Sunday, April 26, 2015

[tt] NYT: Muslims Projected to Outnumber Christians by 2100

How can it be that Mahometans will match Christians by 2070 but take another
30 years to outnumber them?

Muslims Projected to Outnumber Christians by 2100


Christianity has long been the world's largest religion by far, but
the population of Muslims is growing so fast that they will match
Christians by the year 2070 and outnumber them by the end of the
century, according to a report released Thursday that projects the
global religious future.

The report, from the Pew Research Center, projects a vibrantly
religious planet, not the withering away of religion predicted by
some futurists. The reason is not that religious groups will win
significantly more converts, but simply that religious adherents are
younger and have more children than secular people.

Those demographic factors will drive the growth of Islam because
Muslims are the youngest and have the highest fertility rates of any
religious group, the report says.

In the United States, the spread of secularism will probably
continue: Those who claim no religion will make up about a quarter
of the population by 2050--an increase from 16 percent in 2010.
Christianity will have the biggest losses, with its share of the
American population declining to 66 percent in 2050 from 78 percent
in 2010, according to the projections in the report.

The number of Muslims in the United States will surpass that of Jews
(at least those who claim "Jewish" as their religious identity) by
2035, but both groups will remain tiny portions of the American
religious landscape, Conrad Hackett, the lead researcher and
demographer for the Pew report, said in an interview.

In Europe, the percentage of Muslims will rise to about 10 percent
from about 6 percent of the population in the four decades from 2010
to 2050. That is a significant minority, but the picture is hardly
that of the Muslim-dominated "Eurabia" that some nativist and
anti-immigrant groups in Europe have warned of.

"We just don't see that happening," Dr. Hackett said.

He said that within one or two generations of arriving in Europe,
Muslim immigrants--like immigrants in general--tended to leave
behind the high fertility rates of their home countries and had
smaller families, much like other Europeans.

"In the next generation or two, those immigrant families
increasingly look like other families," Dr. Hackett said.

The report, six years in the making, projects the change in
religious affiliation from 2010 to 2050 by region and by country.
Its projections draw on mortality and fertility rates, age
assessments and patterns of migration and religious switching. The
data came from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population
registers from all over the world.

"Wars, famines, religious revival and all kinds of things could
change the picture," Dr. Hackett said.

Demographers, religious leaders and policy makers are likely to pore
over the results, said David Voas, a professor of population studies
at the University of Essex who looks at religious trends. He has
read the report and has provided comment for its authors.

"This is the most authoritative analysis we've had at the global
level of the future of the religious population," Dr. Voas said. "It
will provide a good foundation for debates and give people a clearer
picture of what's likely to happen."

The biggest uncertainty is what will happen in China, the most
populous country, whose 1.3 billion people have a tremendous effect
on global trends. So many churches there are underground and not
approved by the government that reliable figures on religious
affiliation and switching are not available, the researchers said.

They estimated that in 2010, about 5 percent of China's population
was Christian, 18 percent was Buddhist, 22 percent practiced folk
religions and more than 50 percent had no religious affiliation. If
notable percentages of China's unaffiliated converted to
Christianity--as some religion scholars predict--the global
religious projections could change significantly.

"It's undoubtedly the case that the current government in China has
been keeping the lid on religious growth," Dr. Voas said in a
telephone interview. "If at some point in the next few decades there
are political changes in China that open up the country to more
religious freedom, I think it's not implausible that there would be
a significant growth in Christianity, in particular, but perhaps
other religious movements as well."

The shift in Christianity--from a faith identified as belonging to
white Westerners to a faith belonging to Africans, Asians and Latin
Americans in the global south--will intensify in the next 35
years, the report says.

Now, about 25 percent of the world's Christians live in sub-Saharan
Africa, a trend already affecting debates over leadership and
direction in churches such as the Roman Catholic Church, the
Anglican Communion and the United Methodist Church.

By 2050, four of 10 Christians in the world are expected to live in
sub-Saharan Africa. Even though the Muslim share of the population
there will grow slightly faster than the Christian share,
Christianity will still be the largest faith in the region and an
increasingly powerful presence globally. Already, in a historical
reverse, African churches are sending missionaries and priests to
the United States and Europe, where faith appears to be in retreat.

"I think it can only be a matter of time before we have an African
pope, because it will just seem reasonable," Dr. Voas said.
tt mailing list

[tt] NYT: Test of Strength: Fitness Apps vs. Personal Trainers

Test of Strength: Fitness Apps vs. Personal Trainers

Play Video|3:48
Workout Test: Fitness Apps vs. Trainer

Fitness apps and calorie counters like MyFitnessPal and FitStar pose
a challenge to the traditional personal trainer model, but which
stands the test of time? Molly Wood tests them out.

ACTIVITY trackers. Calorie counters. Phones with heart monitors.

Technology companies are clearly fascinated with fitness and health
these days. As technology starts pushing us to be healthier and
fitter, some apps are even trying to replace the personal trainer or
the gym entirely.

The idea is pretty simple: While personal trainers can create a safe
and effective workout, they can be expensive and sometimes
inconvenient. A fitness app, though, can travel where you are and is
relatively inexpensive--and sometimes even free.

So I spent the month of January on a personal fitness challenge,
seeing what provided a better workout: a real personal trainer or a
personal training app. And while the trainer pushed me hard and
motivated me to keep my expensive appointments, I found that the app
was best suited to my lifestyle and might have the most long-term

There are many fitness app options, and a wide range of prices.
[215]Fitness Buddy offers a huge free library of exercises, so you
can build your own workout, as well as some free and some paid
workouts for $5 a month or $30 a year.

[216]Kiqplan is a workout plan sold in stores as a $20 gift card
that unlocks a 12-week workout (choose from Slim and Trim, Beer
Belly Blaster and others). The app includes nutrition coaching,
integration with activity trackers and rewards for hitting certain

And [217]Hot5 has a collection of high-intensity five-minute
workouts that you combine into longer sessions, with nice videos
that feature a variety of trainers. It's $3 a month, or $22 a year.

But the best option I found was [218]FitStar, a free personal
trainer app. For $40 a year, you get access to more workouts. From
the apps I tried, FitStar was the closest to using an actual trainer
because it can build workouts customized to your fitness level and

The workouts range from 10 to 50 minutes, and while some apps just
have you repeat the same exercises over and over, FitStar mixes up
the exercises as you go through its programs. The workouts gradually
get harder, and you can rate each [219]exercise individually as too
easy, just right, or "brutal."

* [222]
Messaging Apps Offer Do-It-All Services in Bid for Higher Profits MAR 25
* [223]
Video Feature: Design Gains Importance as Devices Get More Personal MAR 18
* [224]
Device Syncing: Call From Computers and Text From Tablets MAR 11
* [225]
In Chase of Apple, Smartphone Makers Shift Strategies MAR 4
* [226]
The Best Cheaper Smartphones: Fewer Features, but Not by Much FEB 25

[227]See More »

So if you have strong legs, the app will quickly learn to work them
really hard. And if your upper body is relatively weak, the app
adjusts to work on those muscles, starting at a lower intensity

The founders of FitStar said they worked with [228]exercise
physiologists and personal trainers to come up with a baseline
collection of workouts. And the app uses the anonymous data
collected from all their users to adjust individual programs for
each user.

"It's not unlike video games where you have matchmaking systems for
online play, and they can pair you up with opponents at your level,"
said Mike Maser, a co-founder and the chief executive of FitStar.
"We use similar algorithms to match you up with a workout that's at
your level but pushes you just enough."

Mr. Maser said he believed "100 percent" that people could get
themselves into shape using only FitStar, but he said the app could
also be used alongside a personal trainer's regimen.

FitStar is convenient and fun to use. Workout videos are hosted and
narrated by the personable former N.F.L. player Tony Gonzalez and
feature his wife and some other athletes. (FitStar also makes a yoga
app hosted by Tara Stiles, a former model and YouTube yoga star.)

The app doesn't require weights or other equipment, which makes it
easy to use anywhere. It integrates with MyFitness Pal, which is my
favorite app for tracking calorie intake. When you perform a
workout, FitStar automatically sends the number of calories burned
to MyFitness Pal, so you know how many more you can have that day.

I noticed the progression of the workouts over the course of the
month. One downside, though, is that you can't opt to change your
fitness level after you start the program to make your workouts
significantly harder or easier. If the exercises are not intense
enough, you can only tell the app that the exercises were too easy,
and the app slowly increases the intensity the next time. And the
app can't adjust workouts for injury--a problem for me, since I
have a foot injury that limits range of motion.

By contrast, working with a trainer took me well out of my comfort
zone, protected my injury and probably produced faster results. Like
the apps, however, there are many types of trainers.

I had a personal recommendation to try Alison Roessler, who runs
[231]Truve, a private training and wellness center in Oakland,
Calif. If you don't have a recommendation that you trust, Ms.
Roessler said, a key to finding a good trainer is to ask about their
certifications and qualifications. Also, make sure the trainer
evaluates your capabilities and injuries before you start.

Ms. Roessler, an athlete who was a runner and soccer player before
she started Truve, has five nationally recognized training
certifications. She charges $100 an hour for training sessions and
said she tried to avoid repeating workouts.

Not surprisingly, the workouts with Ms. Roessler were much more
difficult than the workouts with the app--probably because I
underestimated my fitness ability when I filled in my FitStar
profile. As a result, when my trainer pushed me to try more
difficult workouts after just a few sessions, I felt a real sense of

FitStar didn't push me as far, as fast. If you were starting from
scratch and trying to get into shape with only FitStar, the results
might be slow in coming, which could cause you to get frustrated and
abandon the app.

However, convenience and price count for a lot, and in the long run,
FitStar's location-agnostic, bite-size workouts seem more feasible
than a $100-an-hour standing appointment across town.

What is not included with FitStar, however, is motivation. Several
fitness experts I talked to said that despite the success stories
trumpeted on the back of fitness DVDs and on the FitStar [232]blog,
many people lack the motivation to achieve significant results from
working out alone with an app or video.

"It's easy to break an appointment with your TV, easy to break an
appointment with your iPad," said Michael Boyle, who trains
professional athletes and others at a Boston-area strength and
conditioning center and runs the blog [233]

I skipped my workouts when I went on vacation. And long-term habits
are hard to change, with or without technology--we know that more
than [234]a third of people abandon their fitness trackers after
just a few months.

But personal trainers are simply out of reach for many people,
either because of the cost or the rigid scheduling. However, Mr.
Boyle said that small group classes had proved to be a popular
alternative to both one-on-one training and at-home workouts. The
classes combine social encouragement with the motivation of an
appointment, as well as at least some financial penalty for skipping
a workout.

So while FitStar might seem like the right solution to keep the
endorphins high and the waistline shrinking, the real test won't be
one month--it'll be two, three or four. Maybe by then I will have
dumped both the trainer and the training app for a class at
SoulCycle, the popular spinning studio, instead. Anything but the

Email:; Twitter: @mollywood



[tt] NYT: Video Feature: Custom Filters to Sift the Torrent of Technology News

Video Feature: Custom Filters to Sift the Torrent of Technology News

Play Video|1:56
App Smart | Tech News That's Easy to Use

Technological advances can now help keep us informed about the
latest technological advances. Appy Geek, PopSci and CNET all have
easy-to-use interfaces that deliver the latest in tech news.
By Kit Eaton and Dallas Jensen on Publish Date April 1, 2015.

[208]App Smart


Keeping track of the latest news about technology and devices can be
overwhelming. But many apps are built specifically to sort through
the latest tech industry innovations for you.

My favorite app is called Appy Geek. It is a news aggregator,
pulling in fresh reporting about technology from a long list of news
sites, and presenting articles in an easy-to-use interface. Appy
Geek's interface is the reason I love it, because it's so

You personalize the front page of the app by selecting categories
from a list. The articles are sorted into those categories, and the
app shows images from recent news reports on the buttons to act as a
visual aid. Each category you choose gets a labeled button along
with an image from a news article related to the topic. Tapping on a
category takes you to a list of recent articles on that topic; each
has a thumbnail image, a headline and an indication of how many
pages the content is. Tap on an article to open and view it.

[213]App Smart

A collection of "App Smart" columns published in The New York Times.

* [214]

Video Feature: Classic Board Games, Reimagined for a Mobile App World MAR
* [215]

Video Feature: Apps for Tracking Fitness and Losing Weight MAR 18
* [216]

Video Feature: Pointing the Way to Good Reads, Videos and Music MAR 11
* [217]

Aids for the Indecisive, When Options Abound MAR 4
* [218]

Video Feature: Apps for Meditation and Calming on iPhone and Android FEB

[219]See More »

The app uses intuitive navigation to help you reach your chosen
categories, and you can, of course, search for articles of interest.
One neat feature is Appy Geek's tag cloud, which is a sort of
text-based visual catalog for news categories that are trending at
the moment. If you're not obsessive about technology but still want
to keep on top of the news, the tag cloud is quite a useful way of
seeing what's generating a lot of interest.

Appy Geek is slick, easy to use and, if you set up a free account,
the service promises to get better at recommending relevant news
items to you over time. It's free for [220]iOS and [221]Android
(with a special [222]tablet-friendly version for Android to make the
most of bigger screens).

A decent alternative to Appy Geek is iGeeky, a free [223]iOS and
[224]Android app. Despite the "i" in its name, the app is more than
just a portal for Apple news.

Instead, it aggregates the latest news from a long list of
well-known tech news sources. In terms of functionality, iGeeky
feels a lot like Appy Geek, with its graphics-driven home page and
easy interface.

But iGeeky aggregates articles from one news source at a time
instead of sorting news into categories. This probably works best if
you already know which tech news websites you like to read.

If you're keen for breaking tech news, this app works well, and it's
more visually appealing to read than many rivals. IGeeky's news
sources may not be particularly diverse, though, and if you're
interested in reading hard science articles as well as news on the
latest devices, then perhaps this isn't the app for you.

Advances in technology are propelled by scientific advances, and the
PopSci app from Popular Science magazine is a handy place to keep
informed about both new scientific discoveries and devices. You can
choose to see an image-heavy list of all the content coming from
Popular Science, for example, or filter by categories like
"environment" or "gadgets."

This app is simple and clean, and the articles are served up with
PopSci's usual high quality and simplicity. Of course it presents
content only from PopSci, and the app hasn't been updated for a long
time, which may be why some reviewers complained about malfunctions,
particularly on Android. The app is free on [225]iOS and

Like Popular Science, the well-known news outlet CNET has a free
[229]Android and [230]iOS app that presents its own content in app
form. The CNET app looks great, with an emphasis on large images. It
has easy navigation through on-screen icons and swipes to scan
through articles.

This app is also not a bad place to see lots of different technology
news items and gadget reviews, but it is frequently criticized as
being buggy and having intrusive advertising. I didn't encounter
technical problems, but I did find the video ads irritating and
sometimes very loud. Turn the volume down when you view CNET in

It's also worth taking a look at Digg, which is available for both
[231]iOS and [232]Android. Digg used to be one of the premiere
online places to find breaking technology news as well as general
news, and it still thrives as a site and as an app. The app is
attractive and easy to use, and works well as a category-based
tech-news aggregator.

But Digg has been reinvented many times and has lost a lot of its
news-breaking punch. It's also text-centric, which may or may not
suit your news reading style.

Quick Call

Drupe is a new contacts app for Android that tries to solve a
21st-century problem: keeping track of which of your friends and
family you most-frequently contact over WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook
Messenger and so on. It's simple, great to use and could save you a
lot of effort. It's [233]free.



[tt] Pew Research Center: How do Americans stand out from the rest of the world?

How do Americans stand out from the rest of the world?

By George Gao

The differences between America and other nations have long been a
subject of fascination and study for social scientists, dating back
to Alexis de Tocqueville, the early 19th century French political
thinker who described the United States as "exceptional."

Nearly 200 years later, Americans' emphasis on individualism and
work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world. When
Pew Research Center surveyed people in 44 countries last spring, 57%
of Americans disagreed with the statement "Success in life is pretty
much determined by forces outside our control," a higher percentage
than most other nations and far above the global median of 38%.

Americans Stand Out on Individualism
True to the stereotype, surveys showed that Americans are more
likely to believe that hard work pays off. When asked, on a scale of
0 to 10, about how important working hard is to getting ahead in
life, 73% of Americans said it is was a "10" or "very important,"
compared with a global median of 50% among the 44 nations.

Americans also stand out for their religiosity and optimism,
especially when compared with other relatively wealthy countries.

US stands out as rich nation highly religious

In general, people in richer nations are less likely than those in
poorer nations to say religion plays a very important role in their
lives. But Americans are more likely than their counterparts in
economically advanced nations to deem religion very important. More
than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in
their lives, much higher than the share of people in Canada (24%),
Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest
economies we surveyed from 2011 through 2013.

People in richer nations tend to place less emphasis on the need to
believe in God in order to be moral and have good values than people
in poorer countries do. While the share of Americans holding that
view is far lower than in poorer nations like Indonesia and Ghana
(each 99%), the U.S. stands out when compared with people in other
economically advanced nations. In the U.S., 53% say belief in God is
a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher
than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France, according to our study
of 39 nations between 2011 and 2013.

americans are having a good day

Americans are also more upbeat than people in other wealthy nations
when asked how their day is going. While we ask this question to
help respondents get more comfortable with the interviewer,
it provides a glimpse into people's moods and reveals a slightly
negative correlation between those saying the day is a good one and
per capita gross domestic product. About four-in-ten Americans (41%)
described their day as a "particularly good day," a much higher
share than those in Germany (21%), the UK (27%) and Japan (8%).

Note: For more details on the role of religion in people's lives, by
country, see our full topline 2011-2013 findings.


1. Nope o 2 weeks ago
In the first two graphs there are dots on the right side of the
US. Who are those?

2. matt o 2 weeks ago
The difference is that while the US is "wealthy" overall,
economic inequality and uncertainty is like that of third world
countries. Coupled with a lack of social safety nets, access to
healthcare, and higher crime rates, it's no wonder the US is
extremely religious.

3. Steph o 2 weeks ago
I would have figured Canada would have a similar score to the
US. Was it not included in the study?

1. Sera o 1 week ago
They are mentioned. They are not similar in some respects.

4. [112483064694697755449?sz=36]
Erhan Sakallioglu o 2 weeks ago
My comment is on the Bravi-Pearson graph above, on the
relationship between religiousness and wealth... The most
civilized people live in China, Czech Republic, Japan, and
France... They are the ones who are the least affected by
religion! As for the relationship between religion and income:
it is totally deceptive, because there is not a direct
correlation between GDP per capita and the real living standards
of a nation...

5. Thomas R o 2 weeks ago
Hmm other sources put Greece about the same as the US on
religiosity. Cyprus and Malta are, more or less, modern nations
that often come out more religious than the US. But not studied
Also what is that nation higher on "Success in life is pretty
much determined by forces outside our control"? I can't seem to
find what it is, but there is a dot there beyond the US.

6. TB o 2 weeks ago
I read an article recently about how happy liberals are compared
to conservatives. Conservatives self-reported that they were
happy at a higher rate than did liberals, but the answers to the
survey questions revealed that to be incorrect. The researchers
speculated that the reason conservatives self-reported at a
higher rate was their tendency for self-aggrandizement, among
other things, whereas liberals were more realistic. So, if this
is true, given that other wealthy, developed nations are more
liberal than the US, it stands to reason that they have a lower
happiness rate than the US, not because they are unhappy, but
because they are more realistic and aware of the world around

1. Sera o 1 week ago
I read that, too. Liberals were more satisfied and
Conservative more happy.
Maybe because liberals practice more meditation and yoga to
help them accept their more impoverished state? And
conservatives feign happiness as a superficial facade to go
with their "all about the image" and wealthy lifestyle?
See how I slammed both? I'm non-partisan. (We need a 3rd
party in the US.)

2. SCAQTony o 2 days ago
No political party, religion, gender or race has a monopoly
on happiness.

7. Denny o 2 weeks ago
These results don't really surprise me at all!! Having lived in
Europe twice for 4 years in two decades, it was very interesting
to watch how people inter acted with me among them !! I lived in
England on my first trip from '90 to '94, and the British told
me that Americans were easy to spot because: our hair cuts were
different, us Yanks took bigger strides when walking and carried
our selves with a good share of confidence !! As visitors go,
they found us much easier to get along with compared with the
French or Germans! Northern Italy was my next European home from
2000 to 2004, the Italians thought we Americans had to have the
best on offer, they felt we lived like the characters on Dallas!
They felt the same way as the British about our looks and the
way we carried our selves!! They felt we were much better guest
than the Germans & French also!! The Italians love jobs that
involves putting them in uniform!!

8. Dude o 2 weeks ago
Regardless of the findings, I always find it interesting that
charts like the ones above usually place the USA (which is
around 10th place) as the richest country while ignoring the
ones that are richer. If it makes Americans feel better to think
they're on top...

1. Sera o 1 week ago
Yes, I'm sure an American Superiority group funded this Pew
research. /s

9. Sean McVay o 2 weeks ago
George, why were Canada and Australia not included in the 'Good
Day' chart? I'd see them as the two most relevant and
significant comparisons to the U.S.

1. George Gao o 2 weeks ago
Hi Sean, thanks for the comment, and good observation. The
decision was more of a practical one than an editorial one.
We were only able to include the 'Good Day' data for
countries where we surveyed and asked that question in
2014, the most recent year available. The religion scatter
plot includes countries where we most recently asked that
specific religion question (from 2011 to 2013). I hope that

10. Brandon o 2 weeks ago
Dee, I disagree.
look at our counter parts that have the same freedoms we have.
Germany has to be in their basement before they can smile. The
UK can't go 5 minutes with out complaining about something. Your
argument really doesn't hold water. t believe this leftist view
you have is destroying what is great about our country.
Democracy and freedom are two great things. God cannot be denied
when you follow his fundamental truths. To the countries that
struggle continuously.. don't blame the USA for that. Blame
corruption with their governments. I am sure if they were
allies' to this country, they would reap the benefits.. "SEE
JAPAN" for example.

11. Rocky o 3 weeks ago
Who did you vote for? Let me guess! So sorry you have to live in
such an oppressive country that steals all the worlds oil and
produces nothing.

12. Nicholas o 3 weeks ago
It appears that the "upbeat" data set is incomplete, with the
omission of Canada and Australia. Perhaps this omission is also
a type exceptionalism?

13. Geo123 o 3 weeks ago
Work will be done by very few in 15years time. Robots will be a
on call 24 seven. There will be a major lower social class a
small middle class and a elite corporate class. Government will
be the puppets of the elite due to the non existing tax base A
weakened justice and law systems will not represent the people.
Work will mean very little and most nation will need to rethink
what kind of society they will live in and belong too. Think and
pause ! Why go to school or uni if you cannot envisage any
career or employment. No money, little else left. Great minds,
you and me must start confronting what future we create. For
better or worse.

14. Shawn o 3 weeks ago
This is an interesting analysis but I can't help but to notice
that many countries are missing from the study.
I agree with the general findings in this study about American
perception of the world. The optimism and the work ethic are
definitely consistent with what I observed in the 10 years I
lived there.
It also highlights the bubble that Americans live in. I think
the whole economic system is no longer a meritocracy. Income
inequality is rising, and as recent socio-political events such
as Ferguson, the New York police events, etc. show - events
outside our control (being born into a certain racial background
or sexual orientations or etc) have a large impact on our social
mobility and perceptions of us as people.
Furthermore, just as an evidence of how hard work does NOT
always mean success - scientific researchers are working
> 60h/week to produce technologies and solutions that help
improve society, and yet are generally compensated terribly and
even face budget cuts, while sports stars make millions to play
their sport on national TV.
These are just some examples. I started my life in Asia, and
attracted by articles such as these touting America's
awesomeness, I have to admit I've been disgusted by my
experience in the US. I don't really see why America is awesome.
I've moved back out and I am really happy I did.

15. Donna o 3 weeks ago
I would like to see the same question posed but substituting
spiritual for religious.
If this change were made, then you would have a more global
universe, ie., including India as a country for example.
I suppose "spiritual" is a more nebulous concept, nonetheless I
think it is a more relevant measure than "religious" per se.

16. KENNETH E PENMAN o 3 weeks ago
After living in Europe and Latin countries for more than 20
years since 1974 I have come to one main conclusion and it is
that the rest of the world works to live, while the US lives to
work. Granted, the US is the engine that runs 24/7/365 but do
really need grocery stores, pharmacies and many other types of
business to be open non-stop? Is it so wrong to ask people to
make arrangements/plans to have sufficient supplies that will
last from Friday to Monday...or at least not necessary that
business be open on Sunday?
Non-US friends (I refrain from saying Americans because
Canadians and Mexicans are Americans, as well. North Americans.)
have told me that "you Americans are just big kids that live in
Disneyland all the time". And I suppose we are. But that
innocence is slowly being eroded away...whether from the outside
or self-imposed by world events.
As I said, I have lived in other countries and it is not an
ordeal or major sacrifice to NOT shop on Sundays.
Oh, yeah. I think buildings need a day off, too.

17. Will Eng o 3 weeks ago
Maybe this shows Americans have difficulty understanding survey
questions. Or they do not live in the "real" world and believe
the fantasy of the American media.

18. [picture?width=36&height=36]
Donald Frazell o 3 weeks ago
Polls i have seen have consistently put the US behind most ot
her Western nations in the happiness index, so this does not
compute or people need to ask better questions.

19. Jonathan o 3 weeks ago
Pew, I certainly enjoy your surveys, and this is interesting.
However I would have more been more interested to see an income
inequity/religion relationship and good day/income inequity

20. Wow o 3 weeks ago
They are the chosen ones!

21. Carlito234 o 3 weeks ago
Why doesn't CNN put THIS guy on every night?

22. Muthyavan. o 3 weeks ago
Beside hard work, interligion plays an important place in each
individuals success in life. Many hard working individuals end
up in repeated failures in life, because they couldn't accept
and find the right way toward success in life.

23. Bill dunlap o 3 weeks ago
Good job!

24. Dee Pierson o 3 weeks ago
Given the long hours of grueling work too many peoples endure
just to get food to mouth, it is not surprising that they do not
see hard work as a path to any success beyond painful survival.
That many other developing countries recognize this reality in
their own responses only serves to highlight how clueless we
Americans are about global conditions. This is especially
egregious given that our way of life relies as much on the
oppression of other people as it does on our self-acclaimed work
ethic. Think oil, minerals and the world market for our weapons.
Despite the good we do - and we do try, with near schizophrenic
sincerity - these realities remain.

1. pat o 3 weeks ago
I am thankful everyday that I live in the USA. It's the
best place in the world to live. Despite what you say, this
country has given much time, talent and treasure to the
rest of the world in it's short existence. Yes, this
country is truly exceptional.

2. Sera o 1 week ago
Um, the study does show that Americans believe hard work
pays off...contrary to your first few sentences. Read the

25. Jacqueline Taylor o 3 weeks ago
Our unique outlook and work ethic draw people from all over the
world. My grandparents at the beginning of the 20th century all
came here to become part of our culture and did achieve that.
Now people want to come here and change our way of operating to
become more like the countries they left so they can operate
like they did in their homelands. If that is what they want, why
did they leave? I truly believe that our cultural uniqueness is
being undermined by other cultures attempt to change us. I have
no objection to any culture coming to our country, but why do we
need to change to accommodate others when they choose to live

1. Adolfo o 2 weeks ago
Brava! So tired of self-loathing Americans.

26. Jaylani Adam o 3 weeks ago
I am amazed that graphs that talks about less religious nations
are wealthy nations, doesn't say about that some wealthy nations
are religious like Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

1. Jim Beard o 3 weeks ago
A quick glance failed to find either Saudi Arabia or Iran
among the countries surveyed.
I speculate conducting surveys is easier in some countries
than others.
As a side note, idiomatic wording/meaning of the questions
is very important in surveys especially of the "personal
opinion" type. Controlling for that can be very difficult,
and may bias the result for some countries on some measures
quite dramatically.

1. TB o 2 weeks ago
"Wealthy nations" generally means developed or "first
world" nations. It does not include countries like
Saudi Arabia or the other gulf states. You are
correct, though, it's probably not very feasible to
conduct surveys in some countries.

27. RJ o 3 weeks ago
Sometimes stereotypes are being supported by research findings!

28. Don McDougall o 3 weeks ago
What happened to Canada, Australia, and the UK in the "Good Day"

1. George Gao o 2 weeks ago
Hi Don. We were only able to include the 'Good Day' data
for countries where we surveyed and asked that question in
2014, the most recent year available. The religion scatter
plot includes countries where we most recently asked that
specific religion question (from 2011 to 2013). Thanks for
reading, and I hope that addresses your question.

29. [103188524005280519478?sz=36]
Jesper Angelo o 3 weeks ago
I wonder what the graph would look like, if you calculated the
it based on the wealth of the lower 90% of the population.

1. [picture?width=24&height=24]
David Brian Durrett o 3 weeks ago
Assuming that the sampling method used by Pew is properly
randomized, one would likely get similar results with a
stratified sample excluding the wealthiest 10%. Random
sampling is intended to accurately reflect opinions within
a population. Removing 10% wouldn't likely change the
outcome drastically. This is especially true considering
the questions appear be ordinal so we're not averaging
responses that might get unfairly weighted by outlying

30. Tom o 3 weeks ago
Looks like we are "exceptional".

1. GY o 2 weeks ago
I'm not American but i feel that this article is very
useful and reasonable for my life improvement.
Your attitude is a little bit awry.
You can get a good thing and throw a bad thing from this

31. cs o 3 weeks ago
Pew, like most Americans, focuses on Europe for highlighted
comparisons and mostly ignores the two nations it shares
physical borders with.

1. Chris Pine o 3 weeks ago
Ms., Dennison, perhaps it is because Mr. Knausgaard refers
to identical things, not people. Toilet paper is toilet
paper. Apparently well-regarded in the rather homogeneous
world of Scandinavia, Your use of him as an observer on
American norms is somewhat ironic in that he has made his
regional fame on self-absorbed autobiographies discussing
his poor relations with others, and an apparently skewed
sense of what individualism is...

32. Susan Dennison o 3 weeks ago
A quote from Karl Ove Knausgaard that appeared in a recent
article in the The New York Times Magazine: "I had never really
understood how a nation that so celebrated the individual could
obliterate all differences the way this country did. In a system
of mass production, the individual workers are replaceable and
the products are identical. The identical cars are followed by
identical gas stations, identical restaurants, identical motels
and, as an extension of these, by identical TV screens, which
hang everywhere in this country, broadcasting identical
entertainment and identical dreams." It gives one pause to think
why we value individualism.

1. Roger o 3 weeks ago
Well said. And it is also true that when asked to rank
their prformamce on standardised tests, Americans tend to
mark themselves highest in subjects like Math/Science when,
in fact, they are almost always in the botom quartile.
Proving once again just believing it doesn't make it true.

2. Craig Meono o 3 weeks ago
We value individualism despite our identical things exactly
because we're exceptional to the rest of the world
(especially Europe). We understand one thing above all -
it's not the things that make us individuals, it's the
individuals that make the things.
"Identical" gas stations and restaurants that make more or
less profit not just on location or quality of food, but on
the people actually doing the work. 2 identical diners, one
with great service, one with bleh... Which one makes more
money? Europe gets the idea, but doesn't cherish it the way
we do. Our fate is in our own hands.
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[tt] NYT: Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research

Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research

By Anahad O'Connor

Fish oil is now the third most widely used dietary supplement in the
United States, after vitamins and minerals, according to a recent
report from the National Institutes of Health. At least 10 percent
of Americans take fish oil regularly, most believing that the
omega-3 fatty acids in the supplements will protect their
cardiovascular health.

But there is one big problem: The vast majority of clinical trials
involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of
heart attack and stroke.

From 2005 to 2012, at least two dozen rigorous studies of fish oil
were published in leading medical journals, most of which looked at
whether fish oil could prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk
populations. These were people who had a history of heart disease or
strong risk factors for it, like high cholesterol, hypertension or
Type 2 diabetes.

All but two of these studies found that compared with a placebo,
fish oil showed no benefit.

And yet during this time, sales of fish oil more than doubled, not
just in the United States but worldwide, said Andrew Grey, an
associate professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New
Zealand and the author of a 2014 study on fish oil in JAMA Internal

"There's a major disconnect," Dr. Grey said. "The sales are going up
despite the progressive accumulation of trials that show no effect."

In theory at least, there are good reasons that fish oil should
improve cardiovascular health. Most fish oil supplements are rich in
two omega-3 fatty acids--eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)--that can have a blood-thinning effect,
much like aspirin, that may reduce the likelihood of clots. Omega-3s
can also reduce inflammation, which plays a role in atherosclerosis.
And the Food and Drug Administration has approved at least three
prescription types of fish oil--Vascepa, Lovaza and a generic form
--for the treatment of very high triglycerides, a risk factor for
heart disease.

But these properties of omega-3 fatty acids have not translated into
notable benefits in most large clinical trials.

Some of the earliest enthusiasm for fish oil goes back to research
carried out in the 1970s by the Danish scientists Dr. Hans Olaf Bang
and Dr. Jorn Dyerberg, who determined that Inuits living in northern
Greenland had remarkably low rates of cardiovascular disease, which
they attributed to an omega-3-rich diet consisting mainly of fish,
seal and whale blubber. Dr. George Fodor, a cardiologist at the
University of Ottawa, outlined flaws in much of this early research,
and he concluded that the rate of heart disease among the Inuit was
vastly underestimated. But the halo effect around fish oils

The case for fish oil was bolstered by several studies from the
1990s, including an Italian study that found that heart attack
survivors who were treated with a gram of fish oil daily had a drop
in mortality, compared with patients taking vitamin E. These
findings prompted groups like the American Heart Association to
endorse fish oil about a decade ago as a way for heart patients to
get more omega-3s in their diets.

"But since then, there has been a spate of studies showing no
benefit," said Dr. James Stein, the director of preventive
cardiology at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Among
them was a clinical trial of 12,000 people, published in The New
England Journal of Medicine in 2013, that found that a gram of fish
oil daily did not reduce the rate of death from heart attacks and
strokes in people with evidence of atherosclerosis.

"I think that the era of fish oil as medication could be considered
over now," said the study's lead author, Dr. Gianni Tognoni of the
Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan.

Dr. Stein said the early fish oil studies took place in an era when
cardiovascular disease was treated very differently than it is
today, with far less use of statins, beta blockers, blood thinners
and other intensive therapies. So the effect of fish oil, even if it
were minor, he said, would have been more noticeable.

"The standard of care is so good today that adding something as
small as a fish oil capsule doesn't move the needle of difference,"
he said. "It's hard to improve it with an intervention that's not
very strong."

Dr. Stein also cautions that fish oil can be hazardous when combined
with aspirin or other blood thinners. "Very frequently we find
people taking aspirin or a 'super aspirin' and they're taking fish
oil, too, and they're bruising very easily and having nosebleeds,"
he said. "And then when we stop the fish oil, it gets better."

Like many cardiologists, Dr. Stein encourages his patients to avoid
fish oil supplements and focus instead on eating fatty fish at least
twice a week, in line with federal guidelines on safe fish intake,
because fish contains a variety of healthful nutrients other than
just EPA and DHA. "We don't recommend fish oil unless someone gets
absolutely no fish in their diets," Dr. Stein said.

But some experts say the case for fish oil remains open. Dr. JoAnn
Manson, the chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston, said the large clinical trials of fish oil
focused only on people who already had heart disease or were at very
high risk. Fish oil has also been promoted for the prevention of a
variety of other conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer's and

Dr. Manson is leading a five-year clinical trial, called the Vital
study, of 26,000 people who are more representative of the general
population. Set to be completed next year, it will determine whether
fish oil and vitamin D, separately or combined, have any effect on
the long-term prevention of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and
other diseases in people who do not have many strong risk factors.

Dr. Manson says that although she recommends eating fatty fish
first, she usually does not stop people from taking fish oil, in
part because it does not seem to have major side effects in
generally healthy people.

"But I do think people should realize that the jury is still out,"
she said, "and that they may be spending a lot of money on these
supplements without getting any benefit."
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[tt] NYT: Modern Explorers Seek a Place in a GPS World

Modern Explorers Seek a Place in a GPS World


Eric Larsen seemed ill at ease in his tuxedo. He is more inclined to
trudge across an ice shelf than mingle at a fancy party in
Manhattan. Yet here he was, in black tie, nibbling on canapés at the
American Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Larsen came to this event because of how he makes a living. It's
printed on his business card: Explorer. He had trekked to New York
City from his home in Boulder, Colo., for his profession's version
of the Oscars: the Explorers Club Annual Dinner and awards.

More than a thousand people joined him this month for the four-hour
soiree beneath the museum's fiberglass blue whale. Among them were
astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, astronomers like Neil deGrasse Tyson,
and a panoply of others who make a point of seeking thrills and
seeking knowledge, in varying proportions.

Founded in 1904, the Explorers Club is an international society
dedicated to promoting field research and "preserving the instinct
to explore." Among its early members were the first humans to visit
the North Pole, the South Pole, the summit of Mount Everest and the
surface of the moon.

Theodore Roosevelt joined the club in 1915; at this year's dinner,
there was a look-alike in safari gear, hired by the hosts. But as
this ghost of expeditions past bushwhacked through guests in evening
wear, a less intrepid spirit came to mind--not exploration, but

For all the triumphs of the past, today's explorers face a daunting
prospect: Our maps are fully drawn, and there is not much left for
them to do. We may still search the ocean floors and rappel into
uncharted caves, but it is hard to shake the feeling that these
expeditions are not fundamental. It's like we are dabbing with a
napkin at the few blank spots in the atlas.

The "instinct to explore" may still persist, but it's lost its whiff
of derring-do--more pickled than preserved. Do we really need
explorers now, in the age of Google Maps?

The Explorer Club's departing president, Alan H. Nichols, believes
we do. "This is the golden age of exploration," he said in a meeting
at the club's headquarters on the Upper East Side. Members come here
to drink whiskey and host lectures amid the mounted tusks, sleds and
axes. Some of Roosevelt's trophies decorate the rooms.

In addition to his administrative duties, Mr. Nichols, 85, has been
working on a project to find the tomb of Ghengis Khan. "They've been
looking for the tomb for 750 years, and they haven't found him," Mr.
Nichols said. "But we'll find him. Why? Because we've got
underground-penetrating X-rays, we've got drones, we've got
magnetometry. We've got all this stuff that explorers haven't had

But the growth of new technology poses problems for one of the
club's most cherished precepts--that exploration means adventure
in the field, carried out by visionary risk-takers. These days, many
of our most thrilling expeditions are made remotely, using robot
arms and sensors, and in place of legendary ship-captains and
mountaineers--think of Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary--
we have expansive teams of scientists and engineers. When NASA sends
up rovers to study the Martian surface, they are controlled by
committee in Pasadena, Calif.

It's hard to say if these men and women are explorers in the classic

"Their psychological experience is of being there," said Bill
Clancey, a cognitive scientist who embedded with the Mars
Exploration Rover mission in February 2004. He remembers sitting in
a dark room, with heavy shades drawn across the windows so the
researchers could match their schedules to the days and nights of a
planet 140 million miles away.

As the team sent commands up to the rovers, he said, the scientists
built up a mental map of where they were. "They know what's around
the bend and what's behind them. These are real experiences, the
experiences of real explorers."

It is easy to mistake the robots for explorers, Dr. Clancey said,
even though they're just elaborate tools. Yet even in Pasadena,
there was uncertainty about who or what, exactly, was behind the
work. In one of the NASA team's first published science papers, the
action was described in different ways: "We drove Spirit," the
authors wrote, and then later, "Spirit drove away."

The Explorers Club has grappled with these confusing, modern
expeditions by honoring the scientists in charge. Not everyone
agrees with their inclusion, though.

Mr. Nichols caught some flack, he said, for offering Elon Musk a
special honor at last year's annual dinner. "Explorers were coming
to me and saying, 'It's ridiculous to call him an explorer.'"

Mr. Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, has helped
to foster journeys into space, but he has not gone on trips himself.

There are some places on Earth where exploration in the classic mode
still seems viable, and where the issues are not quite so vexed.
This year, the club honored a caver named C. William Steele, who was
about to set off to spelunk in Huautla, Mexico, the site of the
deepest cave system in the Western Hemisphere.

Mr. Steele takes biologists along on his expeditions, à la Darwin on
the Beagle, and his teams have found cave-adapted species of
tarantulas. There is no way to do this work with robots, he told the
dinner guests. "It's the purest form of exploration: You don't know
until you go."

For most other projects, though, the definitions are less clear.
Even in the realm of deep-sea exploration--among the last
frontiers of unmapped Earth--work has been distributed, and now
scientists on shore can dial in to missions in the field.

The whole idea of exploration "will get redefined over and over
again, and it will continue to trouble people," said Rosalind
Williams, a historian of science at M.I.T. and the author of "The
Triumph of Human Empire." Even in the 19th century, she said, people
understood that "the end was in sight." They felt a new age coming,
one in which humans dominate the planet, for better and for worse.

For some self-described explorers, this has meant turning inward.

"It's about the story that I'm telling," Mr. Larsen, the Colorado
explorer, said at the dinner. He makes a living finding sponsors for
his polar expeditions, but he does not promise travel to new places.
Instead, he finds a way to fill the old ones with a novel set of
meanings. A few years ago, he tried to reach the South Pole ... on a

"At this point, it's not so much about 'I did this,'" Mr. Larsen
said. "It's how I did it."

[tt] Economist: Amazon's next move: From books to builders

Amazon's next move: From books to builders|newe|30-03-2015|NA

Mar 30th 2015

HAS Amazon ever seen a market it did not want to enter? The internet
behemoth started by selling books, before becoming a retailer for
everything from art supplies to zombie-survival kits. It went on to
branch out into e-readers, cloud computing and tablet computers, and
now even makes its own nappies. On March 30th it announced its
latest move: an expansion into the booming "on-demand" economy, in
the form of Amazon Home Services, a marketplace that connects
customers with nearby builders, plumbers, mechanics, music teachers
and even goat grazers in several American cities.

Amazon has been testing a version of the service, under the name
Amazon Local Services, in a handful of cities since late 2014. But
it has now expanded coverage to 41 states, with the aim of offering
good coverage in America's 30 largest metropolitan areas. Just as
Amazon tries to take the hassle out of buying goods, it now hopes to
do the same for services, by closely vetting providers and
standardising offerings so that prices can be agreed in advance.
Amazon will take a cut of the resulting fee, and may also benefit
indirectly: people may be more likely to buy a household appliance
or electrical fitting, for example, if they can easily arrange to
have it installed too.

With this latest launch, Amazon expands into territory currently
dominated by listings websites such as Craigslist, Angie's List and
Yelp. Its success is by no means assured. Not all of its moves into
new areas go well: its smartphone, the Fire, was a flop. But its
willingness to enter unexpected new markets is one of its greatest
strengths: it refuses to be constrained by internal or external
perceptions of what industry it is in. Some critics worry that it
has over-diversified. But Amazon, whose technology chief, Werner
Vogels, was recently mocked when he described the firm (without
irony) as "a 20-year-old startup", is still in land-grab mode--as
today's move demonstrates.
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