Links

The Psychology Of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy

More money, more problems? It might just be true. Americans today, compared to 55 years ago, own twice as many cars and eat out twice as much per person, but we don’t seem to be any happier because of it. Rather than rising levels of well-being, we’ve seen mounting credit card debt and increasing numbers of self-storage facilities to house the things we compulsively buy. The holidays in particular have become a time when consumer culture comes out in full force. Black Friday, the annual post-Thanksgiving discount shopping spree, results each year in multiple deaths and injuries of consumers trampled by crowds in stores and shopping malls. Read more ...

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Big Pharma’s Role in Clinical Trials

Link recommended by Sonia Shirwadkar

Pharmaceutical companies are the top sponsors of clinical trials, the best process for determining the safety and efficacy of drugs. Big Pharma funded clinical trials frequently result in publication bias, buried results and misleading information. The pharmaceutical industry is the biggest funder of clinical trials in the U.S., but there is little financial incentive for Big Pharma to be honest about trial results. In the multi-billion dollar industry, companies face pressures from shareholders looking for returns on investments, competitors racing to be the first to develop new treatments, and astronomical costs for researching and developing products. Read more...

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Programmers are having a huge discussion about the unethical and illegal things they’ve been asked to do

Earlier this week, a post written by programmer and teacher Bill Sourour went viral. It's called "Code I’m Still Ashamed Of." In it he recounts a horrible story of being a young programmer who landed a job building a website for a pharmaceutical company. The whole post is worth a read, but the upshot is he was duped into helping the company skirt drug advertising laws in order to persuade young women to take a particular drug.

He later found out the drug was known to worsen depression and at least one young woman committed suicide while taking it. He found out his sister was taking the drug and warned her off it. Decades later, he still feels guilty about it, he told Business Insider. And he was inspired to write the post after he viewed a talk by Robert Martin, called "The Future of Programming." Martin is a famous-in-his-world programmer and speaker better known as "Uncle Bob." Read more ...

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Experiment to raise the dead blocked in India

Link recommended by Felix Yemanyi

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has derailed a controversial experiment that would seek to revive brain-dead accident victims. On 11 November, ICMR’s National Institute of Medical Statistics removed the “ReAnima” trial from India’s clinical trial registry. In May, Himanshu Bansal, an orthopedic surgeon at Anupam Hospital in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, announced plans to give around 20 brain-dead people a mix of interventions including injections of mesenchymal stem cells and peptides, and transcranial laser stimulation and median nerve stimulation. Transcranial laser stimulation involves shining pulses of near-infrared light into the brain; median nerve stimulation is the electrical stimulation of a major nerve that runs from the neck to the arm. Both techniques have been shown to improve cognition in patients with traumatic brain injury. Bioquark, a biotech firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had agreed to supply the trial with peptides that are said to help regenerate brain cells. Read more...

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