The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love

The happiness literature has identified one of the most deeply satisfying human psychological states to be one called “flow.” It occurs when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose track of the passage of time. If you can land a job that enables you to experience substantial periods of flow, you will be among the most fortunate people on the planet.

Robert H. Frank, New York Times, July 22, 2016

20 percent of patients with serious conditions are first misdiagnosed, study says

More than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the nation’s premier medical institutions had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers, according to new research published Tuesday.

Twelve percent of the people who asked specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to review their cases had received correct diagnoses, the study found. The rest were given diagnoses that were partly in line with the conclusions of the Mayo doctors who evaluated their conditions.

The results are generally similar to other research on diagnostic error but provide additional evidence for advocates who say such findings show that the health-care system still has room for improvement.

Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, April 4, 2017

The Mega Millions jackpot is $1.6 billion. We did the math to see if you should buy a ticket.

  • The Mega Millions jackpot is now $1.6 billion after Friday’s drawing with no winners.
  • Though that’s a pretty big prize, working through the math of how lotteries work suggests that buying a ticket is not a great investment.
  • The low probability of winning and the risk of splitting the prize in a big, highly covered game mean you’d probably lose money.
  • READ MORE: Here are the winning numbers from the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot drawn October 19.

Andy Kiersz, Business Insider, October 22, 2018

After Knee or Hip Replacement, No Place Like Home

It may surprise many to learn that, even if joint replacement patients live alone, the overwhelming majority recover equally well and may experience fewer complications if they go home directly from the hospital and get outpatient rehabilitation instead of spending days or weeks in a costly rehab facility.

Based on the findings of recent well-designed studies, Dr. Javad Parvizi, chairman of research in orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, maintains that “we need to re-examine who, if anyone, should go to a rehab facility after joint replacement.”

Jane E. Brody, New York Times, April 24, 2107

Researchers Examine When People Are More Susceptible To Fake News

Very simply, being around other people seems to increase our propensity to believe in fake news….

Groups trigger a certain attitude in us when it comes to evaluating information….

You somehow feel like you’re part of a crowd and you don’t need to fact check because somebody else will. And maybe down the road, they’re going to tell you, hey, you know the thing you were exposed to or that we all read a few days ago? That actually turns out to be false….

Volunteers did 30 to 50 percent less fact checking when they heard information presented to them in a social media context compared to when they were alone.

Shankar Vedantum, NPR, July 18, 2017

Why are female doctors introduced by first name while men are called ‘Doctor’?

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, looked at videos of 321 speaker introductions at 124 internal medicine grand rounds from 2012 through 2014 at Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona and Minnesota. The results showed that male introducers used professional titles for female doctors only 49 percent of the time on first reference, but introduced male doctors by their titles 72 percent of the time.

Female introducers used titles in introductions of both male and female doctors more often than male introducers (96 percent of the time vs. 66 percent of the time).

Janice Neumann, Washington Post, June 24, 2017

Lightning storms triggered by exhaust from cargo ships

lightning strike

SHIPS spewing soot into the pristine ocean air are causing extra lightning strikes along busy maritime routes. It is a bizarre example of how human activities can change the weather.

When Joel Thornton at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues looked at records of lightning strikes between 2005 and 2016 from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, they noticed there were significantly more strikes in certain regions of the east Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, compared with the surrounding areas. Unusually, they occurred along two straight lines in the open ocean, which coincided with two of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Along these paths there were twice as many lightning strikes as in nearby areas.

Lakshmi Supriya, newscientist.com, September 19, 2017

Get Off The Couch Baby Boomers, Or You May Not Be Able To Later

Being immobile like that for many hours each day does more than raise the risk of a host of diseases. DiPietro and her colleagues have good evidence that, as the years wear on, it actually reduces the ability of older people to get around on foot at all.