December 10th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Joy Gevalt

Over the years, there’s been a growing consensus that suggests being happy is correlated with living a long life. Well, you can wipe that smile off your face because a massive study published in The Lancent makes it clear that no such correlation exists. So what about all those studies suggesting that stress and joylessness hastened death’s arrival? According the new study’s co-author: “In our view, the previous studies haven’t been well done. All that’s going on is ill health actually was causing unhappiness and stress.” In other words, your unhappiness is going to last longer than you thought.


Grading on a Sliding Scalia

“In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at ‘a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well … I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.'” The questions asked by justices during the Supreme Court’s second look at the affirmative action plan at the University of Texas sure makes it look like the future of the program is in question.


Same Old Throng?

“For me this is about the third time … Certain concessions are always made and everything goes back to being business as usual: scandals, police brutality [and] discrimination.” Current and former black Chicago police officers have seen this movie before: Controversy, protests in the street, promises of change. But could access to media — and social media — give the story a new twist this time around?

+ You’re sitting in front of your computer and lobbing in the occasional Tweet or status update to lend your voice to the issue of the day. Does it make any difference? It might. From Quartz: Slacktivism is having a powerful real-world impact.


The Middle Classics

The middle class has gradually shrunk during every decade since the seventies, and middle income households have lost their majority status. “Some 120.8 million adult Americans lived in middle-class households this year, according to Pew. That’s slightly less than the combined number of upper-income adults (51 million) and those at the lower tier (70.3 million).”

+ From Pew: The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground.


Don’t Mosque with Texas?

“They were arguing about things like whether to build a concert hall, but were suddenly transformed into a sort of stage where people are holding rallies and making public statements, a stage for people from outside the city to come and kind of act out their parts in this controversy over Islam.” FromPRI: Anti-Islamic sentiment is on bold display in Irving, Texas.


I Think I Kanye, I Think I Kanye

“They seem to have neural responses that are more sensitive to social structure. Indeed, it’s possible that this may help explain how they came to be popular in the first place — if they’re more aware of who’s out and who’s in, they can better select whom to hang out with and whom to shun.” NY Mag explains how popular people’s brains are different.


KPOP Goes the Weasel

“Do I think they have the capacity to make a hydrogen bomb? I think that’s virtually impossible.” Most experts doubt North Korea’s claim that they have built a hydrogen bomb.

+ No one, however, is denying that North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un has his own personal girl band.


Bowe Knows Leaving Base-ball

“How do I explain to a person that just standing in an empty dark room hurts?” Serial, the epically popular podcast, is back with the first episode of its second season. This time, Sarah Koenig and her crew will examine the case of Bowe Bergdahl who, after five years of captivity, was released by the Taliban into a political controversy and a media firestorm.


Point Blank

“I know how hard it is to put time in the lab when no one is around and you’re just working on your craft. I understand what he goes through. For him, what we’re seeing are probably easy shots. You’re shaking your head, though. I am, too.” All of us, even great shooters like Reggie Miller, are shaking our heads at the three point shooting prowess of Steph Curry. We’re very likely witnessing the hottest shooting hand in the history of the NBA.

+ “I bet if I did a case study on my performance since I got the toilet, you’d see the difference.” From floating in salt water inside a sensory-deprivation pod to personal hygiene, this is how you care for your sharpshooter.

+ Meet the Curry Whisperer.


Bottom of the News

The Golden Globes have weird and fluid categories, make questionable selections, and have a dubious record when it comes to predicting the Oscars. All that said, they are also given out during one of the last decent awards shows. Here are this year’s nominees. And of course, the snubs and surprises.

+ How to avoid Star Wars fatigue.

+ Don’t be alarmed if your UPS package is delivered in a U-Haul. They run a little short on trucks this time of year.

+ And finally, a humorous look at six kinds of Donald Trump voters.

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