Daily Archives: 24 Jul 08

Exposed: Harvard Shrink Gets Rich Labeling Kids Bipolar

“Meet the man who got rich by popularizing bipolar disorder for children. Congressional investigators and the NY Times expose the scandal.” (AlterNet)

This is part of what makes me despair about my profession. From my position in the trenches in Boston psychiatry, you have to take my word for how influential Biederman’s influence has been on diagnostic and therapeutic practices… and how few clothes I have always thought the Emperor was wearing.

The Science of Happiness: Is It All Bullshit?

Just because a Harvard academic says something is so, doesn’t mean it is. ‘A “Daily Show” interview that hit a chord for me was Jon Stewart’s conversation with Tal Ben-Shahar, who teaches “positive psychology” at Harvard and has written a self-help book. Early in the interview, a suspicious Stewart declares, “I am a psychology major, so I know a lot of it is bullshit.”

Stewart, however, politely gives Ben-Shahar a chance to explain the value of his book and his course on positive psychology. Ben-Shahar is proud that his course is the most popular one at Harvard, to which Stewart gets an audience laugh by suggesting that perhaps the real reason it is so popular is because it is easy. This results in a nervous laugh from Ben-Shahar, who retorts that his exams are “actually quite difficult.” Ben-Shahar then explains that there is now a “science of happiness” and offers a study to prove it, but an unimpressed Stewart quips, “How is that science?”

Finally, Stewart is no longer able to restrain his amazement that platitudes are considered profound at Harvard nowadays (the “Six Happiness Tips” on Ben-Shahar’s website are about acceptance of negative feelings, positive attitude, meaningful activities, being grateful, simplifying life and physical health). Stewart ends the interview in Groucho Marx fashion by saying, “It’s a fascinating subject and one that I can’t believe you are getting away with.” ‘ (AlterNet)

Esquire Print Mag Will Use E-Ink Cover

“The [issue of Esquire that hits the newsstands in September] will have an e-ink cover. 100,000 of the total 720,000 print run will be assembled by hand, with parts criss-crossing the globe before ending up newsstands, jumping out at your eyes with shifting images.

Esquire first thought up the idea eight years ago, but the technology was still too clunky. Since then, the Kindle has gone on sale, and the same company that invented the tech used in Amazon’s device — E Ink — is making the covers. The price, although undisclosed, is prohibitive, and Ford has been brought in as a ‘sponsor’: A moving car ad will appear on the inside cover. Esquire even had to design a battery (a ‘six-figure investment’) that was small enough to fit into a magazine and keep things running until the mags are sold. The batteries will last for 90 days.” (Wired)