Category Archives: Scientific Studies

Putting Off Fun is a Bad Idea

If you’re like most people, you carefully put off doing something fun—like taking a trip or treating yourself—until you finished your work.  Of course, for most people, the work never ends, and the fun gets put off over and over and over again.

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The Earliest Humans

Archeologists have long traveled under the assumption that what we call the human race—the African hominids known to science as “homo sapiens”—evolved roughly 200,000 years ago in either southern or eastern Africa.  Starting perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago, they migrated out of Africa and eventually displaced the European and Asian hominids known as Neandertals (sometimes spelled Neanderthal).

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Exercise for Life

By now, you’ve probably read about surprising new scientific research that has shown that physical exercise is not—despite what we’ve heard for generations—a very effective weight loss technique.  So is there any good reason to hit the gym, or might you as well hang out on the couch?

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Starship Medicine

If you’ve ever watched the Star Trek TV show, or any of the franchise’s movies, you’ve probably noticed that spaceship medicine is different from what we’re accustomed to.  Instead of a physical exam, on the Starship Enterprise, the doctor points a blinking device at the patient and arrives at an instant diagnosis of any health issue.

Could that ever happen in real life?  It could—and actually has.

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Economic Progress

It’s not uncommon to hear people wish that we could return to the “good old days,” when the world seemed more prosperous.  Of course, depending on how far you go back, the “good old days” might cover a time when the world was poised on the edge of a nuclear precipice, when the Soviet Union and other communist governments basically enslaved more than 50% of the world’s population, when racism was practiced openly and codified in the legal system, when there was no Internet or smartphones, and when TV entertainment consisted of three or sometimes four channels on a heavy, small-screen device that didn’t include a remote.

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Where to Find Happy People

The World Happiness Report is out, and a group of independent experts have now compiled surveys of people in 156 countries, asking them to evaluate their lives on a scale of 1-10.  They then looked at some of the factors that seem to contribute to happiness, and identified five: real GDP per capita (a measure of average wealth); healthy life expectancy at birth; freedom to make life choices; generosity; and whether or not they perceived their society to have elements of corruption.

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Longer Lives, Here and Abroad

For years, the U.S. life expectancy was among the longest in the world, a natural byproduct of the fact that the U.S. is wealthier, per capita, than other nations.  Indeed, a research report in the medical journal The Lancet projects that between now and 2030, women in the U.S. will live an average 83.3 years (up from 81.2 today) and men an average of 79.5 years (up from 76.5 today).

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