"A cleaning robot 'committed suicide' by climbing on to a kitchen hotplate where it was burned to death. According to local reports, the Irobot Roomba 760 robot is thought to have rebelled against its chores and decided enough was enough. Firemen were called to the blaze at Hinterstoder in Kirchdorf, Austria, and say they found the remains of the machine on the hotplate."
Hey, Facebook is good for something! It's allowing researchers to gather lots of data on people's behavior before they kill themselves.
"We're getting progressively unhappier according to a recent University of Vermont study, which analyzed more than 46 billion words tweeted by 63 million users around the globe. 'We're at our lowest point now in four years as far as our measure of happiness through Twitter goes,' says Peter Dodds, an applied mathematician at UVM and the lead author of the study. The 46 billion words Dodds and his team analyzed varied widely—everything from 'pancakes' to 'suicide'—which they then compared to scores given to the most common 10,000 words in the English language. For instance, a word such as 'laughter' earned an average 'happiness score' of 8.5 out of 9, [...]
We are a resourceful bunch here in town: "In fact, according to statistics from from city health officials and the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of seven jumper suicides nationally between 1999 and 2007 (the most distant and recent years that national data is available) happened in New York City…. Since New York has less handguns and rifles per capita than other parts of the country, [Ann Haas, the director of suicide-prevention projects for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention] said, people bent on suicide in the city find other means, often jumping."
Photo by oscartellyman, from Flickr.
If Ozzy Osbourne can be sued, albeit unsuccessfully, for encouraging suicide with a song about alcoholism, then William F. Melchert-Dinkel is in big, big trouble. A 47-year-old licensed nurse from Faribault, Minnesota, Melchert-Dinkel has been charged with two counts of illegally aiding suicide. Prosecutors say that he sought out depressed people on website chatrooms, engaged them in conversation under false pretenses and pushed them to kill themselves-sometimes even making a suicide pact. One that he very rudely would not keep.
Using European Union mortality data for a period of nearly forty years, researchers at Oxford discovered that "for every 1 per cent increase in unemployment, both suicides and homicides rose by 0.8 per cent. When employment fell by 3 per cent or more in one go, suicides leapt by 4.4 per cent and homicides by 6.0 per cent." Ruh roh! In other news about topping yourself, a new study "published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, found that people are far more likely to kill themselves in the middle of the week than in the beginning or the end: almost 25 percent of suicides occur on Wednesdays as compared [...]
"Drinking between two to four cups of coffee every day appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by 50 per cent, according to a new study."
The world runs a little bit more smoothly without troublesome humans mucking up the works. Consider the least sexy sex scandal of all time, 60-year-old David Patraeus and his various middle-aged twin Florida gal pals and wives and shirtless old FBI agents trying to figure out this whole "sexting" business. Why not just have drones do the war fightin', right? OH WAIT THIS IS OBAMA'S PLAN.
Meanwhile, in China, there is trouble at the factories that produce our beloved iPhones and iPads and those iDevices currently manufactured in a compromise size between that of the iPhone and the iPad. The workers want the jobs, because of the [...]
In news you should not take personally, the man who wrote "You light up my life/You give me hope to carry on," killed himself yesterday. It is actually a very sad and disturbing story. Joseph Brooks was awaiting trial on 82 charges of sexual misconduct, including rape. His son, Nicholas, is awaiting trial on charges that he murdered his girlfriend, Sylvie Cachay, in December.
"A New Jersey woman is devastated that her precious sports car — just repaired and fully gassed up — was wrecked by a suicidal man's 40-story attempted death leap on the Upper West Side…. "I miss it. It's my baby," moaned Maria McCormack… 'Why? Why my car out of all the cars in the city?'…. Meanwhile, a Dodge spokesman credited the car's 'high-strength steel structure' for helping absorb the blow." Really, everyone comes out a winner in this one.
Pop provocateur M.I.A. has been throwing elbows lately, so it probably isn't too surprising that her new single "Born Free" (warning: nausea-inducing animated GIF at link) is a pretty aggressive affair once it gets going, with her reverbed-out proclamations cut and pasted over a loop nicked from Suicide's "Ghost Rider." The overall vibe is very similar to the blown-out giddiness put forth by the awesome New York duo Sleigh Bells, whom M.I.A. has been speaking very highly of when she hasn't been bitching over GaGa's 1-D Grace Jones-biting. (The Sleigh Bells love, by the way, is not undeserved, if only for the rapturous "AB [...]
Time's Mark Thompson takes a look at suicide among army recruiters ("Last year alone, the number of recruiters who killed themselves was triple the overall Army rate.") It's a disturbing piece that is slightly spoiled by the constant series of throws to photogalleries ("See pictures of suicide in recruiters' ranks."). But you should still probably read it.
On the night after the Heaven's Gate UFO cultists were discovered dead by mass suicide in a San Diego suburban McMansion, I was standing in a dark patch of the Presidio, watching the Hale-Bopp comet and its forked tail over the Marin Headlands. Someone passed around binoculars, somebody else passed a little pipe around, and after a half hour everyone was cold and bored and we drifted back to the battleship-gray Victorian on Haight Street that I shared with a rotating group of five or six pals.
My bedroom was just a large closet on the upper floor, with enough room for a narrow mattress and a chest [...]
"The more money your neighbors make, the more likely you are to take your own life. These findings come from a new paper published at the San Francisco Federal Reserve titled 'Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths.' According to the results, your risk of suicide increases by 4.5 percent if your own paycheck is less than 10 percent of your county’s average income." —Also there is this: "Moving on up to the West Side could mean you’re increasing your risk of suicide," which makes me want to end it all in and of itself. Anyway, it's a rough, rough world out there. Good luck.
The six steps of the escape theory, or the stages a person goes through leading up to suicide. You might want to keep this one handy for future reference.
Say what you will about the Italians, at least they're-wait, what? "The fact that thousands of Italian families leave their pets to mope around at home while they go on holiday has been a scandal for years. The problem is said to be in decline, with only 7,000 dogs left behind today compared to 9,000 three years ago, but that is still a lot of miserable animals. This year concern at the problem flared up again on account of the new phenomenon of alleged dog suicides: two temporarily abandoned dogs, one in Rome and one in Bolzano in the far north, were apparently so distraught at being left alone [...]
"I thought maybe he was taking notes. So I asked: 'Are you taking notes?' I could hear his heavy breathing before he woke up. He stayed awake for just a few more minutes before slipping off again into slumber." -A despondent man in Sweden phoned a suicide hotline hoping for guidance only to be answered by an exhausted cleric who fell asleep during the call. The suicidal Swede was so irate that he decided against taking his own life so that he could complain about the somnolent pastor.