Opinion editorial

A week of tragedy

In the mental health conversation, let us remember those we have lost as individuals

In tragedy’s wake, we reel. One student said that “the whole campus is just a raw, stinging nerve right now.” Everything seems fragile, so we cling together. We’re a little kinder. We hold the door. We say hello to people we don’t know too well and wave to people in the hallway even when they’re slightly too far away.

We wonder whether we should blame ourselves, whether we have somehow let go of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. We try to imagine their pain. Did it feel greater than the pain of the loved ones who would be left behind?

In tragedy’s wake, we demand answers. We cry out for a solution, sometimes even before we know what the problem is.

We look for patterns, a culprit. We talk, as we should, about medical leave and MIT Mental Health. About resources and committees and awareness and student trust. We talk about the firehose: psets, deadlines, missed sleep. And we talk about how we talk about the psets, the deadlines, the six, four, two, zero hours of sleep.

These conversations, which are unfolding in The Tech and elsewhere, are essential. But perhaps too often, we try to fit the stories of those we’ve lost into a particular narrative. Christina and Matthew were individual people in unique situations. Let us be careful not to assume that these tragic losses resulted from coursework overload, inadequate support services, or a toxic culture.

Instead, in tragedy’s wake, let us remember them.

Let us remember Matthew, who brought a passion for robotics to MIT and worked at the Media Lab and The Tech’s business department. He wanted to study electrical engineering and computer science. Those who knew him say he was quiet, diligent, and kind, and that when he worked in the lounge, his hallmates would join him until every seat was taken. Let us remember Christina, an aspiring biomedical engineer and member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She joined the swim team, and when the pain from her nervous system disorder became too much, she switched to diving. Those who knew her admired her and called her strong, generous, and vibrant.

From all of us here at The Tech, we offer our deepest condolences to all the individuals and groups who have been affected by last week’s tragedies. May those we have lost rest in peace.

Freedom about 9 years ago

The emotional age of this editorial is 10 years old.

The people who wrote this editorial need some tougher parenting.

Anon about 9 years ago

Freedom, what do you mean?

anonymous about 9 years ago

Freedom, please spare us your pseudo-libertarian diatribe. Like a Procrustean bed, you seem to stretch it to try to match it to whatever topic is being discussed, no matter how ill-fitting.

Freedom about 9 years ago

3-- I live to escape the Procrustean bed of modernity. Do tell me the Procrustean bed that confines me. If you cannot, you are a liar and a fraud.

2-- Happy to clarify.

My first claim is the editorial is immature. Why?

1) There is a base rate for suicide in US.

2) MIT suicide rate, as far as I know, matches the US base suicide rate (given MIT demographics).

3) Hence there is no reason to be distressed by the suicides.

An analogous example: suppose there is a 1 in 10 chance you get Alzheimers when you're 70. You turn 70 and you get Alzheimers. Should you break down crying? No. You shouldn't be the least bit sad. There is nothing to do about it. Crying is attention-seeking and is forbidden.

Similarly, this editorial's emotional twaddle wrongly amplifies irrational feelings of distress. Such a victim mindset simply makes things worse, by shifting attention from problems we can solve, to those we cannot. Conclusion: I hold the editorial in contempt.

(On the bright side, the praise lavished on the deceased is superficial enough it likely does a good job of discouraging future suicides.)

Instead, the focus should be on thoughtfully thinking about the nature of depression. Here is how I might start-- Is genuine depression good? For the individual, yes. Is it normal? In today's atomized world, yes. In what way is depression bad? It is a symptom of societal problems. Who can help us if we are depressed? Positive role models who have struggled with it.

My second claim is that tougher parenting teaches us ways to manage distress. If your parents force you to work hard, or if they make you live alone for a few days with no internet connection, the world teaches you to manage distress in a healthier, more mature way.

One modern trend is the fight against "child abuse," which I think makes it much harder for parents to raise children in the right way. Instead of strict parenting, it has become fashionable to constantly try to raise your child's confidence and self esteem. While confident people are valued in many white collar jobs, overall I think this modern trend has produced a generation of emotional weaklings, such as the ones writing the editorial.

Anonymous-2 about 9 years ago

"My first claim is the editorial is immature. Why?

1) There is a base rate for suicide in US.

2) MIT suicide rate, as far as I know, matches the US base suicide rate (given MIT demographics).

3) Hence there is no reason to be distressed by the suicides. "

MIT's suicide for undergrads may match the suicide rate for the age 18-22 demographic, but is far above the demographic for college-going people of the same age. This is because the overall suicide trend for the age range is skewed by inclusion of those that are destitute. Being poor correlates with suicide.

So, in short, yes MIT's rate is abnormally high for the college-going 18-22 demographic. There is something unnatural about it. And therefore, yes, it does make sense to try to change it.

Anonymous-2 about 9 years ago

"My second claim is that tougher parenting teaches us ways to manage distress. If your parents force you to work hard, or if they make you live alone for a few days with no internet connection, the world teaches you to manage distress in a healthier, more mature way. "

Work ethic is not something which is lacking in the MIT population. You claimed you were an alumnus in another thread, but it's hard to imagine that based on this implicit assumption that MIT students never were forced to work hard before arriving on campus.

PMK '11 about 9 years ago

I think it's time for the Tech to eliminate the 'comments' section on its articles.

ogiealcasi about 9 years ago

Whoever it was on here that recommended the website Traders Superstore I want to say thanks. You are right they have been very helpful to me in learning to trade. I now have hope that I can quit my job and trade full-time. Trading is not as hard as I thought it was but it helps to learn from the right place.

Freedom about 9 years ago

7-- Interesting comment. Here's my disagreement.

Killing people is immoral, all else equal. Does this mean war should be illegal? Not in my opinion. (And a lot of smart people agree, such as Nassim Taleb.) Shooting people is immoral, all else equal. Does this mean the 2nd amendment should be repealed? Not in my opinion. (The founding fathers agreed.) Rape is very immoral. Does this mean chick lit which depicts rapey behavior should be banned? Not in my opinion. (Do you really think we should ban stuff like Fifty Shades of Gray?) Racial violence is immoral. Does this mean we should ban racial speech? Not in my opinion. (Do you really think we should ban the NAACP?) Child abuse is very immoral. Does this mean that anti-child abuse laws we have are good? Not in my opinion.

The analogous question that you bring up is-- opinions that are different from yours are, in your view, immoral. Do you think that, thus, we should stop honest debate? You seem to think so (correct me if I'm wrong). I disagree. I argue that stopping honest, well-mannered debate makes people less well informed, erases criticism (encouraging unethical behavior) and does not help solve the grievances people may have (meaning people eventually have to express their grievances in uglier ways).

I do agree manners are important, and I do value making good, evidence-based, honest arguments. And I do think I can do a better job of doing these things. I would leave seeing some comments or articles that do a better job of doing all these.


You make a good point, thank you. Bankers, lawyers, bureaucrats and even some MIT students do work a lot, but in my view they are often emotionally weak. On the other hand, policemen (who fight crime), people who have lived through cancer, most soldiers who have fought in wars, and (my favorite! :D) farm-owners, seem to be more emotionally strong. They are stoic, low-anxiety and would not use the language found in the editorial. They are "alpha males" and I trust them far more.

I was unclear. When I say "hard work" I exclude commoditized/bureaucratized/politicized tasks. I mean "laboring against reality." I do not mean doing a problem set or writing Excel spreadsheets. I mean climbing a mountain, seducing a hot girl or raising a child.

5-- I'd love to see some numbers to analyze. We have each placed bets, based on our prior intuitions, and in the spirit of sportsmanlike debate, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago

SAS Output, National Violent Death Reporting System, CDC

2012, MA, Ages 17 to 22

Suicide Counts and Rates per 100,000

Males: 31; 10.5

Females: 15; 5.1

American Psychiatric Association, DSM-5 (2013)

"Examples of environmental 'triggers' include recently learning of a potentially fatal medical diagnosis such as cancer, experiencing the sudden and unexpected loss of a close relative or partner, loss of employment, or displacement from housing."

Freedom about 9 years ago

10-- Assuming 4,500 undergraduates and 55 male population, we would then have a suicide rate of (10.5.55 5.1.45)4500/100000 = .36 per year. (For comparison, we had one undergraduate suicide last year.)

I wonder the methodology/seriousness of those numbers, the race/class of the suicides, whether it's just college students, etc. Yawn

Anonymous-2 about 9 years ago

"We have each placed bets, based on our prior intuitions, and in the spirit of sportsmanlike debate, I'd love to be proven wrong."

Using a turn-of-phrase that evokes betting on a racetrack is remarkably tone deaf, as are many of your posts.

There is nothing emotionally immature about this editorial. It is mostly a eulogy for the two deceased. Most people who possess any empathy are saddened when someone from their community takes their own life, doubly so when they personally know the deceased. Those at the Tech all knew Matthew since he worked there, so it is normal to be emotional. By the way, it wouldn't surprise me if family members of Matthew and Christina may read these articles, and it's unfortunate they have to come across your comments.

As for comments #10 and #11, my posts weren't made from intuition, they were from an analysis of statistics done in the Boston Globe about a decade ago (which cited the CDC.) An overall suicide rate for the age demographic would be expected to over-predict the number of suicides since people are socioeconomically higher than average at MIT. Instead, MIT's undergrad suicide rate is more appropriately compared to the suicide rate for people who are attending college in the 18-22 year age range.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago


Yes, the median MIT undergrad is indeed "socioeconomically higher than average." But high social or economic status is not a protective factor.

Rather, loss -- social, financial, relational, or work loss -- is a risk factor.

The suicide rate for "people who are attending college" is indeterminate. (Medical examiners may or may not report whether the decedent was attending a college at the time of death.)

The rates here are based on the most authoritative data available, from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System, at

wisqars. cdc. gov: 8080/ nvdrs/ nvdrsDisplay. jsp

2011-2012: Massachusetts

Death Rates per 100,000


Ages 18 to 22

Males: 10.57

Females: 4.58


2,490 males = 0.26 suicide deaths predicted.

2,040 females = 0.09 suicide deaths predicted.

Anonymous about 9 years ago

I assume those rates are per year?

That would seem to predict around 1 suicide every four years. Clearly, MIT's is much higher than that.

Freedom about 9 years ago


Some mental masturbation coming up in this paragraph: That predicts a suicide rate of 1 every 3 years among MIT undergrads. From what I know, that may be a valid figure for MIT: in 2012 - 2014 (3 year span) there appears to have been 1 undergraduate suicide. But, sure, recent anecdotes are (weak) evidence of an elevated suicide rate. Let's say, for argument's sake, MIT's suicide rate is double the national average.

All that is analogous to "twice as many people fall from ladders and die in Massachusetts as opposed to Maine." Well, if you don't know what to do about the elevated rate, mourning is immature and embarrassing and should only be done in private. Such preening and attention-seeking behavior done publicly in a newspaper is, to put it mildly, childish. They may give you points with other liberals, but they don't give you points with me, because I care about human life.

Freedom about 9 years ago


Of course, of course, politics that disagree with the liberal establishment are tone deaf and off-key, because liberal politics are based on conformity. Leftism is based on mindlessly accepting the authority of the low-IQ liberal arts majors who dominate the press and the American bureaucracy. They set the tone, and you're following it.

Btw, leftism also happens to be the cause of how American suicide rates are several times larger now than in 1950. What has happened since 1950? Decreased religiosity, increased anti-racism, increased anti-sexism, increased government, leftwards shift of politics (especially social politics). The result? Suicide rate several times higher.

Cheer for leftism and you cheer for suicide!

Vic about 9 years ago

To mr. Freedom whose identity is indeed no secret for anyone here, ex emeritus etc...

Your inferences, you choice of words, your complete lack of empathy is no news. To anyone.

Yes, MIT requires a lot of work, a lot of dedication, and more and more year after year.

Suicides rates and numbers are just rates and numbers. What matters is how, why, and what.

How did the person switch to the point of no return? The trigger?

Why did they reach that point? Depending on the person, this breaking point could be reached faster for some and in a "usual" way for others.

People's past matter. We can all suffer frol depression. None of us is protected from that. No matter how much love we are given, how happy we look, grades, and so on.

We all have that "as much as I can take" we are not aware of until the point or no return is reached, or the breaking point is reached.

Call it a life with less and less balance between the positive and the negative(Even those are subjective: Once you reach a certain level of negative, the positive is a blind spot. Not willingly. That's how depression starts).

A lot of depressed people are not aware of it, as it's really wicked and it crowls and we don't see it coming. If we did, we would all seek for help at that moment.

Suicide. There is no way to quantify that. What x finds A harsh at a moment t, y will never recover from A and it is nothing like movies.

But you can't understand that as you lack the most important thing to comprehend it: Empathy.

I feel for those who blame themselves. We all see the "signs" afterwards, even if they are not signs: We cannot know, the person is gone.

Isolation, and no visible change in the routine,smiles,etc...It's something very common among suicidal people.Like we do everyday, but at a level so deep in the mind that we may see something is off, but nothing close to such tragedies.

Never laugh and tell someone that his or her issues are nothing, small problems we all deal with, to stop being so depressing, in a light way and I am sure no harm is meant.

The is no such thing as a small issue.What I see as small can be devastating for someone else.

The strongest, the weakest..It is all more than what meets the eye.

Peace to those who passed away, all my thoughts with all of you, close or not from those who killed themselves.

Talk with others, don't let the survivor's guilt take the upper hand.Talk, write, sing, express yourselves. Politics, numbers...Trivial.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago


Your arithmetic is accurate. Moreover, your "predicted" rate may be meaningful, in that the state and local rates have been stable over time.

Based on the annualized suicide rate (2004-2012) for Massachusetts, ages 18-22:

2,490x0.000108/yr plus 2,040x0.000027/yr = 0.326/yr = 1 suicide predicted every 3.1 years for a college-age population the size of MIT.

Based on the annualized rate for Middlesex County, ages 18-22:

0.283/yr = 1 suicide predicted every 3.5 years.

In this week's op-ed, Karen Hao '15 mentions "two apparent suicides last week at MIT, adding to four others confirmed in the past 12 months." Is this true?

Vic about 9 years ago

Please, this is people we are talking about here. Someone's daughter, someone's son, someone's friend..

Rates are just rates, averages mean nothing here.

They both died and talking numbers here is just gross and inappropriate.

Please show some respect!

Pete about 9 years ago

There has also been a lot of evidence that copycat behavior will skew a local populations rate for period of time. So the data often shows a clustering of like events. Likewise at times, years might pass with no adverse events. If you drill down into the CDC stats you will find that some sub-populations of people have much higher rates than just the male female breakdown mentioned. The demographics of those sub-populations are not in MIT's favor.

Freedom about 9 years ago

Vic-- The families can grieve in private, and their friends can offer necessary support. No need for strangers to join in. Empathy is often good, but there's more to life than love-- I'm sure pedophiles spend a lot of time "loving" children.

Pete-- Agree. You seem a reasonably intelligent guy, implying among other things that your opinions lean my way. Also I would add that the latest student to commit suicide was suffering from a rare nerve condition. That doesn't seem MIT's fault. If I were in permanent pain due to illness, I might consider suicide.

Herms-- That number probably includes faculty and grad students. I saw a year in review article saying MIT had 1 undergrad suicide in 2014. I also was unable to find any undergrad suicides in 2012 and 2013.

Vic about 9 years ago

"mr.Freedom aka we all know it's Lewin":

Just when I thought people couldn't go be more clueless. What on earth do pedophiles have to do with suicides here?

Aw, and sure, you are the unit of measure when it comes to intelligent people.

If you cannot make the difference between genuine love and human empathy with twisted minds like pedophiles' ,it says it all about your intelligence and how you connect dots.

So much for being human and so much for compation.

It's absolutely disgusting.

You don't get to choose for the ones who are in grief where and when they grieve. But that's too much for your understanding skills.

Respect. Do you know something about respect?

My God...

Freedom about 9 years ago

The point of my example is that expressions of sympathy are not always the right thing to do.

I adopt the stoic attitude toward death: we should not spend time trying to understand or assign blame for deaths we cannot understand. Instead, we should seek to live a noble life ourselves. This philosophy was the backbone of the most successful empire in the history of the West (the Roman empire), and is far from disgusting. Marcus Aurelius tells us: "A cucumber is bitter. Throw it away. There are briars in the road. Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, 'And why were such things made in the world?' "

PS. I value compassion and I do not disrespect the deceased. (And I'm not Lewin haha.)

Vic about 9 years ago


"(And I'm not Lewin haha.)"Sure:

So you say that if the Tech had to release all our email addresses, there would be no way to link it to Lewin? Say the comments are sapina'd Freedom would no way whatsoever lead to Walter Lewin?(Wanna bet?)

Your Marus Aurelius and history of the West exemple do sound very Lewinesque to me, and not just me.

I don't see any sign of compassion in your comments, O only see the word compassion in your statement "I value compassion". As for respecting the deceased, we definitely have you, me and a lot of people a different definition or respect. And not only for the deceased, but for those who are alive and in extreme pain.

Your values are evolving a lot around your personal self. But there is nothing new about it, considering all the comments you've been posting.

Vic about 9 years ago

#Fredom: Yep,I thought so.

Freedom about 9 years ago

You're boring me Vic.

Vic about 9 years ago


I'm not meant to distract you anyways. Nice way to elude a topic too. Not good enough, far from it, but it's cute.

Vic about 9 years ago


If I'm boring you because me an a lot of people recognized your actual identity, well, that's not being bored, that's being busted.

If I bore you because of my vision of compassion, respect and appropriate talking in a very touchy thread, then maybe you will see that it's indeed completely inapropriate and off-topic like the second comment pointed out (oh, also letting you know that he or she knew who you are).

So all in all: It's my pleasure to bore you "Mr.Freedom". You really need to work on your "I feel human emotions like everybody else do" skills: Hitting rock bottom.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago

Over the past decade, the university's student suicide rate has been 10.2 per 100,000 students.... Over the past five years the campus has reported 12.5 suicides per 100,000 students.

The increasing rate has been driven by the school's undergraduate population, whose suicide rate in the past decade has outpaced that of the school's graduate students -- 12.6 to 8.5.

The national average for college campuses is roughly between 6.5 and 7.5.

Matt Rocheleau, "Suicide Rate at MIT Higher Than National Average," Boston Globe, March 17, 2015.

Freedom about 9 years ago

28-- I don't disagree with much of what you have said during the thread. I value compassion and respect, but those are not adequate alone. Other values are needed. If you think I'm Lewin, fine, I guess I get to add a bunch of stuff to my resume.

29-- Thanks. Those numbers should have confidence intervals attached to them. Too bad people are rather innumerate.

One thing to note about the observed suicide rates: Harvard's is the same as MIT's (for undergrads). This is despite Harvard classes being extremely easy-- no sleepless nights doing psets, no tough tests, etc. There's proof that a general reduction in workload does not reduce suicide.

Vic about 9 years ago

And this is how Mr not Lewin goes after Harvard, since obviously, everybody knows how much of a lame and easy to access college Harvard is.

Did you graduate at MIT or Harvard, or postgrad there? Did you graduate in the US actually?

The condescendant tone while talking about Harvard compared to MIT... Sounds really really like a quite infamous Dutch ex MIT teacher here. But please, go ahead, and keep talking numbers when the rest of the word here talks people. I 'd rather not have your compassion and respect values. I'd better stick with mines. Geeez.

Freedom about 9 years ago

31-- I'm not going after Harvard haha. They're a communist university that has taken control of the west. They're also eating themselves alive with PC culture, grade inflation and a lack of academic standards, though not nearly as badly as Brown or Columbia. I'm not hating on Harvard; they've had their successes, they're doing their thing and they can go ahead and keep doing it. I was just noting that despite their cultural differences with MIT, their undergrads are still committing suicide at MIT's rate. Guess Havard's progressivism and world leader status didn't end up helping the undergrads.

From my perspective you are free to stick with your values, even though they're quite unbalanced. Whatever works for you man.

Vic about 9 years ago


You should go to the media. We are living in a huge fake world surrounded by conspiracies.

Wow, you are again completely ridiculous.

"Guess Havard's progressivism and world leader status didn't end up helping the undergrads. " Excuse me? Is that respect? Is that compassion? No, it's pure and plain sarcasm made using dead people.

How shameless are you? How low can you still go?

No consiracy theory can hide who you are and how you are.

YOu have no values with respect to other people. You, you and you. Period. Other people are just means to ends.

So as unbalanced as my values can be, since I m flawed, as I m human, I don't go using young an dead people to make a point about my values and my point of view.


Herms '87 about 9 years ago

30-- It's not correct to say that the numbers "have confidence intervals." The numbers reported by MIT are true values, not means; so SD = 0.

You note that reducing the workload "does not reduce suicide."

Conversely, the workload hasn't gone up over the past ten years -- yet the suicide rate has. So the data appear to support your point here.

Chancellor Barnhart says that MIT has implemented "measures designed to make ... student support services more robust." S3 has indeed become more robust (more 'powerful'). But perhaps not in the right way?

Freedom about 9 years ago

34-- You're an intelligent guy. You're also nearly 30 years older than me, hence I respect you.

On the mathematical point: Yes, an empirical statistic such as suicide rate does not have an exact confidence interval unless one makes certain assumptions about the data. In this case, the simple assumption to make is that every undergrad suicide in the last dozen years is an independent Bernoulli variable (i.e. a biased coin flip). The corresponding Clopper-Pearson confidence intervals for the undergraduate suicide rate between 2005 and present are [1]:

between 5 and 25 per 100,000 students (at 95 percent cofidence)

between 9 and 18 per 100,000 students (at 50 percent confidence)

However, there is the observation that suicides might not be independent events (e.g. clustering of suicides, time invariance, etc.), which would widen the intervals, if anything.

The Boston Globe article says the national average for college campuses is about 7 per 100,000 students, and we visibly don't have a large enough sample size to show that MIT's suicide is above the national average, especially once you adjust for how MIT has a much greater ratio of males than most colleges (females dominate most colleges), and males commit suicide maybe two or three times more frequently than females.

So my mathematical point stands-- there is no strong statistical evidence that MIT students commit more suicide than students at other colleges.

That said, suicide is a statistically relevant problem in modern first world countries. It has been increasing rapidly for males, and in many areas it is the leading killer of young and middle-aged men.

As for your observation that observed suicide rate in the MIT population slightly increased from 1995-2004 and 2005-present, despite the existence of S3, some comments:

(1) The confidence intervals are so large that you can't draw a conclusion for whether suicide rates increased or decreased.

(2) Given social trends, a bureaucratic institution like S3 would be an inferior option to things that decrease social atomization and increase social trust (e.g. a church). I am deeply mistrustful of S3: they take parents' money and in my opinion probably make things worse. On the other hand, S3 is good at marketing itself (judging from The Tech's coverage, they're practically in bed with The Tech), so most people will like S3 and want to give it more funding.

[1] http://epitools.ausvet.com.au/content.php?page=CIProportion

Freedom about 9 years ago


Quote: " So as unbalanced as my values can be, since I m flawed, as I m human, "

Good response. It's good that you know you are flawed-- I have my flaws as well.

Quote: " No, it's pure and plain sarcasm made using dead people. "

This might blow your mind-- but I'm not being sarcastic at all. My purpose is to reduce suicide and crime.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago


The "national average" is given for all students -- both undergraduate and graduate. The range is 6.5-7.5, so the rate must be near 7.0.

The rate for all MIT students is 10.5; and the 80 per cent confidence interval is 8.1-13.7.

MIT students appear to be at higher than average risk for death by suicide.

As for demographics:

"The highest suicide rates [in the U.S.] were among ... Non-Hispanic White males.... Asians had the lowest suicide rates among males." Risk ratio = 2.8:1. (CDC.) MIT does indeed have a higher proportion of males than average -- but it also a higher proportion of Asian and Hispanic males.

Vic about 9 years ago

#Herms '87:

Anyone willing to find those numbers can find them on the net. Those informations are useful only when coupled to a lot of other procedures. It's a snapshot. And the fact that ir comes from the CDC shows that it's indeed meant for bigger purposes, I assume that finding the best ways to prevent suicides is on top of the list.


Yeah, good response: You're not my professor, and I never meant for you to tell me if my statement is a good response or not. I would rather have someone with real skills on the matter to discuss that with.

"This might blow your mind-- but I'm not being sarcastic at all. My purpose is to reduce suicide and crime."

Then it's exactly what I concluded based on your extremely narrow rang of emotions, Geez, your EQ must be the only one in the word that had to be marked below zero.

Using sarcasm to talk about dead people, and by extension the living ones who suffer from their loss is a plain stupid move.

A kid knows better. Pretty much anyone knowsd better here.

And yeah, I'm rather curious about your MIT is the best and Harvard is so easy.

Did you actually attend to any of those 2 institutions?

I can bet you didn't. Well, not as a student.

Grow up. People died, and using numbers to talk about void, because you're doing nothing else but using numbers to point out what you mistakingky think are the issues.

You are so wrong I really hope you are not in any serious, potentially life threatening "field of expertise". Being so off-topic , wow, this is scary.

I don't know, buy some books, take courses about youth nowadays, educate yourself. Because I do certainly not talk about such a matter without (apart from common sense) a certain background.


skye about 9 years ago


Wait, wait. Can you explain again why you believe this editorial has been writeen be someone with the emotion range and abilities of a 10 yeat-old?

And the why of them or he or she needing some "tougher parenting"?

What is the relationship between emotions, so no rational matter and a tougher parenting?

And also, what would you call a tougher parenting?

Freedom about 9 years ago


10 year old was being too generous. The reason the article is immature is because sharing your feelings about an issue in public is intellectual pollution. If you are weak enough to "cry out for a solution," "demand answers," "reel", etc. for heaven's sake, do that kind of sinning in private behind closed doors rather than bother other people with such nonsensical hysteria.

If we returned to times when parents were allowed to humanely spank their kids, it would be far easier for parents to discipline good, moral behavior in their offspring (for instance, it would be easy to force a child to take a job or participate in team sports). Instead, nowadays parents try to discipline children using emotions, and once emotions become currency, editorials like this result.

skye about 9 years ago


How is it intellectual pollution? First, this is terribly rude, and this is also what's hapening here, we share. And you are mistaking weakness and fragility IMO.

Two different things... Calling demanding answers and such sinning and nonsensical hysteria..

Are you human? Do you feel anything close to compassion? This is horrible.

And no, you don't put moral behavior in someone by physically hurting him (which is also, a psychological wound, but it seems like you do feel nothing..).

Yes, I find it quite ok to raise kids telling them you love them or ground them and have a talk with them: It takes more time, but at least it ressemble something closz to parenting.

Supppressing emotions makes us all sociopaths, and I m rather sure it's really not gooing to end good. (hey I want the last part of cake -stab the guy-, I want you, you don't? don't care-rapes the girl- :sociopaths).

I hope you never came near to young people, that you're not a teacher or will not or were not a teacher, or anything close to molding people's minds.

You are scary.

Freedom about 9 years ago

Q: " First, this is terribly rude "

I am trading politeness for sincerity.

Q: " you are mistaking weakness and fragility IMO. "

Fragility is the essence of weakness. E.g. a family with 4 kids is anti-fragile: you just need a couple kids do really well to continue the family line. A family with 1 kid is fragile: you'll be tempted to be a helicopter parent, because if the kid does badly the family line is screwed.

Q: " And no, you don't put moral behavior in someone by physically hurting him "

Yes you do. If you whip those who steal (as schools did just a few generations ago), that is far more effective than detention or jail-time. If you put a bar of soap in a vulgar child's mouth (as was done a couple generations ago), the child will curse less.

Quote: " (which is also, a psychological wound "

Um, the entire point of those punishments is to inflict psychological pain, so that the sinner changes. Even a tiny insult from time to time (e.g. "do you even lift") can inflict a slight psychological wound, causing healthy change.

Of course, it is possible to inflict too much pain (e.g. the infamous PTSD, which is far less common than post-traumatic growth syndrome). But this is usually caused by extended exposure to mild pain (e.g. Chinese water torture). People subjected to a quick beating or some soap turned out just fine. These were ethical punishments in the past.

Quote: " but it seems like you do feel nothing..) "

No, I do not think emotions should be suppressed entirely. They are very important for intelligence and virtue. But, again, hysterically sharing them in public helps nobody. If you do need to cry, do it in private.

Quote: " Calling demanding answers and such sinning and nonsensical hysteria.. "

Indeed: If there is no question, demanding an answer is pathetic.

Quote: " Do you feel anything close to compassion? "

I am more compassionate than most. For instance, I think whipping is better for a criminal than spending a lifetime in jail, since it discourages the criminal more and ruins his life less.

Quote: " I find it quite ok to raise kids [by having] a talk with them "

So do I. For some kids that is all that is needed. There is no contradiction.

Quote: " Supppressing emotions makes us all sociopaths "

Every mature person suppresses emotions occasionally.

Quote: " don't care-rapes the girl "

Rape is bad. Emotions have nothing to do with it.

Quote: " You are scary. "

You are confused.

skye about 9 years ago

to Freedom:

All the points you make do sound like you are emotionless, compassionless (excuse me, but your exemple with the guy in jail...I find it simply stupid, simplistic and no, it doesn't work.), and self-centered.

I don't ask for clarifications if I m confused. And I don't write at all if I am confused.

And yes, emotions have to do with rape. Know your basics. The need for the feeling of power is the biggest rape's cause. You may not like that point, but this is how it is.

And, do you always use that "Quote:" system?

It shows very little understanding of other human beings.

You are scary, and I am not confused. You may be scared too, by your own self.I wouldn't blame you for that.

Freedom about 9 years ago


Do you have a point?

skye about 9 years ago


Yeah, I hope you have no kids and never get to be anything close to a teacher or a tutor.

I like it when people answer simply by a question. They either are so angry they can't write anything else, or they really don't get what's written.

You behave like a sociopath. I m not saying you're one, I m saying your behavior is a sociopath's.

I was wondering if you had any experience with rape (I mean knowing people, victims, or perpetrators-they also have to come from somewhere-) to write such bullcrap about the emotion thing.

And I wonder if answering by a question is an answer to my assertion: You are emotionless, compassionless and have a poor understanding of human beings.

You are scary. Doesn't mean you scare me though. I see something more of ..pathetic, simplistic.

And I think you agree with me deep down, since you showed no disagreement whatsoever.

Freedom about 9 years ago


I don't get all pissy about rape. I just think it's wrong and rapists should be punished severely. A couple generations ago my opinions on emotions and on spanking children were normal. Guess everyone was a sociopath back then.


I'm OK with you pooling undergrad and grad to narrow the confidence interval. I haven't so far because I thought MIT undergrads were more representative of the average student on an American campus, given most US students are undergrads.

If the national average is 7.0, and if:

(a) males commit suicide three times more often than females,

(b) 60 percent of American undergrads are female,

(c) 55 percent of MIT undergrads are male

This implies the female campus suicide rate is about 3.9 and the male rate is about 11.7.

This further implies MIT's expected suicide rate is about 8.2 (fitting within your 80 percent confidence interval) and Harvard's expected suicide rate is about 7.7.

MIT's observed undergrad suicide rate is 12.63-- which is probably a bit high because of selection bias, since the article was published shortly after a rash of suicides-- and Harvard's observed undergrad suicide rate is 11.8.

Again, little statistical evidence that MIT has any particular issue with suicide. MIT's observed rate will likely regress slightly after the latest cluster of suicides that prompted the latest cluster of articles.

Of course, always a good idea to do what you can to reduce it, but there's no cause for panic according to the statistics.

skye about 9 years ago


Apart from people NOT being numbers, digits, your assertion is biased. Over a year maybe, but that close in time between those 2 tragedies?

Oh And as long as it's below the suicide rate it's just fine?

please go ahead and tell that to the families. I am sure to know their reactions.

This is just ridiculous. Stats for dummies.

Herms '87 about 9 years ago


Why adjust for sex but not race?

By sex only:

(a) Males commit suicide 3.6 times more often than females;

(b) 44 percent of American undergrads are male; and

(c) 55 percent of MIT undergrads are male.

By sex and race:

(d) "The highest suicide rates [are] among ... White males with 26.0 suicides per 100,000.... Asians [have] the lowest suicide rates among males [9.4]";

(e) 25 percent of American undergrads are White males; but

(f) only 20 percent of MIT undergrads are White males.

So it doesn't look like we can make the reported problem go away by adjusting MIT's suicide rate for demographics.

skye about 9 years ago

I don't get why you guys are so into ratios and stats here:

Statistics are a mean to an end. We could have all the possible different population sample, their median ,average, sd etc... It is meant to be used as a tool whether it's the CDC, to keep records..etc.

The big big missing info here and sadly very important is: suicide attempts.

If you don't take them in count then it is all biased.

And there are very few studies on that matter, and it's as important as those figures you talk about (Herms'87 and Freedom).

That's I think, because you are leaving the human factor/behavior too much aside.

Put numbers on the side, and come back to the human side of those tragic deaths.


Herms '87 about 9 years ago

49- Promoting "human factor/behavior" change isn't currently regarded as an effective suicide-prevention strategy. Instead, strategies are needed that "encourage a commitment to social change." (CDC, "Violence Prevention: Suicide.")

More on this topic at CDC, "Self-Directed Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements," version 1.0.


'Types of suicide'


Categories of suicides within a broad social context.... They include egoistic, altruistic, anomic, and fatalistic.


'Anomic suicide' - This type of suicide occurs when there is social instability resulting from breakdown of standards and values, regulation is too low. To individuals, life seems aimless.

'Fatalistic suicide' - When regulation is too strong, the individual sees no hope of change against the oppressive discipline of the society.