Study: Happy People Buy Time Instead Of Stuff

They say money can’t buy you love — but can it buy happiness? That’s up for debate, but a new study says that using your funds to purchase time — something we all wish we had more of — can lead to increased happiness.

Despite the fact that incomes are rising these days, people can get stressed out when they feel like they don’t have enough time, notes a team of researcher from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, but they found that people who spend their money on time-saving services report “greater life satisfaction.”

For example, paying someone else to do household chores like cleaning and cooking, or pick up your dry-cleaning.

While one may think that having a lot of money could offer a way out of the “time famine” of modern life, as researchers put it, some evidence suggests that the wealthy folk often spend time engaging in stressful activities, like shopping or commuting.

“Feelings of time stress are in turn linked to lower well-being, including reduced happiness, increased anxiety, and insomnia,” researchers note, adding that time stress is also a factor in underlying rising rates of obesity: People who don’t have time say that’s the reason they don’t eat healthy foods or exercise regularly.

Survey Says

Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 people from the United States, Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands. In all samples, respondents completed two questions about whether — and how much — money they spent each month to increase their free time by paying someone else to complete unenjoyable daily tasks.

Respondents also rated their satisfaction with life, and reported their annual household income, the number of hours they work each week, age, marital status, and the number of children living at home.

Across several samples — including adults from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and a bunch of Dutch millionaires — buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction.

The results held for a wide range of demographics, as well as for the amount that respondents spent on groceries and material and experiential purchases each month.

“These results were not moderated by income, suggesting that people from various socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from making time-saving purchases,” researchers find.

Researchers also conducted a field study in which 60 adults were randomly assigned to spend $40 on a time saving purchase on one weekend, and $40 on a material purchase on another weekend. Results showed that people felt happier when they spent money on a time saving purchase than on a material purchase.

“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said study lead author Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. “But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

Essential Phone will be released soon in US and international markets

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Andy Rubin’s startup, Essential, announced its highly-anticipated smartphone in late-May. The high-end device, called Essential Phone, is aimed at flagship buyers looking for something a little different from an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8, packing some cool features and a clean design at a competitive price. But, unlike an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8, you cannot just go out and buy an Essential Phone. Users can, however, “reserve” one, in either black or white, but when it will ship is as yet unknown at this stage. An email from Andy Rubin gives us a pretty good idea as to when… [Continue Reading]

Online courses train the next generation of credit card criminals

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E-learning courses costing under $1,000 are giving aspiring cyber criminals the potential to make $12k a month, based on a standard 40-hour working week according to new research. The study from digital risk management company Digital Shadows finds the courses, available to Russian speakers only, last for six weeks and comprise 20 lectures with five expert instructors. The course includes webinars, detailed notes and course material at a cost of RUB 45,000 ($745), plus $200 for course fees. With the average Russian earning under $700 a month, it’s easy to see why the potential to earn 17 times as much… [Continue Reading]

Earth Is Choking on 8.3 Billion Metric Tons of Plastic Waste

If you think about it, plastics should be considered one of the defining technologies of the 20th century. Their flexibility, cheap manufacturing costs, and resistance to degradation has meant the use of plastics outpaced most other man-made materials. Today, many of us can’t remember a world without plastic, which went into large-scale production in the 1950s. But we’re now learning the costs of this wonder material—oceans full of indestructible micro-particles that are harming sea life and polluting waterways. We have no idea how to get rid of them.

With a study published on Wednesday in Science Advances, we know how much plastic we’ve created, and where most of it has gone. This represents the first global analysis of all the plastics ever made on the planet, and big surprise, it isn’t pretty.

As of 2015, it finds, humanity has produced over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Of that, 6.3 billion metric tons has become waste. With just over 7 billion people on the Earth as of 2015, this would represent more than one metric ton per human being. Most plastics don’t really biodegrade, and can hang around for hundreds or thousands of years.

Only 9 percent of the 6.3 billion tons of waste was recycled

The study authors, who are based at the University of Georgia and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), as well as with the nonprofit Sea Education Association, gathered the figure after analyzing industry sources, and some were easier to find than others. “It’s basically putting together a big jigsaw puzzle. The only challenge is that you have to find the puzzle pieces first,” said lead author Roland Geyer, associate professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB.

Considering most of it has been for single-use product packaging, from CD shrinkwrap to the disposable lids on coffee cups, that means we’ve basically thrown all of it away. But wait—what about all those recycling programs?

Read More: Ocean Currents Are Carrying Our Plastic Garbage to the Arctic

Geyer and his team found that only 9 percent (!) of the 6.3 billion tons of waste was ultimately recycled. As previously reported on Motherboard, there are actually a number of surprising hurdles to plastics recycling. It can be difficult to do, and we still don’t collate and sort out our personal recycling as enthusiastically as we should.

Then there’s the fact that plastics are made from oil. Cheap and plentiful access has meant that recycling isn’t necessarily economically viable. “When the stock is cheap, which it now has been for a while, that just means that if it makes it very hard for recycled plastics to compete with virgin plastics,” said Geyer.

The majority of plastic that isn’t recycled still has to go somewhere. Geyer and his team found that we’ve managed to incinerate about 12 percent. But in the end, 79 percent of that 8.3 billion tons have either gone to landfills or, worse, out into the environment. Because of eroding landfills and poor waste management, terrestrial and marine ecosystems have accumulated microscopic plastic particles—so much that experts have started to use the build up of the material to indicate the beginning of humanity’s geological era, the Anthropocene.

The study did take a look at the production of biodegradable and bio-based plastics, but found they only amounted to about 4 metric tons.

Those results were not included in the analysis.

There’s no indication that the trend will reverse anytime soon. The researchers found that half of the total amount of plastic ever was created in the last 13 years. The pace of production continues to ramp up.

“We need big and bold approaches here. Notching up the recycling rate by a couple of percentage points is not going to cut it,” Geyer said. “My hope would be that [the study] will add a sense of urgency to the debate about how we’re going to use plastics in the future.”

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Assessing the habits and tactics of organized credit card fraud gangs

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By analyzing hundreds of criminal forums, Digital Shadows discovered a new trend in the form of remote learning ‘schools’. Available to Russian speakers only, these six-week courses comprise 20 lectures with five expert instructors. The course includes webinars, detailed notes and course material. An advertisement for the WWH online course In exchange for $745 (plus $200 for course fees), aspiring cyber criminals have the potential to make $12k a month, based on a standard 40-hour … More

There Are Only 32 Retail Gas Stations Left In Manhattan

Every day, new people arrive in New York City, and those people need housing. In response to that demand, developers in Manhattan have been busy knocking down old buildings and putting up new ones. One casualty of that real estate boom? Gas stations, which have become increasingly rare in recent years.

An Endangered Species

The New York Times noted in 2016 that the pace of development had accelerated, wiping 30 gas stations off the map since 2008. At that time, only 50 were open to the public on the island of Manhattan.

Their numbers continue to dwindle: According to data from the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, there are now only 32 retail gas stations open as of last year.

Here are the stations that were inspected by the department last year — some of those may no longer be open if they were sold before the end of 2016:

Business Name Address
10TH AVENUE PETROLEUM LLC 466 10TH AVE
117 MORNINGSIDE INC. 355 W. 124TH ST
145TH STREET AUTO CENTER INC. 150 W. 145TH ST
155TH STREET AUTO CENTER INC 3740 BROADWAY
174 UPTOWN INC 4116 BROADWAY
1ST & 96TH MANAGEMENT INC. 1855 1ST AVE
30TH STREET SERVICE STATION INC. 309 11TH AVE
ACCEDE INC. 255 E 125TH ST
ATLAS GARAGE INC. 303 W 96TH ST
BEST SERVICE STATION INC. 2157 AMSTERDAM AVE
BISMA MOBIL SERVICE STATION INC. 718 11TH AVE
BROADWAY S/S INC 4275 BROADWAY
CITY FUELS LLC 4353 BROADWAY
CITY PETRO SERVICE CENTER INC. 232 W. 145TH ST
EAST SIDE AUTO SERVICES INC. 348 E 106TH ST
EASTSIDE GASOLINE CORP 1890 PARK AVE
FIRST AVE & 117TH ST INC. 2276 1ST AVE
FUTURE SERVICE STATION INC 1599 LEXINGTON AVE
GOALS SERVICE STATION INC 3260 BROADWAY
HOUSTON SERVICE STATION LLC 21 E HOUSTON ST
INWOOD AUTO SERVICE CORP 4880 BROADWAY
JR AUTO SERVICE CORP 89 SAINT NICHOLAS PL
JTE SERVICE STATION, INC. 242 DYCKMAN ST
KALISH & KERNER PETROLEUM LLC 2420 FDR DR
NAGLE FUEL CORP 265 NAGLE AVE
RIVERDEAL OPERATING CORP. 5080 BROADWAY
SPEEDWAY LLC 401 W 207TH ST
SPEEDWAY LLC 120 W. 145TH ST
SRM FUEL CORP. 3936 10TH AVE
STATION 800 LLC 800 SAINT NICHOLAS AVE
UPTOWN SERVICE STATION CORP. 2326 1ST AVE
WEST MOBIL ON 8TH INC 63 8TH AVE

What’s There Instead?

So where have all the gas stations gone? Curbed has a great interactive map showing what each former fuel location has been turned into, from developments that mostly include apartment complexes, condominiums, shopping centers, and office buildings.

To that end, if you need a place to live, this map might be helpful in finding an apartment.

Some simply sit empty and unused, waiting to be turned into a tall glass building filled with people who probably don’t have cars. And if they do, they may have a tough time finding a gas station to fuel it up.

For more on the ghosts of gas stations in NYC, head on over to Curbed.