Tag Archives: americans

Americans’ heads are getting bigger

It’s not clear why—medicine? cars? supermarkets?—but the skulls of white Americans, and perhaps of other races and nationalities, have become slightly taller and roomier, according to new forensic research.

New measurements of hundreds of skulls of white Americans born between 1825 and 1985 suggest that their typical noggin height has grown by about a third of an inch (eight millimeters).

It may not sound like much, but the growth translates to roughly a tennis ball’s worth of new brain room.

Beginning with the dawn of the first Homo species, human skulls evolved to be increasingly bigger until about 30,000 years ago, when head size plateaued.

And about 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, when agriculture took off in earnest, skulls began shrinking. The cause of the shrinkage is a mystery…

keep readingNational Geographic – Americans’ Heads Getting Bigger

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Psychology’s five aspects of wisdom

A recent article in the Economist used a complex, but somewhat small in scope, survey to study wisdom. They found that Americans definitely get smarter with age. They scored 45 points at age 25, and 55 by age 75.

In comparison, the Japanese learn wisdom much quicker, scoring 51 in both age groups.

This led to the byline – Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.

Very interesting and thoughtful, but I found it more inspiring to look at how they judged wisdom.

The assessors scored participants’ responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning:

  • Willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict;
  • Willingness to search for compromise;
  • Recognition of the limits of personal knowledge;
  • Awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist;
  • Appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.

 

Basically, how good of a – diplomat/negotiator/self-aware/empathetic/realist – are you?

 

// Thx to Kirby Plessas

Debate over oil subsidies – Senators voting to protect them received on average 4x more contributions

The debate goes much deeper than who received money, but these numbers are still important:

In a 51-47 vote, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. Although a majority voted for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill, it fell short of the 60 needed. The only two Republicans to break rank were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

A Think Progress Green analysis shows:

  • The 47 senators voting against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from oil and gas. The 51 senators voting to repeal oil tax breaks have received $5,873,600.

Democrats who joined the Republicans in defeating the bill include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jim Webb (D-VA).

The oil industry also spent over $146,000,000 on lobbying last year.

55 percent of Americans want to see the subsidies stopped.

via Think Progress Green

 

Thx to Justin Bacon

Top 4 ways Americans lose weight – exercise, eat less, portion control, & natural foods

Trying to lose weight is something most Americans can identify with. Two-thirds say they have made a serious effort to lose weight at least once in their life, including 25% saying they tried once or twice, 30% trying between 3 and 10 times, and 8% trying more than 10 times.

The 52% of all U.S. adults who say they have succeeded at losing weight at some point in their lives were more likely to credit dietary changes than exercise.

The top three diet-related tactics Americans said they used were eating less, counting calories/portion control, and eating more natural foods. In terms of those who relied on exercise, just working out in general was the most frequently mentioned form of activity.

Working out/exercising is the dominant exercise-related response, but 5% specifically credit walking and 3% running or jogging.

via Gallup and Thrive

And, what are the most effective strategies for those losing weight?

31% – Worked out/exercised
23% - Ate Less/Dieted
12% – Counted calories/portion control
10% – Ate more natural foods

While I respect all of these methods, especially portion control, I have to wonder when “natural foods” will make it higher on the list?

To me it is the most important factor in weight gain/loss at it is the fuel you put in your body. It provides the energy to exercise, the desire to eat less, and the improved health that supports long-term weight loss.

Top 4 ways Americans lose weight – exercise, eat less, portion control, & natural foods

Trying to lose weight is something most Americans can identify with. Two-thirds say they have made a serious effort to lose weight at least once in their life, including 25% saying they tried once or twice, 30% trying between 3 and 10 times, and 8% trying more than 10 times.

The 52% of all U.S. adults who say they have succeeded at losing weight at some point in their lives were more likely to credit dietary changes than exercise.

The top three diet-related tactics Americans said they used were eating less, counting calories/portion control, and eating more natural foods. In terms of those who relied on exercise, just working out in general was the most frequently mentioned form of activity.

Working out/exercising is the dominant exercise-related response, but 5% specifically credit walking and 3% running or jogging.

via Gallup and Thrive

And, what are the most effective strategies for those losing weight?

31% – Worked out/exercised
23% - Ate Less/Dieted
12% – Counted calories/portion control
10% – Ate more natural foods

While I respect all of these methods, especially portion control, I have to wonder when “natural foods” will make it higher on the list?

To me it is the most important factor in weight gain/loss at it is the fuel you put in your body. It provides the energy to exercise, the desire to eat less, and the improved health that supports long-term weight loss.