The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Josh and Chuck read tons of material and a lot of it is really good. Here's the best of the bunch.

How Marriage Works

You can tell a lot about a culture through marriage statistics: what age people get married, how many divorce, who is excluded from legal marriage. It forms a picture of how a society interacts with itself. Learn more about marriage in this episode.

You know how there are a lot of elderly couples out there who look a lot like each other. A lot of them are because they're cousins, which I suspect was more okay back in olden times when you had to stock the farm with as many people as you could and it didn't really matter how divergent their genetic lines were. There are also plenty of elderly married couples that look alike who aren't related in any way, and it's these couples who have long puzzled researchers. A 1987 study that sought to get to the bottom of this was recently sent to me by Stuff They Don't Want You to Know's Ben Bowlin, who comes up with good stuff pretty much all the time.

Can your smile predict marital bliss?

Thanks to staff writer (extraordinaire) Molly Edmunds for pointing me in the direction of this cool article from Live Science. Researchers at DePauw University in Indiana did a little study that examined the smiles of college yearbook photos to see if there was any correlation to later success in marriage. Turns out that it may an indicator. Smiles were based on a scale of one to 10, one being a not very smiley person and 10 being off the charts happy. They found that not one of the top 10 percent of smiley folks was divorced. Nearly one in four of the bottom 10 percent had suffered through at least one divorce. They went a step further and collected photos from people over the age of 65 and rated their smiles as well. In this group, 11 percent of the top smiles had gone through a divorce, compared to 31 percent in the bottom lot.

Marriage is an ancient custom, and today's wedding practices come from age-old traditions. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the history behind marriage traditions.