User’s Guide to Democracy: Political Advertising

United States (ProPublica) –  Who’s ready to become a smarter, more engaged, more empowered voter?! Hopefully your answer is … Over the next several weeks, I’ll be your guide through the midterm election landscape. We’re going to talk about political campaigns, who your representatives in Congress are (and what it is they do), the candidates who want to represent you in Congress and the sometimes convoluted business of voting. National politics can seem distant or complicated — but I promise, it’s pretty easy to follow once you know the basics. I’m Cynthia, by the way, director of…

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When Gold Prices Go Up, So Do Dowry Costs – And Baby Girl Survival Rates in India Fall

India (Conversation) – When world gold prices go up, fewer girl babies in India survive the first month of life, according to our new research. My colleagues and I suggest that this is linked to gold often being part of bridal dowries in India – so when gold prices go up, the cost of raising girls rises and families tend to neglect or abort them. Dowry, a transfer at marriage from parents to daughters, is an ancient tradition thought to date back to at least 200BC, and was widely prevalent…

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How to Teach Kids Where Food Comes From – Get Them Gardening

World Wide (Conversation) – Survey the shelves of most supermarkets and you’ll no doubt be confronted with row upon row of food designed to appeal to children.Be it chicken nuggets or turkey twizzlers – many foods now bear little resemblance to their original ingredients – “junk foods” now line the supermarket shelves to appeal to young consumers. The influence of supermarkets on UK children is not to be underestimated. These super-retailers generated just under £164 billion in 2011 with UK grocery sales predicted to rise to just below £197 billion…

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Why Women – Including Feminists – Are Still Attracted to ‘Benevolently Sexist’ Men

World Wide (Conversation) – If a man offers to help a woman with her heavy suitcase or to parallel park her car, what should she make of the offer? Is it an innocuous act of courtesy? Or is it a sexist insult to her strength and competence? Social psychologists who describe this behavior as “benevolent sexism” firmly favor the latter view. But researchers have also revealed a paradox: Women prefer men who behave in ways that could be described as benevolently sexist over those who don’t. How could this be?…

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Can Productive Discomfort Exist in a Polarised World: Free Speech on Campus

(Conversation) – Our previous article “The predicament of diversity: re-boot for diversity 3.0” explored the multiple definitions of diversity and the factors shifting its focus from social and racial inequality to the diversity of identity … and the distractions that this creates. Diversity and race keep getting confused, amalgamated and co-opted for different political gains and purposes. At the same time, we seem to be experiencing a crescendo effect in terms of the number reported incidents involving minorities. Spike Lee’s new film BlacKkKlansman, based on Ron Stallworth’s true story of infiltrating…

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Death Count Debates Overshadow the Real Story: Hurricane Maria Was Partly a Human-Made Disaster

United States (Conversation) – Last September, President Donald Trump told Puerto Ricans they should be grateful Hurricane Maria had not caused a “real catastrophe like Katrina.” However, mounting evidence now reveals the death toll for Maria far surpasses initial estimates. New research puts the number close to 3,000, adjusted up from just a few dozen when the president made his now infamous remark. This is an estimate, but it is virtually certain that the number is in the thousands. The president has denied these numbers, but without offering any evidence…

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How Social Networks Can Save Lives When Disasters Strike

World Wide (Conversation) – Soon after my family moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2005, we heard Mayor Ray Nagin’s first warnings about Hurricane Katrina. With two young children, a job I hadn’t started yet, and little in the way of savings, my wife and I couldn’t wrap our heads around leaving our freshly furnished home to spend money on a hotel in some distant city. So we ignored the call for evacuation. As our neighbors began to pack up and head out, we figured they were overreacting….

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The National Prison Strike Is Over. Now Is the Time Prisoners Are Most In Danger

United States (Conversation) – Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated. In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. This time around, though, prisoner demands to improve the conditions of confinement…

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If You Shelter In Place During a Disaster, Be Ready for Challenges After the Storm

United States (Conversation) – Many people will likely decide to stay put despite evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Florence. And if history is any guide, they may not be fully thinking through the problems they’ll face in the aftermath. I conducted a research survey in Harris County, Texas, which contains much of metro Houston, after the city was flooded by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, and found a common thread. Few respondents who stayed in place during the storm planned in advance for coping with extended service interruptions, such as…

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Three Things Netflix’s Controversial ‘Fat-Shaming’ Series Insatiable Gets Right

(Conversation) – Netflix’s controversial Insatiable (2018) is the story of a teen who loses weight and competes in beauty pageants. Some people have said the show promotes fat-shaming and disordered eating. Thousands of viewers   have called for it to pulled from Netflix. However, despite the show’s problems, it does shed light on other issues facing young women. Insatiable tells the story of Patty (Debbie Ryan), an overweight teen who has spent her life being relentlessly bullied. After an altercation that causes Patty to have her jaw wired shut for…

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