Adolescent Arguments

In the context of an article criticizing President Obama, George Will says that the president continually uses “the four basic teenage tropes” that characterize the way adolescents argue.   I give them after the jump, with my emphases in bold.  I don’t really want to discuss what Will says about the president.  And I don’t want to cast aspersions on Adolescent Americans.  But just consider these as logical fallacies. [Read more...]

Life’s happiness as a U-shaped curve

When you’re a child, you are happy, but you become less so during your teenage years.  Then you get more and more miserable.  But in your 40′s you bottom out.  Then you keep getting happier.  When you are old, you are happier than you ever have been.  Not only that, the older you get, the happier you become.

The level of happiness in your life can be graphed as a U-shaped curve.  That’s the pattern documented in a recent study.  And it seems to apply, with variations, to every culture studied.  With one exception:  Russia, in which happiness keeps going down until the age of 91, which few Russians reach. [Read more...]

The happiest & unhappiest states in the union

Gallup has compiled various statistics about “well-being” (health, work, emotional satisfaction, etc.) and has come up with a ranking of  states according to how happy they are.  The most happy states, according to this study, are North Dakota and South Dakota.  The least happy is West Virginia.  In general, the happiest states are those of the upper midwest, and the least happy are those of the deep south.

Now I grant that such studies are very limited and that happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be.  But let’s use this as an occasion to discuss regional differences.

See the top 10 and the bottom 10 after the jump, and go to the Gallup site for more details.

How would you account for the differences?  Some preliminary observations and questions:  The least happy states are poorer than normal, though the wealthiest states are not necessarily the happiest.  Is there something about rural economies, wide-open spaces, and/or natural beauty (especially mountains) that correlate to happiness?  What about the religious differences  (Lutheran strongholds vs. Baptist strongholds)?  What else?  And maybe someone who lives there can tell us what’s so great about the Dakotas. [Read more...]

Why heroin

Thanks to Kirk and to the recommendations from Al, Elizabeth, and Todd at yesterday’s post for alerting me to this touching and illuminating account from British comedian Russell Brand about why he used heroin, how he got clean and has been for 10 years, and how he is still tempted. [Read more...]

Demonic possession & exorcism in Indiana?

The Indianapolis Star reports on a case of apparent demon possession and successful exorcism in Gary, Indiana.  I don’t know what I think of all of this, but this case–complete with walking on a ceiling and many other seemingly supernatural manifestations–is unusually well-attested, with police witnesses, psychologists, the Department of Child Services,  and the Roman Catholic Church all weighing in.

Reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski has written a bit of journalism that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  But don’t read it late at night.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more...]

Signs of being divorce-proof

Here are five bits of social science research that would indicate a person is unlikely to get a divorce.  The post completely leaves out more important factors, such as not believing in divorce and the role of Christian faith.  Still, the list of factors, while on the shallow side, is interesting and amusing.  (But please, don’t read them after the jump if you are going to beat your spouse over the head with them!) [Read more...]


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