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And the Best Country in the World Is...Ireland! (U.S. Ranks 21st)

A new compilation of data called the Good Country Index has placed Ireland at the top of the world's countries when it comes to contributing to humanity's larger goals.

What's the Latest?


A new compilation of data called the Good Country Index has placed Ireland at the top of the world's countries when it comes to contributing to humanity's larger goals in areas like Prosperity and Equality, Culture, and Health and Wellbeing. The index was compiled by British policy analyst Simon Anholt and is based on 35 separate indicators from the UN, World Bank, and other international organizations. "Using a wide range of data from the UN and other international organisations, we've given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between."

What's the Big Idea?

Ireland faltered in areas like Science and Technology as well as International Peace and Security. The United States took 21st place and was harmed most by poor ratings in the International Peace and Security category. "Outside of western Europe and the English-speaking world, the highest ranked country was Costa Rica, which finished in 22nd place, while Chile was ranked in 24th place. The African nation deemed to contribute most was Kenya in 26th place." Anholt says the new index is meant to encourage countries to contribute more widely to humanity's general welfare, not just that of its domestic citizens.

Read more at the Irish Times

Photo credit: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock.com

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Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
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LGBTQ+ community sees spike in first-time depression in wake of coronavirus​

Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
  • Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
  • The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
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The mind-blowing science of black holes

What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.

Videos
  • When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
  • A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
  • Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."

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