A depressed nation

There were more than 70m prescriptions for antidepressants in England in 2018 to treat conditions including depression and anxiety, according to NHS Digital. The 2016 and 2017 figures were 64.7m and 67.5m respectively. In 2008 the figure was 36 million. Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “For many people antidepressants …

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25 visitors with snow on their boots

I don’t do it often (it’s the quality of visitor to this blog that is important, not the number), but yesterday I had occasion to inspect the statistics associated with this blog.  25 Russians are  shown as visitors to the blog, just yesterday. Now why would 25 Russian citizens visit a blog called Epicurus.Today, presented …

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A passage worthy of Epicurus and appropriate for our roiled-up times

“There are among us still those who would deny to others the right to hold a different understanding of the fundamental issues of our time.  Thus, if we look around us , we see dogma still in conflict with rival dogma; we see people of one culture or belief at odds with their human neighbours …

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Womb rental: a racket for the rich

Kim Kardashian is having another baby. Well she’s not actually “having” it herself. She and her husband, the rapper Kanye West, are paying another woman to give birth to it. “I’m totally gonna forget,” she explains. “Then a month before I’m gonna be like holy shit, we need to get a nursery.” Rent-a-womb is legal …

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Some good news? A second green revolution?

Photosynthesis – the process used by plants to convert light energy into the chemical energy that fuels growth – is one of nature’s most crucial chemical reactions. And an international team of scientists (mainly from US and British universities) now believe they can use a genetic “hack” to make the process more efficient, and, in …

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Street philosophy. No.1

Three philosophers were stationed on a New York street, prepared to take questions from the passers- by. A little girl, six years old, approached the group and asked, “How do I know I’m real?” Suddenly I was back in graduate school, reported one of the philosophers later. Should I talk about the French philosopher Rene …

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American inequality – this house may not stand for long

The widening of the racial wealth divide has coincided with the extreme concentration of U.S. wealth. The wealthiest 0.1 percent of households have grown richer while millions of families face poverty and deep-seated economic insecurity. The median American family saw their wealth drop 3 percent between 1983 and 2016, while the richest 0.1 percent have …

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Brexit: my most instant, heartfelt posting ever

Britain on Tuesday: May lost by over 400 votes! The rolling, roiling disaster gets worse by the day. Lack of forethought, bullying, and downright ignorance rule the day! Epicurus would advise me to calm down, to be philosophical, to assume all will eventually settle down and rationality will be restored. It is possible that he …

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Artificial intelligence – in the right hands?

The Guardian Weekly of 4 January 2019 carried an article by Vivienne Ming about Artificial Intelligence. In theory, she says, poverty, mental health, climate change, inequality – almost everything – could be addressed by AI. The problem, she says, is not the concept of AI, but the people behind it. She points out that AI …

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