The World’s Happiest and Healthiest People: Five Things We Learned This Week

Norway and Italy come out on top, while an America further down the list is experiencing “deaths of despair.”

Five Things We Learned This Week (03/24)

1) We Found the World’s Happiest and Healthiest Countries

Even with all that pizza and pasta, Italy landed on top of Bloomberg’s Global Health Index. Italian babies can expect to live into their eighties, with plenty of doctors in the country and a diet full of fresh vegetables, lean meats, fish and olive oil. Head north to find the world’s happiest country: Norway. The Scandinavian nation bumped its neighbor Denmark from the No. 1 slot. The U.S. placed 14th on the scale, based on the average of surveys of happiness from 2014 to 2016. Researchers say the U.S. is doing so well financially that social progress, not gross domestic product, is key to making Americans feel better about their lives.

2) Something Is Killing White, Working-Class Men

White, working-class men in America are dying “deaths of despair.” The term describes heart disease, cancer, suicide, alcoholism and drug overdoses, all of which have combined to push up mortality rates for white men age 50 to 54, even as rates fall for other demographic groups. The problem is particularly bad for men without a degree. Researchers say changes brought about by globalization and technological change are broadly to blame. 

3) Porsche Makes Enough Profit Per Car to Buy Another Car

Porsche made $17,250 in profit per vehicle sold in 2016, up 9 percent from the previous year. That’s enough to buy a whole other car — just not another Porsche. (Think Chevy Cruze instead.) The Volkswagen brand brought in about $99,000 in revenue per vehicle, helped by customizations such as $4,920 for espresso-brown leather seats. “Make no mistake, Porsche customers are paying a premium for the brand’s reputation,” Bloomberg’s Kyle Stock said.

4) Airlines Need to Think Twice Before Ditching In-Flight Entertainment

We’ve come a long way since the days when a good seat meant a good view of the television sets hanging from the cabin ceiling. Airlines are moving away from seat-back screens, now that everyone brings their own smartphone or tablet on board. Instead, carriers would like to stream entertainment over in-flight Wi-Fi: cheaper and easier to upgrade and maintain. But the latest change to airline-security requirements shows why that could be problematic. The U.S. and U.K. banned electronic devices bigger than smartphones in the cabins of direct flights from certain Middle Eastern countries. If you end up having to fly without a laptop, our Pursuits team has put together a few ways to stay sane

5) Space Travel Is Really Miserable

While Elon Musk prepares to take millionaires to the moon, we spoke to one of the world's first space tourists. '“My advice to them would be to medicate early and often,” said Richard Garriott de Cayeux, who paid $30 million to Russia’s Space Adventures to spend 12 days aboard the International Space Station. Weightlessness, it turns out, does really unpleasant things to you. Bodily fluids slosh around in new ways. Muscles and bones atrophy. Radiation creates a blinding white light that kinda never goes away. And worst of all, nobody is there when you ask for more Sudafed.

Illustration: Steph Davidson


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