The earlier the retirement, the longer we live

I found a graph below from swivel.com -- it shows there is an inverse relationship between the age we retire and the age that we expect to die. According to a study conducted by Dr. Ephrem, based on data of pensioners from Boeing Aerospace, the earlier we retire, the longer our life span is going to be. If we retire at around the age of 50, we would expect to live to age 86, another 36 years old. In contrast, if we retire later at age 65, we would expect to live only for another 2 years.
My father retired at the age of 62 many years ago (he is still alive and doing OK). For the first 2 years after the retirement, he had a tough time adjusting to the retirement life style, mentally and physically. He lost a lot of hair; memory deteriorated dramatically. If above relationship can be confirmed across a large sample, then here is my explanation (among many others) for the inverse relationship: the later the retirement, the harder the adjustment process for retirees. Many people simply can't make it.

Average age at death by Age at retirement


Numbers of our times

Video below (from YouTube) presented many numbers on current global affairs (technology and culture changes). They are simply fascinating.


Work life vs. sex life

People who are getting busy in the workplace may not be getting busy at home. According to a German study of nearly 32,000 men and women, people who have less sex are more likely to seek out work by taking on new commitments. The study, conducted by University of Göttingen psychologist Ragnar Beer, found that of people who have sex once a week, 36% of men and 35% of women take on work to compensate for their slow-but-steady sex life. Of those who have no sex at all with their partners, 45% of men and 46% of women seek out new activities. A mere 5% of people who have sex at least twice a week find other activities as outlets for frustration.


Who vote?

In general, people don't not vote because they don't believe their vote would make difference for their jobs and lifes. Based on latest 3 US presidential elections data, an recent survey revealed some interesting correlations between people's professions and their voting habits. In this survey, 85% of lawyers did vote, while only 35% of laborers did. The voter turnout amongest teachers and farmers were 200% higher than that of physicians (they were too busy). This survey also found that individuals with an advanced academic degree were 800% more likely to vote compared with those without a high-school degree.


Today's link - obesity, startup

1) here is a obesity infographics of the percentage of population older than 15, with a body-mass index greater than 30. Out of 27 countries on the list, and US man is on the top with 31%.
2) a recent survey shows between 2005-2006, 0.29% of US population started their own business. The immigrant rate of entrepreneurial activity increased from 0.35% in 2005 to 0.37% in 2006, much higher than the rate for the native-born population, 0.27%.
Midwest region had the lowest level of entrepreneurial activity of all regions - Detroit is 0.13%, Chicago is 0.18%, well below the national average.


Major religions of the world

Here is a nice chart, which listed world major religions ranked by number of believers:
No1. Christianity, 33%
No2. Islam, 21%
No3. Non-religious, 16%
No4. Hinduism, 14%


Happiness prevent Diabetes

The link between the human mind's health and the body's is widely known. Before I wrote about people have a strong sense of being treated unfairly had a 55% higher chance of suffering serious heart disease.
In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that older adults with strong symptoms of depression were about 60% more likely to develop diabetes than happier peers. The association held up when risk factors for diabetes-smoking, excess weight, and lack of exercise-were taken into account. One theory: Depression leads to an elevation in the stress hormone cortisol, which increases blood glucose levels. The finding, along with evidence from about a dozen other studies, suggests that depression is an independent risk factor for diabetes.
Facing today's sky-high medical care cost, controlling self-emotion, being happy are indeed the cheapest medicine for some diseases.

A slow run drugstore is a good thing

Researcher at the University of Arizona have discovered that the busier a pharmacist gets, the more likely a customer is to walk away with medications that could interact in a harmful way. Pharmacists studied - from 672 locations in 18 cities - filled about 14 prescriptions in a hour. With each additional one beyond that number, the risk of dispensing a potentially harmful drug went up by 3%. At some pharmacies, almost 10% of prescriptions filled were potentially problematic. Although most pharmacies computer systems flash an alert if a customer orders a drug that could result in an interaction. But the prompt may be overlooked when line are long.
So, next time when you see a long line at a drugstore, but pharmacists are not hurry, be happy about it.


Injustice, heart disease, and bacterial transfer rate

1) a recent research confirmed the more unfair treatment people received, the greater their risk of suffering a heart attack or angina. Those with a strong sense of being treated unfairly had a 55% higher chance of suffering serious heart disease;
2)when you drop food on the floor, you have only 5 seconds to pick it up before it's contaminated. Yes, a research show that is how fast the bacterial can transfer from surface to food.


Bullying has became an epidemic in school

A study says bullying and victimization were pretty widespread in US schools. Researcher sent questionnaire to school that asked kids whether various things had been done to them, such as if "other students make me cry", "other students look at me in a mean way", "other students tease me", "other students ignore me on purpose". After analysing all the responses, researchers have found 89.5% of children experienced some form of victimization and 59.0% of students participated in some form of bullying.
My take on this? it has always been like this in schools from what I can remember, it just to a lesser degree, and nobody studied it before. Watching Simpsons by students in last few years only make it worse.


How We Learn

Today I came cross a quote (below) of William Glasser (American psychiatrist, developer of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory). Don't know how serious he was about those numbers, but they make sense.

10% of what we READ
20% of what we HEAR
30% of what we SEE
50% of what we SEE and HEAR
70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS
95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE


Racial discrimination by NBA referees ?

A recent paper, after studying 13 NBA seasons from 1991 through 2004, proved that white referees called fouls against black players at a higher rate, about 4.5% higher, than they did against white players.

This research imply "that if LeBron James faced only white refs the whole season relative to having only black refs the whole season, he would be expected to run up an extra 11 or 12 fouls over the course of the season and score about .3 fewer points per game".

Although these are not very big numbers, results did show NBA referees having implicit, unconscious biases.

I don't believe NBA referees consciously uses race to referee a game. They should be the group people that least likely to exhibit racial biases. They receive a great deal training. Their decisions are consistently reviewed. They make decisions in the front of large audiences.

But in a fast-paced contest, where decisions must be made immediately, it is not surprising to see such bias sneak out. I hope that we will learn more about race and society.


Mother's Day Statistics

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Mother's Day. Americans will spend about $16 billion dollars to celebrate it - cards, flowers, shows and restaurants. For restaurant owners, tomorrow will bring their business more than any other day of the year. You can hear more history and some numbers about Mother's Day here.


Internet porn consumption statistics

Here are some stats about the current internet porn consumption in the world. All factoid, which I can't verify yet, are presented in a unique way.
(Source: YouTube & Good Magazine)

The importance of the third-person perspective

'Visualise yourself doing it' is a common slice of advice for people seeking to achieve something. But there are two ways of visualising yourself in a scene: from a 1st-person perspective as in real-life, or from an external, 3rd-person perspective, as an observer might see you. Now Lisa Libby (The Ohio State Univ.) and colleagues have demonstrated that it's this latter, 3rd-person perspective that is far more effective in raising the likelihood we will go on to perform a desired behaviour.
Here is the story - 146 undergrad participants, all of whom had registered to vote, were asked to imagine themselves going to the polling booth to vote the next day, in what were then the upcoming 2004 presidential elections. About half were instructed to do this from a 1st-person perspective, another half were told to do it from a 3rd-person perspective. At the end, 90% of the participants who'd imagined themselves voting from a 3rd-person perspective reported that they had indeed gone on to vote, compared with just 72% of the first-person perspective participants - a statistically significant difference.
The researchers said these findings extend prior work showing that we tend to interpret other people's actions as saying something about them, whereas we interpret our own actions as saying more about the situation we're in. So, when we picture ourselves acting in the 3rd-person, we see ourselves as an observer would, as the 'kind of person' who performs that behaviour. "Seeing oneself as the type of person who would engage in a desired behaviour increases the likelihood of engaging in that behaviour", the researchers said.


The power of children's name

A new research done by University of Florida economist David Figlio shows that a person's name can have a serious impact on the direction of his or her life. Figlio examined 1,000 pairs of sisters to determine the paths of girls with more and less feminine names. He found that girls with more feminine names, such as Isabella, were 2 times less likely to study math or physics after age 16 than girls with less feminine names, such as Alex. The effect is so strong that parents can set twin daughters off on completely different career paths simply by calling them Isabella and Alex. Based on Figlio's scale, name Isabella has 4.3 times more linguistic "femininity" than name Alex.
I believe the name parents give to their children somewhat reflect parents' expectation, and children will behave toward that expectation.


Left-handedness relates to higher mortality in women

A 13-year long study by Dutch scientists concludes "left-handedness is associated with higher mortality in women." Data shows "lefties had a 40% higher risk of dying from any cause, a 70% higher risk of dying from cancer, and a 30% higher risk of dying from diseases of the circulatory system".
Although the underlying mechanisms of this observation remain elusive, some scientists believe "this is the result of an insult suffered during early development, which ultimately leads to … premature demise."
Oh, I hate those numbers. My daughter is a lefty.


How many of us live in the city ?

Here is one of the city picture I took last weekend. Spring is great time for my beloved city, slush are gone, cherry blossoms.
Like majority of people in US, I am a city person all my life. Since 2000, according the US census, 79.22% of people live in cities. That number is similar for all other developed countries. In France, about 78% of population live in Paris. In developing countries like China, although majority of people still live in the country side, city population is increasing very rapidly.
Here is an interesting research explained economically, why more and more people move to the city. According to researchers, as the city grew in size it required less energy/resources to sustain it (in a proportion called sub-linear scaling). But as cities grew, the scaling of creative output (jobs, wealth generated, innovation) is super-linear, meaning as the city grew its creative output grew faster and faster. In summary, "the increase you get in wealth creation is greater than the increase in size of the city".
Today a little more than 50% of the world's population live in large urban areas. By 2030, it is estimated to be 2/3 of the world's population will be living in urban areas.


The world is walking faster

The pace of global cities is speeding up. A new survey of 32 cities around world showing people are walking 10% more quickly than they did 10 years ago. Singapore showed a 30% increase, making it the most frenetic city in the study. New York was ranked 8th, People live in Middle East walk the slowest.


Can doctors think ?

Like everyone else, I have heard some sad stories about how doctors mis-diagnosed or mis-treated their patients, to the point that I was wondering can doctors think?
There was a commentary yesterday on NPR radio by Michael Millenson (a health care quality expert and visiting scholar at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management) on the US health care quality issues. He said currently getting treatment for any disease based on the medical evidence happens on average only about 55% of the time. In another words, 45% of times, patients' treatment decisions were not based on medical facts and logical reasoning; rather, they were based on -
Occupational blinders. "Radiation oncologists think prostate cancer should be treated with radiation, while urological surgeons favor surgery".
Incorrect communications. "The doctor thought a treatment had been considered, but it hadn't".
Human limitations. "The doctor thought he was doing what's best, but his memory of the medical literature was flawed".
I like to add another - sometime doctors' decisions were based on how to avoid potential law suits, rather than the best interests of patients.
According to Mr. Millenson, in US we waste 30% of health-care dollar "providing treatments we don't need, not providing treatments we do, and fixing preventable medical mistakes". That adds up to a $700 billion every year.


My Top 5 posts in April

Below are my top 5 posts from April, 2007, selected by the number of comments I got per post. Thank you for those who shared your opinions here.

Mouse vs. Supercomputer

Which one is smarter? A mouse or a supercomputer? I know, the answer dependents on how to define and measure the smartness, but here is an interesting find - researchers at IBM and the University of Nevada have been using IBM's BlueGene L supercomputer (4,096 processors, each using 256MB of RAM) trying to simulate a mouse brain, or more precisely, a mouse-thought. Even with this huge processing power, researcher only managed to run the supercomputer at a speed 10 times slower than real time, and only for 10 seconds - the equivalent of only 1 second of mouse-thought. It turned out that from neurology point of view (# of neurons, # of synapses per neuron, and how fast neuron communicates), mice are in fact a very intelligent life form.


Versatility just part of managers' job

We know beside managing projects and staff members, most office managers perform many different jobs - customer relations, human resources, accounting and computer support, etc.
Early in 2007, when Staples (a US company) web site asking office manager's input for their job descriptions, 8,000 managers responded. 75% of them consider themselves workplace housekeeping supervisors; and 71% of them lend an ear as office psychologist.
Some side jobs performed by office managers are "breaking up an office romance, cleaning pigeon poop off the sidewalk, unclogging the toilet while on the phone and signing for a delivery..."
I have never been a manager, and no plan to be one in the near future.
Source: Chicago Tribune (April, 30, 2007)

Women outnumber men in colleges

In my local high school, the 2007 best (academically speaking) graduating student is a female. She was accepted by all 3 prestigious schools (Harvard, MIT and Columbia), and she has decided go to Harvard this fall.
Heard from NPR radio this morning - women students now consists 58% of US college students population. 30 years ago, that number was 45%. Few years down the road, more than half of Corporate America's new hires will be women !