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O What Extent Do You Agree That It Is Worth Expense to Make a Human Mission to Mars

  • Date Submitted: 11/06/2013 10:19 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.4 
  • Words: 534
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ver the winter I moved from New York City to Portland, Ore. The reasons for my move were purely logical. New York was expensive and stressful. Portland, I reasoned, would offer me the space and time to do my work.




Upon arriving, I rented a house and happily went out in search of "my people." I went to parks, bookstores, bars, on dates. I even tried golfing. It wasn't that I didn't meet people. I did. I just felt no connection to any of them.


Once social and upbeat, I became morose and mildly paranoid. I knew I needed to connect to people to feel better, but I felt as though I physically could not handle any more empty interactions. I woke up in the night panicked. In the afternoon, loneliness came in waves like a fever. I had no idea how to fix it.


Feeling uncertain, I began to research loneliness and came across several alarming recent studies. Loneliness is not just making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.


The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.








Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.


Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.


All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.


In a society that judges you based on how expansive your social networks appear, loneliness is difficult to fess up to. It feels shameful.


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