Get Your City to Experiment With Joy

Table of contents of the Joy Experiments book

A new book wants you to make your city a better place by brining joy into the equation. In The Joy Experiments the authors who work in real estate and architecture argue that we need to have more fun and levity in our cities. In this easy to read book they explore ways they and others have improved their cities through seemingly simple interventions. What’s more – they break down their book into useful chapters (see image above) that you can jump around and read as you like, just like a well-designed city.

Our divided society is quicky reaching crisis level.

We are no longer able to sustain social and economic prosperity nor ensure democracy. Fuelling this crisis is a growing sense of social isolation caused by the divisive nature of social media and the decline of infrastructure that used to bring communities together.

But there is hope for rebuilding our collaborative society, and it is found in our mid-sized urban areas. These towns and cities offer a scale that can tangibly change the quality of our lives and an intimacy that allows us to influence what our communities can become.

Changing cities can change the world!

In The JOY Experiments, real estate developer Scott Higgins and creative mind Paul Kalbfleisch use their own mid-sized city-building experiences to present a new way for citizens to engage with their city and an urban planning strategy that prioritizes infrastructure for the human spirit.

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mRNA Vaccine Used to Fight Brain Tumour

Brain tumours are scary and very difficult to deal with, current treatments include invasive surgery and/or radiation. The advent of mRNA based vaccines is making a difference in how we can treat various brain cancers and the early results are looking promising. A team just found a way to get the body’s immune system to start to find and address cancer within the brain. While the results are not yet usable the outlook is very promising.

“The demonstration that making an mRNA cancer vaccine in this fashion generates similar and strong responses across mice, pet dogs that have developed cancer spontaneously and human patients with brain cancer is a really important finding, because oftentimes we don’t know how well the preclinical studies in animals are going to translate into similar responses in patients,” said Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the UF Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program and a co-author of the paper. “And while mRNA vaccines and therapeutics are certainly a hot topic since the COVID pandemic, this is a novel and unique way of delivering the mRNA to generate these really significant and rapid immune responses that we’re seeing across animals and humans.”

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Walking Increases Wellbeing and Productivity

Are you looking to improve your productivity AND your well being? Then just go walk it off. Walking is a good way to stay fit and have fun, but it’s also a good way to relax your mind. By going for a walk you give yourself space to let the mind wander and explore new ideas instead of being exposed to the same interior space. The more you explore on foot the better things can get.

One thing you learn when you walk really far is that so many things that you’re concerned about on a daily basis really don’t matter. Also you learn that most things have a solution and that solution is really usually quite close by.

You think better when you walk. Obviously you won’t become Steve Jobs just by walking. But it’s a good start. What’s interesting is that at Stanford University, in 2015, they started research on it and they confirmed what we know: you become much more creative by walking. Charles Darwin had his own walking path—every time he’d get stopped up in his head, he took a little walk.

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Improve Your Mental Health by Ignoring Celebrities

person studying

Are you interested in the comings and goings of the celebrity set? If so, you may want to put down your mobile and go touch grass. Researchers have found a direct connection between mental health and the worshipping of celebrities, as in people not doing so well will tend to follow celebrity news more closely than others. The solution to this is to reduce your use of social media and reflect on what is really bothering you. Does this mean that anybody interested in celebrities is not doing well? Of course not, just if you find yourself preoccupied with the onslaught of information from celebrities you may want to take a break.

The Absorption-addiction model suggests that people worship celebrities to compensate for some personal or social defects, so poor mental state is related to celebrity worship. The current study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms influencing celebrity worship. A total of 1,147 participants (aged 19–26 years) completed online questionnaires to assess social anxiety, mobile phone dependence, parental income and celebrity worship. Results showed that: (1) social anxiety, socioeconomic status (SES) and celebrity worship were positively correlated; (2) Social anxiety affected celebrity worship through mobile phone dependence; (3) SES played a moderating role in the mediation model. At higher levels of SES, individuals with high social anxiety showed reduced dependence on mobile phones. These findings highlight the importance of mobile phone dependence and family SES in celebrity worship. Additionally, the findings demonstrated that females are more likely to pay attention to celebrities, but the greater SES and reduced mobile phone dependence can mitigate their celebrity addiction.

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Hot People are More Likely to be Depressed

There’s a popular theory that hot people have it easier in life, and that might be true for looks but not for temperature. People were asked to self report their levels of depression and it turns out that there’s a correlation between their body temperature and mood. The results revealed that people with higher body temperatures were more likely to be depressed. This connection can help researchers better understand depression and how we can treat it better.

The study data showed that as self-reported depression symptoms became more severe, body temperature averages got higher. There was also some association between higher depression scores and lower daily temperature fluctuations, but not to a statistically significant level.

With around 5 percent of people around the world thought to be living with depression, efforts to understand and effectively treat it are now more urgent than ever. Each new discovery brings more hope in tackling the problem.

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