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Michael McGimpsey
Lives in Upper Hutt
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Michael McGimpsey

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Hay Truck
Little flat deck truck carrying hay being carried by a bigger truck
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Truck On Truck
You should always stack your trucks in order of size
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. . . and be sure to have each one be a rolling advertisement for the other.
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Truck Park
Showing off all sorts of trucks at the truck show
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Garden Seating
Plenty of seating in the gardens just no one sitting on them
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Glass Roof
The glasshouse roof at the Wellington Botanical Gardens
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Pinkish
Stop and smell the flowers in the gardens
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Dump It
Truck trailer load of old tires
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Yes where I live has come in 9th. Where does your country rank?
 
I find these reports both interesting and uninteresting. On the one hand, they're trying to capture an important quantity: How happy are people? They do this by directly surveying people (targeting 1,000 people per country per year) in what's called the "Gallup World Poll," which asks people about a range of aspects of their lives. This chart is based on just one question from the poll: "it asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale." The colored segments of the bars are the attempts of the team to use regression to figure out how different factors contribute to happiness; the big gray area is the part that wasn't explained by any of these factors.

So that's the good part, and it's also good that the study is done by people who actually know how to do statistics correctly. (You can follow the link for detailed FAQs)

But there are two issues here: one about the question asked, and the other about statistics.

The problem with the question is that it's all about comparing people's perceived happiness to their imagined minimum and maximum. That's really not a measure of their overall happiness; it's a measure of how optimistic they feel about their world versus their realm of possibilities. As several researchers have noted, it's likely more useful to measure unhappiness; that turns out to both be easier to measure, and tell you more about people's day-to-day happiness.

The reason is tied to the fact that "money can't buy you happiness, but poverty can buy you a whole lot of misery." When people's wealth increases, happiness increases sharply – up to a point, at which it basically stops. That's because most of those happiness increases come from the elimination of things like worrying about food, shelter, medicine, and so on. In practice, a good measure of happiness is something like "mean time between bad events." Quantifying that is tricky, but is more likely to give a much better measure. The data below is largely not, I think, a real measure of happiness.

(An excellent article about measuring unhappiness is https://theconversation.com/measures-of-happiness-tell-us-less-than-economics-of-unhappiness-42817 . Thanks to +Peter Scully for that find!)

There's also a statistical thing which, I suspect, hides a tremendous amount of information. For each country, the happiness scores are combined into a mean.

Why is a mean a problem? Of all the methods of averaging, mean is one of the most susceptible to outliers. There's an old joke about two guys sitting in a bar in Seattle, grousing about how broke they are, when Bill Gates walks into the room. One of them thinks hard for a few moments, then, wide-eyed, jumps up and yells "A round of drinks on me!" As the patrons cheer, his friend asks him, "What? I thought you said you were broke!" "Yeah, but I just did the math – on average, everyone in this bar is a millionaire!"

In particular, a country with a small number of extremely happy people and lots of unhappy people and a country with a large number of kind of happy people would look the same on this measure.

Not only do means hide variation in general, they could be specifically important for happiness measurements: people's response to everyone around them being unhappy is very different from their response to a few people being very happy and everyone else being miserable.

So while this study is interesting, what I'd really like to see is a further breakdown of the numbers. For example, we could divide each country into four quartiles, and ask how happy the least, middle two, and top quartiles of the country are. (I picked four quartiles because the more you break it down, the more data you need, so I doubt there's enough data to go further) Then you could show a plot of the countries of the world, ranked by one number – maybe the happiness of the top quartile, or the bottom quartile, or the median happiness – and plot all four numbers on one graph. (Say, through splitting up bars with colors)

That sort of graph would tell you a lot more. Wide spacing between top and bottom is very different from narrow spacing. And it may reveal other statistical correlations of the sort that the graph below tends to show: For example, is the mean happiness of a country correlated to the size of the difference between top and bottom? Is there a link between "homogeneity of happiness" (or homogeneity of any other metric) and overall happiness?

There's a lot to learn here. I'm actually quite interested in the measurement of overall happiness; we tend to focus a lot on financial metrics like GDP or health metrics like life expectancy, but we have to be careful of the metric effect: Whatever you measure is what you end up optimizing for. Money and life expectancy contribute to the underlying goal of a better world, but they aren't themselves equal to that goal. By having the right things to measure, we can better allocate resources and solve problems.

You can read the full results at http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2015/ , and poll methodology at http://www.gallup.com/poll/105226/world-poll-methodology.aspx .

h/t +Ward Plunet.
According to the 2015 World Happiness Report, Switzerland is the happiest country in the world.
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urgh, stacked bar charts.... They should be banned!
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Michael McGimpsey

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Sparrows
Sparrows having fun in amongst the plants
#sparrows   #birds   #botanicalgardens  
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Brilliant
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Flowering Yellow
A splash of yellow flowers in the garden
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Cafe Lunch
They sure do a mighty fine burger and fries at the Picnic Cafe in the gardens
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Work
Occupation
Senior Business Analyst
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Photography first and then everything else
Introduction
I like to capture the world around me as I see it and as such my photos are varied covering a wide range of subjects. Photography is a passion for me and something I would ultimately like to be doing full time. I love to share my photos online and there is links below to the various photography sites where I do post my pictures.

For those that are interested I am a big fan of mirrorless cameras and shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5. My favourite lens I have is the Olympus 12-40 f2.8 pro lens. Its a thing of beauty.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Upper Hutt
Previously
Christchurch
Excellent. The bagels are delicious. I recommend the barnyard one. Also make a good coffee.
Public - 8 months ago
reviewed 8 months ago
A great atmosphere. Sort of 70s retro. Only let down was the coffee could have been hotter
Public - 8 months ago
reviewed 8 months ago
An excellent theatre to see shows
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Best camping ground in Taupo. Great facilities. The pool is awesome and the jumping pillow is a lot of fun
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
9 reviews
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Map
The chalets are lovely and have fabulous views of the mountains. A stunning spot to stay at.
Quality: ExcellentFacilities: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
The only place I will get my haircut. Friendly staff, pleasant atmosphere and they do a great job
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Overall a nice hotel. Everything that you need is here. The pool is nice but could be a little bigger. Would have also liked a separate shower in bathroom. Can't fault the hotels location right in the CBD. So handy to everything
Quality: Very GoodFacilities: Very GoodService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago