1. The BBC quote the formula for happiness as enumerated by a hitherto-unknown life coach. Technically it's the formula for measuring happiness, not for achieving it, which is slightly less useful, though I suppose you need to know how to be able to measure happiness in order to tell whether you have become happier. Dave Gorman fans will already know the metric formula, but Pete Cohen's version reads:
where each of the values is self-assessed on a number of one-to-ten scales to produce a 10-100 overall score. My final score is a completely middling 55. What does that mean? The explanation, the questions and my answers.
Unambitiously, but relatively realistically, the P, E and H values represent aspects of your life situation which might affect your happiness. The BBC explain it best: "P stands for Personal Characteristics, including outlook on life, adaptability and resilience. E stands for Existence and relates to health, financial stability and friendships. H represents Higher Order needs, and covers self-esteem, expectations, ambitions and sense of humour." If you want to play along at home, score yourself on the following questions and plug in the numbers.
1. Are you outgoing, energetic, flexible and open to change?
In order: less than I feel that I should be, considerably less than I feel that I should be, slightly less than I feel that I should be and not as much as I feel I could be. Looks like a 4/10 to me.
2. Do you have a positive outlook, bounce back quickly from setbacks and feel that you are in control of your life?
Er... crikey. Let's just cut the details out and jump straight to the conclusion. 3/10.
(Add together the scores for 1 and 2 to get a 2-20 score for P.)
3. Are your basic life needs met, in relation to personal health, finance, safety, freedom of choice and sense of community?
Safety, yes; health, slightly less than usual at the moment; choice, only up to a point; finance, probably not but I'm not worrying unduly about this; community, only to a limited extent though rather better online than in person. That's got to be worth 6/10.
(This is your score for E.)
4. Can you call on the support of people close to you, immerse yourself in what you are doing, meet your expectations and engage in activities that give you a sense of purpose?
Some of these yes, some of these no. "Immerse yourself in what you are doing", thumbs up. "Meet your expectations", acceptably frequently though alas not nearly always. The "sense of purpose" qualification is the main stumbling block here. "Close to you" is dubious too: online I score strongly (and rather more strongly than I did eight months ago; thanks, Livejournal!) but offline I score fairly weakly about 220 days per year. Another 6/10, perhaps.
(This is your score for H.)
So I get 4 + 3 + ( 5 x 6 ) + ( 3 x 6 ) which works out at 55 - half-way between the all-1s 10 and the all-10s 100, but I would innately expect this to be lower than the median score of the population. (Of course, I have no data to work from. If you'd care to estimate your score on the scale, I'd certainly be interested to see it.)
There's another way to try to turn happiness into a statistic, starting from the opposite premise - a self-assessed depression score, possibly via the Burns Depression Checklist (per fivemack). Currently I'm an 11 on that; last time I tried this I think I was somewhere around 14 or 15, so it's reasonable to conclude that a trip to Edinburgh for the New Year with lots of nice gamers does help. Well, that's all right, then. I'd have been singularly unimpressed with the methodology if it didn't.
2. ericklendl mentioned it recently, but my old favourite ad for John Smith's Bitter springs to life as divers are now indeed allowed to participate in top bombing. bateleur pointed out off-LJ the particularly jovial photo and caption at the bottom.
3. World sports fans wanting to get a better impression of why football is so favoured in this country might care to study the outlandish, outrageous, unique and frequently laughter-ridden commentary given by Stuart Hall, formerly known for laughter-ridden commentary on obstacle-race team game show It's A Knockout. For a little while longer, at least, you can hear him narrate a half-hour radio documentary about outlandish local radio football commentary called He's Hit The (beep)ing Post - note that my link will start the show. Alternatively, you can just cut to the funny clips themselves. (There's one of them I don't like, as you may be able to tell.) If anyone could reciprocate with similar mad commentary from other countries and/or other sports then that would be much appreciated.
4. Another audio-on-demand highlight that's only hanging round until Saturday is Northern Lights, the first of the three books in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Saturday sees the broadcast of the sequel, so get in there quickly. 2 hours 26 minutes, spending most of the time on the start and the end of the book and inevitably missing out a lot of the enjoyable little side roads on the way, but probably the best job as they could have done in the time available. On the downside, the BBC are using some sort of Real solution which decides to choose its own transmission rate. Unfortunately it sporadically decides to drop to 500-1000 cps (even on an uncontended fast connection) which wouldn't trouble an old 9600 modem. The quality at 500-1000 cps is surprisingly good considering how little data there is, but little better than a telephone broadcast over a PA system heard underwater. Has nobody invented SpeechML so that a sophisticated text-to-speech client might provide the appropriate accents and inflections to dictate a text stream provided as appropriately marked-up text? Not quite. Oh well. Still worth a listen if you like the sound of it - er, the concept of it.
5. dr4b points to dj BAD's Music Store Room with downloads of music from lots of Bemani games. You can improvise your own Bemani 3-65 only without the full-length cuts of the songs. I was particularly amused by a "KCP Happy Mix" of Tubthumping by Chumbawamba which accelerates the lyrics to 150%, ericklendl stylee, and removes any credibility that the song ever had as a protest anthem. (I have half a feeling that the Smurfs might have covered it already. Even if I'm getting confused and making this up, it's still a funny thought.)
6. The gentleman's game comes to LiveJournal! Join the morningtoncrescent fun (per tromboneborges) and show us how it's really played. Even if you've only previously taken an interest from a distance, dabble your feet in the water and get your toes wet. Just make sure to mind the gap, OK?
7. First thing I heard about air crashes today was that there were fewer lives lost to them in 2002 than in any year since 1947. Not the most auspicious day to have announced that fact, I fear. :-(
8. Would someone knowledgeable explain box office figures to me, please? We hear stories about the first HP movie taking $312 million at the Box Office and costing $130 million to make. However, I'm just not sure how much of the $312 million will actually get back to WB and what sort of multiple needs to be made for WB to actually recoup their money. After all, the cinemas must take their cut out of the box office receipts, right? Or is the $312 million figure only what WB earned as a result after the cinema chains took their cut? There's so much I don't understand here.
9. Per sbisson, Google's AdWords estimates that an ad triggered by a search for chris dickson would receive a full tenth of a click per day, which is more than that received by jiggery pokery and jiggery-pokery let alone jiggery_pokery. I'd have expected chris dickson to be higher, particularly at the moment due to the progress of everyone's favourite so-named yachtsman.
Speaking of which, the best-of-nine absolute final of the Louis Vuitton Cup between Chris Dickson's Oracle BMW Racing and Alinghi starts on Saturday. Oracle qualified by losing to, er, Alinghi in the single-chance group final 4-0 (but, naturally, he wasn't trying) and then by defeating the winner of the double-chance group (OneWorld) by the unusual margin of four to minus one. A convincing victory, then.
10. Lots of happy people getting unexpected amounts of snow in London this morning. Middlesbrough had the faintest of coatings on its coldest surfaces 24 hours ago, but it melted overnight. Might get another cold snap in February yet...