By Dialogo March 29, 2010 They lack the per capita wealth of the Americans, but the Costa Ricans are the happiest people in the Western Hemisphere, while the Haitians and the Cubans are at the opposite end of the spectrum, according to a Gallup poll released today. About 63 percent of “Ticos,” as Costa Ricans are known, are satisfied with life and optimistic about the future, while only 2 percent have difficulty surviving from day to day, according to the survey. Following the Costa Ricans at the top of the happiness list are the Canadians, the Panamanians, the Brazilians, and the Americans. Things are very different in Haiti, where only 4 percent of citizens are content with their existence and where access to food, shelter, and medicine is a problem for 35 percent. In Cuba, 25 percent of people say that they are happy, compared to 11 percent who struggle to survive every day. In the survey, Gallup asked at least one thousand people in each country how they would evaluate their wellbeing on a scale of zero to ten, using a sample designed to represent the opinion of all citizens. According to the study, happiness depends on two factors, health and wealth, Gallup’s head of Global Practice, Tom Rath, said at an event at the firm’s headquarters today. And among all of an individual’s circumstances, “nothing is as important as having a good job” for a sense of personal satisfaction, Rath indicated. Gallup conducted the survey in more than 150 countries, together encompassing 98 percent of the world’s population. The nation where citizens said that they were most content with life was Denmark, while the nation with the worst result was Zimbabwe, where, according to Gallup, sadness reigns.
A new project has been announced to reduce the potential environmental impact of future mining by making exploration for deep-seafloor mineral deposits much more effective. ‘Project ULTRA’ has been funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), and will be led by Professor Bramley Murton at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).Deep-seafloor mineral deposits can provide vital new metals for emerging technologies, including those that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many deposits were formed by hot springs on the seafloor and the vast majority of these now lie under a blanket of marine sediment. The big question facing geologists is whether these buried mineral deposits still contain valuable metals – have the minerals dissolved since they formed thousands of years ago beneath the Earth’s crust, or become even more concentrated?‘Project ULTRA’ will address these questions using a robotic drilling rig to drill the deposits – this will also generate the first three dimensional image of the deposits, using scientific instruments on the surrounding seafloor to listen to vibrations from the drill as it bores through the seafloor. The boreholes will then be sealed and returned to a year later, when fluids will be tapped-off from the plugs to test for reactions deep inside the deposit, NOC explained.The rock core taken by the drill, and these fluid samples, will reveal the composition and structure of these types of mineral deposit, their sub-seafloor fluid pathways, alteration of the host rock, and the preservation processes of their ore minerals.By using this information to identify where the most valuable metals are located in the deposit, Project ULTRA will help ensure any future exploitation would be able to minimize the disturbance to the seafloor and its surrounding environment.This project forms part of the NOC’s ongoing research into seafloor resources and is a collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Universities of Southampton, Cardiff and Leeds, Memorial University in Canada, as well as Oxford Museum, GEOMAR, Nautilus Minerals, VNIIOkeangeologia from Russia, and SMD.