The Ultimate Rush
And I ain’t got no worries ’cause I ain’t in no hurries at all.
— Black Water, The Doobie Brothers
For the past four decades, University of Maryland sociologist John Robinson has been asking people how happy they are and trying to connect their answers to how often they feel rushed or feel like they have a lot of extra time on their hands. It turns out that the happiest people “say they almost never feel rushed, and they do not have time on their hands they don’t know what to do with.”
+ Achieving Boredom: In The Atlantic, Heidi Grant Halvorson takes a look at how happiness changes with age. In a recent survey of bloggers, the younger ones described their happiest moments “as being times when they felt excited, ecstatic, or elated.” The older ones described their “happy experiences as moments of feeling peaceful, relaxed, calm, or relieved.” Crap, I’m an old blogger.
Getting High Together
It’s always been a challenge for people climbing Everest to get enough oxygen to breathe. But these days, it’s getting difficult to find a little breathing room. On some days, there are lines of people waiting for their turn on the summit, and litter and poor sanitation have become issues. According to one experienced climber: “It isn’t a wilderness experience — it’s a McDonald’s experience”
Rationalizing Conspiracy Theories
In the NYT, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks to psychologists to try to figure out why rational people buy into conspiracy theories. As far as I can tell, the existence of rational people is itself a conspiracy theory.
+ If you can’t believe in what people find in the containers on Storage Wars, then why would you believe in anything?
The Return of the Portal
Wired’s Ryan Tate takes a shot at answering the question: “Why is Yahoo in the midst of purposely transforming itself into an uber portal even as computer users are migrating to super-focused mobile apps?” One big reason is that advertisers want to know a lot more about your interests before they’ll open their wallets. I think there’s also another angle at work here. Yahoo has reportedly been trying to buy Hulu. They just acquired Tumblr. It seems to me that Marissa Mayer is trying to build on what Yahoo has been good at (aggregating content) and add something they’ve been bad at — getting millions of users to distribute that content to their friends and followers.
+ In Vice, Brian Merchant describes how Facebook and Brooklyn killed America’s obsession with cars.
The Original Ville
Long before Farmville and Cityville, there was Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett’s song about wasting away has done anything but. As Businessweek reports, when you add in the restaurants, clothing, bars, and casinos, it’s the most lucrative song ever.
That’s So Metal
I hope your next cellphone doesn’t turn out to be a brick. But it could very well be made, in part, out of cement. How? Some scientists from around the world have figured out a way to turn cement in metal.
The Breakfast Club
In The New Republic, Paul Lukas gives us the lowdown on the complicated history of how a cereal box closes.
+ Meet the Joe who’s behind why coffee is called joe.
“Your opponents have something to prove, certain wishes they want fulfilled. Also, they really hope their knees don’t blow out before halftime.” In The Morning News, John Casteen welcomes you into the world of competitive over-40s soccer. I had to ice myself after every three paragraphs of this article.
+ He was homeless, addicted to crack, and stole to get his fix of that and other drugs. Then one day, he went for a run. WaPo on Walter Barrera’s 12 million-step recovery program.
Do Animals Grieve?
NPR has a Q&A with Barbara J. King, author of How Animals Grieve. “I describe what happened when a gorilla silverback lost his closest gorilla friend, when the house cat Willa lost her sister Carson, when a dolphin mother observed in Greek waters lost her infant.”
The Bottom of the News
Over the weekend, in preparation for her son’s 7th birthday, a friend of mine asked the folks at the Safeway bakery for a cake with SF Giants theme & colors. She got it. Word for word. This is among the greatest things I’ve ever seen in real life.
+ Does Canada’s new currency smell like maple syrup? (It would be slightly disappointing if it didn’t.)
+ The French Open is underway. So this is as good a time as any to truly understand Rafael Nadal’s knee.