How to get to a world without suicide


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Trying to reach a world with no suicides. A commendable effort.

A simple belief drives Mallen: that Edward should still be alive, that his death was preventable – at several stages during the rapid onset of his depression. Moreover, Mallen and a growing number of mental health experts believe that this applies to all deaths by suicide. They argue that with a well-funded, better-coordinated strategy that would reform attitudes and approaches in almost every function of society – from schools and hospitals to police stations and the family home – it might be possible to prevent every suicide, or at least to aspire to.

The complete article

Simon Usborne — Mosaic

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On The Origin of Disgust


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A look at disgust from an evolutionary perspective.

Disgust appeared somewhere in the long history of human evolution. We don’t know when and where.  The absence of the best sources of evidence leaves the assignment of disgust origins to genetic selection in biological evolution uncertain.  Neither contamination sensitivity nor avoidance of decayed substances are present at or shortly after birth in humans, and neither is documented to be present in other primates. The fact that disgust functions to protect humans from microbial contamination is a start for an evolutionary account, but it is far from conclusive.  Both fire and antibiotics are parts of the human antimicrobial repertoire, but neither evolved biologically. So just establishing an adaptive value for a trait does not make a strong case for its biological evolution.

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Paul Rozin — Emotion Researcher

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The Contagion of Euthanasia and the Corruption of Compassion


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Is euthanasia compassionate in some cases?

Humans do not live in isolation. The more our culture sends messages that some lives are less valuable than others, the more some people will internalize messages to end their lives. A psychological contagion of suicide is unleashed by euthanasia and assisted suicide laws. Condoning suicide in one circumstance implicitly condones it across the board. The wrong of suicide is no longer absolute: death is made a reasonable—even the expected—response to pain, misfortune, and sadness.

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Arthur Goldberg & ShimonCowen — Public Discourse

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Up Is the New Down


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A very inspiring story for today. Go for it.

In his mid-twenties, Bob had some serious health problems, which made it very difficult for him to eat. He ended up in the hospital for a few weeks and for several years he ate exclusively through a feed tube. Slowly but surely, with Amy leading the charge, Bob’s family got him eating solid food again and back outside exercising. “We’re told that people with Down syndrome are slow, and you can’t take them that far,” Amy says, “but Bob is pretty fast and he can go forever.” When Bob started tackling increasingly tough and long day hikes, and dubbed himself “Bob Hammer,” the origin of the Bob nickname, Amy and Max realized that their Grand Teton idea was no longer a pipe dream.

The complete article

Sam Moulton — Outside

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When Being Healthy Is Unhealthy


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Perhaps the biggest flaw—and defining power—of such tag lines as “strong is the new skinny” is that they still put the focus on appearance as opposed to achievement. Research suggests that women are no more satisfied with their bodies today than they were in past decades; meanwhile, a fixation on fitness driven by unachievable standards keeps women trapped in their own dissatisfaction, robbing them of time and energy.

The idea that women are “weak” or “fragile” is deeply rooted in sexism, and while notable feminist writers argue that we should challenge these notions, Martin Ginis says it’s also important to challenge the idea that we’re all supposed to be one thing: some people are fit, some are thin, some are fat—and that’s okay, because strong is not the new skinny. Strength can’t be built by posting an Instagram selfie or by parading around in a T-shirt with a catchy motto.

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Nicole Schmidt — The Walrus

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American Health Care: Is It Worth It?


As Republicans debate plans to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), it’s useful to look at just what Americans get from their expensive health care system:

Although anecdotal evidence suggests that waiting times are lower in the U.S. than in other countries, true quality indicators are difficult to derive due to measurement errors. So it’s difficult to say definitively that U.S. consumers get better-quality care than people in other industrialized countries, but their care is definitely the most expensive.

San Antonio Review

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You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition


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Can we really trust the numerous articles on nutrition? This needull tries to find out.

Nearly every nutrient you can think of has been linked to some health outcome in the peer-reviewed scientific literature using tools like the FFQ, said John Ioannidis, an expert on the reliability of research findings at the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford. In a 2013 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ioannidis and a colleague selected 50 common ingredients at random from a cookbook and looked for studies evaluating each food’s association to cancer risk. It turned out that studies had found a link between 80 percent of the ingredients — including salt, eggs, butter, lemon, bread and carrots — and cancer. Some of those studies pointed to an increased risk of cancer, others suggested a decreased risk, but the size of the reported effects were “implausibly large,” Ioannidis said, while the evidence was weak.

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Christie Aschwanden — FiveThirtyEight

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