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People in affluent nations may be more depression-prone

[SitM: there’s more to spending your life working for a fancy car or house. If more people thought in terms of time, like spending 2000 hours of their time earning $$$ to buy their current car, they might make different decisions. There’s always going to be someone with a nicer car. Don’t get into that cycle, it’s a no-win. Do stuff that makes you happy]

Affluent countries, including the U.S., tend to have higher rates of depression than lower-income nations such as Mexico, a new study from World Health Organization researchers suggests.

In face-to-face interviews, teams of researchers surveyed nationally representative samples of people in 18 countries on five continents — nearly 90,000 people in all — and assessed their history of depression using a standardized list of nine criteria.

In addition to looking at personal characteristics such as age and relationship status, the researchers divided the countries into high- and middle-to-low income groups according to average household earnings.

The proportion of people who have ever had an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime is 15% in the high-income nations and 11% in lower-income countries, the study estimates.
France (21%) and the United States (19%) had the highest rates, while China (6.5%) and Mexico (8%) had the lowest.

It’s not clear what accounts for this pattern, says Evelyn Bromet, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stony Brook University, in Stony Brook, New York. But she stresses that wealth — and happiness — are relative concepts.

“Wherever you are, there’s always people doing better than you,” Bromet says. “You’d think that countries that are better off should have lower rates [of depression], but just because they have a high income doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of stress in the environment.”

stick a fork in RIM, it’s done

stick a fork in RIM, it’s done

[SitM: some Verizon stores aren’t even displaying Blackberries in their showrooms anymore. You can still buy it, but it’s a backroom item]


As it struggles with the declining popularity of the BlackBerry line of smartphones, Research In Motion said on Monday that it would begin laying off about 2,000 employees, 10.5 percent of its work force, this week.

While the company had previously announced that it planned to cut employees, the number of jobs lost was higher than some analysts expected, perhaps suggesting that the company’s situation was deteriorating more rapidly than earlier thought.


The company’s move into the tablet computer market with the BlackBerry PlayBook this spring has also proved disappointing. The device, which uses the new operating system, was introduced without many major features, including e-mail software, a puzzling omission given that BlackBerry phones were the world’s first successful wireless e-mail devices.


RIM has shipped only 500,000 PlayBooks but has not disclosed how many of them have been purchased by consumers and businesses. By comparison, Apple said last week that it sold 9.25 million iPad 2 devices during its last quarter.
RIM’s situation has led several employees to leave the company of their own accord. Brian Wallace, the former vice president of digital marketing and media, recently joined Samsung Mobile. Shortly afterward, he was followed to Samsung by Ryan Bidan, a former Microsoft Games executive who was the senior product manager for the PlayBook.

Sometimes the Truth hurts: Coal Industry not digging sculpture’s metaphor

Sometimes the Truth hurts: Coal Industry not digging sculpture’s metaphor


[SitM: It’s not shocking, or even surprising, that the coal industry wouldn’t like this, but why protest bringing up the link between coal and carbon emissions? Every industry has its warts. Trying to pretend they don’t exist only highlights them]

LARAMIE, WYOMING. University sculpture upsets Wyoming coal industry

University accused of ingratitude by one of its main funders for choosing to exhibit ‘Carbon Sink’ by British artist Chris Drury

The sculpture was always going to be hard to ignore – a giant 36-foot whorl of silvery logs and lumps of black coal in front of the main campus building at the University of Wyoming.

But British artist Chris Drury thought his commentary on the connection between the coal industry and dead trees would merely generate some polite on-campus debate in Cheyenne.

Not anymore. Drury’s work, Carbon Sink What Goes Around Comes Around, sits in the heart of coal country, Wyoming, which mines more coal than any other state in America.
The work’s existence and the links it draws between coal, climate change, and the pine beetle infestation that is devastating the landscape of the Rocky Mountains, has set off a debate about artistic and academic freedom, with the mining industry and Republican state legislators expressing outrage that a university that got money from coal would dare to turn on it.

“I thought it was a fairly innocuous thing to do,” said Drury . “But it’s kind of upset a lot of people here. Perhaps it was slightly more obvious because it is slightly more crucial in this state. But this is a university so I expected to start a debate, not a row.”

He said he got the idea from a conversation with a scientist who complained that nobody was drawing the connection between the daily coal shipments from Wyoming, and the pine beetle infestation that was killing the region’s forests.

The beetles are endemic to the Rockies but with climate change the region no longer gets the plunging temperatures that used to kill them off. Milder winters have allowed the beetles to live on and eat their way through the Rockies, stripping the bark off lodgepole pines from Colorado to British Columbia.

Some of the logs used in the installation were still crawling with beetles.

But as Drury charts on his blog, his comment on the connections between that calamity and coal was too close to home.

By day three of construction, the mining industry was accusing the university of ingratitude towards one of its main benefactors – in what some have seen as a veiled threat to cut funding.

“They get millions of dollars in royalties from oil, gas and coal to run the university, and then they put up a monument attacking me, demonising the industry,” Marion Loomis, the director of the Wyoming Mining Association, told the Casper Star-Tribune. “I understand academic freedom, and we’re very supportive of it, but it’s still disappointing.”

Then two Republican members of the Wyoming state legislature joined in, calling the work an insult to coal. The subject of university funding also came up.

“While I would never tinker with the University of Wyoming budget – I’m a great supporter of the University of Wyoming – every now and then, you have to use these opportunities to educate some of the folks at the University of Wyoming about where their paychecks come from,” Tom Lubnau, one of the state legislators, told the Gillette News-Record.

The university said it was standing by Drury’s work, although it was not necessarily endorsing his message.

Even the smartest tech visionaries are afflicted with myopia

Even the smartest tech visionaries are afflicted with myopia

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” – Thomas Watson, Chairman of the Board of IBM, 1943

“640k (of RAM) ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates defending MS-DOS’ 640k RAM address limit, 1981

“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing” – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, 1985

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home” – Ken Olsen, CEO of DEC in 1986.

“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” – Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computer in 1997 on what he would do with Apple Computer

“Blinky lights aren’t so special anymore. Everyone’s got blinky lights” – Mr. Technology, CTO of Soul in the Machine, 2011

Notes on the quotes. At the time of Olsen’s quote, DEC was the 2nd biggest tech company in the world. Lucky for Steve Jobs, he was wrong about himself. Thomas Watson: what was he thinking? As for Michael Dell, Apple’s current market cap is 10 times that of Dell Computer. And Mr. Technology? His next date will be impressed with him because of blinky lights. Moral of the story: be careful about believing anyone’s predictions about the future.

Las Vegas becoming the Ibiza of North America

Las Vegas becoming the Ibiza of North America


LAS VEGAS, July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Electronic music is experiencing a new wave. No longer the bailiwick of club kids and raves, electronic music has grown up with an appeal that stretches from Wall Street to Main Street, and Las Vegas is at the epicenter.
The destination serves up a daily dose – from poolside (daylife) to club (nightlife) – of the best live mixes from the cream of the DJ crop. Renowned DJs/producers from around the world, including Kaskade, David Guetta, LMFAO, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon, DJ Vice and more, have established residencies, quickly eclipsing star chefs as the celebrity du jour.

“Fans of electronic music want venues where they can experience the beats of their favorite DJs year round, and that is exactly what Las Vegas delivers,” said Sean Christie, owner of Las Vegas Nightlife Group, operator of Surrender Nightclub, Encore Beach Club, Blush Boutique Nightclub and Society Cafe at Wynn Las Vegas. “Vegas is the perfect destination to host world-class DJs and throw these massive dance parties. The city offers a sense of camaraderie among the artists.”
These superstar DJs, like the Rat Pack days of yore, are highly supportive of each other and willingly mentor up and comers. While these DJs/producers have blazed a path to fame and fortune, many started from quite humble beginnings right here in Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas has always been known for its entertainment and, in recent years, has evolved into a top destination for some of the biggest DJ names from around the globe,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Resident DJs and major music headliners have become part of the Vegas experience and continue to give our visitors another great reason to visit.”


From an economic standpoint, the impact of electronic music in Las Vegas has been enormous. Many executives within the resort community credit Vegas’ vibrant nightlife for helping keep the destination afloat during one of the nation’s worst economic crisis to date.