1. Looking at cute animals makes you more productive.
A 2012 study found that viewing pictures of puppies and kittens made subjects significantly better at a motor dexterity task, as well as a task that involved searching for numbers. So clearly looking at cute animals on the internet makes you better at your job.
4. Generous people live longer.
A five-year study concluded this year found that people who gave to others were hardier than those who were stingy. Said the study author, “we found that when dealing with stressful situations, those who had helped others during the previous year were less likely to die than those who had not helped others.”
5. And being generous might make you sexier.
At least if you date women. In one study, women ranked behavior like donating blood and volunteering high on the list of things they look for in a partner. Guys may know this, at least subconsciously — another study found they donate more money when attractive women are around.
6. The hole in the ozone layer is smaller than ever.
Measurements made last year found the hole smaller than it had been in ten years, suggesting that bans on chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer, are working. As the ozone layer repairs itself, the planet will be better protected from ultraviolet radiation, which means lower cancer risk for humans.
7. Bald eagles are back!
Habitat destruction and the pesticide DDT, which weakened the eagles’ eggs, put the birds on the edge of extinction — in 1963, there were only 487 pairs left in the US. But after a ban on DDT and a series of breeding programs, the eagles rebounded — they were taken off the list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.
8. Laughing is almost as good for you as exercise.
In a 2005 study, researchers found that watching a funny movie made subjects’ blood vessels dilate, which can be good for cardiovascular health. “The magnitude of change we saw […] is similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches, pains and muscle tension associated with exercise,” said study author Michael Miller in a release. So if you spend the afternoon on the couch watching Old School, you can still feel good about yourself.
10. The world might be getting more peaceful.
In a 2012 statistical analysis, Norwegian political scientists found that the number of countries at war was dropping, and would likely drop even more — by 2050, they estimated that only half as many countries would be in armed conflict as are today. The researchers cite international peacekeeping efforts and better education worldwide as possible causes of the decrease.
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