The Three Kinds of Happiness… and the Two that Last

The TEDTalk 2004 video below by positive psychologist Martin Seligman is, by far, the best explanation of happiness in everyday language, but backed by science, that I have ever seen. Using what I’ve learned, I was able to rationalize why I’m generally such a happy camper despite not having some of the elements people deem to contribute most to happiness in life, like love from a partner, kids, even pets, pleasures from alcohol, drugs, gambling, even coffee, etc. For my own reference, I’ll summarize the video below before writing out my deductions that led to conclusions just mentioned about my life, but also reflect on the happiness and lifestyles content mentioned in the video from other developments in positive psychology since the video I have learned. I would highly recommend watching the video, though. Start from 2m 45s if you just want the core of what I am talking about as it’s a bit slow to start before it gets really fascinating!

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Women Body Shapes & Types Defined by Measurements

There are a lot of women’s body shapes or types infographics around, but they’re generally vague as to what body shape fits into what classifications. If you’re on the borderline, it’s hard to tell. This one below that I found has not only specific measurements for what qualifies as certain body types, but also a distribution of women in society that carry that body. The latter should be taken with caution as obesity is a lot worse now than it was back in 2003 when the sample of 6318 women were scanned. The lack of a “round” or “diamond” classification where the waist is the biggest of the bust, waist and hip measurements should drive that point home pretty clearly. Women in different cultures may also have different distributions of these shapes. However, you can still get an idea of what share of the American (or similar) female population has what body type shown, and which ones might be more or less common now than back in 2003.

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A Practical Fashion Picture Dictionary Using Infographics

What’s your fashion vocabulary like? Mine’s not very big, relatively speaking, and especially for someone who makes clothes. I know the basic garment types and so on, but terminology like types of neck lines, skirts, tops and so on, I’m very short on. I know a lot of what generally exists out there, but not by name for the most part. So one of the things I had on my 2015 To Do List was to expand my fashion vocabulary.

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The Dahlias and Other Flowers of Public Gardens in Halifax

This summer, Public Gardens in Halifax, Nova Scotia, had a gorgeous dahlia exhibit.

With my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens (buy on Amazon.com), I tested it out on those dahlias and other flowers in August. The lens is magnificent, as you can see in the gallery below.

There were displays to show the different types of dahlias in the exhibit, which I displayed first in the gallery below. There were peony, pompom, miniature ball, cactus, semi-cactus, incurved cactus, formal decorative, informal decorative, stellar and collarette dahlias.

See if you can identify the various types of dahlias. Aside from a few types like the stunning collarette dahlia that is my favourite, it’s not as easy as you think!

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A Few Thoughts on Facebook Friends (and some polls)

The average Facebook user today has 130 friends. But how many of them would that average user really call a friend? And by friend, I mean just “friend”. I don’t mean anything like “true friend”, “real friend”, “good friend” or the like. Just someone you’d call a friend.

That would be hard to get a consistent answer since different people have different standards for who they call a friend. For some, only the truest of friends get called a friend. For others, anyone who might have followed them on Twitter, or vice-versa, counts as a friend. What we need is some sort of standard definition for “friend” to move this forward.

Aristotle

Interestingly, a good definition for “friend” can be found over 2300 years ago courtesy of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).

According to Aristotle, there are three types of friends, in increasing level of strength and sincerity:

  1. Contacts or those based on usefulness or utility, sometimes known as acquaintance;
  2. Drinking buddies or those based on pleasure (to use the word conservatively); and
  3. Good friends or those based on shared virtues.

If we accept all three of these categories to be friends, as Aristotle called them three types of friends, we then have a pretty broad definition of friend, but one which I would be happy to accept. Question then is if these definitions are still broad enough to cover how most people decide whether or not to add others as friends on Facebook. That would take a lot of resources to not only survey but to also verify. I doubt the folks at Facebook would even be able to do the latter conclusively, though I think they have a pretty good idea along the same lines I do.

From what I have seen and read of people and how they use Facebook, as well as who uses them and how, I would argue that a lot of people’s Facebook friends fall outside of Aristotle’s definition. So one would either need to expand Aristotle’s definition of friends to include these slightest of Facebook friends, or these slightest of Facebook friends aren’t really friends.

At first glance, Aristotle’s contacts category seems broad enough. After all, these slightest of Facebook friends are often people a user would have met only once, if that. They probably serve only as potential usefulness, never mind true utility. That is, they get added cause one never knows when they might be useful, not that they are likely to be useful in some way. Many people have Facebook friends just for the sake of upping their count and feel more people are paying attention to their Facebook activity. Others to avoid some situational awkwardness, like being Facebook friends with someone’s partner just because s/he is the jealous type who wants to keep an eye on their partner’s Facebook activities, when one doesn’t really give a damn if they exist. However, this adding of potentially useful friends can only happen to a point before users would not be able to remember people on their Facebook friends list. That is, if you asked them if so and so were on their Facebook friends list, they wouldn’t be able to tell you with certainty. Or if you asked them the name of certain people who are actually on their Facebook friends list, they wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about them at all, including how they got on that list in the first place.

I don’t know what the approximate average number of Facebook friends one would need to have before they would start forgetting everything about someone on that list, but I can tell you the situation would be true for some Facebook whales . That’s the term Facebook has for Facebook users with over 1,000 friends. Seriously, one thousand people is a lot of people to remember names and something about them. But if you don’t buy that people can remember details about a thousand mostly generic people, perhaps you’d believe the situation of not being able to remember anything about some Facebook friends would be true for those who have reached Facebook’s friends list limit of 5,000. Yes, there are those, too.

Poor Aristotle must be turning over in his grave at what some people constitute as friends today, though I’m sure he wouldn’t expand his definition of friends but rather state those slightest of Facebook friends are truly friends at all.

So after all that, maybe you’d like to weigh in with some opinions with a comments, like how you’d define a friend or why you keep Facebook friends you might not remember anything about, etc. Or maybe you’d just like to take some polls on Facebook friendship below (or see how others responded). The sample from this blog will be skewed because a lot of people come here for Facebook related activities so they tend to be avid Facebook users, but I’m just curious to see.

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Other Facebook user facts:

  1. Canada has the 4th highest Facebook user rate per capita as of June 2010 with 47.9% of Canadians having a profile. This trails only Iceland (59.6%), Norway and Hong Kong, in that order.
  2. Canada has the highest Facebook user rate per capita among nations with 10 million citizens or more.
  3. There are 16 million Facebook users in Canada.
  4. Quit Facebook Day is May 31. A measly 30,000 quit worldwide of about 465 million users. Most “I Hate Facebook” type groups and pages are actually hosted on Facebook.
  5. Canada signed up 912,000 new users in May 2010 alone.

Other Facebook issue posts on my site:

The Prejudices and Privacy Perils of Facebook Quizzes

How to Get Rid of Your Facebook Past

25 Things For Facebook You Can’t Steal My ID With

25 Things You Gave on Facebook to Help Get Your ID Stolen

Una Guía de Netiqueta Práctica para Facebook

 

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.6