jay shrestha

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The Big Sleep

Insomnia drugs like Ambien are notorious for their side effects. Has Merck created a blockbuster replacement?<p>One evening in late May, four senior employees of Merck, the pharmaceutical company, sat in the bar of a Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland, wearing metal lapel pins stamped with the word</i> …

Why Americans Pointlessly Pay Up for Brand-Name Drugs

Culprit No. 1: poorly informed consumers. Culprit No. 2: the rich.<p>The rich aren't like you and me. They have more money to blow on overpriced aspirin.<p>The willingness of shoppers to shell out for brand names when they could save money buying generic may be one of the great testimonies to the power …

A New Way to Do Nuclear

In February of 2010, Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, two M.I.T. students, were sitting on a bench in a soaring marble lobby under the university’s iconic dome. They had just passed their Ph.D. qualifying exams in nuclear engineering, and were talking about what to do next. This being Cambridge, they …

Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People

The microbial community in the ground is as important as the one in our guts.<p>A small pine tree grown in a glass box reveals the level of white, finely branched mycorrhizal threads or "mycelium" that attach to roots and feed the plant. (<i>David Read</i>)<p>We have been hearing a lot recently about a …

Pakistanis: Give Us Electricity, or We Won't Vaccinate Our Kids Against Polio

A last-ditch protest for more government services could have an impact on the country's anti-polio efforts.<p>Tribal elders in a northwestern Pakistani region are taking extreme measures in an effort to bring electricity to their area, saying that as long as they have no electricity they won't …

Notes From the First Year: Some Thoughts on Teaching at MIT

Teaching science and engineering kids, and why toughness might be the most important quality in a writer<p>A commenter asks:<p>If this isn't too off topic, what do you find motivates most of your students at MIT? Do they really love the subject, or do they see it as a pathway to bigger things, or are …

Why Wanting Expensive Things Makes Us So Much Happier Than Buying Them

Even for the most materialistic consumers, it's the experience of shopping (and the anticipation of buying) that makes us truly happy<p>Reuters<p>The idea that you can't buy happiness has been exposed as a myth, over and over. Richer countries are happier than poor countries. Richer people within richer …

Why Did Syria Shut Down the Internet?

The World Wide Web became a little less worldwide on Tuesday afternoon. Suddenly, Syria disappeared, at least from the perspectives of Google and Akamai. Nineteen hours later, it appears to have come back on. How was it turned off? Four fibre-optic lines carry Internet traffic in and out of the …

The New Criteria for Mental Disorders

In 1959, Dr. Julian Lasky decided to conduct an experiment: How well could psychiatrists and hospital staff at a V.A. general-medicine and surgical hospital use individual patient interviews to predict post-hospital adjustments among their psychiatric patients? Once a month over a period of six …

The G.O.P.’s Immigration War Begins

On the day after Barack Obama’s reëlection last November, the staff at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank, gathered in an auditorium at its well-appointed headquarters, a few blocks from Congress. Edwin J. Feulner, who co-founded the organization in 1973, and served as its …