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Happiness is ... Making More Money than The Next Guy

KOMPAS.com - One key to happiness might be whether you make more than your peers, regardless of whether that income is six figures or just a mediocre take-home, a new study finds.

This concept of "doing better than the Joneses" is well established among children: A toy gets ditched as soon as a shinier toy in the hands of another child is spotted. But some researchers have often thought that when it comes to adults and money, things works differently, in that the more money one has, regardless of how it stacks up, the more resources can be acquired to generate happiness.

However, the new study suggests income and happiness are indeed like child's play.

We tend to be happy "as long as we've got more than the people around us," said study researcher Christopher Boyce in the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick in England. "You might buy a new car. But if your neighbor has just bought the very same car, that new car doesn't seem as good as it once was if you were the only one to have that car."

I make more than you do...

Past research has suggested that income rank, not just absolute income, is important, but previous large-scale studies looked only at satisfaction with economic conditions rather than overall life satisfaction, the researchers say.

Boyce and his colleagues used data collected between 1997 and 2004 in the British Household Panel Survey, in which more than 80,000 participants rated how dissatisfied or satisfied they were with their life overall. Household incomes were adjusted for regional differences in living costs and for number of individuals in a household. The resulting figure represented the amount of spending power a person would have.

Then, they took the ranked position of each person's income within the entire sample in a given year and compared it with the individual's absolute income. Statistical tests were run to determine how that rank predicated a person's life satisfaction. While a person's life satisfaction went up with higher absolute pay, when ranked income was taken into account, the absolute numbers were no longer linked to happiness levels.

Then the researchers grouped participants and compared their income with various reference groups, including geographical region, gender and education, and age, as people might do in real life. In each case, incomes were ranked relative to that particular reference group. Again, a person's life satisfaction was mostly explained by income rank within each peer group.

They also found that people are 1.75 times more likely to compare themselves to those above them in income than to those below.

That makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, because it would behoove someone to gather information about the higher-ups in order to improve oneself to ultimately get there, Boyce explained. "But that results in low satisfaction with your current standing," he added.

Happy nations

The results could explain why as national economies grow, average happiness levels haven't followed suit. "It's about having more than everyone else," Boyce said, "which is why our nations are not increasing in happiness on average."

Even if a nation's financial waistline bulges, that doesn't mean the individuals within that economy will become happier. There's only one guy at the top.

"Our study underlines concerns regarding the pursuit of economic growth. There are fixed amounts of rank in society - only one individual can be the highest earner," Boyce and his colleagues write in a recent online edition of the journal Psychological Science. "Thus, pursuing economic growth, although it remains a key political goal, might not make people any happier."

Boyce figures the study results can be explained by status, and all things associated with being "better than," including the best mates.

"Biologically, people are going to be more attracted to people at the top of the social hierarchy," Boyce told LiveScience.

US moots official data 'YouTube'


By Chris Vallance
BBC News
 
The US technology chief has called on developers to build the "YouTube" of government data.

Vivek Kundra told the BBC that he envisaged a world where anyone could "slice and dice" government information and share their results.
Mr Kundra is in charge of the US data.gov website, which gives citizens access to reams of official statistics.
People can use the data to create mashups and web applications to reveal new patterns and carry out analysis.
"Imagine a world where you have a YouTube for data where anyone of us could slice and dice this data and share it with our family, friends and policymakers", he said.
He envisaged that the tool would allow anyone to explore data and see whether it was relevant to them at a local, national or global scale.

'Careful use'

Data.gov is part of President Barack Obama's larger push to make the US government more open and transparent.
For example, it has just launched Opinion Space - a website where people around the globe can submit their thoughts on US foreign policy.
Data.gov was launched in May 2009 by Mr Kundra in an effort to "unlock" the vast databases of information held by the US government.
It holds information on everything from agriculture and education to budgets and crime statistics.

A season of reports exploring the extraordinary power of the internet, including:
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  • "Consider how much data the government has," Mr Kundra said.
    "By democratising we put information in the hands of citizens so that they can make better decisions and fundamentally change the way we deliver services."
    The idea has been criticised by some who feel that government could better use its resources to provide accessible, understandable information for everyone, rather than a raw data stream for developers.
    Initially, it was also criticised for only holding a limited number of data sets, many of which were already available. But steadily, the number is growing.
    This was in part, Mr Kundra said, because the project had involved a major cultural change for the agencies that had previously held the data.
    "We also have to be mindful that in no way do we violate the privacy of the people that we serve or national security for that matter."
    'Unimagined change'
    It currently has 1,276 sets which have been downloaded 25,618 times in the last week. The number of apps using the data is also increasing.
    Mr Kundra highlighted an iPhone app built to allow people to search for product recalls, using data from the Consumer Protection Safety Commission.
    He said "contests and challenges" were being run to encourage more apps to be built.
    "We've seen the army, for example, issue a challenge called apps for the army," he said.
    He said the opening up of government data had the potential to create new jobs and new industries.
    "I would argue that in the same way websites may have been a novel concept in the early days of the internet, what we are seeing today is the emergence of government as a platform, and now you'll see innovation happen on top of that.
    "New businesses will be created that we cannot imagine today. New services will be deployed and the public will have greater transparency to participate in the democratic institutions in ways that they could have never imagined before."
    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/8576891.stm

    Published: 2010/03/20 00:04:12 GMT

    © BBC MMX

    Indonesia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup bid ends

    Indonesia are out of the running to host the 2022 World Cup, football's governing body Fifa has said.
    Fifa announced that Indonesia were no longer a candidate as they had failed to provide government guarantees.
    "The government said their main concern was the people of the country and they would not support the bid," said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke.
    Meanwhile, a move to impose an eight-year limit on the office of Fifa president has been heavily defeated.
    Asian federation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam had proposed the limit from 2011 onwards at the Fifa executive committee meeting in Zurich, but the motion was rejected by 15 votes to five with one abstention.
    606: DEBATE
    Fifa president Sepp Blatter is currently in his third term in office.
    Indonesia was considered to be an outsider of the 11 original candidates which applied to host the tournament in 2018 or 2022.
    Organisers of the bid had pledged to build seven new stadiums with matches to be played in 11 cities.
    "[The government's] main concern is to develop the country and they will not support the bid committee as much as Fifa requested," added Valcke.
    "We have informed Indonesia that because they have failed to provide a number of documents and guarantees, Indonesia is not any more a candidate for 2022."
    England now faces competition from Australia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands/Belgium, Russia, Spain/Portugal and the United States in its bid to host the prestigious World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
    Qatar and South Korea are bidding to host the 2022 competition only.

    Source : BBC Sport


    Dear Indonesian people,

    Please be patient, do not act over. What you did last day, when you made chaos in a Football game when you were watch the game. You were throw something to another fansclub, fight, destroy anything that was passed you by. We should shame, we should learn, how could this happen to us, please be patient, and remain calm (do not get to emotional).

    Minefield - an Advanced Browser from mozilla

    Dear Readers..

    Today I came Up with something NEW.

    I will share a browser that 15% Faster than Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. My new thing is with Minefield, from Mozilla. Okay, so Minefield is essentially an early build of the next version of Firefox. But the latest version has a drastically improved Javascript engine under the hood. Is it fast? Let me tell you - it's crazy fast. In fact, Ars Technica is reporting that Minefield is 10% faster than Google Chrome.



    Faster than Chrome, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and oh - it supports your Firefox add-ins, as long as you're willing to force compatibility using Nightly Tester Tools. Minefield is an alpha release, so it's likely to still be buggy. So far I've been lucky though; all of the add-ins that I've activated have worked fine right out of the gate.

    Let me guess, you're in love now too, eh? Well, there's more than enough Minefield to go around. Go get some. Minefield, that is.

    You can Download MINEFIELD. By Click Here.
     

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