* In a study of 700 participants with varied incomes, social statuses, and family size, Dr. Robert Waldinger found that brain function declined sooner in those who were less satisfied in their relationships.

* A study of more than 3 million people over 20 years found that those who were not socially active increased their risk of mortality by 90%.

* Researchers at the University of Texas found consistent evidence that a low quality or amount of socializing contributes to the development and worsening of cardiovascular disease, repeat heart attacks, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, cancer, and slowed wound healing.

 

* The same researchers found that having a strong social circle reduces the damaging effects of stress on the brain. Whether it’s the sense of feeling loved, cared for, or listened to, they noted, close relationships improve mental health by fostering “a sense of meaning and purpose” in people’s lives.

 

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Fossils of horse teeth worn down by bridles indicate that horses were used as transportation 5,000 years ago. But they were almost certainly ridden without bridles long before that.

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4 Things I Learned About the 4th of July

* The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on the 4th. It was voted in on July 2 (the day John Adams said we should commemorate the day), but most of those that signed it did so on August 2.

* The major method of celebrating the first 4th of July consisted in tearing down statues of King George. But the very next year, the new Americans starting setting off fireworks to celebrate their independence.

* The 4th of July wasn’t a federal holiday until the late 1870s – nearly 100 years after 1776.

* Hot dogs are truly the food of choice for Independence Day. Americans typically consume about 150 million of them on the 4th.

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“The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally a patriotic poem written by Frances Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812. It was set to the tune of an English drinking song and officially became our national anthem in 1931.

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A Few Financial Facts to Think About 

* After-tax income of the rich: Between 1979 and 2005, the average after-tax income of the top 1% increased by 176%, compared with an increase of only 6% for the bottom 20%.

* Inflation effects on the working class: Between 1990 and 2005, the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3% when adjusted for inflation.

* US Debt is now $22 trillion and mounting at a trillion a year.

* Stocks vs. GDP: Normally, the stock market is worth about 80% of GDP. Now, it is worth 150% of GDP.  That’s equivalent to $14 trillion.

* Corporate pre-tax earnings are the same today as they were in 2012. Yet the market valuation is $14 trillion greater.

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