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We've all felt lonely at some point in our lives. It's a human experience as universal as happiness, sadness or even hunger. But there's been a growing trend of studies and other evidence suggesting that Americans, and people in general, are feeling more lonely than ever.

It's easy to blame technology and the way our increasingly online lives have further isolated us from "real" human interactions. The Internet once held seemingly limitless promise for bringing us together but seems to be doing just the opposite.

Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

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Ignorance Isn't Bliss: The Danger of Avoiding Tough News

A scary new study confirms the motivations behind North Americans' willful ignorance.


A study published earlier this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has found a logical reason for the "ignorance is bliss" adage. As it turns out, ignorance is a lovely state to be in—or so the ignorant believe—and those blissfully unaware of the problems related to energy, environmental, and economic issues wish to remain that way.

Steven Shepard of the University of Waterloo in Ontario and co-author Aaron C. Kay of Duke University suggest that "ignorance—as a function of the system justifying tendencies it may activate—may, ironically, breed more ignorance." Shepard and Kay found that ignorance about a certain issue leads to dependence on others, which in turn leads to higher trust in a government, during which a subject actively avoids information about said issue.

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Obesity in the U.S.: American Life Expectancy Falling Dramatically

As other developed nations see their populations grow older, Americans are bucking the trend and dying earlier.

Though we're supposedly the greatest nation the world, one place America definitely isn't the best is life expectancy, according to a new report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (PDF). While even our next-door neighbors in Canada are living longer, the new study, which uses information from between 2000 and 2007, says more than 80 percent of American counties "fell in standing against the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world."

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Chemicals Can Affect Unborn Babies, Too

A new Nick Kristof op ed reveals that it's not just us who has to worry about chemical exposures-it's the unborn, too.



The excellent Nicholas Kristof has another, yes, excellent piece in yesterday's New York Times. He has written quite a bit about concern about human exposure to chemicals before, from the ones suspected to have links to obesity and behavioral issues to the ones turning boy fish into girl fish—and doing similar hormonal gymnastics in our own bodies.

His concern, which I share, is the reason we have developed the No More Dirty Looks series at GOOD (well that and because it's fun to tell people what's really in their toothpaste, and to share homemade beauty product recipes) and it's why Alexandra and I wrote the book of the same name. As Kristof always points out, there's too much we don't know about the effects of our chemical exposure, and what we do know is deeply unsettling.

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How Videogames Train Your Brain

Looking to sharpen your awareness? Beef up your leadership skills? Become more decisive? Get an Xbox.


Looking to sharpen your awareness? To beef up your leadership skills? To become more decisive? Well, then get an Xbox. A new study finds that after playing the "fast paced action" videogames Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament, participants were quicker at a decision-making exercise than participants who played the slow-paced strategy game The Sims 2.

Videogame preferences aside, this discovery adds to a growing body of research (some with clever titles like "Learning to See in Stereo") that is finding unexpected benefits of pushing buttons while sitting on your couch. For instance, past studies found that videogames can actually improve your vision, by developing better perception of contrast and shading—to see the hiding bad guy in the bushes on the screen, say.

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