Good Ideas for Happiness

happyIs there a recipe for happiness? Researchers increasingly have looked at factors which lead to happiness. Here are seven provocative ideas:

1) To Be Happy, Earn $60k Per Year

Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman points out the people earning less than $60k per year are progressively more unhappy the less they earn, but folks over $60k are all basically at the same level of happiness. My Money Blog

2) Move to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is chosen as “happiest country on earth” in 2009 Happy Planet Index.

3) Win a Bronze Medal

US researchers have concluded that olympic bronze medal winners are happier than silver medal winners. Silver = “almost gold”, while bronze = “almost nothing”.

4) Don’t Fight with your Spouse — Raise you Blood Sugar

Psychologists at Ohio State University show a correlation between spouse hostility and low blood sugar.

5) Add Lithium to the Water Supply

Studies in Japan show that lithium in the water supply helps avert suicides.

6) Grow Older

Researchers show that happiness increases with time, with sharp increases after age 50. NY Times

7) Global Orgasm for Peace

Synchronized annual global orgasm on Winter Solstice in order to “effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible source of human energy, a Synchronized Global Orgasm”. Seen at

To comment or vote on these (or other) ideas – or add your own! – visit Good Ideas.

Toilet Innovations

latrine2.5 billion people around the world do not have access to safe, affordable sanitation. For those that do have access, sanitation facilities are often bad for the environment. There is clearly a need to rethink sanitation — and to reinvent the toilet — for both developing and developed countries.

Here are five current Good Ideas relating to toilet innovation:

1) Reinvent the Toilet

Gates Foundation chooses three winning designs in their “reinvent the toilet” competition. Economist

2) Electricity from Human Waste

The Humanure Project in India uses biogas generators to produce electricity from human waste. Dell Social Innovation Challenge 2nd place (of 4000) 2012.

3) Turn Waste into a Resource

Project SOIL in Haiti installs composting toilets which promote both health and agriculture. Forbes

4) Safer Pit Latrines for $1.50

A plastic $1.50 retrofit on pit latrines blocks bugs which spread disease. Popular Science Innovation 2013.

5) Half-flush Toilets

Many new toilets have two handles or buttons for flush, one for a full flush and one for half a flush. This saves lots of water and helps the environment.

To comment or vote on these (or other) ideas – or add your own! – visit Good Ideas.

Are the World’s Best Ideas Hidden in PDFs?

The World Bank spends many millions of dollars on sophisticated policy analysis resulting in well-researched policy recommendations. Most of the information — data, analysis, recommendations — end up in PDF documents which are posted on the Bank’s site. Does anyone read the PDF documents? In a recent analytics review, the Bank found that nearly one-third of documents have zero downloads. Another 40% have been downloaded less than a paltry 100 times. Only 13% had more than a modest 250 downloads.


Congratulations to the Bank for analyzing these data and publicly questioning the value of PDF documents. Bank blog and Twitter accounts likely get more attention — but even there, the attention is fleeting. The good ideas have a moment in the sun, and then disappear.

More information is available on the Washington Post Wonkblog.

We need a better way to capture, archive, categorize, tag, rank, and share good ideas!