According to The World Happiness Report, Earthlings are a half a percent happier than we were a few years ago. And where on Earth are people the happiest? The top five countries are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The U.S. ranks 17th. Togo came in last.
+ “There could be merit to the idea that people who enjoy getting blasted by riffs and fake blood [are] actively engaging with their anger in a controlled, safe, temporary way.” The Atlantic’s Leah Sottile on finding happiness in angry music. I used to think heavy metal music sounded angry. Then I read web comments.
What seemed like a throwaway line by Secretary of State John Kerry has taken on a life its own as U.S. and U.N. have now agreed to consider a Russian plan to avoid U.S. airstrikes by allowing the international community to gain full control of Syria’s chemical weapons. The slowdown in the march towards airstrikes is certainly connected to the uphill battle President Obama faces as he tries to win backing from an increasingly skeptical public and an adversarial Congress.
+ Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in and around Syria is terrible and getting worse. Six million people have been displaced by the war. Here’s a collection of images from InFocus showing the struggles being faced by just a handful of the millions of refugees.
On a day when an Indian court convicted four men for a deadly gang rape, The Economist provides a look at the alarming prevalence of rape in some neighboring countries. “More than one in ten men surveyed in six Asian countries said they had raped a woman who was not their partner — and that figure rose to nearly one in four when wives and girlfriends were included among victims.”
New Colorful iPhones
I open about a hundred news-related tabs each morning, and today, just about every one of them gave top billing to Apple’s iPhone event. I’m a confessed Apple fanatic and I’m typing this on a Macbook Air, but even I find it amazing that the company can still drive this much coverage for its new product releases. Today, we got mostly what we were expecting. Apple introduced a colorful lineup of less expensive iPhones (now our kids will be able to look at some new colors on the back of our phones while we ignore them). And at the higher end, Apple introduced the iPhone 5s: It’s faster, has a better camera, and features a scanner to let you use a fingerprint in place of a password for the phone and iTunes store purchases. The countdown begins to see which one of my kids will be the first to attempt to chop off my finger to play on my iPhone.
+ It’s always fun to loo back at the original iPhone keynote.
The research shows signs of bias. Science has been misinterpreted. Facts have been fudged. So can we really be sure that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (or that it’s even important at all)? Slate’s Daniel Engber goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Universities Fund Student Startups
Some universities are trying to compete with the lure of the start-up world and devise programs to keep the next Zuckerberg in school. Schools are creating or partnering with funds to offer students money for their startups, but only after graduation (by which time an idea that had little chance of success will have no chance).
+ US News & World Report is out with its annual rankings of the top U.S. colleges.
+ Your school might matter less than your major. NPR has a list of the most (and least) lucrative college majors.
Kimmel Twerked Us Around
Did you see that viral video of the girl who inadvertently set herself on fire while twerking? About 10 million people have. And it was all a hoax, orchestrated by Jimmy Kimmel.
+ This latest revelation only serves to cement Kimmel’s reputation as the king of viral videos. Here are seven of his best.
+ Arsenio Hall made his return to late night television and his numbers were pretty good.
Family Resemblance Timelapse
Syndicated from Kottke: Anthony Cerniello took photos of similar-looking family members at a reunion, from the youngest to the oldest, and edited them together in a video to create a nearly seamless portrait of a person aging in only a few minutes. The effect is as if you sat a child down in front of a camera and filmed them continuously for 65 years and then compressed that down into a 5-minute time lapse.
Please Sing Along
Sean Hannan was my high school classmate and my wife’s best friend throughout her youth. He died earlier this year, and now there is a documentary being made about him and his brother (together known as the Mad Hannans) who represent a lot of what’s inspiring about independent musicians and artists. My wife and I have both donated to the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary, and I’d appreciate it if you took a few minutes to check out the video trailer and show some support. Thanks.
The Bottom of the News
Want to know the likelihood that a man will take an active role in the raising of his children? According to a new study, the answer can be determined by measuring the size of his testicles. Long story short, the smaller the balls, the better the dad. There goes my Father of the Year award.
+ With more than one hundred days to go until Christmas, it’s way too early for the advertising to start, right? Wrong.
+ Burning Man 2013, as captured by drones (which were apparently unarmed).