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For many decades, scientists have been considering what it might take to build a self sustaining ecosystem on another planet. In the late 80s and 90s, a massive glass structure, filled with mock wilderness, was created to help see if such an ecosystem might be possible. This structure was called Biosphere 2. It kind of worked, and it kind of didn’t. Though not entirely self sustaining, the experiment was very thought provoking, and helped answer a good number of previously untested questions.
What makes the experiment most interesting, is that in addition to flora and fauna, a group of people was closed into the structure and lived, in isolation, for two years. Although remedial oxygen had to be supplied at one point during their stay, they were able to live almost exclusively off of the food grown inside the structure.
Despite its rocky start, Biosphere 2 is now run by the University of Arizona, and is proving to be a valuable research asset.
News Report on Biosphere 2:
TED Talk by Jane Poynter, an inhabitant of Biosphere 2
Relationship Between Income and Happiness
Researchers have actually put a lot of effort into determining the effect that a person’s income has on their state of mind, and some interesting patterns have emerged. It turns out that, to some extent, money does seem to buy happiness. More specifically, there seems to be a fairly close relationship between income and self reported happiness, but the marginal returns of a rise in income start to taper off as yearly salary begins to enter the $70,000 per year range (Depending on which study you look at). After salary rises into the six figures, there is very little correlation between the two variables. To read more on this topic, check out the articles that I linked to below.
Quartz article on the same topic (With slightly different conclusions. This article also includes a graph describing how the link between income and self reported happiness varies from country to country.)
Documentary Recommendation: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Available on Netflix)
This is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. It is, at its essence, a story about dedication, minimalism, and relentless commitment to excellence.