The Ugly Side of Happiness
A string of new studies suggests that the modern chase after happiness—and even happiness itself—can hurt us. Happy, it turns out, is not always the way you want to be.
What's the Latest Development?
Having too much of a good thing, even happiness, can turn out badly, warn experimental psychologists who study that warm, fuzzy feeling. When it comes to income levels, life expectancy, education and being attentive to risks, too much happiness can drag you down. "Psychologists have documented a set of cognitive deficits, dangerous in some contexts, that come with the warm wash of feeling that all is right with the world."
What's the Big Idea?
As neuroscience advances, mental states are increasingly isolated for study. And lately, the study of happiness has been all the rage. But lest we confuse studying happiness with doggedly pursuing the positive emotion in our own lives, contemporary psychology reminds us that happiness is the byproduct of certain ways of behavior. It is not an end that can be achieved by pursing bliss directly. That, they say, is a recipe for unhappiness.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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