Looking at Grumpy Cat’s underbite and feline dwarfism just might just make you feel better about your bratty kid, your nagging spouse or your demanding boss. That’s right, according to a new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, watching cat videos online reduces our negative feelings while raising our sense of well-being and boosting our energy levels.
Grumpy Cat, whose real pet name is Tardar Sauce, shares a manager with fellow YouTube stars Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. Last we checked, the famous feline had 7.7 million Likes on Facebook. In all, more than 2 million cat videos were posted on YouTube last year, gathering nearly 26 billion views. Cat videos had more views per video than any other category of YouTube content. That makes kittens more valuable eye candy than, say, Maxim’s Hot 100. (Taylor Swift topped the list this year, just in case you were wondering.)
For the new study, Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at the Indiana University Media School, surveyed nearly 7,000 Internet users about how watching cat videos affects their moods. She got a little help from Bloomington, Indiana resident Mike Bridavsky — the owner of Internet celebrity cat Lil Bub — who used social media to recruit participants for the survey.
The results should make you feel a bit less guilty about clicking through one cat video after another: “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” Myrick says.
Don’t think watching cat videos online is a pop culture phenomenon worthy of academic research? Myrick disagrees: “If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cat videos anymore.”
Read the original paper on emotion regulation procrastination, and watching cat videos online here.
Joe Biden on Thursday put out a $1.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. The 10-year “Plan to Invest in Middle Class Competitiveness” calls for investments to revitalize the nation’s roads, highways and bridges, speed the adoption of electric vehicles, launch a “second great railroad revolution” and make U.S. airports the best in the world.
“The infrastructure plan Joe Biden released Thursday morning is heavy on high-speed rail, transit, biking and other items that Barack Obama championed during his presidency — along with a complete lack of specifics on how he plans to pay for it all,” Politico’s Tanya Snyder wrote. Biden’s campaign site says that every cent of the $1.3 trillion would be paid for by reversing the 2017 corporate tax cuts, closing tax loopholes, cracking down on tax evasion and ending fossil-fuel subsidies.
There were 18 million military veterans in the United States in 2018, according to the Census Bureau. That figure includes 485,000 World War II vets, 1.3 million who served in the Korean War, 6.4 million from the Vietnam War era, 3.8 million from the first Gulf War and another 3.8 million since 9/11. We join with the rest of the country today in thanking them for their service.
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.