Living in stressful urban settings affects health negatively; K-Pop floods the Japanese entertainment market; and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” may have started the American Civil War. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

The Stress of Crowds Urban life can be trying—cars and buses honk, passersby jostle, concrete and brick win out over grass and trees. Researchers have known for decades that residents of densely populated areas have higher rates of mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

Carriers may be handicapping cell phone networks New research suggests that wireless operators may unwittingly be degrading performance on their networks as the technology they use to shuttle traffic around their networks gets more and more complex.

How Dick Cheney Reined in Presidential Power On March 10, 2004, at the end of a stressful day running the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, writer Jack Goldsmith received an urgent message from the deputy attorney general, James Comey.

How Korean Pop Conquered Japan Thousands of Japanese protestors gathered in Tokyo last month, but they weren’t rallying against nuclear power, the country’s revolving-door Prime Minister position, or the long-stagnant economy. Their wrath, rather, was directed at soap operas.

The Richard Florida theory of reality TV There are reality shows set in foreign deserts and on the decks of Alaskan frigates and amid the industrial mixers of gourmet cupcakeries, but over time, the series have taken on a predominant backdrop.

Did ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ Start the Civil War? As the obsolescence and even the demise of the book are widely foretold, it is all the more important—and comforting—to recognize how a book can change the world. It is hard to think of many that have done so more emphatically than Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Brooks Brothers Bolshevism: Wall Street discovers income inequality If you want to read a radical critique of twenty-first century American capitalism, skip the Daily Worker and go straight to Wall Street.

Eel and penis not a good mix Eels have habitats, and they’re happy in those habitats, eels should stay there. An eel in a penis cannot be a happy eel and a penis with an eel inside can’t be happy either.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig