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The Atlantic
4 min read
Self-Improvement

Why Americans Smile So Much

On Reddit forums that ask “What’s a dead giveaway that someone is American?” one trait comes up over and over again: big, toothy grins. Here’s how one Reddit user in Finland put it: When a stranger on the street smiles at you: a. you assume he is drunk b. he is insane c. he’s an American Last year, I wrote about why some countries seem to smile less than average—and mistrust those who do seem unusually peppy. A country’s level of instability, that study found, might be why people who seem happy for no reason in, say, Russia, are considered foolish. But there’s an interesting line of research t
Popular Science
3 min read

Climate Change Might Literally Keep Us Up At Night

No rest for the wicked. Pixabay During October, 2015, it was abnormally hot in San Diego. Daytime temperatures soared into the high 90s, and evenings were only modestly cooler. Night after night, the heat kept Nick Obradovich awake. His friends and colleagues were having the same experience, sleepless at night, lethargic and grumpy during the day. “Clearly the heat was taking a toll,” he said. “It was just too hot to sleep.” After several nights of tossing and turning, Obradovich — who studies how people interact with climate — decided he would investigate how global warming will impact sleep
The Atlantic
10 min read
Self-Improvement

The Virtues of Boredom

Boredom is in many ways an emotion of absence. The absence of stimulation, of interest, of excitement. But as Mary Mann reveals in her new book, Yawn: Adventures in Boredom, what’s lacking when we feel bored is often something much deeper than entertainment. She writes about her “fear that there was no overarching purpose for my time,” how boredom can paper over feelings of powerlessness or meaninglessness. It’s easier to label that itchy sensation “boredom” than it is to consider the feeling one gets sometimes that the train of life is stopped on its tracks, that the narrative is going nowher
  • audiobook
Alex K., Scribd Editor
From the Editors

Unconventional, pragmatic advice…

The book flies in the face of so much conventional self-help wisdom that it’s hard not to label the book as anti-self-help. And yet, that label undermines how pragmatic the book actually is. In the overcrowded, oversaturated, over-clichéd self-help genre, this is is a book well worth whatever f*cks you can muster.