TIME Depression

Teenage Goths At Higher Risk of Depression, Study Says

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Researchers could not fully explain the link

Young people who identify as goths may be more likely to suffer from depression or to self-harm, according to new research published Thursday in The Lancet Psychiatry.

The goth subculture began in England during the early 1980s, an offshoot of the post-punk era, and its members are most easily identified by their dark clothing and makeup.

The study showed that 15-year-olds who identified very strongly with being a goth were three times more likely to be clinically depressed and five times more likely to self-harm by the age of 18.

“Our study does not show that being a goth causes depression or self-harm, but rather that some young goths are more vulnerable to developing these conditions,” said lead author Dr Lucy Bowes from the University of Oxford.

The research was based on surveys of 3,694 British teens, who were asked to identify with a variety of subcultures, including sporty, popular, skaters, loners and bimbos. Three years later, they were reassessed for symptoms of depression and self-harm. Researchers found that skaters and loners were also at higher risk, while ‘sporty’ teenagers were the least likely to suffer from the same problems.

The study’s authors said teenage goths should be closely monitored so that they could be offered support easily if needed.


TIME Google

How A Fixed Gear Bike Can Mess With Google’s Self-Driving Cars

Sensors are confused by the cyclist's rocking motion

Google’s self-driving cars have driven over a million miles in autonomous mode. But when Google brought its testing program to Austin, Texas, one of the vehicles met its match: a cyclist doing a track stand – when a rider shifts very slightly forward and back to maintain balance while keeping feet on the pedals.

Whereas our brains can predict relatively easily how a car, pedestrian or cyclist might act, computers have to be programmed to recognize different patterns of behavior on the road.

According to a report in The Washington Post, one cyclist in Austin rode up to a stop sign at a four-way intersection and started track standing as he waited for the Google car to carry on. In his account posted on an online forum, he explains that the car apparently detected his presence and stayed stationary, struggling to work out whether the rider was moving forward or not:

it finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing. the car immediately stopped…

I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. it stopped abruptly.

we repeated this little dance for about 2 full minutes and the car never made it past the middle of the intersection. the two guys inside were laughing and punching stuff into a laptop, I guess trying to modify some code to ‘teach’ the car something about how to deal with the situation.

The cyclist balancing on his pedals, while moving a tiny bit to keep upright, confused a computer’s understanding of how cycles behave. And while Google is continuing to refine its software, for now it seems they have some way to go before self-driving cars are ready to hit the road.

[Washington Post]


J.K. Rowling Has Revealed A Heartbreaking Truth About Hagrid

The Harry Potter author's latest revelation is more sombre than usual

During a Q&A on Twitter, J.K. Rowling made a surprising revelation about Rubeus Hagrid, one of the best-loved characters from the Harry Potter series. When a fan asked Rowling what form Hagrid’s Patronus would take – a great question, considering Hagrid’s unusual taste in pets – she replied: “Hagrid couldn’t produce a Patronus. It’s a very difficult spell.”

In both the books and the films, the Patronus charm is one of the most powerful defense spells a witch or wizard can cast to ward off Dementors, the dark creatures that feed off human happiness.

It’s one of the most complex spells in the wizarding world, and in order to conjure a Patronus, a wizard needs to draw upon his most powerful happy memory. The Charm conjures a magical guardian in the shape of the animal with whom the witch or wizard shares the greatest affinity.

Rowling’s response may point to the fact that the spell is simply too difficult for Hagrid, who was expelled from Hogwarts as a teenager, to perform. But fans were also worried that the lovable half-giant, abandoned by his mother as a child, may just not have enough happy memories to produce a Patronus. Oh, Hagrid!

Read next: The 50 most important things we’ve learned from J.K. Rowling

Listen to the most important stories of the day

TIME Middle East

Hacker Leading Online ISIS Recruitment Believed Killed in U.S. Airstrike

The 21-year-old was a prominent recruiter for extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria

A U.S. airstrike reportedly killed Junaid Hussain, a British hacker who became a top cyber expert for the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), according to officials speaking with The Guardian on Wednesday.

Hussain, also known as Abu Hussain al-Britani, was born in Birmingham, England; the 21-year-old reportedly traveled to Syria in 2013. Western officials believed he was a key figure within the ISIS group Cyber Caliphate, which hacked into the Pentagon’s Twitter and YouTube accounts in January, sending pro-ISIS messages for a short time.

Hussain was married to Sally Jones, a 44-year-old English rocker who converted to Islam. She met the jihadi fighter online and left the UK with her son to join him in Syria.

The White House has not officially announced Hussain’s death. If confirmed, it would be the second time in eight days that a U.S. airstrike has reportedly killed a senior member of ISIS; on Aug. 18 Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, ISIS’s second-in-command was killed near Mosul, Iraq.

[The Guardian]

TIME Middle East

Heartbreaking Photos of Syrian Refugees and Their Newborns

In refugee camps in northeast Jordan, Syrian mothers worry about their children, born in exile

What’s more important: food or medicine? That’s a decision Wadhah Hamada, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee, has been forced to make ever since she gave birth to her first son Ra’fat in Mafraq, northeast Jordan. Hamada’s husband struggles to find work and just one day of diarrhea medicine for their son costs as much as he manages to earn in a whole month.

Hamada’s plight is shared by thousands of other women living in these unofficial refugee camps along the Jordanian-Syrian border, where they endure harsh desert temperatures, sandstorms and crippling poverty, all while trying to care for their newborns.

Jordan currently provides shelter to some 630,000 registered Syrian refugees, out of more than four million who have fled Syria’s civil war since 2011. The vast majority live outside official UNHCR camps, in settlements that Associated Press Chief photographer for the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan Muhammed Muheisen first visited in March. He soon decided he wanted to tell stories of some of the most vulnerable people living there: pregnant women.

The U.N. estimated in March that more than 11,000 Syrian refugees were pregnant. Thousands of babies have been born in these difficult circumstances, to mothers without access to medical care or even running water.

The pregnant women that Muheisen met in these makeshift camps said they could neither afford medical treatment nor the transport necessary to reach a clinic in the nearest city. Many feared looming medical bills that they would never be able to pay. While mobile clinics run by NGOs bring occasional relief, some said it had been a month or two since they had even seen one.

In March, Muheisen photographed 15 Syrian women in Mafraq, all at various stages of pregnancy. “I could not stop thinking about these women,” says Muheisen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. “It’s not just a project. It’s personal, I feel involved. They opened their doors to me and the least I can do is raise their voices.”

Muheisen decided to return to Mafraq in July, spending days trying to track down the women he had met months earlier. All but three had moved on, so he spent days going from camp to camp trying to find the others. Those he found again were visibly transformed by their experiences of motherhood.

When Muheisen first met Hamada, for instance, he says she was incredibly angry and desperate. “She was carrying the whole world’s pain on her shoulders,” he says. “The next time I saw her, she looked totally defeated. She had lost faith in humanity.”

The photographer says Bushra Eidah, a 16-year-old from Ghouta al-Sharqia, appeared to have aged a decade in the space of a few months. “When it was only me and my husband, it didn’t matter if we went to sleep hungry,” she told him. “Now we have a child and I don’t know how we are going to feed her.”

The hardships they endured and the challenges ahead cannot be underestimated. One woman, however, has managed to draw strength from her experiences. Huda Alsayil, 20, feared the medical complications that might arise from the late delivery of her first son, Mezwid. After that trauma, she said she felt “complete”, as if she had been given a new life. “Holding him feels like the best gift I could be granted.”

TIME Middle East

Inside the Syrian Refugee Camps Where Childhood Doesn’t Exist

Simple games and hard work fill the days of refugee children in Mafraq, Jordan

For the children living in the dusty refugee camps near the Jordanian-Syrian border, the tiniest things spark joy. They fill their long days by playing with skipping ropes, buckets and stones, their imaginations working overtime to recapture some of the childhood they lost to war. Most fled the Syrian civil war with their families, seeking safety across the border in Mafraq, northeast Jordan. But with the conflict still raging after four years, many children have never known a life outside the camps. It is where they were born.

Every day, thousands of Syrians flee their homes. The once-stable country is experiencing an exodus on a scale that the world has not seen since the Rwandan genocide more than two decades ago. More than four million Syrians are now hosted by neighboring countries while an additional 7.6 million people have been displaced within Syria. The Syrian revolt, which began in March 2011 in the southern city of Dara’a – just north of the Jordanian border – propelled hundreds of families to cross the frontier on foot at night. Jordan now provides shelter for some 630,000 registered refugees.

More than 150,000 of them live in the north-eastern Mafraq region, where Associated Press Chief photographer Muhammed Muheisen spent several days in July documenting the lives of Syrian refugee children and their families. Although the area is best known for Za’atari, the huge refugee camp that opened in July 2012, most Syrian refugees live in unofficial tented settlements on the outskirts of the city. This is true of the country as a whole: the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 84% of Jordan’s refugee population live outside the official camps.

Many people told Muheisen that while the official UNHCR-run camps have better facilities and support, they would feel trapped and crowded there. They seek a greater sense of community and independence, preferring to move around and find work outside to provide for their families.

Syrian refugees Jordan
Muhammed Muheisen—APA Syrian refugee girl fills water from a tanker to her tent on the outskirts of Mafraq, on July 25, 2015.

Yet the conditions are undeniably harsh in these unofficial desert camps, with high temperatures during the day and extreme cold at night. Muheisen says he was especially aware of the lack of sanitation and medical care in the camps. Barefoot and malnourished, many of the children bore the additional mental scars of the war they had fled – Muheisen described young boys speaking and acting like men. Although some of the settlements have makeshift schools donated by UNICEF, classes are taught by other Syrian refugees and are not regular. Instead, many children work with their parents in nearby farms run by local Jordanians. With some 86% of refugees in Jordan living below the poverty line, refugee children are frequently the main breadwinners for their families and UNHCR worries that a generation of youth are forfeiting their future by missing out on an education.

“What hit me the most is that the children are the ones comforting their families,” Muheisen tells TIME, saying that many spoke of a strong desire to work in order to help their families. The children’s lives may have been turned upside down, but the photographer says he struck by their resilience and optimism.

The parents, meanwhile, merely dreamed of a better life for their kids than what they had experienced themselves. But with the Syrian crisis showing no signs of abating and refugees continuing to flee the war-torn country, it’s unclear if that better life will be within reach any time soon.

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