Readings: Antidepressants, Wal-Mart, Google Plus

A few reads from today:

(1) “In Defense of Antidepressants” [New York Times] – a solid opinion piece by Peter D. Kramer, coming to the defense of antidepressants. This piece appears reactionary against Marcia Angell’s “The Epidemic of Mental Illness” (Part I) and “The Illusions of Psychiatry”(Part 2) featured in The New York Review of Books (which I called one of the best long reads of the first half of 2011). It is always good to hear the other side of the argument.

Could this be true? Could drugs that are ingested by one in 10 Americans each year, drugs that have changed the way that mental illness is treated, really be a hoax, a mistake or a concept gone wrong?

This supposition is worrisome. Antidepressants work — ordinarily well, on a par with other medications doctors prescribe. Yes, certain researchers have questioned their efficacy in particular areas — sometimes, I believe, on the basis of shaky data. And yet, the notion that they aren’t effective in general is influencing treatment.

(2) “Today’s Special at Wal-Mart: Something Weird” [Wall Street Journal] – what happens in Wal-Mart stays in Wal-Mart…Unless you get written up in the WSJ:

Maybe a man dressed in a cow suit, crawling on all fours, will steal 26 gallons of milk from a Wal-Mart and hand them out Robin Hood-style to patrons in a parking lot, as allegedly occurred in Stafford, Va. in April.

Perhaps a glazed-eyed 20-year-old will take a truck filled with 338 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from a Wal-Mart before police find him drowsy and in possession of a bag of marijuana, as authorities say took place in Ocala, Fla., in March.

Or perchance a rapper named Mr. Ghetto will shoot an unauthorized, sexually suggestive music video paean to picking up women in the aisles of a Wal-Mart, full of ladies shaking their hindquarters in ways hindquarters typically don’t shake, as happened in New Orleans in May.


(3) “Like it or Not” [Rethrick] – former developer of Google Wave and Google Plus speaks out about the innovation (or lack thereof) of the new sharing/social media service, Google+:

It might surprise you to learn that I don’t find Google+ all that innovative. It hits all the notes that a facebook clone merits, and adds a few points of distinctiveness that are genuinely compelling, sure–but I don’t find it all that interesting, personally. To my mind, Twitter was a far greater innovation that continues unchallenged. But broad product innovation is not exactly what they were going for, I believe.

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