Empathetic states: Researchers have attempted to determine which states are the most empathetic, based on resident reaction to specific statements. Residents of Rhode Island, Montana, Vermont and Maine came out on top. California did pretty well at #9. Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Indiana came out on the bottom. Researchers also found that the states with higher rates of empathy were more likely to have lower violent crime rates and increased rates of volunteering and happiness. The results were published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Read more at tinyurl.com/z8kh6ms.
Let’s move overseas: Sweden is the world’s best country to raise kids, according to the recent US News & World Report 2016 Best Countries rankings. The rankings aim to gauge global perceptions of different countries by examining specific attributes (human rights, family friendly, gender equality, happy, income equality, safe, well-developed public education system and well-developed health system). Other countries that did well include Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia, while Pakistan and Iran did poorly – two countries criticized by human rights groups for their treatment of women – are perceived to be the least ideal countries to raise kids. usnews.com/news/best-countries
Calling young filmmakers: The Sonoma Middle School Video Workshop, presented by the Sonoma International Film Festival and the Boys & Girls Clubs, is accepting applications for its weekend workshop Feb. 24 to 26 (must attend all three days). There is space for three to four students from each middle school. See your principal to sign up or email Kimberlymh@earthlink.net. The resulting student films will screen at the film festival’s Student Program in late March.
Battling depression: Being active has been shown to alleviate some symptoms of depression in both teens and adults. Meanwhile, rates of depression in children appear to be on the rise. Scientists believe that children who exercise more, at a moderate to vigorous intensity, show fewer depressive symptoms years later. The study found that time sitting isn’t the problem, but instead the amount of time a child is truly active. In a new report published in Pediatrics, researchers looked at exercise habits and depressive symptoms over time in a large sample of children. tinyurl.com/gsxl7wf
Rich undergrads: At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students come from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent. You can see which schools these are, and look up specific colleges at tinyurl.com/hj88b7h.
Unlikeable people: I saw a great sign the other day that said “Negativity is the anti-charisma.” In a recent article called “Unmistakable Habits of Unlikeable People,” author Travis Bradberry lists a few more habits that he thinks play a role in (un)likability – tinyurl.com/zoyo34d.
• Being desperate for attention
• Emotional hijackings (screaming, making people cry, etc.)
• Whipping out your phone
• Having a closed mind
• Not asking questions of others
• Sharing too much on social media
Sonoma Market: Are you signed up for the scrip program at Sonoma Market and/or Glen Ellen Market? When you sign up, Nugget Markets supports your chosen local nonprofits and youth educational organizations. Your “community card” enables you to donate up to 5 percent of your purchases to the local nonprofits of your choice. The program is absolutely free, you just need to present your card to the cashier each time you shop. Visit escrip.com/merchants/identity/sonoma_glenellen/ to sign up or stop by the store(s).