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What Our Words Tell Us: Gradual shifts in language use over the centuries reflect tectonic shifts in culture

May 20, 2013

What Our Words Tell Us

By DAVID BROOKS

About two years ago, the folks at Google released a database of 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008. You can type a search word into the database and find out how frequently different words were used at different epochs.

The database doesn’t tell you how the words were used; it just tells you how frequently they were used. Still, results can reveal interesting cultural shifts. For example, somebody typed the word “cocaine” into the search engine and found that the word was surprisingly common in the Victorian era. Then it gradually declined during the 20th century until around 1970, when usage skyrocketed. Read more of this post

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Stefano Pessina, the Italian billionaire you’ve never heard of, is reshaping the fast-evolving, global pipeline that determines whether your prescription drugs are in stock when you need them

May 20, 2013, 6:50 p.m. ET

Stefano Pessina, the Man Shaking Up U.S. Pharmacy Distribution

Head of Alliance Boots Says Partnership With Walgreen, AmeriSource Bergen Will Streamline System

By TIMOTHY W. MARTIN

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Stefano Pessina, the Italian billionaire you’ve never heard of, is reshaping the fast-evolving, global pipeline that determines whether your prescription drugs are in stock when you need them.

Mr. Pessina, who speaks fluent Italian, English and French, is the executive chairman of European pharmacy giant Alliance Boots GmbH. In the past four decades, he transformed his family’s fledgling Italian warehouse into a European drug retailing and wholesaling powerhouse by doing 150 “significant deals,” the biggest of which was taking the company private in a leveraged buyout, valued at $18.5 billion—still one of the largest ever.

Far from retiring, the 71-year-old has designs on America, where he thinks the U.S. health-care system, compared with Europe’s, is “quite rich, quite fat” and “not particularly efficient at all.” Read more of this post

Forget to Take Medicine? An IDEO concept for a medicine bottle that would show spots like a rotting banana when past expiration date.

May 20, 2013, 8:07 p.m. ET

Forget to Take Medicine? These Pills Will Tell Your Doctor

Startups Devise Ways to Help Patients Stick to Their Pill-Taking Schedule

By TIMOTHY HAY

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AdhereTech pill bottle. It glows blue during the optimal dosage time and it flashes red when the dosage is missed. An IDEO concept for a medicine bottle that would show spots like a rotting banana when past expiration date.

Startups are coming up with new technologies, such as “digital pills,” aimed at getting people to take medicine only as directed. Timothy Hay joins The News Hub. Photo: AdhereTech. Startup companies are coming up with new technologies aimed at getting people to take medicine only as directed. Taking medication haphazardly—skipping doses, lapsing between refills or taking pills beyond their expiration date—has been linked to health complications and hundreds of millions of wasted dollars for insurers and hospitals. “After six months’ time, only half of people taking prescription medicines are taking them as directed,” said Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of drug retailer CVS Caremark Corp.CVS -0.77% Health insurers and pharmacy-benefits managers like CVS have long relied on robo-calls, mailers and face-to-face meetings with pharmacists to keep patients on their dosing schedule. Now they are evaluating a range of more cost-effective technologies, from pills and bottles with digital sensors, to data analytics software and social games that offer patients rewards. Read more of this post

When Social Skills Are a Warning: Behavior Changes Serve as an Early Signal of Mental-Health Issues; Starting Treatment Sooner

Updated May 20, 2013, 7:11 p.m. ET

When Social Skills Are a Warning

Behavior Changes Serve as an Early Signal of Mental-Health Issues; Starting Treatment Sooner

By SHIRLEY S. WANG

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With many neurological disorders, from Alzheimer’s to ADHD, the first clue something is wrong may be atypical social behavior. Shirley Wang reports on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.

An uncle starts believing all your sarcastic comments. Or a kindhearted friend never understands anymore how you feel. These people may not just be momentarily off. Recent research indicates they may be exhibiting early signals that something is going awry in their brains.

Changes in social behavior, such as difficulty detecting insincere comments or feeling empathy, can be a window into our neurological health, scientists say. That is because how we interact with other people is one of the more complex functions the brain must perform. It requires a symphony of neurons firing throughout the brain and working together in networks so that we can detect, decode and interpret social signals. Deterioration in social functioning can begin even while executive functions like planning and organizing remain intact during the early stages of mental disorders. Behavior changes can serve as an early signal of mental-health issues. Read more of this post

Should we let wunderkinds drop out of school?

Should we let wunderkinds drop out of school?

NEW YORK — It’s one thing to say tech geniuses don’t need degrees. After all, Mr Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs and Mr Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college.

BY –

32 MIN 19 SEC AGO

NEW YORK — It’s one thing to say tech geniuses don’t need degrees. After all, Mr Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs and Mr Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college.

But now we’ve got Mr David Karp, who doesn’t even have a high school diploma. The 26-year-old founded Tumblr, the online blogging forum, and sold it to Yahoo for US$1.1 billion (S$1.38 billion) yesterday (May 20).

Which raises the question: When is it okay for a wunderkind to drop out of school? Read more of this post

Before Tumblr, Founder Made Mom Proud. He Quit School.

May 20, 2013

Before Tumblr, Founder Made Mom Proud. He Quit School.

By JENNA WORTHAM and NICK BILTON

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David Karp, Tumblr’s founder, in 2011. He left Bronx High School of Science at 14 to focus on computers, on his mother’s advice.

When David Karp was 14, he was clearly a bright teenager. Quiet, somewhat reclusive, bored with his classes at the Bronx High School of Science. He spent most of his free time in his bedroom, glued to his computer.

But instead of trying to pry him away from his machine or coaxing him outside to get some fresh air, his mother, Barbara Ackerman, had another solution: she suggested that he drop out of high school to be home-schooled.

“I saw him at school all day and absorbed all night into his computer,” said Ms. Ackerman, reached by phone Monday afternoon. “It became very clear that David needed the space to live his passion. Which was computers. All things computers.” Read more of this post

Indian girl invents device that can charge phone in 20 seconds

Indian girl invents device that can charge phone in 20 seconds

2013-05-21 01:34:43 GMT2013-05-21 09:34:43(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

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The charging device has been dubbed a ‘supercapacitor’ by Esha Khare of Saratoga, California.

An 18-year-old Indian-origin girl in the US has developed a potentially revolutionary device that can charge a mobile phone in just 20 seconds, a media report said. The charging device has been dubbed a ‘supercapacitor’ by Esha Khare of Saratoga, California, the Daily Mail reported. Khare won $50,000 for her invention at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held in Phoenix. Khare has only used her ‘supercapacitor’ to power a light-emitting diode (LED), but says that one day her invention will power cell phones, cars and any gadget that requires a rechargeable battery. Asked what inspired her to work on the technology, Khare said, “My cell phone battery always dies. It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense.” The ‘supercapacitor’ is flexible and tiny, and is able to handle 10,000 recharge cycles, more than normal batteries by a factor of 10. Khare is a student of nanochemistry, and is now heading to Harvard. Google has been in contact with Khare to explore how she plans to change the makeup of cell phone battery life, the report said.

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