My daughter Karen and her friend Monica's Baklava Cheesecake!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Recent crowd disasters, such as those seen in 2006 during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and in 2010 at the Love Parade in Duisburg, have underlined the need to better understand what determines the collective behavior of crowds. In a study published in PNAS on 18 April, scientists from CNRS and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Zurich managed to simulate collective movements resulting from interactions between pedestrians within a crowd. Their work enables them to predict potentially dangerous situations and to propose a regulation of movements in the event of a proven risk.”

“Engineering researchers the University of Southern California have made a significant breakthrough in the use of nanotechnologies for the construction of a synthetic brain. They have built a carbon nanotube synapse circuit whose behavior in tests reproduces the function of a neuron, the building block of the brain.”

“People may advise you to listen to your gut instincts: now research suggests that your gut may have more impact on your thoughts than you ever realized. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore led by Sven Pettersson recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that normal gut flora, the bacteria that inhabit our intestines, have a significant impact on brain development and subsequent adult behavior.”

“Zhenzhen Zhang from the Department of Epidemiology at Michigan State University and his colleagues decided to Meta-analyze and systemically review previous studies. They searched electronic records from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Agricola, and Cochrane Library and gathered information from six previous studies that had followed coffee drinkers over long periods of time, some as long as 33 years.”

“Based on the study results, Europeans who described themselves as being “very happy” went from 28 percent down to 23 percent as their work hours increased. Americans, on the other hand, remained at 43 percent regardless of how many hours they worked.”

“The romantic relationships of active Twitter users apparently don’t last as long as the rest of the population.

Dating trends website OKCupid studied more than 800,000 of its users. The study showed people who use Twitter every day tend to have shorter relationships. And the problem gets worse as the person gets older.”


Annadavis · April 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hello Dr. Freberg:

While the ‘coffee is sublime’ article casts a shadow of doubt on the correlation to hypertension, I still wonder about other risks correlated to coffee/caffeine intake. For example, coffee/caffeine intake has been correlated to schizophrenia (Dastur et al., 1963).

On a separate note, that Baklava Cheesecake looks like it could make all my troubles fade away!

jwestend · April 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Am I the only one depressed after reading the European vs. American Happiness article? It seems like they have it good over there working less and enjoying life more. Hopefully Americans draw some happiness out of their actual jobs instead of drearily accumulating material goods in the pursuit of some future dream. Otherwise I’m moving to Europe where happiness is higher than in any other part of the world as well as life expectancy!

ehhunt · April 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I thought the article on what makes Americans and Europeans happy was not too surprising because a lot of Americans’ success is judged based on their jobs and their potential in their careers. I think if Americans cared more about living a happy life and less about the “American Dream,” not only would we be happier, but our society would be drastically different than it is now. I also thought the discrepancy in the percentage of people rating “very happy” was interesting. I would not assume that many more Americans than Europeans would consider themselves “very happy.”

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