Top 26 Beautiful Castles Around The World

Check this link out, you can see 26 most beautiful castles around the world. The Craigdarroch Castle in Canada (below) is the only one I have visited.


Women leaders Help Boost the Bottom Line

A recent study showing that Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of female directors are more profitable and efficient, on average, than those with the lowest: an 83% higher average return on equity, 73% higher return on sales, and 112% higher return on invested capital.
Note that these correlations do not necessarily mean senior women cause superior financial performance. Rather they points to the fact that a "gender balanced" environment is more conductive to better business performance.


Do you believe in ghosts ?

I don't believe in ghosts, but I am too scared to see ANY horror movies.
According to recent survey in US, about 1/3 of people believe in ghosts, and nearly 23% of people say they've actually seen a ghost or felt its presence. About 19% say they accept the existence of spells or witchcraft. Nearly 48% believe in extrasensory perception, or ESP. The most likely candidates for ghostly visits include single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. By 31% to 18%, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.

Simple sentences spread ideas farther

Taking advantage of a new Amazon feature, Steven Johnson has done some interesting (but not surprising) research on the complexity of the work of a few writers:

two stats that I found totally fascinating were "Average Words Per Sentence" and "% Complex Words," the latter defined as words with three or more syllables -- words like "ameliorate", "protoplasm" or "motherf***er." I've always thought that sentence length is a hugely determining factor in a reader's perception of a given work's complexity, and I spent quite a bit of time in my twenties actively teaching myself to write shorter sentences. So this kind of material is fascinating to me, partially because it lets me see something statistically that I've thought a great deal about intuitively as a writer, and partially because I can compare my own stats to
other writers' and see how I fare. (Perhaps there's a literary Rotisserie league lurking somewhere on those Text Stats pages.)

So I spent a few hours last week plugging in the numbers for my books, as well as a few other authors that I assembled in an entirely unscientific fashion: Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Pinker, Seth Godin, Christopher Hitchens -- and then, just to see how far I'd come, I threw in my intellectual (and, sadly, stylistic) heroes from my early twenties, the post-structuralist legends Michel Foucault and Frederic Jameson. I compiled stats for 3-4 books for each author, except Gladwell who has written two, and then plotted them on a scatter chart, with the y axis representing % complex words and the x axis representing words per sentence.

Number below are what Johnson found (click to enlarge):

Based on the popularity of authors (Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin), the conclusion appears that short, simple sentences sell more books, and spread ideas farther and faster.


Few workers connect to the company emotionally

According to a new survey, only 21% of workers worldwide are "engaged" (HR term for 'ready to expend some extra effort at work'), while 38% are either disenchanted or disengaged. Among all nations, Japan has the lowest portion of engaged workers, only 3%, and 72% are disenchanted or disengaged (this got has something to do with the Japan's life-time employment). Below the full list of engagement levels by country:


Taxes are growing around the world

So, according to this report, either the entire planet is vastly over taxed -- or we here in USA, speaking relatively, aren't shouldering such a bad tax burden after all . . .

Ovulating strippers make more money

In a revealing study, University of New Mexico researchers recruited 18 subjects (professional lap dancers working in gentlemen's clubs) to log their work shifts, earnings and menstrual cycles on a Web site for two months, or about 5,300 lap dances. The naked truth: participants scored $335 per five-hour shift while ovulating, compared with $260 per shift during the luteal phase after ovulation, and $185 while menstruating. Participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrous earnings peak.
The dancers' scientifically gyrating pelvises provided the first direct evidence for human estrus in contemporary human females.

Usage determine the survival of a word

New studies show the words in a language that are used infrequently are subject to change rapidly over time. Researchers determined that it would take as little as 750 years to replace less-used words, and up to 10,000 years for new words to evolve in place of the most frequently used ones. I doubt those 2 numbers are applicable to our modern time, however. I certainly hope the word 'blog' becoming part of everyday language in the next 10 years.


Yearn for our own business

According to a survey of 1,000 people between the ages of 25 and 55, 72% of those surveyed said they dream of starting their own business, and 84% said that if they started their own business they would be more passionate about their work. The biggest draw to owning your own business? 40% of workers said it would enable them to "do what they love." Another 24% said they most like the idea of being their own boss and 21% said they'd favor the flexible schedule. The survey focused on people who don't already own a business.
If we can be in charge of our destiny, wouldn't that be awesome ?


The older we get, the happier we become

A report (LA Time) conclude that the older people get, the happier people become. This is mainly because older people are free from many responsibilities (or 'burden') young people take, and know how to take life in a easier way. In a study published in September in Psychological Science, older adults were about 30% less reactive to the negative images compared with the younger adults. More from this report:

"only in the last decade have researchers begun to measure happiness across the life span and, in doing so, try to understand why older people tend to be so content.

The explanation doesn't appear to be biological - some chemical in the brain that mellows us just when all those plump neurons needed for thinking and memory are shriveling up. Rather, most scientists now think that experience and the mere passage of time gradually motivate people to approach life differently. The blazing-to-freezing range of emotions experienced by the young blends into something more lukewarm by later life, numerous studies show. Older people are less likely to be caught up in their emotions and more likely to focus on the positive, ignoring the negative."


Jobs have high rates of depression

According to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 7% of all full-time workers in US battled depression in the past year.
The job has the highest rate of depression is the Personal Care, almost 11% of workers-which includes child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their daily needs-reported depression lasting two weeks or longer.
Workers who works in restaurant industries-prepare and serve food, bartenders, waiters and waitresses-had the 2nd hest rate of depression at 10.3%.
In a tie for 3rdre health care workers and social workers at 9.6%.
The lowest rate of depression, 4.3%, occurred in the job category that covers engineers, architects and surveyors.
The news which is not depressing? just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in preventing depression. Although the overall rate of depression for full-time workers is 7%, it is 12.7% by those who are unemployed.


Number of the day

This year, state of California will spend 300% as much operating its prisons than running the Univ. California system.


Picky eating is genetic

A new twins study from UK suggests picky eating is 78% genetic. The remaining 22% influence is from raising genetically similar kids differently within the same household. So, if you raise genetically unrelated kids in the same household, they're no more likely to be similarly picky (or not) than if they'd been raised in different households.
I always believe my kids' pickiness is my fault for failing to shop or cook properly. Now I think my kids' pickiness is my fault for giving them picky genes.


Bad marriage raise heart disease risk

Results of many research/survey often reconfirm common senses (believes), they also provide you a quantitative sense and more details. Here is another example.
A lot of us feel/believe marital troubles and other ill personal relationships can cause our health. When a group of researchers looking at this issue, they test if study participants with bad relationships have any biological evidence of stress (inflammation, stress hormones) that could contribute to heart disease. In a study of 9,011 British civil servants, most of them married, "those with the worst close relationships were 34% more likely to have heart attacks or other heart trouble during 12 years of follow-up than those with good relationships. That included partners, close relatives and friends".


Funny Video of the weekend - Vertical Soccer

Another idea of how to attract attention:

Are Christian less likely to divorce ?

While it's true that people who report themselves to be Christian are just as likely to divorce as the general population, it is not true if you factor religious attendance (a reasonable proxy for level of religiosity/strength of belief). Here is an excerpt from an interview (my friend pointed me to this) with University of Virginia Sociologist, W. Bradford Wilcox.

"This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.
How much less likely?
I estimate between 35-50% less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true that people who say they've had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story".

Wilcox's research is also empirical evidence to support the traditional Christian notion that if you're religious, you will be much better off if you marry someone who shares your level of belief and religiosity. (Or as the Bible puts it: "Do not be unequally yoked.")


Genes and people's economic behavior

A recent study shows genes exert influence on people's behavior in a very common experimental economic game (the so called ultimatum game, which test people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair.).

"Traditionally, social scientists have been quite hesitant to acknowledge a role for genes in explaining economic behavior. But a study by David Cesarini, a Ph.D. student in MIT's Department of Economics, and by colleagues in Sweden indicates that there is a genetic component to people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair".

Researchers found identical twins (they share the same genes) were more likely to play with the same strategy than fraternal twins. In fact, genetic influences account for as much as 40% of the people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair.


How many people are lefties ?

Handedness link to people brain organization. Scientists estimate that 20% of children are born lefties. After they growing up, that rate reduce to about 11% in general population. In a recent investigation, 2 psychology professors from UK noticed that the rate of left-handedness plunged from natural 20% of children born around 1840 to a mere 3% of those born 50 years later (around 1890-1900).
The most likely reason that lefties dropped in numbers at the turn of the 20th century was possible strong social pressure brought about by universal education and the industrial revolution. These two factors would have forced lefties to change their handedness. During that period, left-handers may found it more difficult to find marriage partners, marrying later, and hence having fewer children so that fewer of the relevant genes went into the gene pool.