According to a working paper from researchers at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia, the five happiest cities in the U.S. all happen to be located in one state, which also ranks as the happiest state...
That state is Louisiana. Specifically, the list-toppers of cities include Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, Baton Rouge and Alexandria. Although some disagree that Louisiana is the happiest state, some research is proving otherwise. Polls that disagree typically use determinants such as financial, economic and purpose driven objectives many of which are career oriented, none of which apply (or have a significant impact) on happiness levels of Louisianans. Some studies have even declared Louisana to be one of the unhappiest states according to tweets and other statistics which are being proven wrong....
On the other end of the spectrum, the unhappiest cities had New York City topping the list, followed by St. Joseph, Missouri; South Bend, Indiana; Erie, Pennsylvania; Evansville, Indiana--Henderson, Kentucky; Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Jersey City, New Jersey; Gary, Indiana; and Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, Pennsylvania....
Louisiana ranks very low in median family and household income, typically 47th and 48th out of 51 states. It also ranks among the highest in percent of people below poverty level. So why are they so happy and makes cities and states unhappy?
According to a study from Lund University, collective picture of what makes us happy is more about relationships and people, and less about things.
"It's relationships that are most important, not material things, and this is in line with other findings in happiness research," says Danilo Garcia, researcher in psychology at the Sahlgrenska Academy's Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health.
A series of geopolitical events pushed prices higher by raising concern that oil supplies could be disrupted, even though no disruptions were imminent. The Obama Administration announced new sanctions against Russian energy firms after the market closed on Wednesday, including against Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer. While analysts say it is unlikely to cause any dip in production or exports in the short term, it could prevent or delay future exploration and production.
The crash of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over Ukraine — which Ukrainian officials said was shot down — raised the risk of a sharper conflict between Ukraine and Russia that could lead to even tighter sanctions against Russia. And fighting in the Gaza strip intensified after a shaky cease-fire expired, yet another source of turmoil in the Middle East, the world's most important oil-producing region.
"Although oil balances will not be impacted, it gives the oil complex another reason to inject some geopolitical risk premium," wrote energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch in a research note to investors.
The jitters about potential disruptions came on the heels of a surprisingly large decline in supplies in the U.S. On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 7.5 million barrels to 375 million barrels in the week of July 11. The fall was more than double what analysts had expected, and reversed what had been a three-week slide in prices.
Please read more here.
A band of young jazz players, the oldest of which could not have been a day over 16. Some serious raw talent on the streets of New Orleans.
Microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan's efforts to streamline its business under new CEO Satya Nadella.
In a statement released Thursday, Microsoft says about 12,500 of the professional and factory positions will be cut as part of its $7 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business, which the company closed in April.
"My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible," said Nadella in a memo to employees.
Please see more here.
Enron - one of my old stomping grounds...
Advances in US shale have coincided with political upheaval in big oil-producing countries. Political instability in Libya, Iraq and Venezuela has stoked concerns about disruption and threats to future supplies. International sanctions on Iran have also reduced the global supply of oil, and Nigeria’s industry is plagued by theft.
Were it not for the new production in the US, which has cut the country’s imports sharply, there would probably be talk of another world oil crisis. As a global energy supplier, it is, in the words of Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, the “indispensable nation”.
Please read more in the Financial Times.