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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3+ hours daily screen time linked to diabetes risk factors for kids

Daily screen time of three or more hours is linked to several risk factors associated with the development of diabetes in children, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. These include adiposity, which describes total body fat, and, crucially, insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas to control levels of blood glucose. Previous research suggests that spending a lot of time glued to a screen is linked to a heightened risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes among adults. But it is not clear if children might also be at risk, particularly as recent trends indicate that the amount of time they spend watching TV and using computers, games consoles, tablets and smartphones is on the rise. The researchers therefore assessed a sample of nearly 4500 9-10 year old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham, and Leicester for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors. Read more...

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