Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Simoleon Sense » Blog Archive » Why loneliness is hazardous to your health

Simoleon Sense » Blog Archive » Why loneliness is hazardous to your health:
"..scores of studies have found that people who lack social support are more prone to a variety of ailments. An analysis of 148 of these studies, published in the July 2010 issue of PLoS Medicine, suggests that social isolation increases the risk of death about as much as smoking cigarettes and more than either physical inactivity or obesity…loneliness is a health risk on its own, apart from conditions such as depression or stress that are common fellow travelers. More specifically, it seems to be the subjective experience of loneliness that’s important for people’s well-being rather than any objective measure of social connectivity (the number of close contacts someone has, for example)."

Interesting article via Simoleon Sense

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Group IQ - The Boston Globe

Group IQ - The Boston Globe:
"The new work is part of a growing body of research that focuses on understanding collective behavior and intelligence — an increasingly relevant topic of research in an age where everything from scientific progress to entrepreneurial success hinges on collaboration. Embedded in a century’s worth of Broadway shows, the interactions of online communities, or the path a ball travels between soccer players, researchers are finding hints about how individual people contribute to make a group creative and successful."
Fascinating stuff!

Friday, January 14, 2011

BBC News - Is there a genius in all of us?

BBC News - Is there a genius in all of us?:
"Carol Dweck from Stanford University in the US, has demonstrated that students who understand intelligence is malleable rather than fixed are much more intellectually ambitious and successful.

The same dynamic applies to talent.... would be folly to suggest that anyone can literally do or become anything. But the new science tells us that it's equally foolish to think that mediocrity is built into most of us, or that any of us can know our true limits before we've applied enormous resources and invested vast amounts of time.

Our abilities are not set in genetic stone. They are soft and sculptable, far into adulthood. With humility, with hope, and with extraordinary determination, greatness is something to which any kid - of any age - can aspire."

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Unexpected Return of 'Duck and Cover' - Glenn Harlan Reynolds - National - The Atlantic

The Unexpected Return of 'Duck and Cover' - Glenn Harlan Reynolds - National - The Atlantic:
"A terrorist bomb is likely to be relatively small -- possibly only a fraction of the Hiroshima bomb's explosive power -- and likely exploded at ground level. This means that the area totally destroyed by the explosion is likely to be much smaller than the area exposed to lesser damage or to fallout radiation (this nuclear weapons effects calculator from the Federation of Atomic Scientists will let you see the effect of different sized bombs burst at different heights). Because of this, Homeland Security people in the Obama Administration have been encouraging a duck-and-cover approach, followed by advice to 'shelter in place' against fallout rather than trying to evacuate the area."

HT to Chris Mackowski

Our Brains Are Shrinking. Are We Getting Dumber? : NPR

Our Brains Are Shrinking. Are We Getting Dumber? : NPR:
"...not all researchers are so pessimistic. Brian Hare, an anthropologist at the Duke University Institute for Brain Sciences, thinks the decrease in brain size is actually an evolutionary advantage.....

Hare says when a population selects against aggression, they can be considered to be domesticated. And for a variety of domesticated animals like apes, dogs or turkeys, you can see certain physical characteristics emerge. Among these traits are a lighter and more slender skeleton, a flattened forehead — and decreased brain size."
mmm...or we can specialize more...or we don't need to remember as much since the advent of writing...???

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Nancy Folbre: Tree-conomics -

Nancy Folbre: Tree-conomics -
"The difference between private and public benefits explains why some local communities regulate tree management. But more profoundly, it drives a hardwood wedge between individual and social outcomes, with disturbing implications. Deforestation is contributing to global warming.

Why are rational economic actors having such a hard time responding to this problem? Partly because it can’t be reduced to individual choices. It requires coordinated actions that involve collective conflict, coalition-building and strategic maneuver.

The urge to sidestep such difficulties helps explain efforts to find market-based solution..."

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor -

To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor -
"The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades. The generic term for the program is conditional cash transfers. The idea is to give regular payments to poor families, in the form of cash or electronic transfers into their bank accounts, if they meet certain requirements. The requirements vary, but many countries employ those used by Mexico: families must keep their children in school and go for regular medical checkups, and mom must attend workshops on subjects like nutrition or disease prevention. The payments almost always go to women, as they are the most likely to spend the money on their families. The elegant idea behind conditional cash transfers is to combat poverty today while breaking the cycle of poverty for tomorrow."

Steps to New Year's Resolution Success -

Steps to New Year's Resolution Success -
"Dr. Shiv recommends a carrot-and-stick approach to a resolution: Focus most of the time on the emotional rewards you will reap for changing your behavior. If you want to lose weight, visualize yourself feeling the benefits, thinking, 'If I work hard, I will look so good, and feel so good,' he says. As a stick to help you get started on your new habits, evoke the emotional consequences of failing to change. 'Visualize yourself feeling fat, and think, 'If I don't work out, I will look like a heavy thing,' ' and be less satisfied with yourself and your social life. Over time, your resolution 'is going to get tagged with those emotions,' which will kick in automatically even when the cognitive parts of your brain are worn out, he says."