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Talking points: Questioning the DSM, Internet keeps growing, and a smart smoke detector

FACE IN THE CROWD: An artist applies finishing touches to an effigy of the demon king Ravana for the Hindu festival of Dussehra in Chandigarh, India.



Have psychiatrists "medicalized" human suffering? The Telegraph reports that noted U.S. psychotherapist Gary Greenberg has stirred up a ruckus with his new book taking aim at the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, globally regarded as the reference guide for mental-health issues. In The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, Greenberg charges that the DSM has created a "charade" of non-existent disorders by imposing a pseudoscientific model upon the complex human condition. Besides blaming the manual for hooking "countless millions" of people on antidepressants and facilitating such mental disorders as ADHD in children, he points out that the DSM declared homosexuality a "sociopathic personality disorder" when it was first published in 1952. "Gay people themselves underwent countless therapies," he said, "including electric shocks, years on the couch, behaviour modification and surrogate sex."


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Just as Al Gore prophesied, the Internet keeps growing and growing. As reported in The Telegraph, roughly 250 million people went online for the first time in 2012, according to the International Telecommunications Union, a UN-sanctioned agency. With similar growth anticipated this year, it's projected that 2.7 billion people will be connected to the Internet by the end of 2013. The meteoric rise of mobile broadband was cited for the rapid growth: More than half the world's population is now covered by a 3G network. Still, 4.4 billion of the world's 7.1 billion people remain unconnected.


Modern science hasn't been able to reinvent the mousetrap, but it has come up with a new smoke detector. The Wall Street Journal reports that upstart tech company Nest Labs has redefined the unglamorous piece of home hardware with a new Internet-connected device. Founded by former Apple employees, Nest Lab's new product, called The Nest Protect, is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that uses wireless technology. The device has different sensors for smoke and steam (so no more alarms when you're boiling pasta) and can warn residents of rising CO levels with its own speaking voice. And when its battery runs low, it sends the owner a message instead of the usual chirping sound around 3 a.m. The suggested retail price is $129.


I love war and responsibility and excitement. Peace is going to be Hell on me.

George S. Patton Jr., Former U.S. general (1885-1945)

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