blueollie

Budgets, Weather, One’s choices…

Weather
Yes, people’s moods ARE affected by the seasons: (via the New York Times)

A new study using the patterns of Google search queries suggests that mental illnesses flourish in winter and decline in summer.

In both the United States and Australia, researchers found distinct seasonal patterns, high in winter and low in summer, in searches pertaining to anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, depression, suicide, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. The study appears in the May issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Searches related to eating disorders varied the most — 37 percent higher in winter than summer in the United States and 42 percent higher in Australia. The smallest variations were in searches related to anxiety: 7 percent and 15 percent more common in winter than summer in the United States and Australia, respectively. The variations persisted after he researchers controlled for seasonal differences in Internet use, mentions of the diseases in news articles and other factors.

Why this happens, and whether it is connected to increased incidence, is unclear, but it is known that varying hours of daylight, variations in physical activity and seasonal changes in blood levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can affect mood. […]

The drought in the southwest: probably not CAUSED by global warming:

Extreme natural events, not man-made climate change, led to last summer’s historic drought in the Great Plains, a new federal study said Friday.
Drought occurred in six Plains states between last May and August because moist Gulf of Mexico air “failed to stream northward in late spring,” and summer storms were few and stingy with rainfall, said a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Neither ocean states nor human-induced climate change, factors that can provide long-lead predictability, appeared to play significant roles in causing severe rainfall deficits over the major corn producing regions of central Great Plains,” the report summary said.
The drought in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota was the worst since record keeping began in 1895, even eclipsing the notorious Dust Bowl droughts of 1934 and 1936, said study leader Martin Hoerling, a NOAA meteorologist.

“The event was rare, and we estimated maybe a once in a couple of hundred years event,” Hoerling said. “But for as extreme as it was, it didn’t have any strong indications for early warning.

[…]

“I’m an advocate of global warming because science tells me that greenhouse gases have warmed the planet by about 1 degree Celsius in the last 100 years. So there’s no question about that,” he said. “But the science also tells that every drought that’s occurring isn’t a result of climate change.”

Politics
Some people’s minds might not be THAT hard to change, if you are willing to stoop to trickery:

Researchers in Sweden have discovered a clever way to trick partisan voters into switching parties, through the application of a simple survey and some slight of hand.

Exploiting a known defect in human psychology called “choice blindness,” researchers writing for the journal PLoS One got 162 voters to fill out surveys pinpointing their views on key issues like taxes and energy, then covertly switched the survey with one created to show the exact opposite answers. Participants were then confronted on why they gave the faux responses.

What the researchers found is astonishing: A whopping 92 percent of respondents did not catch that their answers were manipulated, and only 22 percent of the switched answers were noticed by participants. During questioning after the survey, 10 percent of the subjects actually switched their preference in political party, while another 19 percent of previously partisan voters said they’d become undecided. […]

Economics/Economy
Bitcoins: ever hear of them? This is a decent article about them and the general nature of money (recommended by Paul Krugman). Upshot: money is about putting your faith in something.

President Obama’s budget: too centrist for many on the left.

I’m not sure what to think. It appears to me that second term Presidents drift somewhat to center during their second terms. I wonder if this is what is happening here.

Advertisements

April 13, 2013 - Posted by | Barack Obama, climate change, economics, economy, environment, mind, politics, politics/social, social/political

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: