Narcisism. It’s the reason I have my photo right there.

And according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists, it’s spreading like gastro across universities and colleges.

From 1982 to 2006, more than 16,000 students in the US were asked to fill out standardized tests as part of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. The tests asked for responses to statements like “If I ruled the world, it would be a better place,” or “I can live my life any way I want to.”

According to the researchers, scores have been rising steadily every year, with 30 per cent more people scoring above-average today compared with 1982.

Narcissism can be useful, says one of the co-authors of the study, like when you’re meeting new people, or “auditioning for American Idol,” but narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, be at-risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviours.”

They also tend to lack sympathy and react angrily to criticism, according to the report.

I don’t know whether to start volunteering at the hospital right away or start swearing and knocking things over.

The Conference Board of Canada (a not-for-profit organization that studies economic trends)  recently announced its prediction that Newfoundland and Labrador will lead all Canadian provinces in economic growth in 2007, expanding by five per cent.

The report says the economy is being pushed ahead by increased mineral operations like the Voisey’s Bay mine, and offshore oil from the now operational Terra Nova  and the White Rose.

“However,” says the company’s Associate Director, “dwindling oil production in 2008 means that economic growth will all but dry up next year.”

Hey, that reminds me. March 12 marks the 32nd anniversary of the first bankruptcy of the Come By Chance oil refinery.

Mm-mm, natural resources! We know how to pick ‘em don’t we?