No, New York Is Not the Unhappiest City in America

Categories: Studies

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National Bureau of Economic Research
A map of adjusted life satisfaction, after controlling for demographics and individual income.
Last week the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper, "Unhappy Cities," that was a collaboration between Harvard professor Edward Glaeser, Vancouver School of Economics professor Joshua Gottlieb and Harvard doctoral student Oren Ziv.

Researchers found that differences in a person's level of happiness depended on the city that person lives in, regardless of whether he or she has lived there his or her entire life or just relocated. The report ranked metropolitan areas in terms of happiness and, since rankings (no matter how arbitrary) are one thing reporters and readers just can't resist, "New York Is the Unhappiest American City" is the headline that emerged.

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The Couple That Drinks Together Drinks Together, Study Finds

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NOT PICTURED: His girlfriend, drinking vodka out of a salad spinner.
Ever notice that when you crack open your third bottle of wine, your boyfriend or girlfriend is uncorking his or her third bottle as well? This may be evidence of a broader trend among young couples, a new study finds. USA Today reports that researchers in Nova Scotia discovered they "were able to predict one partner's binge drinking based on the other partner's binge drinking." Don't worry, single binge drinkers, there's bound to be someone out there for you, and they're probably throwing a shoe at the TV of an airport bar as you read this.

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Report: As Many As 40K Votes Went Uncounted in 2010 New York State Elections

According to a damning new report from the Democracy Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, thousands of New York votes were voided in the 2010 elections because people were confused by the optical scan voting machine's instructions. The study says that across New York State, 20,000 votes for governor were uncounted and the same thing happened to between 30,000 and 40,000 votes for other candidates.

The problem was that if you picked too many candidates ("overvoting"), you would see this screen:

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NYU Brennan Center for Justice

The authors of the report explained the issue to WNYC:


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Scientists Study Jill Abramson's Speech, Find it Unusual

Linguists have actually taken measures to study the famously unusual speech patterns of New York Times executive editor and noted dog-lover Jill Abramson. A video of Abramson talking, in case you're unaware:

You'll be shocked to know that scientists at Penn have found that Abramson's speech differs from other people's.

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Magic Mushrooms Make You Into an All-Around Better Person: Study

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A new study has shown what hippies already know: psilocybin, the ingredient in magic mushrooms that makes you trip, also changes your personality for the better. In a study of 52 volunteers, "people who took the drug showed increases in the key personality dimension of openness -- being amenable to new ideas, experiences and perspectives -- more than a year later." Radical, but the conditions under which the subjects tripped don't sound all that mind-expanding:


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Don't Get Too Worked Up About This New 'Walmartization of NYC' Study

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A new study came out today from a labor-backed nonprofit called Alliance For a Greater New York (Align), and it presents a kind of doomsday scenario in which Walmart could open a whopping 159 stores in New York City. According to the study, if Walmart entered the NYC market this way, it could result in a net loss of almost 4,000 jobs, workers would lose on average 353 million dollars in wages per year, and there would be an increase in workers who must rely on public assistance to make ends meet. But how likely is this scenario? (Not very).

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Study: Texting's Popularity Didn't Surge This Year Overall

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According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, texting -- beloved, good old American texting -- is starting to be slightly less new and exciting. The average number of texts per day sent and received by Americans only increased a tiny bit this year, though it's still more than 40. (Forty! For real.) It's no surprise that teenagers are still texting their hearts out and old people still don't know how. Some relatively astonishing figures:

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Forced Exercise Helps Teens Quit Smoking, Study Says

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Taylor Momsen, teen smoker.
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There is a new quitting-smoking study coming out in October, and this one focuses on teenagers at the beginning of their illustrious smoking careers. The study shows that a smoking cessation program in combination with exercise is the most successful way to get teenagers to stop smoking entirely, compared with a "brief intervention" (a 15-minute stop-smoking lecture that could only have elicited eye-rolls) and an old-fashioned smoking cessation program. The researchers think they've pinpointed the reason: More »

Breaking: Teenagers Drink, Smoke Weed, Lie About It

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A new study has found that only 10 percent of parents believe that their teenagers drink, and only five percent think that their kids smoke weed. For comparison's sake, consider the fact that 52 percent of teenagers say they drink and 28 percent say they smoke weed.

In other words, science has found that teenagers lie to their parents. Revelatory enough in and of itself, but the New York Times ups the ante and asks real live teens about their drinking and drugging behavior in a blog post: "If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?"

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Pot Smokers are Less Likely to be Fat than Non-Smokers, Pretty Chill Study Says

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A study conducted by French scientists says that people who don't smoke marijuana are more likely to be obese than their stoned counterparts. The Daily News reports the researchers found that "between 22% to 25% of participants who didn't smoke pot were obese." Only 14% to 17% of people who said they smoke marijuana at least three times a week were overweight. The study followed American adults, so you know the smokers had access to the world's finest fast foods. Go ahead and eat that Mac 'n' Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt from Denny's, heady amigo, you earned it.

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