Misery of work second only to illness

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British people are at their least happy while at work – except when they are sick in bed – according to researchers at the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics (LSE). AAAS and EurekAlert! – University of Sussex The team analysed more than a million responses uploaded to a smartphone app, called Mappiness, that sporadically asks users questions such as how they are feeling, where they are and what they are doing. Mappiness users receive a ‘ding’ ... Read More »

One quarter of Brits have witnessed a hate crime in the past year – poll

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A quarter of Britons have witnessed a hate crime in the last 12 months, new research released today says. Christian Today  Florence Taylor, Junior Staff Writer While three quarters of hate crime seen was verbal abuse, more than one fifth of 2,007 people surveyed had seen violent or hostile acts triggered by religion or belief. The release of the research, commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day, which is themed “Don’t stand by.” The day commemorates ... Read More »

Schizophrenia’s strongest known genetic risk deconstructed

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Suspect gene may trigger runaway synaptic pruning during adolescence – NIH-funded study. NIH  Versions of a gene linked to schizophrenia may trigger runaway pruning of the teenage brain’s still-maturing communications infrastructure, NIH-funded researchers have discovered. People with the illness show fewer such connections between neurons, or synapses.  The gene switched on more in people with the suspect versions, who faced a higher risk of developing the disorder, characterized by hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking and emotions. “Normally, pruning gets rid of ... Read More »

Comment: Black boys are perceived as older and less innocent than their white peers

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A survey of police officers aimed to measure hidden biases about black people, especially children. The results are striking, writes Melissa Dahl. SBS – By Melissa Dahl Source: Science of Us Earlier this week, a grand jury ruled that the Cleveland police officers would not face criminal charges in the death of Tamir Rice. The boy, who was 12, was playing with a toy gun near his home when he was shot by a police officer last November. Much has been written about ... Read More »

Detailed analysis of NBN Co’s finances shows FTTP better value than FTTN

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news A researcher from Monash University has published a detailed analysis of the NBN company’s costs which appears to show that Labor’s technically superior Fibre to the Premises model represents better financial value than the Coalition’s preferred Fibre to the Node technology only a scant few years after FTTP was deployed. Delimiter – By Renai LeMay Under Labor’s previous near-universal Fibre to the Premises model for the NBN, the HFC cable and copper networks owned by Telstra and Optus would have ... Read More »

Christmas Island medical cannabis plan: community expresses concern

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Plans to grow Australia’s first commercial crop of medical cannabis at Christmas Island have met resistance from some locals, who fear that islanders won’t see the financial benefits and drugs may end up in the hands of local youths. The Sydney Morning Herald – Nicole Hasham, Environment and immigration correspondent The cannabis proposal is the latest of a series of developments that have raised the ire of Christmas Island residents, who say the controversial detention centre damages efforts to grow the island’s ... Read More »

Australia might have just wasted $760 million buying Christmas presents

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“Why didn’t they just give me money?” Ungrateful children everywhere have thought this, unwrapping their presents on Christmas Day. The Sydney Morning Herald – Patrick Hatch, Reporter for The Age And it turns out they’ve got a pretty decent economic argument behind them. In 1993, Joel Waldfogel, then an economist at Yale University, turned his mind to how much value is lost when people give each other gifts. So he asked his students to estimate the total value of gifts they received during the holiday season. Then ... Read More »

Researchers just discovered a hidden factor that could be driving violent crimes

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In a paper published by the National Bureau for Economic Research, two researchers say they have found a startling connection between exposure to outdoor pollution and an increase in violent crime. The Washington Post – By Chris Mooney The study, released last week, presents “the first quasi-experimental evidence that air pollution affects violent criminal activity,” the researchers say. The authors are Evan Herrnstadt of Harvard’s Center for the Environment and Erich Muehlegger of the University of California, Davis. They drew on ... Read More »

What Happened to the White Working Class?

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Downward mobility plus racial resentment is a potent combination with disastrous consequences. The Nation – By Barbara Ehrenreich The white working class, which usually inspires liberal concern only for its paradoxical, Republican-leaning voting habits, has recently become newsworthy for something else: according to economist Anne Case and Angus Deaton, the winner of the latest Nobel Prize in economics, its members in the 45- to 54-year-old age group are dying at an immoderate rate. While the lifespan of affluent whites continues to ... Read More »

More Mexico migrants leaving US than arriving – study

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More Mexicans are leaving the US than migrating there, reversing a longstanding flow, a study has found. BBC More than one million Mexicans and their families, including US-born children, returned to Mexico from 2009 to 2014 after living in the US, the report by Pew Research Center found. Meanwhile, only 870,000 Mexicans moved in to US during the same time period, creating a net loss of 140,000 people. An uneven economic recovery in the US was cited as a reason ... Read More »

Seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice, study finds

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A popular meditation technique that’s intended to create feelings of kindness can also reduce prejudice, according to new University of Sussex research. EurekAlert! AAAS – University of Sussex The study, published online in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that just seven minutes of Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), a Buddhist practise that promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others, is effective at reducing racial bias. Lead researcher Alexander Stell, a Doctoral student in Psychology, said: “This indicates that some meditation techniques ... Read More »

Cooking with vegetable oil releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer

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Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to leading scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or even lard. Robert Mendick The results of a series of experiments threaten to turn on its head official advice that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats – such as corn oil and sunflower oil – are better for the health than the saturated fats in animal products. Scientists found that ... Read More »

Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Religious belief appears to have negative influence on children’s altruism and judgments of others’ actions even as parents see them as ‘more empathetic’ The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent @harrietsherwood Children from religious families are less kind and more punitive than those from non-religious households, according to a new study. Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality. They found that religious belief is a negative ... Read More »

Turks divided over how democracy is working: Pew report

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Turks are split on whether democracy is working in the country, according to a new Pew Research Center report based on a survey that was conducted in the spring. Hurriyet – WASHINGTON The Turkish public is split evenly on the subject, with 49 percent saying they are satisfied and 49 percent saying they are dissatisfied with it. Among those who are satisfied with democracy, 84 percent said they supported the Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to the survey conducted ... Read More »

When punishment doesn’t fit the crime

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New research reveals traumatic brain injury patients struggle with discipline in social, family and work life Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago @EurekAlertAAAS New research finds people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) –such as those incurred from violent accidents or combat — are more prone to misjudge when faced with situations involving dispute or requiring discipline. The study, led in part by Dr. Jordan Grafman at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and published this month in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN), ... Read More »

LSE study calls for gender quotas to place women in positions of power

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Academics’ report proposes quotas for senior positions in range of sectors including politics, economy, law, media, culture and communications The Guardian – Amelia Gentleman @ameliagentleman Gender quotas should be mandatory for senior positions across the private and public sectors in Britain to boost the number of women in high-powered positions, according to a wide-ranging study published by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Among its many bold recommendations, Tuesday’s report by the LSE Commission of Gender Inequality ... Read More »