Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bits and Bobs

Here are some interesting things I've read this week...

- The winners of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards have been announced. Check out the winners for the various categories here. I think my favourite is Ilya Pitalev's in the Professional Current Affairs category (photo 8) - I like the juxtaposition between the discordant gaggle of school girls and the soldier standing ramrod straight.

- An interesting article looking at our differing perceptions of acts of terrorism vs. shootings.

- Want to be reminded of how awesome people can be? Check out this map of people expressing thanks for random acts of kindness in London.

- Hate terrorism but love trees? Read about the people planting trees in the Sahel to fight terrorism.

- To keep up with online competition, shops are turning to ever more sophisticated methods of collecting information on our shopping habits. The whole thing feels awfully Orwellian. Then again, is it so bad for shops to gauge customer tastes and preferences if they can then provide more desirable products or a better shopping experience?

- Here’s a discussion of a longitudinal psychology study looking at the factors contributing to personal happiness and lifelong wellbeing. It is probably one of the most fascinating articles I have read in a really long time. Some of the conclusions seem self-evident e.g. strong social relationships, more than wealth or intelligence, correlate to personal wellbeing. Other conclusions are a bit more surprising e.g. physical activity in college years is a greater predictor of mental health than physical health in later life. The article ends, of course, with a discussion of whether happiness is something that can be judged scientifically or medically. Beautifully summed in this quote: 
“Their lives were too human for science, too beautiful for numbers, too sad for diagnosis and too immortal for bound journals.” 
It’s a long article but definitely worth a read.

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