OZY on Health and Happiness
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
What’s more important than health and happiness? Here are three stories that get at the good life.
Recent polls show that “cyberchondria” — the tendency to obsessively research one’s health problems online — is on the rise. The potential troubles with this are manifold, ranging from the particular ways search-engine algorithms rank pages to an amateur researcher’s inability to parse the information in the best way. One symptom of cyberchondria: Googling some combination of a symptom + the-particular-disease-you-fear-most. The search giant, like an over-eager golden retriever, dutifully returns 6 million fear-confirming results, the first three pages of which confirm it: Yep, that’s one symptom of that disease, all right.
Since you’re going to Google your symptoms anyway, read on for 11 tips on how to do it right.
You know what DNA is. You’ve heard of 23andMe. You’re following news about the human genome, and you’ve come to understand how its sequence of nucleotide bases writes the playbook for our lives. But surprise! Did you know that we have not just one but two genomes within each of our cells?
The vast and famous human genome that resides in the nucleus of our cells clearly runs the show with its 25,000 genes arranged in pairs — one from Mom and one from Dad. But there’s a second genome, small and beautiful and much less appreciated, living in our cells within structures known as mitochondria and directing functions that are absolutely essential — and it’s Mom’s legacy alone.
Now there’s a bold new biotechnology that would allow mothers to replace defective mitochondrial genomes in their offspring.
Where in the world does happiness lie? Or, more precisely, where can you live the best life?
The U.N. analyzed the question this year and came up with Denmark. But according to a Gallup survey, it’s Paraguay and Venezuela. But wait! What about the Skoll Forum’s Social Progress Index, which says Sweden?
Welcome to the lovely morass of global well-being rankings. For decades, gross domestic product (GDP) reigned supreme as the measure of national well-being, and the Kingdom of Bhutan’s annual measure of gross national happiness was considered quirky at best. But recent years have seen a shift in how global policymakers think about the good life, and now they have a spate of new studies to show for it.
Read through and let us know what you think makes the best measure of a life well-lived.