Early 1960s: In 1962, the Cold War reaches its most fevered pitch during the Cuban Missile Crisis. U.S. President John F. Kennedy imposes a naval blockade on Cuba after discovering evidence of Soviet missile construction on the island, and the U.S.S.R. goes on special military alert. Today: The Soviet Union no longer exists, and Russia, the largest country left from the Soviet breakup, has a democratically elected president. The Russian government’s biggest problems are paying their military, funding the government, and dealing with rising organized crime.
Early 1960s: After the government shuts down official studies of LSD in the late 1950s, research into the effects of the hallucinogenic drug is carried on at a few universities. The drug, still legal, becomes popular with young people, particularly members of the “counterculture.” Today: A controlled substance since 1966, LSD is illegal throughout the United States.
Early 1960s: New thinking on the nature of mental illness-that it might not be medically related to the brain-leads to a decrease in the number of institutionalized patients. Where in 1955 half of all hospital beds were occupied by the mentally ill, over the next two decades there is a 65 percent reduction in the number of mental patients, many of whom end up on the street. Today: Many forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, have been traced to malfunctions in specific areas of the brain. Researchers have even located the genes which, if defective, can lead to certain types of mental illness. In 1997, the National Coalition for the Homeless estimated that 20-25 percent of all homeless people have some form of mental illness.