Lifestyle & CultureWednesday, January 23rd, 2013
Why I gave up Wikiphilia for my new web pastime, “Rabbit Wholing”. How ELSE would I learn that folks that buy banana bunkers also buy 55 gallon drums of body lube?
Priced at $2,750, it’s not surprising that
no-one has reviewed the Jurassic-Sized
Parasaurolopus Patio Statue yet.
Why not be the first?
Remember when Wikipedia was new, how we’d start out reading about the history of head-driven phrase structure grammar, and before you know it, two hours had passed and we’d find ourself reading the bio of Greg Evigan, star of BJ & the Bear? Well, now that we’ve absorbed the entire sum of human knowledge, the guilty pleasure of Wikiphilia just isn’t as guilt or pleasure inducing as it used to be, is it. That’s how I stumbled upon my new favorite pastime, “Rabbit Wholing”, which involves browsing only the customer reviews and “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” items on Amazon. The name comes from one of the more popular items on the many “funniest Amazon review” lists you’ll find on the web, the Fresh Whole Rabbit. Intentionally plunging down the rabbit hole of Amazon’s recommended products may seem like an exercise in futility, but how else would I learn that people who bought the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer and the Compact Impact Banana Bunker also bought the 55 Gallon Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant? Not with a Consumer Reports subscription or by wasting hours and hours on Wikipedia, that’s for sure! Below are my picks for most amusing and informative customer reviews. Screenshots are provided in case the product gets discontinued or the review gets censored. Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 22, 2013 by admin in Missing LinksTuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Beyonce’s butt beats Bieber’s, the Lupe Fiasco Fiasco, a cute cat video, and a badass mouse that howls at the moon and eats scorpions and tarantulas.
Apparently, Beyonce isn’t the
first thing on Bill’s mind…
It probably says something about America that the real buzz about the presidential inauguration yesterday wasn’t driven by Obama’s inspiring vision for the next four years, but focused instead on the first inaugural use of the word “gay”, on who won the Clarkson & Beyonce smackdown, the Lupe Fiasco fiasco, and perhaps most importantly, on which politician sneaked the most peeks at Beyonce’s rear (see below). Frankly, I don’t see how their eyes were aiming so low, with President Obama’s Ceremonial Drone Flyover roaring overhead. We promise to get to the bottom of this issue below, butt first, some shopping tips and YouTubidity: Read the rest of this entry »