Depression watch

Number Three, the Deutsch:

German billionaire Adolf Merckle has committed suicide after his business empire, which included interests ranging from pharmaceuticals to cement, ran into trouble in the global financial crisis, his family said Tuesday.

The global economy is obviously not into a full force contraction yet, otherwise these suicide reports would be occuring on a daily basis rather than a biweekly one. Although it’s also possible that perceptions haven’t quite caught up with the grim reality.

In defense of socialized medicine

Okay, not so much:

NHS records show that 3,645 people died as a result of “patient safety incidents” – including botched operations and the outbreak of infections – between April 2007 and March 2008. The figure was 1,370 higher than two years earlier. Patient groups have warned that the true toll is likely to be higher because some hospitals do not record all incidents.

It would also be interesting to see how the restricted supply inherent to socialized medicine affects patient mortality rates, assuming that those who are denied treatment are even factored into the figures. Remember, in the USA, HMOs were once considered to be the solution to the problem, now they are practically considered to be synonymous with it. It’s interesting to note how many self-proclaimed devotees of empiricism nevertheless support the empirical lunacy of socialized medicine.

Cities make you stupid

This would tend to explain American voting patterns:

Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it’s long been recognized that city life is exhausting — that’s why Picasso left Paris — this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

While city life has always held certain attractions for me, I’ve never had any serious desire to live in an urban center. I might have been an inveterate night club prowler in my late teens and early twenties, but I lived on an isolated private lake surrounded by a forest. Big Chilly and I briefly considered moving downtown when we started the Digital Ghetto, but instead we elected to set up shop in a quiet, wooded suburb. Which, of course, led to Micron’s famous quote: “Dude, we are the criminal element.” One thing I like about where we are now is that one can go for a nice quiet walk past the cows, the sheep, and the ubiquitous donkeys in the afternoon, then catch an opera or an intimate reading by a world-famous author in the evening.

(Not that we ever do, of course, since I’m far too busy slaughtering masses of Horde in Azeroth to have any time for culture. But we COULD, you see, that’s the important thing. It’s all about the perception.)

On a tangential note, I’ve noticed is that cities are seldom the ideal place to build stable, long-term relationships, especially not destination cities like New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. It happens, of course, but people usually go there to have their big adventure, they don’t go there to settle down. So, if your long-term goal is to get married and have a family, about the very last thing you should do is apply for that exciting job in the great big city.

UPDATE – LP emails a comment:

Doing the big city life ruined my social life or my hope of becoming a married mom by 30. What was i thinking! Dumb ass 20 year old.

In time we learn what we knew not;
In youth one is an idiot.
Sagacity comes far too late
To be of use in youthful state.
And bitter indeed is the joke,
Time’s cruel, ironic, master stroke,
For when his ravage runs its course
We find we can afford the Porsche.