Victory for Victor Meldrew, as pessimistic people 'live longer'
It may be an unfamiliar concept to them, but the Victor Meldrews of the world finally have
something to rejoice about.
Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave Photo: BBC
By Hannah Furness
10:00PM GMT 27 Feb 2013
Older people blighted by pessimism and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, according
A study, into 40,000 adults across ten years, has found those with low expectations for a “satisfying
future” actually led healthier lives.
In contrast, people who were “overly optimistic” about the days ahead had a greater risk of disability
or death within ten years.
The extraordinary research, published by the American Psychological Association, will not doubt
prove comfort to anyone with a tendency to grumpiness.
Frieder R. Lang, lead author of the study from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany,
said: “Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated
with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade.
"Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety
The research, based on data collected between 1993 and 2003, asked 40,000 respondents to rate how
satisfied they believed they would be in five years time.
They were interviewed again five years later, and their satisfaction levels compared with their own
Those who overestimated how happy they would be were found to have a 9.5 per cent increase in
reporting disabilities, and a ten per cent high risk of death.
Older people, who tended to have a “darker outlook” on the future, were shown to be the most
accurate in their predictions, with optimistic youngsters overestimating their success.
"Unexpectedly, we also found that stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a
greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes," said Dr Lang.
"Moreover, we found that higher income was related to a greater risk of disability.
"We argue, though, that the outcomes of optimistic, accurate or pessimistic forecasts may depend on
age and available resources.
"These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions
that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life."
Of those interviewed, 43 percent of the oldest group were found to have underestimated their future
life satisfaction, 25 percent had predicted accurately and 32 percent had overestimated, according to
Research published last year by the Office for National Statistics found most people are now living
six years longer than current life expectancy projections, with no sign of an upper age limit.
Previous studies have suggested that “unrealistic optimism” about the future can help people feel
better while facing inevitable negative outcomes, such as terminal disease.
Another, published in 2009, noted that a positive outlook depended largely on where one lives, with
those in London being the grumpiest and those in the countryside being the most relaxed
GAUHATI, India (AP) — Adolf Hitler is running for election in India. So is Frankenstein.
The tiny northeast Indian state of Meghalaya has a special fascination for interesting and sometimes controversial names, and the ballot for state elections Saturday is proof.
Among the 345 contestants running for the state assembly are Frankenstein Momin, Billykid Sangma, Field Marshal Mawphniang and Romeo Rani. Some, like Kenedy Marak, Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem and Jhim Carter Sangma, are clearly hoping for the electoral success of their namesake American presidents.
Then there is Hitler.
This 54-year-old father of three has won three elections to the state assembly with little controversy over being named after the Nazi dictator.
His father had worked with the British army, but apparently developed enough of a fascination with Great Britain's archenemy to name his son Adolf Hitler — though he also gave him the middle name Lu, Hitler said.
"I am aware at one point of time Adolf Hitler was the most hated person on Earth for the genocide of the Jews. But my father added 'Lu' in between, naming me Adolf Lu Hitler, and that's why I am different," Hitler told The Associated Press from the small village of Mansingre, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Gauhati, the capital of the nearby state of Assam.
Hitler said his name has not stopped him from traveling the world, including to the United States and Germany.
"I never had problems obtaining a visa but I was asked many times during immigration as to why I should have such a name. I told the immigration staff I possibly didn't have a role in my naming," he said.
India had thousands of troops fighting alongside the allies in World War II, especially in North Africa and Burma, but many Indians view Hitler not as the personification of evil but as a figure of fascination. Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" is prominently displayed at many Indian bookstores. The owner of a menswear shop named his store "Hitler," then expressed puzzlement last year after Israel complained.
Musfika Haq, a teacher in Meghalaya's capital, Shillong, said such names are common in the state.
"Parents obviously get fascinated by names of well-known or great leaders, but must be unaware that some of them, like Hitler, had been highly controversial," he said.
This actually sounds awesome. I always liked those yoga balls.
Teachers ditch student desk chairs for yoga balls
Feb 20, 2013 9:13 a.m.
By KATHY MATHESON
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - When students at one suburban Philadelphia school work diligently at their desks, they aren't exactly sitting still.
The fifth-graders at Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School learn while bouncing on brightly colored yoga balls.
Teacher Robbi Giuliano has done away with traditional chairs in her West Chester classroom. Instead, children balance themselves on giant rubber spheres also called stability balls.
Giuliano says the added body movement helps students focus better on daily lessons while toning their muscles.
Experts have linked physical activity with better learning. They say the balls are part of a larger movement to modernize schools with equipment including adjustable-height desks and footrests.
Such furniture allows children to naturally fidget without disrupting class.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.