Book of the month, lucid dreaming and the singularity movement: Tuesday news and blogs

  • PharmaGossip: Book of the Month: Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker– — Another review of this very important book: This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. Are long-term recovery rates higher for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or increase the risk that a depressed person will become disabled by the disorder? Do bipolar patients fare better today than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any benefit? — By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies—all of which point to the same startling conclusion—been kept from the public?
  • Want to find your mind? Learn to direct your dreams — New Scientist — AM I awake or am I dreaming?” I ask myself for probably the hundredth time. I am fully awake, just like all the other times I asked, and to be honest I am beginning to feel a bit silly. All week I have been performing this “reality check” in the hope that it will become so ingrained in my mind that I will start asking it in my dreams too. — If I succeed, I will have a lucid dream – a thrilling state of consciousness somewhere between waking and sleeping in which, unlike conventional dreams, you are aware that you are dreaming and able to control your actions. Once you have figured this out, the dream world is theoretically your oyster, and you can act out your fantasies to your heart’s content.
  • In the Singularity Movement, Humans Are So Yesterday – NYTimes.com — The quest for immortality has been around for a long time. So far all that seems to have been accomplished is finding profitable ways for extending human misery.At that point, the Singularity holds, human beings and machines will so effortlessly and elegantly merge that poor health, the ravages of old age and even death itself will all be things of the past. — Some of Silicon Valley’s smartest and wealthiest people have embraced the Singularity. They believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world’s ills, while also allowing people to seize control of the evolutionary process. For those who haven’t noticed, the Valley’s most-celebrated company — Google — works daily on building a giant brain that harnesses the thinking power of humans in order to surpass the thinking power of humans.

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