6 Things You Need To Know Today (February 7, 2018)

Photo: Carina König

1. Positivity makes you smarter.

Researchers at Stanford University studied 240 children and discovered that being positive improved their scores on math tests, increased their ability to remember, and sharpened their problem-solving skills. Using MRI brain scans, they mapped the neurological effects of positivity. So look on the bright side! (CNBC)

2. Can meditation actually make you a better person?

According to new research, the "magical" effects of meditation might actually be pretty limited. A new study finds that meditation may not make us "better people" in as extreme a way as was previously thought, but that doesn't mean the benefits are nonexistent. The study found that there was some evidence to support the idea that meditation makes us more empathetic and compassionate. Hey, that's not nothing! (Forbes)

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3. The safety of cellphones is still up for debate.

And we're not talking about smartphone addiction. A new study showed that exposure to cellphone radiation can increase the risk of developing a rare type of heart tumor in male rats. (Forbes)

4. Smoker and drinkers, take heed. Hot tea might be a health risk.

Habitual smokers and drinkers may want to cool it with the hot tea. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, drinking hot-to-near-burning hot tea was linked to an increase in esophageal cancer among those who smoked or drank alcohol. (CNN)

5. The science of climate change can't be ignored, even in Trump's White House.

The White House originally tapped Kathleen Hartnett White, a fossil fuel advocate, for the job of the president's top environmental adviser. However, after Senate Republicans spoke up against her seeming lack of understanding of basic climate science, she was asked to leave the role. (InsideClimate News)

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6. Researchers have discovered a new Southeast Asian language, Jedek, that seems to embody Utopian values.

Jedek, discovered by Swedish researchers on the Malay Peninsula, is spoken in a community that reflects their lifestyle in the language. Their community is more gender-neutral than Western societies; there are no careers, only trades; children are consciously taught not to compete; and there is no interpersonal violence. There aren't any words like borrow, buy, or steal, that infer ownership, but there is a body of words that have to do with sharing and exchanging. (Science Daily)

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