April 6, 2010

Good advice; wish I knew the source

I miss bibliographies. I always dreaded doing them in college. (I never took very good notes and tended to rely on my memory to write most of my papers, and as a result, I was forced to go back and re-read the material to draft my bibliography.)
Today—more and more—it is surprising how quickly information can be detached from its source. It is alarmingly difficult to find an original source for much of the information published. It would seem that given how simple it is to create a hyperlink, everything we read could be linked back to its source but the opposite holds true.
In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, columnist David Brooks refers to the findings of a study which concluded that joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income. Wow, right? The one line reference was cited, tagged and tweeted over and over again. When I searched for the study, all I came up with was more tweets and tags of the same line. I, like most people, am thrilled to read that my happiness isn’t linked to the amount of money I earn. But I would like to read the study, at least know where it was published. Perhaps there is a downside to joining a group or an exception to the rule. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t doubt Brooks did his homework nor do I doubt the validity of the basic argument. (I came across this particular column through a link someone posted on my kids’ playgroup message board—we meet once a week!)
I think the advice is good: join a group that meets once a week… and not online (the last bit is my own advice and while it is most likely in line with the original study, I can be sure because as I said, I haven’t found it). And, please, if you have the link or any information as to where the study was published, post it here!

Learn a tongue twister: It's good for your health

Feeling tongue tied? Or are you just waiting for a translation job to download? Maybe you know someone you would like to impress? (Rattling off a tongue twister in that person's native language would be so much more interesting than the perfunctory ‘Where’s the nearest rest room?’). With 2932 entries in 109 languages, the site (http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/index.htm) will give you sufficient material to get started with a new hobby in what is most referred to as the oral equivalent to juggling.
And, it’s good for you –really. According to a study which appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Adults with hobbies that exercise their brains — such as reading, jigsaw puzzles or chess — are two and a half times less likely to have Alzheimer's disease.” Exercise your brain!