Pet owners have long been encouraged to think that they are happier, healthier and live longer than people without pets, but a new US study claims they might be barking up the wrong tree.
Howard Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, says studies conducted in the past to determine whether having a pet improves health and longevity have “produced a mishmash of conflicting results.”
“While pets are undoubtedly good for some people, there is presently insufficient evidence to support the contention that pet owners are healthier or happier or that they live longer” than people without pets, Herzog wrote in the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.
“While some researchers have reported that positive effects accrue from interacting with animals, others have found that the health and happiness of pet owners is no better, and in some cases worse, than that of non-pet owners.”
Herzog cites several studies purportedly showing the benefits of having a pet, including one from 1980 which showed that heart attack victims who had a pet were around four times more likely than petless victims to survive for a year after the crisis, but said more gloomy studies had been ignored.
“While the media abounds with stories extolling the health benefits of pets, studies in which pet ownership has been found to have no impact or even negative effects on human physical or mental health rarely make headlines,” he said.
He cited another study which found no difference in blood pressure between older pet-owners and the petless. In fact, the pet owners in that study exercised less than the non-owners and were more likely to be overweight.
Moreover, he said pets — which can be found in two-thirds of US households — bring with them a cornucopia of health problems that can be transmitted to humans such as giardia, salmonella poisoning, skin mites and worms.
1. barking up the wrong tree
(zi4 wo2 gan3 jue2 liang2 hao3; zhao3 cuo4 ren2 le5)
例: If you think she’ll help you, I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree.
2. mishmash n.
混合 (hun4 he2)
例: The salad was a mishmash of nuts, fruits, vegetables, eggs and half a dozen dressings.
3. cornucopia n.
大量 (da4 liang4)
例: There is a cornucopia of viruses spreading throughout that region of the country right now, so be sure to get vaccinated before traveling there.
Taiwan has recently been hit by a succession of cold spells. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA) has issued a special reminder for scooter and motorcycle riders to beware of strong winds that could cause their body temperature to drop too fast, and to take precautions against the cold. People should memorize the warning signs of heart disease and stroke, and anyone who suffers from facial drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulties should promptly be taken for medical treatment. All parts of Taiwan have been experiencing cold weather under the influence of a strong continental cold
B: I envy your friend. I’d love to work from home. A: He doesn’t mind not being able to meet his colleagues face to face every day. Still, even he occasionally misses the office buzz and ability to socialize. His wife finds the situation more difficult, though. B: Why? She doesn’t like him hanging around the house all day? A: No, she has a job, too, with many international clients, and she’s used to traveling overseas on a regular basis. She’s finding the situation a bit disorientating. B: 我好羨慕你朋友喔，我很想在家工作。 A: 不能每天跟同事見面，他並不介意。可是他偶爾還是會想念辦公室充滿活力的氣氛，可以跟大家社交。可是現在這種情況對他太太來說比較難熬。 B: 為甚麼？他太太不喜歡他一天到晚都在家晃來晃去？ A: 不是，他太太自己也有工作，而且有很多國際客戶，以前常常出國。現在這種情況讓她覺得有點無所適從。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English
I certainly won’t miss the commute! (5/5) 我對通勤是絕對不會想念的！（五） A: With global telecommunications, wireless connectivity and the death of the office, it will be possible to work from anywhere. B: So you think you could just take off to a beach or a beautiful, sun-soaked spot in an idyllic part of the world and do your work from there? A: If we could do it, many others could, too. There wouldn’t be an idyllic place left on Earth. They’d all be crowded with people shouting into their mobile devices or tapping away on their keyboards. A: 有了全球電信系統、無線網路，再加上辦公室的消失，以後要在哪裡工作都可以。 B: 所以你想這樣就可以到海邊，或者世界上某個詩情畫意、陽光普照的地方去，在那裡工作？ A: 如果我們可以這樣，很多人也可以呀！這樣地球上就不會有什麼詩情畫意的地方了。因為這些地方都會擠滿人，大家都大聲講手機，或是在鍵盤上劈哩啪啦打字。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文:
I certainly won’t miss the commute! (4/5) 我對通勤是絕對不會想念的！（四） B: Urban planners are going to have to massively rethink how cities are designed. Business districts will go out of the window. Office buildings will have to be repurposed. Commuter routes will become a thing of the past. A: They will be able to make open, green spaces for people to work in, which will be easier now with all this wireless connectivity. It’s going to be great! B: Careful what you wish for. We might not be tethered to the office, but we’ll still be tied to our mobile devices. We’ll still need to be contactable 24/7, slaves