The Speed of Light and You

The Speed of Light and You

Jul 17

Light is such a mysterious and incredible phenomena. It has the properties of both a wave and a particle. Its speed has been called a “cosmic speed limit” as scientists have determined that nothing can travel faster than light. Just how fast is light exactly?

The most straightforward answer is 299,792, 458 m/s, which is ~670 million miles an hour. This is mind-bogglingly fast!

Light is the reason vision is possible to begin with. When your eyes pick something up, what they are really seeing is light that has hit the object that bounced off of it and into the eyes. Because of this, when you see something, you are seeing it as it was in the indescribably recent past.

When you think about objects traveling faster than light with an understanding of how your vision works, it presents strange problems. Because this hypothetical object is moving faster than the light being reflected off of it as it approaches, for observers at its destination, it would theoretically appear to pop out of thin air. It gets even more confusing when such an object simply never stops moving.

For more information on what should theoretically happen to objects that supersede the speed of light, check out this article on Tachyons from Wikipedia. cute-prism

Depression, Prozac, and Black Box Warnings

Depression, Prozac, and Black Box Warnings

Jul 11

Patients seeking respite from depression often turn to antidepressant prescription medication. Psychiatrists typically recommend dual treatment plans that include psychiatric sessions and antidepressants for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The combined therapy is useful in helping patients quickly achieve and maintain feelings of well-being.

Prozac was one of the first mass-produced and distributed antidepressant prescriptions, hitting the market in 1987. Prozac serves as a pop-culture masthead for antidepressants, as it is referenced in film, literature, and music. Elizabeth Wurtzel’s 1994 memoir Prozac Nation guided readers through the uncertain, sometimes unprovoked, bouts of despondency that accompany major depressive disorder. Wurtzel’s story is a nuanced journey that grapples with, and through, the mental illness complex.

However useful Prozac proves to be in lifting the weight of despondency, some patients experience adverse effects as a result of taking the drug. Most antidepressants come with a black box warning. A black box warning, or boxed warning, is the strongest warning that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires, and indicates that the drug carries potential life-threatening adverse effects. One of the most troubling potential adverse effects for Prozac, and most other antidepressants, is increased thoughts of committing suicide or self-harm.

Since Prozac was released, thousands of people have sued the manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, for damages related to suicidal and violent behavior that the medicine was allegedly the cause of. In 2000, Eli Lilly and Company had paid out over $50 million in damages for nearly 30 court cases related to murder and suicide. In addition to being sued for suicide and murder cases, Eli Lilly has been sued for birth defects that Prozac allegedly caused in pregnant women. In addition to heart defects, Prozac is credited for causing neural defects to developing fetuses.