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We’re Number…16?

America isn’t number one this time. Despite having the second-highest GDP on the 132-country list, the U.S. falls shorts on basic human needs, health and wellness, and education.

New Zealand took the number one spot, followed by Switzerland and Iceland in a new global ranking of the world’s most socially advanced countries, according to a new global index released today by a U.S.-based nonprofit, The Social Progress Imperative (SPI). The United States came in 16th. And that’s despite having the second-highest GDP per capita (behind #5, Norway).Created by a team led by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, the Social Progress Index ranked 132 countries over three categories: basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity.

Achy Breaky Heart

Broken Hearts Can Kill You

The Daily Beast

Yes, your heart really can break, and tragic events play a role. A recent study shows a correlation between natural disasters and “broken heart syndrome.”

Day-to-day heartache doesn’t hold a candle to scientifically proven heartbreak—a real thing called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Turns out, your cardiac muscle can temporarily enlarge and weaken, and what’s more, the number of diagnoses is growing, leading a team of researchers to examine the cause. They found a surprising correlation that has the power to impact each and every one of us, even if you think you’ve got heart health on lock.First described in Japan, broken heart syndrome got its name because a diagnosed patient’s left ventricle balloons to resemble the shape of an octopus trap.

Bad Doc

The Danger of “Natural” Medicine

Dieter Spannknebel/Getty

Sure, the idea of natural medicine sounds okay. But when medical doctors “prescribe” pseudoscientific remedies, it becomes dangerous.

“Natural” is such a pretty word. It conjures up all sorts of nice mental pictures: waterfalls, butterflies, the slow return to spring after a long winter. When someone makes reference to nature and all things natural, odds are that’s the kind of thing you’re meant to think of in response. Presumably they’re not expecting you to think of amoebic dysentery.The trouble is that there are horrible things that are also entirely natural. Nobody really celebrates freezing to death in January or being pursued by predators, as natural as they may be.


Calm Down, Earthquakes Are Normal

Aldo Solimano/AFP/Getty

The past week has been a shaky one, with earthquakes reported in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Wyoming, and Chile. It seems like a lot, but the data says we have little to worry about.

Over the past month, a spate of earthquakes has captured people’s attention. A magnitude 6.9 off of Eureka, north of San Francisco. A pair of magnitude 4-5 earthquakes in the Los Angeles basin. A magnitude 4.8 near the Yellowstone caldera in Wyoming. And now, a massive magnitude 8.2 off the coast of Chile that even generated a tsunami. Is Earth spiraling out of control? Are end times are around the corner? Far from it.In fact, these earthquakes illustrate a couple of things to bear in mind when it comes to seismicity.

The Cut

Should Circumcision Be Mandatory?


A new medical review published by Mayo Clinic makes the strongest case yet for cirumcision. Is it time to take the decision out of parents’ hands and make the procedure mandatory?

The choice of whether to circumcise one’s son—a decision both aided and hindered by a deluge of readily available information on the Internet—is an increasingly fraught one for parents. A quick Google search for “Should I circumcise my baby?” retrieves millions of articles, blogs, and academic papers all weighing in on the risks and rewards associated with the surgical removal of a newborn’s foreskin. Now, a new review published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings claims the health benefits of circumcision exceed any risks by at least 100 to 1.

Tick Tock

The New Lyme Disease

Stephan Jansen/dpa \/Landov

Five new cases of Heartland Virus hit Missouri this week. Is it time to start worrying?

Not to be arthropodically incorrect, but I hate ticks.  Those indestructible, hard-shelled, eight-legged arachnids are the exoskeletal but equally creepy version of the spider, the cousin of the scorpion, and the close relative of the mite.(But please don’t call them insects! Insects are mildly annoying but easy to co-exist with—plus they have 6 legs for Christ’s sake, not 8, and three body sections not two. As if!).Just like Dracula, Bill Compton, and Edward Cullen, adult ticks live vampirically on mammalian blood.

IRL Sci-Fi

Freeze Your Brain, Save Your Life


Forty percent of traumatic injury deaths are from blood loss, but a new procedure may change that by swapping out blood for an electrolyte solution.

Imagine that you have been shot. Nothing vital has been damaged, but a major artery was nicked. Without quick repair, you’ll die of blood loss. You only have 15 minutes, and the drive to the ER is 20. Like 35 percent of all trauma patients, you die from blood loss en route to the hospital. That’s when, as part of an experimental procedure, the medics replace your blood with a cold electrolyte solution. Now surgeons will have an hour to fix the artery, return blood, and revive you.

Silicon Valley: You’re All Fools

The Daily Beast

When companies like Facebook drop billions on companies with no revenue but plenty of world changing hype, you know things are getting out of hand.

Be careful, investors. It’s getting bubbly out there.In a book published several years ago, a shrewd author (OK, me) laid out the stages of investment bubbles: a few solid years of impressive fundamental growth give way to highly ambitious projections and world-changing proclamations; a host of new entrants run onto the field, oblivious to profits or many of the other basics of running a business; individuals and naïve corporations start to get in on the action with bold, aggressive moves; and in the most dangerous stage, the phenomenon crosses over into popular culture—i.

Hey Baby

This App is Better Than Mace

Ron Koeberer/Getty

Nearly 90 percent of American women say they’ve been sexually harassed on the street or in a public space. Street harassment is a real problem, and until now, there have been few resources to fight it.

The first time a man harassed me on the street, I was 13. I had just gotten my braces off and was learning how to tame my hair with a curling iron. I could barely fill out a training bra, and I hadn’t even started my period yet. The man, probably in his late 30s, let out a low whistle and told me he “liked the way I walked,” while following me through the mall parking lot. In the decade since then, I’ve been catcalled more times than I can count.

Won’t Back Down

OkCupid Boycotts Anti-Gay Mozilla

Albert Gea/Reuters

Mozilla’s new CEO opposes equal rights for gay couples, so online dating service OkCupid urges users to boycott Mozilla software.

Netizens aren’t backing down after an apology from Mozilla’s new CEO on his past financial support for the notorious anti-marriage equality law, California’s Proposition 8. The backlash began when digital dating service,, took the bold step of redirecting anyone using the Firefox browser to a page calling on them to download a competitor browser.“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience,” said the diplomatic boycott page.

Drive-Through Health

The Problem with Mall Docs

Spencer Platt

Urgent-care clinics are springing up in retail stores across the country. There’s no doubt these clinics are convenient, but they leave room for a lot of problems.

Like most Americans, I have grown accustomed to convenience.  Though I can get cheaper gas by driving slightly out of my way home, I usually pay more at the place on the direct route. The pharmacy around the corner from my pediatrics office does brisk business from patients stopping off there immediately after appointments. For many goods and services, convenience is as good a factor as any when deciding where to go.But not medical care.Over the past several years, the popularity of urgent-care (or “retail”) clinics has risen dramatically.

Uh Oh

Anti-Anxiety Meds Are Killing You

George Peters/Getty

A new report says patients who take drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien have a higher risk of dying. What does this mean for the 40 million U.S. adults suffering from anxiety disorders?

Anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills significantly increase your chance of dying, according to new research from the UK published in the BMJ.The findings are especially important for the U.S., where anxiety disorders (like panic disorder or social phobia)—the most common mental illness in the country, affecting 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population—are increasingly treated with prescription drugs.For seven and a half years, researchers there followed 34,727 patients in primary care who were prescribed anxiolytic drugs like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin, and sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta.

Book Smart

There's No Such Thing as Dyslexia

Christina Kennedy/Getty

“Dyslexia” has become a catch-all term for everything from poor reading skills to complex speech disorders. It’s poorly understood and largely over-diagnosed. Is it time to retire the word “dyslexic”?

In many countries across the world there is a common script in cases where children are encountering difficulties with reading.It runs something like this:Concerned Parent (CP): I am really worried about Tommy’s lack of progress at school. He seems to be making no progress in his reading and is now losing interest. Helpful Bystander (HB): Have you ever thought that maybe he has dyslexia? CP: This had crossed my mind but I wasn’t sure about it.


Death? There’s an App for That


Want to know when you’re going to die? Try Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your days. Need to know whose been murdered in your neighborhood? Murder Map has you covered.

In case you hadn’t heard, death is pretty hot right now—well, in the App Store at least. Casting aside the zillions of “games” offering to predict the day you’ll bite the dust (5/8/2065, thanks for asking), apps are using the idea of our demise to make a quick $0.99, and freak us out a whole lot in the process. From Google Mapping graveyards to a funeral small-talk generator, the downright dark has never been so bleakly enthralling, and is slowly but surely gathering momentum.

Bad Doc

Is Your Doctor a Drug Dealer?

Zeljko Santrac/Getty

A recent medical journal suggests doctors regularly cave when patients ask for meds, even controlled substances like Oxycodone. Patients are looking more like customers, and doctors more like salespeople.

A recent medical article has demonstrated that doctors cave to their patients’ medication requests with regularity, even when controlled substances like Oxycodone are involved. It’s not that big a surprise really—the customer is always right, after all.The study serves as a reminder, though, of a venerable truth: the relationship between the doctors who diagnose and the drugs they prescribe is every bit as complex as the well travelled crisscross between Gwyneth and Chris —maybe even more so.

Better. Faster. Stronger.


6 Sleep Myths to Put to Bed

6 Sleep Myths to Put to Bed

Cough, Cough

Got Mumps? Thank Anti-Vaxxers

The View From London

London’s Own Badass SoulCycle

Home Screen

Reddit Founder’s 7 Fave Apps

Pow Pow

Video Games Make You (More) Racist

Freeze Me to Life

In this short documentary, go behind the scenes of the Cryonics Institute, which preserves frozen human bodies with the pseudo-scientific hope of one day waking them again.

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Lincoln Center, NYC | APRIL 3-5, 2014

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The fifth annual summit hits New York's Lincoln Center stage April 3-5, 2014. Hear stirring true stories that stretch from war zones to Washington, and learn how you too can get involved. Watch LIVE on The Daily Beast starting today at 6:30PM EST!