Surprise: Facebook Says that Facebook A-Okay for News!

A study was published last week in the journal Science that shows that Facebook's algorithm isn't the cause of a hypothetical "filter bubble" -- where people see only news stories that align with their political leanings on a social network.

The only problem? It's a Facebook study conducted by people who are employed by Facebook.

Should we really be all that surprised that Facebook's own researchers minimize the impact of their company's manipulations of people's news feeds?

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Brain and Behavior

Am I a Psychopath?

If you’ve tuned in to any one of the many prime-time television shows in the last five years, you’ve likely come across a suspenseful crime drama replete with personality-disordered characters. Many of us find ourselves plotting the crime better than the criminal, solving the case quicker than the "good guys," or discovering the hidden agenda halfway through the episode. I wager that many of you even empathize with the charismatic antagonist, at times, over the logical hero.

We are all quick to judge, analyze, question, and shame characters on the screen, all while making general comparisons to ourselves or our lives. What happens if there are strong similarities? What if you could plot a murder better than the serial killer? Did you root for the killer to escape from his or her consequential justice? If you said yes to any of these questions, does that make you a psychopath, too?

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Anxiety and Panic

5 Strategies for Watching the News When You’re Depressed

It doesn’t take much these days to arrive at a panicked state. Not if you stay abreast of news headlines.

Nine years ago, when I had my first mental health breakdown, I realized that my psyche was way too fragile to absorb detailed updates about the turmoil in Gaza or the whereabouts of bin Laden. I didn’t want to be completely ignorant of what was going on around the world, but I needed to find a way to inform myself of the big-picture stuff without losing my heart in minutiae.
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Remembering ‘Parenthood’

The TV show "Parenthood" recently ended after six seasons and viewers bid goodbye to the Braverman family. From the very first episode to the last, the NBC show's story lines were undeniably emotional, poignant and moving.

The Bravermans authentically capture human experience, bringing the narratives and characters to life.

Here are some of the pertinent themes (my personal favorites) that this wonderful series covered during its run.

Raising a child with Asperger's.

In season one, Adam and Kristina...
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Tom Sullivan Tries to Backtrack on His Comments, But Still Gets it Wrong

Tom Sullivan, the Fox News Radio show host who claimed that the bipolar disorder diagnosis was simply a "fad," has tried to backtrack on his disparaging and thoughtless remarks. In a Facebook posting, he claims the comments were taken out of context from a lengthy, two-hour discussion about the Social Security Disability (SSD) Fund being projected to run out of money at the end of 2016.

Sullivan suggests the reason the fund is running out of money so fast is because of the increase in disability awards made for people diagnosed with a mental illness.

But a review of the annual report issued by the U.S. government's Social Security agency demonstrates that even this claim is simply false.

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HuffPo Lies: Marijuana Effective Against Depression

Wow, what a whopper there. The brazen Huffington Post Science article headline blares: "New Study Finds Marijuana To Be Effective Against Depression."

While many of us turn to the HuffPo for our entertainment news, this is an example of why it's probably not a good source to trust for science news. Because that headline isn't just inaccurate -- it's an outright lie.

There has been no study that was just published that shows marijuana to be effective against depression. Because the research HuffPo references is a study done on rats. Measuring not depression, but rather chronic stress.

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Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They Say

This past week has seen some idiotic things coming from the mouths of people that some people -- although hopefully not too many -- look to for leadership and advice.

Tom Sullivan is a radio show host over at Fox News Radio and claimed that bipolar disorder is "made up" on one of his recent shows. A comment like that is from the dark ages of understanding the science behind mental illness, and demonstrates an individual who apparently hasn't read an actual scientific study in the past two decades or so.

Rand Paul, however, is a physician. As such, he should know better. He should know it's more important to give more weight to scientific and medical evidence, rather than anecdotes and hearsay. Yet the good doctor recently said, "I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines."

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Why Are You Alive? The Role of Suicide Survivors

Consider these statistics:
One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.

Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide, exceeding the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death (globally) for people ages 15 to 29, the fifth leading cause of death among persons aged 30 to 49.

For each adult who died of suicide in 2012, there were over 20 others who made suicide attempts.
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You Are an Idiot if You Still Use Whisper

Whisper is one of those newer mobile apps that leads you to believe you can share information anonymously online. "With Whisper, you’re free to anonymously share your thoughts with the world, and build lasting, meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty."

Trust and honesty, huh?

What if Whisper uses your anonymous sharing in ways you never imagined (such as posting your images and texts on a website)? Oh, and what about their promises of not collecting your personal information, such as your geo-location?

Apparently Whisper doesn't understand what the words "anonymity" and "privacy" mean.

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Fear-Mongering & Ebola

There is nothing better for cable news networks -- and online news sites -- to whip up a storm about an outbreak of a deadly disease. People click furiously to get the latest updates, and then log on to social media and forums to discuss all of the things the government is doing wrong.

Ebola is the latest outbreak to get the full 24/7 fear-inducing coverage.

While it costs virtually nothing to put this new Ebola outbreak into perspective, few news organizations invest any time in doing so. Why minimize what could turn out to be the killer of millions of Americans?

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Robin Williams, Creativity & Mental Illness

Robin Williams' suicide this past week has brought forward some commentators who are linking his creative genius to his mental illness. While we can't say for certain whether his creativity was due, at least in part, to his mental illness, we can say this -- there is a lot less of a link between these two things than most people think.

We should remember Robin Williams and attribute his creativity to where it probably best belongs -- to a personality, intelligence and insight into the human condition that few people have.

And we should put to rest the myth that in order to be a creative genius, one must also be mentally ill.

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