Or, I worry for my generation
Photo credit to madelinetosh
So, apparently our bodies were built for running not reading; you could have fooled me. My brain, body, and general self like reading (whether physical or digital text) more than pretty much any other activity. I feel a deep affinity with text; for me, it’s central to my human condition.
Today I read an article (“Will the speed of online reading deplete our analytic thought?” – The Guardian) that started with the premise that humans weren’t built for reading; that it’s not something that we’re genetically coded to do.
“To begin with, the human brain was never meant to read. Not text, not papyrus, not computer screens, not tablets. There are no genes or areas in the brain devoted uniquely to reading. Rather, our ability to read represents our brain’s protean capacity to learn something outside our repertoire by creating new circuits that connect existing circuits in a different way. Indeed, every time we learn a new skill – whether knitting or playing the cello or using Facebook – that is what we are doing.” Continue reading
Slate is reporting that Wyoming has one of the lowest rates of childhood obesity in the country. They’re doing an ongoing series through The Hive (the tagline for The Hive is “Collective Wisdom”, but I can’t really figure our what separates it from slate aside from the annoying blue bar and the hexagon at the top of the screen) about the epidemic of childhood obesity facing our country. You can play with their interactive map, read all kids of stats, and make suggestions for improvements.
Sadly, I have not found any statistics on the rate of pineapple eating…
The New York Times has an interactive map of the results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. I get why the people in Hawaii are so happy. They live in Hawaii. It’s beautiful, no snow, free healthcare, also, fresh pineapple all the time. (That last one would be enough for me.)
But, Wyoming? Why? It’s not pretty, there’s a lot of snow, I’m pretty sure that their healthcare isn’t all that great, and I bet they don’t get to eat a lot of pineapple. (Or mangoes…) But, apparently they’re happy. Way happier than Ohio anyway. (We’re clearly in the not so happy group.)
So, explore your (house district’s) happiness or misery according to a number of factors (none of which involved questions about pineapples or mangoes, sadly) at the NY Times. Played with the map to your heart’s content and still can’t figure out why the people in Wyoming are happy? Go directly to the source; Gallup will give you more stats than you ever wanted to know.
National Geographic has just launched a year long series on the study of the world’s current population. It starts off with this video (and assorted interactive statistics on the world’s most average person, based on demographic data. (Spoiler alert, he’s a 28 year old Han Chinese man.) It’s a pretty interest video and the stats are definitely worth playing with. (For example, I learned that the average man in Peru is 5’4 1/2″. My sisters and I would do well there.)
While this series it’s thought provoking, it’s not all that original. It reminds me a lot of the book The Average American that I read a few years back. But, to my to knowledge, NatGeo’s not actually setting out to track down and meet the world’s most statically average person, as the author of that book was. I would highly recommend The Average American. It’s good if you’re interested in the reality of who/what America is compared to the view that we get from the media, government, etc. Not quite as fun as 100% American (my favorite stat’s book of all time — yes, I have a favorite stats book), but I think that that’s been out of print since soon after I was born.))
NatGeo’s stats about average people are interesting, but they’re probably not as fun as OKCupid’s.