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Does Internet Access Make You Happier?

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Since Internet use became widespread, the media has produced countless articles saying too many people use the Internet for too much time. These reports chronicle how the Internet plagues people, causing addictions to porn, gambling, and other unsavory vices. But a new study from the British organization Chartered Institute of IT, known as BCS -- anyone know how you get BCS from Chartered Institute of IT? -- finds that people with Internet access are happier than those without it.

BCS partnered with the Trajectory Partnership to evaluate data from 35,000 people worldwide who answered the World Values Study (2005-2007). The researchers, led by Michael Willmott, examined several aspects that contribute to happiness such as gender, age, income, and education. Regardless of these factors, they found that people with Internet access were happier than those without it. Even significantly poor people experienced increased levels of joy if they had Internet access. Willmott says that people with Internet access are happier because the web empowers people.

Contentment remained consistent across age groups—children and adolescents weren't the only groups who enjoy surfing the web. However, the survey uncovered a surprising nugget—the Internet provides more joy to women than men, and it bestows more happiness to women living in the developing world.

The study didn't explain why the Internet makes people feel happy (we have a few thoughts:, cute cats, Betty White campaigns on Facebook, minisodes of True Blood), but they surmise that women are happier with the Internet than without because it allows them to easily connect with friends and family. The researchers also suspect that some women use the Internet as a tool to help them run the household more efficiently.


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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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