ONE YEAR OLDER _ Monday, January 18.
• Kevin Costner is 66
• Comedian Dave Attell is 56
• Dave Bautista is 52
• Jesse L. Martin is 52
• Jason Segel is 41
• Zeeko Zaki is 31
SPECIAL EVENTS _ Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Thesaurus Day. Gourmet Coffee Day. Peking Duck Day. Winnie the Pooh Day (on the birthday of Winnie’s author A.A. Milne).
IS TODAY THE MOST DEPRESSING DAY OF THE YEAR? _ The third Monday in January became a black day in 2005 when Cliff Arnall was paid by a public relations firm to identify the most miserable date on the calendar in order to promote a vacation company. The psychologist and self-styled ‘freelance happiness guru’ chose the date based on a pseudo-mathematical formula involving the weather, debt, motivational levels and time elapsed since Christmas.
… Arnall has since admitted the idea of a single most depressing day was “not particularly helpful” because it became “a self-fulfilling prophecy” and that achieving happiness and being less materialistic was a year-round aim. He said the third Monday in January should instead be used to “get a bit of perspective” about our own lives.
HOW LONG THE AVERAGE PERSON WILL STICK WITH A HOBBY _ The shelf-life of a hobby is just 16 months. Researchers who polled 2,000 adults identified work commitments, busy family life and lack of motivation as the reasons we don’t stick with interests for longer.
… 25% of adults have quit a hobby having never used any of the items or accessories they purchased especially for it.
… For those with a hobby, the average person will dedicate 245 hours a year to it — more than 10 days over a 12-month period.
BRAIN TEASE _ A clerk in the butcher shop is 5′ 10″ tall. What does he weigh? Answer: Meat.
THE BEST WAY TO FILL THE DISHWASHER MAY SURPRISE YOU _ If your dishwasher’s not doing the job, maybe it’s the fault of the instructions given by your dishwasher’s manufacturers. Researchers (University of Birmingham) have done the dirty work and say the trick is to load the dishwasher in a circular fashion — not in straight rows. And dishes should also be grouped together by stain. Carbohydrate-stained dishes should be placed in the middle of the dishwasher’s drawers while protein-stained items should be put in an inward facing ring around them.
DEBATE: IS IT OKAY TO PULL THROUGH ONE PARKING SPOT INTO ANOTHER EMPTY ONE? _ When you’re in a parking lot with spots that meet back-to-back, is it okay to drive through one empty spot and directly into the empty spot connected to its end? Some comments online:
• “When I encounter a situation with an open spot staring right at me, it’s like a little treat: you get to position your car in the easier-to-exit arrangement of being nose-out, for really no extra effort. So why not do it?”
• “Uh, yes. It’s statistically much safer to exit a parking space going forward, because even with backup cameras and little doohickies that beep at you when you’re about to mow down a grocery cart, your view from your car is still much better via the front windshield.”
• “Well, if the parking lot is very crowded, it’s possible you could be pulling through into a spot as another driver is turning into it to park, causing momentary confusion and, if both drivers really suck, a low-speed wreck.”
EMAIL YOUR WAY TO HAPPINESS _ Want a simple way to be happier? According to the book The Happiness Advantage, every morning send a friend, family member, or co-worker an email to say thanks for something. There’s tons of research showing that over time, this alone — one little email a day — can make you happier.
THE INSIDE OF YOUR COFFEE MAKER IS DISGUSTING _ Your coffee machine could be one of the dirtiest parts of your kitchen if not cleaned often. Bacteria, yeast, and mold could be growing in your machine because of irregular cleaning, and those little devils don’t discriminate — it doesn’t matter whether you have a coffee pot, a Keurig, or a fancy espresso machine.
… Researchers say the part of the machine that stores water is the biggest culprit of disgustingness: half of the coffee reservoirs tested contained mold and yeast. The intense heat from the machine will kill some of the bacteria, but it’s not saving you from all of it.
TEST YOUR PASSWORD _ Think you’ve chosen a unique and secure password for your online accounts? A website which tracks data breaches lets you search it’s database of a half-billion compromised accounts to see if your password matches any on file. If your password is actually quite unique but there ends up being a match, it could very well mean compromised accounts from various data breaches include your login info.