I normally avoid reading the NYT (New York Times) just because it’s so hard to tell the difference between their good reporting and their bad reporting. Instead I’ll just read blogs of professionals I trust and read things they link to. I avoid reading stupid things that way, and more to the point I avoid reading sadly misinformed things.
But I accidentally stumbled on a somewhat interesting blog at NYT. They had this map of relative happiness by state. I found it very interesting to compare with all the places in the US I’ve been to. The happiest state is, somewhat unsurprisingly, Utah. It’s almost an article of faith there that you have to be happy. So there were follow-up posts to attempt to explain the correlations. This post focused on data from Richard Florida, showing, amongst other things, that there was a strong correlation between average happiness and average education level. A followup to that post essentially said there were strong negative correlations between average happiness and states with large working class populations. However, I liked a different explanation better: Utah has the highest rate of consumption of online porn, so that must be why they’re so happy.
The links are all short, so look at the maps and data and be amused. Or outraged.