Doctors in Scotland Can Now Prescribe Nature – World Economic Forum, October 15, 2018
Since early October, doctors in Shetland, Scotland, have been authorized to prescribe nature to their patients. It’s thought to be the first program of its kind in the UK and seeks to reduce blood pressure and anxiety and increase happiness for those with diabetes, mental illness, stress, heart disease and more. The evidence for the benefits of nature on mental and physical health is powerful: it reduces blood pressure, anxiety, and increases happiness, and reduces aggression, ADHD symptoms, improves pain control and the immune system.
Americans Spend $70 Billion on Pets, and That Money Could Do More Good – The Conversation, October 15, 2018
“Pet wellness” is a fast-growing industry, booming in many countries around the world. This year, pet spending in the US will exceed $72 billion, while, by 2019, the Chinese are forecast to spend about $2.6 billion on their pets—a 50 percent increase from 2016. This article focuses on the ethics of spending on pets “wellbeing,” grappling with questions of right and wrong. Utilitarianism, in particular, has a lot to say about how other sentient beings should be treated and how resources ought to be distributed among them.
What Do We Actually Know about the Risks of Screen Time and Digital Media? – Ars Technica, October 17, 2018
Some tentative links are in place, but many crucial details remain fuzzy.
People Are Confused About the Usefulness of Buying Fancy Things – The Atlantic, September 27, 2018
Luxury goods don’t impress but repel! Recent research suggests that conspicuous consumption can temporarily increase one’s self-esteem, but it does not impress potential friends. Status does not attract new friends because people, when looking for friends, don’t like feeling inadequate.
Finally, A Cure for Insomnia? – The Guardian, September 14, 2018
We are living through an epidemic of sleeplessness, but the medical establishment has largely ignored the problem. A radical new therapy pioneered at a London clinic is seeing remarkable results: it’s a five-week program that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with something they call “sleep efficiency training.”
A Striking Stat:
Young people between 16 and 24 experience loneliness more often and intensely than any age group. Two in five people aged 16–24 report feeling lonely often/very often vs. 29 percent of people aged 65–74 or 27 percent of those 75 or older.
Source: Survey by BBC Radio and the Wellcome Trust, October 2018