Being Creative Increases Your Risk Of Schizophrenia By 90 Percent

From van Gogh and Beethoven to Darwin and Plath, the number of creative geniuses that have suffered from mental health issues has long sparked the debate – is there a tie between creativity and mental health? Well, according to a new study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry there is, as creatives are more likely to suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression than the rest of the population.

Previous research has often been limited due to issues like small samples sizes, however, this new study looked at the health records of the whole of Sweden – providing a sample of almost 4.5 million people. The researchers then took into account whether these people studied an artistic subject – like music or drama – at university.

Strangely enough, those with artsy degrees were 90 percent more likely to be hospitalized for schizophrenia than their less creative counterparts. The hospitalizations were most likely to happen at some point during their 30s.

What’s more, artists were 62 percent more likely to be admitted to hospital due to bipolar disorder and 39 percent more likely to go to hospital for depression. The researchers determined that it wasn’t simply the act of going to university that affected mental health, as those with law degrees did not have higher rates of these illnesses than the general population. Variables like IQ were also taken into account.

This is not the first study to find a link between mental health and creativity. For example, in 2010 brain scans revealed similarities between the thought pathways of schizophrenics and very creative people. Meanwhile, a 2015 study found that creative people have a raised risk of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, a 2012 study found that just writers are at a higher risk.

So why does this connection exist?

Well, it’s still not really clear. It could be that creative people are more likely to think deeply and be emotionally unstable, making them more vulnerable to conditions like depression. Meanwhile, bouts of productivity and high energy are linked to both creativity and bipolar disorder. Lead author James McCabe told New Scientistthat the genetics behind creativity might also influence mental health.

“Creativity often involves linking ideas or concepts in ways that other people wouldn’t think of,” he told New Scientist. “But that’s similar to how delusions work – for example, seeing a connection between the color of someone’s clothes and being part of an MI5 conspiracy.”

However, while creative people are naturally more likely to study art subjects, many creative people do not, so the new study is limited in that it used degree subject as the sole measure of creativity.

However, taking previous research into account too, there does appear to be some sort of link. Still, it’s important to remember that the rates of conditions like schizophrenia are still very low even among creative people, so if you are an artist yourself, there’s no need to worry.

[“Source-iflscience”]

Uber Being Probed by FBI Over ‘Hell’ Software to Interfere With Rivals

Uber Being Probed by FBI Over 'Hell' Software to Interfere With Rivals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • FBI is looking into Uber’s illegal competition intefering software
  • Uber’s software was being used to track the Lyft drivers
  • The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing to see if Uber Technologies had used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The investigation is focusing on Uber’s program that could track drivers working for rival service Lyft, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office and the Manhattan US attorney’s office, the Journal said.

Separately, Uber will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019 and the vast majority of rides will be in electric or hybrid vehicles by then, the taxi app said on Friday.

At the moment the company says around half of all the journey miles completed in the British capital are undertaken with greener vehicles on the firm’s standard low-cost UberX service, which lets customers book journeys on their smartphone.

Several carmakers have announced plans in recent months to electrify a large proportion of their new cars, with Volvo becoming the first major carmaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

Uber, which has about 40,000 London drivers, will only offer electric or hybrid models on UberX by the turn of the decade and plans to do the same by 2022 nationwide.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

The meaning of education is being lost in a fug of qualifications

Educated, or merely qualified? The two are becoming  difficult to distinguish. Photograph: iStock

Educated, or merely qualified? The two are becoming difficult to distinguish. Photograph: iStock

this mad drive by universities to assuage the captains of industry and cyclopean economists, it is difficult to distinguish any more between those graduates who are educated and those who are merely qualified.

The international media burped a little recently on discovering that the world’s league-leading universities are far too busy with research to be overly bothered with or about education. Commentators seemed surprised. As if people believed that all the money being poured by corporations into universities was to raise educational standards. How pure and how naive!

Universities, perforce, are a business. Each reduction in public funding pushes them closer to becoming creatures of the economic establishment.

So, for leading universities, survival requires them to commit to research, innovation and corporate partnership. Education is plummeting down the priority list, overtaken by business creep. The idea of a university is being dumbed down. Core values have deteriorated as education becomes indefinable in a fug of qualifications.

The spectre of the highly qualified but uneducated professional was prompted by a recent comment from an elderly countrywoman accompanying her terminally ill husband from a consultation with a specialist in the city.

“For a highly educated man with a dozen letters after his name, he had no manners at all. He looked down his nose at us and spoke in words we didn’t understand,” she said.

Her comment reflected the modern-day challenge in distinguishing between education and qualification.

Synonymous

Unfortunately, the two have become synonymous with each other in general discourse and the confusion is reinforced by the fact that university awards fail to flag any difference between those considered to be educated and those considered to be merely qualified.

Consequently, it is not unusual to come across holders of senior offices in public life or the professions who, though comprehensively qualified, fail to display even the most basic evidence of education. Very often, indeed, they mask their boorishness and arrogance with expensive suits or impenetrable language when engaging with the general public or less exalted colleagues.

Interestingly, in olden times universities required students to be bachelors or masters in arts or philosophy before they were allowed to specialise as doctors in disciplines such as medicine, law or other professional areas. Strikes me that it is time to look back to the future and recalibrate university policy accordingly.

Our national mindset, however, seems to equate education with university qualification. Lamentably, we don’t generally hear references to “highly educated” plumbers or farmers or grocers or mechanics, no matter how qualified they may happen to be. This despite the fact that many such people can be more educated than many of us who are proud university graduates.

Undoubtedly, universities can and do produce highly educated graduates, but it would be absurd to conclude that universities are the only route to education.

And it is equally ludicrous to assume that people are educated merely on the basis of their having a university degree.

Two millennia ago

Consider that two millennia ago, long before universities were founded, ordinary folk could respect and revere the likes of Plato and Socrates as being educated. How did they know? Well, because whereas the traits of an educated person are difficult to measure, they are easy to recognise.

And what’s to recognise? Well, on that score, the conclusions of the great philosophers are uncomplicated but instructive.

Plato opined that the process of education should develop qualities of wisdom, courage, self-control and justice. For Aristotle, education developed the perfection of reason in concert with the development of bodily and mental functions.

Socrates referenced, inter alia, qualities such as honesty, bravery, reason, and the ability to cope with success and failure. Newman saw tolerance as the defining quality of the educated person.

League tables might mean something if these qualities were the basis of points accumulation, but no doubt that would be a bridge too far for our neoliberal friends.

The question is: do the universities see any need to develop or inculcate these traits before registering applicants for courses leading to professional qualification?

It is hardly revolutionary or even novel to suggest that we should educate people first before preparing and qualifying them for their role in the community. Was that not the idea of a university?

So let’s value education and let’s respect qualifications, but let’s also know the difference. Time to rebalance. Funding our universities would be a good start.

Joe O’Toole is a teacher, former senator and general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

[“Source- irishtimes”]

Xiaomi CEO confirms that the next-gen Mi MIX is already being developed

The Mi MIX is one of the most exciting devices to come out of Xiaomi’s sheds. According to the CEO of Xiaomi, Lei Jun, the company is already working on a successor to this widely popular device. It will be interesting to see how the company will innovate with the second-gen variant, especially since the Mi MIX brought so many new things to the table.

It is possible that most of the upgrades will be under the hood, and not cosmetic. Jun didn’t go into detail about this particular aspect, although it’s possible that we’ll hear more about it in the months to come.

Jun posted the following on Weibo (in Chinese), along with a picture, “Today, I am pleased to meet again with international design master Philip Stark, who introduced me the design concept of millet MIX next generation, and then we both will continue to explore how to make these exciting innovations as a reality The product. Come on, millet!”

We have only heard that Xiaomi is aiming for a 93% screen to body ratio for the Mi MIX 2, although it’s not set in stone at the moment. Given the amount of time that Xiaomi takes to develop its phones (the Mi 5, for example), we’re not holding our breath for the announcement of this new handset.

Xiaomi is currently lagging behind some top manufacturers in the industry, so it makes sense for the company to release more handsets like the Mi Mix so as to get themselves ahead of the rivals. But given how stiff the competition is in the mobile industry, it won’t be an easy ask for the Chinese manufacturer.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]