Depression Increasing Across the Country

Read the full article Depression Increasing Across the Country at

Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults, SDSU professor Jean M. Twenge found Americans are more depressed now than their 1980s counterparts.

The research is in Social Indicators Research. (full access paywall)

Research: “Time Period and Birth Cohort Differences in Depressive Symptoms in the U.S., 1982–2013” by Jean M. Twenge in Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-014-0647-1

Image: Analyzing data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country, Twenge found that Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit geralt.

The Doorway Effect: Why your brain won’t let you remember what you were doing before you came in here

I work in a lab, and the way our lab is set up, there are two adjacent rooms, connected by both an outer hallway and an inner doorway. I do most of my work on one side, but every time I walk over to the other side to grab a reagent or a box of tips, I completely forget what I was after. This leads to a lot of me standing with one hand on the freezer door and grumbling, “What the hell was I doing?” It got to where all I had to say was “Every damn time” and my labmate would laugh. Finally, when I explained to our new labmate why I was standing next to his bench with a glazed look in my eyes, he was able to shed some light. “Oh, yeah, that’s a well-documented phenomenon,” he said. “Doorways wipe your memory.”

Being the gung-ho new science blogger that I am, I decided to investigate. And it’s true! Well, doorways don’t literally wipe your memory. But they do encourage your brain to dump whatever it was working on before and get ready to do something new. In one study, participants played a video game in which they had to carry an object either across a room or into a new room. Then they were given a quiz. Participants who passed through a doorway had more trouble remembering what they were doing. It didn’t matter if the video game display was made smaller and less immersive, or if the participants performed the same task in an actual room—the results were similar. Returning to the room where they had begun the task didn’t help: even context didn’t serve to jog folks’ memories.

The researchers wrote that their results are consistent with what they call an “event model” of memory. They say the brain keeps some information ready to go at all times, but it can’t hold on to everything. So it takes advantage of what the researchers called an “event boundary,” like a doorway into a new room, to dump the old info and start over. Apparently my brain doesn’t care that my timer has seconds to go—if I have to go into the other room, I’m doing something new, and can’t remember that my previous task was antibody, idiot, you needed antibody.

Read more at Scientific American, or the original study.


Summer Reading from The New Yorker

The New Yorker is opening up its Web site for the next few months, letting visitors read everything currently being published — along with archives back to 2007 — for free.

The move comes alongside a site redesign.

Via The New Yorker:

Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall.

Images: Twitter posts from The New Yorker… and an ellipsis for good measure.


Researchers Show EEG’s Potential to Reveal Depolarizations Following TBI

Read the full article Researchers Show EEG’s Potential to Reveal Depolarizations Following TBI at

The potential for doctors to measure damaging “brain tsunamis” in injured patients without opening the skull has moved a step closer to reality, thanks to pioneering research at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Neuroscience Institute.

The research is in Annals of Neurology, Nature Reviews Neurology, Brain and Lancet Neurology. (all full access paywall)

Image: Jed Hartings, PhD, research associate professor in the department of neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Credit University of Cincinnati.

2 - Hartings likened the phenomenon to the Nazca Lines, the famous geoglyphs in the desert of southern Peru. The Nazca Lines suggest nothing up close, but when seen at a distance from surrounding foothills or an airplane, images of artistry emerge. Credit University of Cincinnati.

Stop sharing accounts! SDR2 thread is at risk of closing!

According to Slow Beef’s recent tweet, the thread is at risk of being gassed. Nobody wants that. In an effort to eliminate shared accounts, Slow Beef is offering upgrades to anyone who can find and autoban a shared account. It’s a great incentive, and it should help to weed out those who can’t follow the site’s rules. Outdated information. The thread is safe. I guess account sharing isn’t as common anymore with the mirror now well-established.

Now, here are my thoughts. Most of you reading this only visit Something Awful for SDR2. I can understand your past frustration with the paywall, but orenronen has already allowed the creation of this mirror. There will obviously never be a paywall here on tumblr, there is no future risk of spoiler banners, and new updates are mirrored very shortly after they are posted in the thread. The first LP has been archived, and the current LP is in progress here on this blog. If you are only interested in Dangan Ronpa, there is absolutely no reason to attempt sharing accounts on Something Awful.

If someone is upset about the paywall, please direct them here. If someone is asking to share an account, please, please direct them here. If you come across a shared account’s login information, I encourage you to get it autobanned to prevent future use. Please spread the word about this mirror, and please be a decent person so we can continue enjoying this fantastic LP.


"Paywalls are for pussies. It’s a head-scratcher why all publications are erecting them. They learned none of the lessons from the music industry. Foremost of which is your enemy is not reduced revenues, but obscurity. The key is to be the paper of record, to be available to everybody. And not everybody is concerned with everything, but when you break a story…be sure it can go viral.

In other words, if you make people buy your music to hear it, you’re never going to make it in today’s marketplace. And it’s always about the music. Thom Yorke can get everybody to pay attention to his opinion on Spotify, but he can get almost nobody to listen to Atoms For Peace. And that’s backwards.

There’s a huge desire for news. By pulling back from the audience, the paywall police are doing it wrong.”

More than a year and a half later, it’s clear the New York Times’ paywall is not only valuable, it’s helped turn the paper’s subscription dollars, which once might have been considered the equivalent of a generous tithing, into a significant revenue-generating business. As of this year, the company is expected to make more money from subscriptions than from advertising — the first time that’s happened.

Love the subtle slam on “the common tactics for attracting eyeballs on the Web” later in the piece.

Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the western world? Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities.

Everyone claims to agree that people should be encouraged to understand science and other academic research. Without current knowledge, we cannot make coherent democratic decisions. But the publishers have slapped a padlock and a “keep out” sign on the gates.

You might resent Murdoch’s paywall policy, in which he charges £1 for 24 hours of access to the Times and Sunday Times. But at least in that period you can read and download as many articles as you like. Reading a single article published by one of Elsevier’s journals will cost you $31.50. Springer charges €34.95, Wiley-Blackwell, $42. Read 10 and you pay 10 times. And the journals retain perpetual copyright. You want to read a letter printed in 1981? That’ll be $31.50. Of course, you could go into the library (if it still exists). But they too have been hit by cosmic fees. The average cost of an annual subscription to a chemistry journal is $3,792. Some journals cost $10,000 a year or more to stock. The most expensive I’ve seen, Elsevier’s Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, is $20,930. Though academic libraries have been frantically cutting subscriptions to make ends meet, journals now consume 65% of their budgets, which means they have had to reduce the number of books they buy. Journal fees account for a significant component of universities’ costs, which are being passed to their students.

(via Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian)

Illustration by Daniel Pudles

The number of unqiue users recorded last month by the New York Times website in the US increased by 2.3 per cent year-on-year, despite the introduction of digital subscriptions in March this year.

Speaking on a paywalls panel at the World Editors Forum in Vienna, Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor for digital, said the year-on-year increase to an average 34 million unique users in September per month was “incredibly surprising”, admitting that at first he thought the paywall was “at least potentially a bad idea”.

» via

More than a year and a half later, it’s clear the New York Times’ paywall is not only valuable, it’s helped turn the paper’s subscription dollars, which once might have been considered the equivalent of a generous tithing, into a significant revenue-generating business. As of this year, the company is expected to make more money from subscriptions than from advertising — the first time that’s happened.
—  Bloomberg’s Edmund Lee • Discussing the success of the New York Times paywall, which has done something very surprising — it’s allowed the New York Times to make more than half of its overall revenue from subscriptions, rather than the traditional 80 percent advertising/20 percent subscriptions balance that has traditionally defined newspapers. That’s good for a number of reasons, with the biggest being that the New York Times is no longer as overly reliant on ad dollars to sell its news. That’s an awesome spot for the Times to be, but the real question: Does that mean anything for papers that aren’t the Times, which may be a tougher sell than a paper of record?

Journalists are True Alphas When it Comes to Comment Trolling

Background: Yesterday in the Columbia Journalism Review Howard Owens published a piece called How David Simon is wrong about paywalls. In some five thousand plus words he expounds on how paywalls cannot, and will not, save the newsroom.

First comment, by David Simon to defend himself includes such gems as, “Your numbers are just whack. Insane. Off the charts.”

Then come Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, creators of the Software as a Service paywall system Press+, and a host of other media thinkers sniping at one another.

It’s a lively discussion, to be sure, and well worth the now very long read. It is, after all, a gathering of many who have worked with and without paywalls and study the overall economics of sustainable news operations.

Start with David Simon’s original post and be sure to hit the comments. 

Then move on to Howard Owens’ rebuttal.

It may be very much inside baseball but sometimes inside baseball is a very good place to be.

The Top 5 Best Uses For Your Local Library (That Aren’t Just Books)

H/T to Lifehacker:

  1. Rent A/V Equipment
  2. Get Access To Paywall Content
  3. Find Tickets To Museums, Concerts, And Events
  4. Print Off Legal Forms
  5. Fill Up On E-Books

I love this. Andrew Sullivan is taking his blog indie. And he’s not doing it through advertising, but through a pure (and smart) payment layer:

Our particular version will be a meter that will be counted every time you hit a “Read on” button to expand or contract a lengthy post. You’ll have a limited number of free read-ons a month, before we hit you up for $19.99. Everything else on the Dish will remain free. No link from another blog to us will ever be counted for the meter - so no blogger or writer need ever worry that a link to us will push their readers into a paywall. It won’t. Ever. There is no paywall.

An easy way to think of this: the most dedicated and loyal readers pay while everyone else doesn’t — with the hope that they’ll become dedicated and loyal readers who do eventually pay. Again, I love this.

I get pinged quite often about monetizing this site — I’m simply not interested in doing that by way of advertising. I am sort of interested in the payment layer just because it seems like something along these lines has to work eventually if content is going to survive.

Right now, the barriers to pay on the web still seem too big. There needs to be an iTunes-like one-click payment layer for the web. Maybe it’s a big company like Amazon, maybe it’s a startup like Stripe, or maybe it’s someone else.

But it really is and should be simple in my mind: if you provide value to people, they’ll pay for it. I’m not a regular reader of The Dish, but you better believe I’m donating to the cause.

Bonobos Stay Young Longer

Dec. 16, 2013 

Despite the fact that chimpanzees and bonobos share similar starting conditions at birth, they develop different behavioral patterns later in life. These differences might be caused by different hormone levels. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp in Belgium have analyzed thyroid hormones from urine samples of zoo-living chimpanzees and bonobos. They discovered that bonobos retain elevated thyroid hormone concentrations well into adulthood, whereas in humans and chimpanzees thyroid hormone concentrations decline after puberty. The late decline of thyroid hormones in bonobos might have consequences on their behavior and might also indicate a delayed development of their mental capacities.

The thyroid hormones Triiodthyronin (T3) and Thyroxin (T4) influence the ontogenetic development in human and animals. Prenatally, they are responsible for brain and somatic growth as well as for maturation. Later, they influence somatic growth and the emergence of specific developmental stages such as puberty and adulthood. Given the key role of thyroid hormones in the development of all vertebrates, it astonishes that so little is known about thyroid hormones and their impact on the ontogenetic development in our closest living relatives, bonobo and chimpanzee.

While the two species show minor differences in their behavior during their first years of life, they differ remarkably when they reach adulthood. Male bonobos are less aggressive, engage in lasting friendships with females and receive life-long support from their mothers. In contrast, the social network of male chimpanzees consists of a mixture of male-male cooperation and aggressive behavioral strategies in males that aim on gaining and maintaining high social status. The consequence is that the two sister species live in different social systems.


While some researchers relate this difference in aggression to the dominance relations between females and males, others have suggested that bonobos retain juvenile behaviors until adulthood and — by inference — do not develop the behavioral suite that supports strive for high dominance status of male chimpanzees. In a recent study, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and of the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp in Belgium have investigated hormonal changes in bonobos and chimpanzees. For hormonal analyses, urine samples from around 200 zoo-living individuals ranging between one and 56 years of age were used…


Moreover, psychological studies indicate that the cognitive development is delayed in bonobos as compared to chimpanzees. It is known that by the age of ten years the growth of a chimpanzee’s brain volume and bones has already been finished. The late decline of thyroid hormones in the urine of bonobos might thus show that these animals’ mental capacities start developing later in life.

"These are challenging results and we want to find out next, what the biological relevance of the high thyroid levels in bonobos is in detail," says Verena Behringer. "As the thyroid hormone decline in humans is between the one of bonobos and chimpanzees it remains to be seen which of the two species represents the original thyroid rhythm, that is whether the chimpanzee is early ripe or the bonobo a late bloomer." (full article)

Journal Reference:

Verena Behringer, Tobias Deschner, Róisín Murtagh, Jeroen M.G. Stevens, Gottfried Hohmann. Age-related changes in Thyroid hormone levels of bonobos and chimpanzees indicate heterochrony in developmentJournal of Human Evolution, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.09.008


The New York Times Company Reports a Profit -

In the most closely watched metric of The Times’s well being — its new online subscription business — the company reported continued growth. The Times now has 324,000 paid subscribers to the various digital editions of the paper, including e-readers and its Web site, compared with 281,000 at the end of the second quarter. Those figures do not include the 100,000 users who receive access to free through a sponsorship by the Ford Motor Company.

One key question about the success of The Times’s digital strategy — whether subscribers would renew at full price once their low introductory rates expired — was answered in part on Thursday. Janet L. Robinson, president and chief executive of the Times Company, said during a conference call with analysts that the company was seeing encouraging signs.

“The large majority of these subscribers have now advanced to paying full rates to access the Times’s digital content,” she said, though she declined to offer a percentage. “If our experience with print subscribers is any indication, now that these subscribers have converted to full payment, it is highly likely that they will become loyal users.”