Science Deubunks Cynics

People behave socially and “well” even without rules

Fundamentally people behave in a social and rather compassionate and “good” way rather than aggressively, even without specified rules. That is the result of a study from the Institute for Science of Complex Systems at the MedUni Vienna under the leadership of Stefan Thurner and Michael Szell. They analysed the behaviour of more than 400,000 participants of the “Virtual Life” game “Pardus” on the Internet. The findings are that only two percent of all actions are aggressive, even though the game would make it easy for war-like attacks with spaceships, for example.


Altruism Gone Wild

Meet the doctor who uprooted her life to bring universal health care to Vermont.

Richter realized that she was facing a turning point. “I didn’t want to change where I practiced just so I wouldn’t have to witness this. I knew I couldn’t continue to practice if this situation continued. I didn’t want medicine to just be for wealthy people.”

Instead of hanging up her stethoscope, she joined Physicians for a National Health Program, a leading doctors’ group that advocates for universal health care coverage with just one insurance provider—the government. “What they had to say made sense to me—24 percent of health care was spent on paperwork and transaction costs. Other countries didn’t spend that.” She eventually served as the group’s president.

Save the World Locally

A new phenomenon, called “Cash Mobs,” is spreading across the country, changing the way people view local businesses.

Similar to flash mobs, Cash Mobs organize customers to spend money at struggling locally owned businesses to support their community.

The idea is the brainchild of Buffalo blogger and engineer Chris Smith, who said that Cash Mobs are sort of a reverse Groupon. Instead of offering people bargain-basement deals, people pay the regular price to support retailers in their communities.

In a time where many small, local businesses are struggling, victims of a fallen economy, the concept is a financial relief, serving to bring communities together.

Go to Health

Cancer rates dropped in the U.S. for the fourth straight year. Even bigger news: Two-third of cancers may be preventable.

The real news in the report was that two-third of cancers may be preventable. That number divides about equally between cancers due to smoking (the overwhelming cause of lung cancer) and cancers linked to obesity and lack of exercise (linked to cancer of the uterus, colon, kidney, pancreas, and breast cancer in post-menopausal women). Only the remaining one-third are linked to genetic mutations from all other causes, including toxins, radiation, environmental influences, etc.

Intelligent Alternatives Creeping Into the Mainstream

Denmark aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 and 100% by 2050.

The deal aims to see Denmark cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and decrease energy consumption by more than 12% compared to 2006.

It also aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables, with half of its electricity delivered by wind farms. The agreement also covers advances in renewable heat, smart grids, and biogas among other green technologies.

Pronoia Is Not Just About Being Nice

The Importance of Being Playful

Playing, whether doing the Charleston, kicking a soccer ball or even curling up with a good book, is healthy for kids and adults alike. It yields both physical and mental health benefits, say experts such as Stuart Brown, a Carmel Valley psychiatrist and a leading expert in the field of play.

Play’s opposite is not work, but depression, he said.

“There are consequences in adulthood when we don’t engage in getting into a state of play,” Brown said. “That means we’re less flexible, less adaptive, less resilient and poorer stress managers.”

Let’s Experiment With Sacred Desecration

Moss Graffiti Makes Eco-Friendly Street Art

Graffiti — some still consider it urban blight, but it’s a well-established art form. And now, it’s gone green.

In recent years, a handful of artists around the world have advanced the dialogue of the medium by using eco-friendly materials like moss to make their statements, and their work has inspired a cross-section of society, from crafty moms to street culture bloggers.

The 99% Get a Small Victory

France moves to limit senior executives’ salaries to a maximum of 20 times that of their lowest-paid employee.

Elected this month promising to curb the privileges enjoyed by France’s wealthy and powerful, Socialist President Francois Hollande pledged during campaigning to limit senior executives’ salaries to a maximum of 20 times that of their lowest-paid employee.

“We are working on plans for pay at public companies to be cut,” Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici told journalists on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting. These would be ready in two weeks, he said.