Put on my Linking Cap
by Ken Arneson
I’ve got a blog post that’s about 33% written, and every time I write more, it remains 33% written, because it just keeps growing, and I can’t figure out how to break it up into smaller parts. So in the meantime, here’s some interesting links that don’t fit into the upcoming monster essay:
Bible literalists are the squeaky wheels of American religion, and so they get a lot of attention. But a large percentage of Americans personalize their religious beliefs, mixing elements of various philosophies and religions into their own. Knowing this makes the quest I’m undertaking on this blog seem a little less lonely, if nothing else.
Context matters. Some genes expressed in the brain that may lead to criminal behavior in an abusive environment may also lead to beneficial creative behavior in a rich, loving environment.
Older brains zoom in on the higher-level main idea, and ignore low-level details. This has its benefits, but also drawbacks. Can we train the older brain to pay attention to detail?
Wherever I look, some simple patterns hold: A stable marriage, good health and enough (but not too much) income are good for happiness. Unemployment, divorce and economic instability are terrible for it. On average, happier people are also healthier, with the causal arrows probably pointing in both directions. Finally, age and happiness have a consistent U-shaped relationship, with the turning point in the mid- to late-40s, when happiness begins to increase, as long as health and domestic partnerships stay sound.