In search of the digital facelift

Unsurprisingly, a large body of research shows that viewing idealised or retouched images adds to the dissatisfaction that many people already feel towards their body. Research by Kristen Harrison, a media psychologist at the University of Michigan, shows that even disclosing that celebrity and advertising images are retouched makes many of us feel worse about ourselves. Becoming more aware of what others edit may heighten our awareness of our own supposed flaws. That may encourage us to spend longer using digital tools to repair them. And once you start it’s hard to stop. I felt better about posting my first FaceTuned photo than I would have if I hadn’t edited it. And since we’re more inclined to post images of ourselves that we like, says Harrison, “it’s self-sustaining because you want to do it again and again and again.” Beauty is attainable for all. Just don’t expect it to be more than a pixel deep. 

Amy Odell writing in 1843 magazine 

Articles of Interest - Dec. 3

 ***JOURNALISM

Americans Still Prefer Watching to Reading the News – and Mostly Still Through Television  Pew Research 

The red couch experiments: Early lessons in pop-up fact-checking  Nieman Journalism Lab 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many and a Dilemma for Reporters  New York Times  

Journalism and journalism students are experiencing a ‘Trump Bump’ (opinion)  Tampa Bay Times 

Canada’s Supreme Court Ruling likely to have a Chilling Effect on Journalism  Vice 

Pro tips from scholars for journalists (and vice versa)  Journalists Resources 

In defense of documentaries as journalism  Columbia Journalism Review  

Kentucky newspaper wins public records lawsuit, but what will actually be released is uncertain  Muck Rock 

More than two dozen journalists worldwide have been killed by members of organized crime since the start of 2017  New York Times 

***THE BUSINESS OF JOURNALISM

How recasting the “online producer” job helped the Miami Herald focus on audience and mission  Better News  

Freelancer Rate Database  Contently 

Where the death of local news hits hardest  Axios

Why ‘news for millennials’ media plays never panned out  Digiday 

***FAKE NEWS

Misinformation bots, smarter than we thought  Axios 

The godfather of fake news  BBC News

An Anti-Vaxxer’s New Crusade  Propublica

Facebook Should Enlist Its Users to Clean Up Fake News (opinion)  Bloomberg

***SOCIAL MEDIA  

Instagram 'Close Friends': What It Is and How to Use It  Wired

Twitter has banned misgendering or "deadnaming" transgender people  the Verge 

“What Are Those?” Meme Creator Young Busco Has Died, According To Reports  BuzzFeed News 

The Infinite Lifespan of Memes  Wired

Tumblr Moves To Ban All 'Adult Content' — Here's Why That Matters  Digg 

Critics Say YouTube Hasn't Done Enough To Crack Down On Extremist Content  NPR

Inside TikTok, the premier app for firefighters who enjoy lip-syncing to ‘Baby Shark’  Washington Post

***PRODUCING MEDIA

A guide to recording spatial audio for 360-degree video  NPR 

***THE INTERNET 

The Friendship That Made Google Huge Coding together at the same computer, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat changed the course of the company—and the Internet  The New Yorker 

New report suggests Latin America will lag in internet growth  Axios

***TECHNOLOGY

Rogue Scientist Says Another Crispr Pregnancy Is Underway  Wired

Google to shut down Hangouts in 2020  Axios

The CRISPR Baby Scandal Gets Worse by the Day The alleged creation of the world's first gene-edited infants was full of technical errors and ethical blunders  The Atlantic 

***BIG DATA & AI  

Amazon Says the same machine learning courses that it uses to teach its own engineers will be offered for free  Tech Crunch 

A Bayesian linear regression in R for time series forecasting  Towards Data Science

The Surprising Power of Small Data: More information isn’t necessarily better in health care or business  Stanford

***THE BUSINESS OF MEDIA   

Nexstar To Buy Tribune Media For $4.1 Billion, Creates Giant TV Station Group  Media Post

Sunset magazine, a California icon, struggles amid declining ad sales and management missteps LA Times

***PERSONAL GROWTH 

The rise of the professional “influencer”  Becoming (my blog)

How vividly imagining your own death can help your next career move  Fast Company

***WRITING & READING

Ben Yagoda Crunches the Contractions  Chronicle of Higher Ed

***LANGUAGE 

‘That Walk Was a Bear!’ Is ‘Bear’ Slang in That Sentence?  Chronicle of Higher Education  

The World’s Most Efficient Languages  The Atlantic  

***LITERATURE 

The 10 Best Books of 2018 The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year  New York Times  

NPR’s Guide to 2018 Great Books  NPR 

***GENDER   

Global report on gender violence says women most likely to be killed by intimate partners or family members  Axios 

Smart dress shows how often women are groped at clubs  Quartzy

Inside the All-Female Trek to the North Pole  Wired 

America’s sexist obsession with what women politicians wear, explained  Vox

***RACE & ETHNICITY ISSUES

Teaching while black: white professor calls security on black adjunct  The Commonwealth Times

Swastikas spray-painted on walls of Jewish professor at Columbia  Washington Post  

Analysis on the diversity of magazine covers from 2012-2018  Ceros

***LEGAL ISSUES  

Everything You Wanted to Know About Emojis and the Law  Technology & Marketing Law Blog

 ***CRIME

The police departments who destroy rape kits before testing them  CNN 

NJ.com's ground-breaking look at police force  Poynter 

***RELIGION

Killing Of American Missionary Ignites Debate Over How To Evangelize  NPR 

Do missionaries help or harm?  BBC 

This Pastor Is Melting Purity Rings Into A Golden Vagina Sculpture  Huffington Post

Kenny Marks, CCM star of the '80s and '90s Dies  Cross Rythms 

Brawl forces Church to Briefly shutdown Christmas Display  KJRH  

***RELIGION AND POLITICS

Members of both parties find meaning in family but differ when it comes to faith  Pew Research

***GOOD NEWS 

Twitter users help reunite friends who met on vacation 12 years ago  Teen Vogue 

97-year-old New Jersey woman has served on every Election Day since 1939  NBC News  

Vietnam War veteran meets stranger whose Christmas card lifted his spirits  CBS News

San Diego man donates $1 million to California school devastated by fire  NBC Los Angeles

A Texas cotton farmer is battling cancer and couldn't harvest his crop. So his neighbors did it for him  CNN

Hundreds pack funeral for Vietnam veteran they did not know after viral obituary post  MSNBC

He opened his motel to families hit by flooding: Now he's a full-service good Samaritan  CBS  

Anonymous 'Santa Claus' Surprises Customers by Paying Off All Layaway Items at Vermont Walmart  People 

Sinatra the blue-eyed Brooklyn husky's mysterious journey and miraculous reunion  ABC News

***REALLY?!

Couple Forced to Prove that New Mexico is a state while applying for a marriage license  Las Cruces Sun News

Grandfather banned from US holiday after accidentally ticking 'terrorist' box on visa form  The Independent

Accused maple syrup bandits fly through Canadian Town during police chase  Calgary Sun 

A homeless man found rare artwork from Disney's 'Bambi' in a trash bin. When it sold for $3,700, the seller tracked him down to split the proceeds  CNN

Women Sue After Breaking Into Theme Park And Hurting Themselves  WBTW 

The 40 Most Insane Things That Happened In Florida In 2018  BuzzFeed News 

Grandma mistakenly booked into all-male jail, staff thought she was transgender  WWLP 

American Airlines passenger left in wheelchair overnight at airport after flight was canceled   Fox-17

***ART & DESIGN

I spent 15 years sanding and grinding mussel shells to create my sculptures. Then I was diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning  Toronto Life 

Google is Building Digital Art Gallaries you can Step Into  Tech Crunch

***IMAGES

National Geographic's 100 best images of the year  National Geographic 

Reuters' best pictures from 2018  Reuters 

***MUSIC 

Neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65%  Fast Company

Can you teach AI to dance?  YR.media 

***FILM

Watch 99 Movies Free Online Courtesy of YouTube & MGM: Rocky, The Terminator, Four Weddings and a Funeral & More  Open Culture 

This is the most influential film of all time  MarketWatch 

***STUDENT MEDIA   

A High School Newspaper Was Suspended For Publishing An Investigation Into Football Players’ Transfers  BuzzFeed News 

Liberty University students create independent news outlet  News Advance  

***STUDENT LIFE 

More millennials now live in suburbs than in cities  CNBC 

Graduate School Is Terrible for People's Mental Health  The Atlantic  

Millennials are killing countless industries — but the Fed says it's mostly just because they're poor  San Francisco Gate 

Teens Say Social Media Isn’t As Bad For Them As You Might Think  BuzzFeed News

Pot is edging out alcohol and cigarettes as the teenage drug of choice  Pacific Standard   

Is a smartphone a necessity for college students today?  Inside Higher Ed  

***ACADEMIC LIFE  

Student made social media threat to kill FAU professor, cops say  Sun-Sentinel 

Judge: UM deprived professor of due process in disciplinary case  Michigan Live 

***SOCIAL ISSUES 

Why US life expectancy is falling, in three charts  Quartz  

40 years ago, this journalist survived the Jonestown massacre: He warns it could happen again Washington Post

What the dip in US life expectancy is really about—inequality: While poor Americans are dying earlier, the rich are enjoying unprecedented longevity  Vox  

My mom’s suicide changed everything: Here’s how I found hope again  USA Today  

The American abortion rate is at an all-time low  Vox

More than one-in-ten U.S. parents are also caring for an adult  Pew Research

***BORDER ISSUES   

What we know about illegal immigration from Mexico  Pew Research 

Families Are Still Being Separated at the Border, Months After “Zero Tolerance” Was Reversed  Propublica 

BuzzFeed gave six kids traveling in the migrant caravan cameras to document what life looks like for them  BuzzFeed News

***BUSINESS & FINANCE

Pension Plans For Millions Of Americans Are On The Brink Of Collapse  NPR

Competition Is Dying, and Taking Capitalism With It (opinion)  Bloomberg 

Americans Value Equality at Work More Than Equality at Home  New York Times 

***ENVIRONMENT

The new  arctic frontier: As the ice melts, U.S. prepares for possible threats from Russia and China  Washington Post 

Climate change strike: thousands of school students protest across Australia  The Guardian 

The World's Largest Ocean Cleanup Has Officially Begun  Forbes 

Only vehicles producing zero emissions will be allowed to drive freely in downtown Madrid  The Guardian

In California’s Fertile Valley, Industry and Agriculture Hang Heavy in the Air  Undark 

***HEALTH

Interactive map shows how many years breathing dirty air takes off your life  Air Quality Life Index  

The science is clear: dirty farm water is making us sick  Wired

What’s in 5-hour energy shots? 17 ingredients: 16 of them are basically useless  Mel Magazine

FDA’s ‘flawed’ device pathway persists with industry backing  Associated Press  

Investigation: Lives Lost Amid ER Violations  Web-MD 

Intermittent fasting is no better than conventional dieting for weight loss, new study finds  The Conversation

***HEALTH & SLEEP 

Why We Sleep, and Why We Often Can’t  New Yorker

Why screen time can disrupt sleep  Salk 

Why Hospitals Should Let You Sleep  New York Times 

***HEALTH & KIDS 

Docs Say Kids With Concussions Don't Have To Stay In The Dark For Days  NPR

Number Of U.S. Kids Who Don't Have Health Insurance Is On The Rise  NPR

***TRAVEL

Want to Escape Modern Life? Try a Weekend in a Prison Cell  The Atlantic

Mic’s best places to travel interactive  Mic 

The Best Things to Do in 25 of America’s Most Fun Cities  Thrillist   

***FOOD & DRINK 

The Hidden Struggle to Save the Coffee Industry From Disaster  Medium 

The Best Craft Brewery in Every State  Thrillist    

Sainsbury's to stock edible insects on shelves in a UK first  The Guardian 

52 of the World’s Most Out-There Myths About Food  Atlas Obscura 

***CHILDREN 

These Are the Most Popular Baby Names of 2018  Fatherly 

ADHD Diagnosis Is More Common For Youngest Students In Class  NPR 

The "homework gap": 12 million schoolchildren lack internet  Axios

New Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment  Foundation for Economic Education  Fee.org 

The best new perks for working parents  Quartz 

***CHILDREN & SCREEN TIME

New inequality trend: how parents approach screen time  Axios 

Should You Make Your Kids Wait Until High School for a Cell Phone?  Life Hacker  

***ANIMALS 

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here  New York Times

***SCIENCE

New Quantum Paradox Clarifies Where Our Views of Reality Go Wrong  Quanta Magazine

Archaeologists Are Looking for Dead Sea Scrolls Inside 2 Newfound Qumran Caves  Live Science  

***PSYCHOLOGY 

Lack of sleep intensifies anger, impairs adaptation to frustrating circumstances  Iowa State University  

Using imagination to unlearn fear  The Naked Scientist 

***NEUROSCIENCE   

This Is Your Brain on Hate Researchers are studying how white supremacism may rewire people  Vice

The Pathology of Prejudice What neuroscience tells us about the persistence of hatred  New Republic 

Experimental Brain Stimulation Relieved Depression Symptoms In Study  NPR 

***PHILOSOPHY

An exhaustive, interactive mapping of the history of philosophy  Deniz C Önduygu blog 

6 essential books on existentialist philosophy  Big Think 

***ETHICS

My Mother Taught Me to Kill  Narratively 

Harvard Medical School Dean Weighs In On Ethics Of Gene Editing  NPR

The Ethical Pitfalls of the Viral “Best Burger in America” Essay  The New Yorker

***RESEARCH  

Controversial visiting researcher — heavily criticized as having racist work — sparks pushback Daily Northwestern

New COPE guidelines on publication process manipulation: why they matter  Research Integrity and Peer Review   

Canadian scholar says he's been 'persecuted' for his research on colleagues who published in predatory journals  Inside Higher Ed 

The double standard of retractions  The Varsity 

A look at retractions from Science from 1983 until 2017  Springer

Where are the ethics in academic publishing?  Times Higher Education 

A suite of automated tools is now available to assist with academic peer review—but humans are still in the driver's seat  Nature 

***HIGHER ED

What the Rise of the Mega-University Might Mean for the Rest of Us  Chronicle of Higher Ed

This "coding bootcamp" is now accredited as a bachelor's program  Axios

Why Your HR Officer Is Leaving  Chronicle of Higher Ed

UW-Stevens Point Faculty Want Regents To Oust Administrators  Wisconsin Public Radio

Why One University Is Handing Out Hockey Pucks to Prepare for an Active Shooter  Chronicle of Higher Ed  

***HUMANITIES

Why Are Students Ditching the History Major?  Chronicle of Higher Ed

In a High-Tech World, Humanities and Other Liberal Arts Are More Essential Than Ever  The Daily Beast

***TEACHING 

Students Evaluating Teachers Doesn’t Just Hurt Teachers. It Hurts Students  Chronicle of Higher Ed  

What Is the Purpose of Final Exams, Anyway?  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Seniors Think What They’ve Learned Will Help Them Do Their Jobs. Do Employers Agree?   Chronicle of Higher Ed 

“Transformative” teaching is exhausting. Here are some suggestions on how to lighten the load Chronicle of Higher Ed 

The Influencers

The internet now means influence can come from anyone, anywhere; it can be visible or invisible, paid for by any power, approaching you any of myriad ways. Influence used to be understood as a top-down phenomenon, with governments, advertisers, donors or other powerful figures holding sway over the masses. These days we understand that the most powerful influences aren’t the distant ones but the most immediate and social — so the powerful tend to exert their influence by pretending to be ordinary people.

Marketers, for instance, work harder and harder to obscure the distinction between ads and real life. The last decade featured the rise of the professional “influencer” — someone paid to use their personal magnetism to promote specific agendas online. Instead of the top-down influence of a commercial or a billboard, these ads are embedded, shared by someone who seems, on some aspirational level, like a peer. The companies paying teenagers to hawk diet tea on Instagram are using the same tactics the Chinese government did when it recruited commenters to post hundreds of millions of pro-Communist Party messages online.

We like to think of our characters as fixed: We have our beliefs and our morals, religions and parties, states and countries, friends and enemies. We are inevitably ourselves — inescapably ourselves. We should be able to resist this kind of manipulation. But a steady stream of social-science studies suggests otherwise, demonstrating again and again how easily social pressures can affect the things we say, believe, do, think, eat. Our anxiety over influence goes back to the same fear Thomas Aquinas had, the same doubt families of alcoholics or cult members have. In the face of powerful influences, how can you locate and hold onto that original, irrefutable spark of self, your free will, your character, even your soul? That’s the fear that the idea of influence lays bare: that you can’t. Or that it might never have existed in the first place.

Annalisa Quinn writing in the New York Times

Self-Control can be Contagious

Not only do you tend to hang out with people like yourself, your friends will influence you toward or away from self-control. Even the people you are forced by circumstances to hang out with (like co-workers) have an influence on your behavior. 

That's the finding of researchers who asked participants to watch people either select carrot sticks or cookies to eat before taking tests related to self-control (not involving cookies and carrots). Participants who watched someone eat cookies before the tests did not do as well as those who had watched someone decide to eat carrots. 

In another test, participants were told to think of a friend with good self-control. This group performed better on a handgrip test (used to measure self-control) than did the participants assigned to think about a friend with weak self-control. Other tests showed similar results.  

The conclusion: If you surround yourself with people who make wise choices, you are more likely to do the same. You can boost your self-control simply by networking with other people who reinforce positive behavior (or vise versa). And when you show a lack of self-control, you are probably influencing someone else to do the same. 

Details of the study were published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 

(more info)

Stephen Goforth

The First CRISPR baby

Eventually, a CRISPR baby will be born.* The (new gene-editing) technology is too easy. There is no world government to stop its use; many argue no one should do so anyway. At the point that baby emerges, perhaps modified to evade a particular disease or perhaps even to look a particular way, theoretical debates will become real. 

 Jennifer Doudna knows the influence she and her fellow scientists have is diminishing every day. “I would hope this would be used to create cures, to help people,” she says. Even if the technology is not quite there yet, CRISPR could eventually do plenty else besides. Every week a new paper is published finding more genes that influence looks, intelligence, stamina, even sexuality. 

“The dystopic view would be IVF clinics that offer parents a menu of options for kids,” she says. “Nobody has kids by sex anymore. You go to a clinic, pick from a menu, say, ‘I want my kid to be this tall, have this colour of eye, this level of IQ,’ and all those sorts of things. I think that would be terrible.” 

Tom Whipple writing in 1843 magazine 

*Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies  MIT Technology Review 

 

Create your own Polls and Quizzes

Looking for a way to survey a class, figure out a group meeting time, or create a poll for your website? Here are some free options along with pricing if you want more options.

Checkbox Survey
Flexible question design but weak interface and results reports. Has multiple levels of access. Lots of mixing and matching of radio buttons and checkbox responses. Weak reporting options-just static displays. Expensive: no free version and it’s $37 a month for just the basic plan, up to $287 a month.

CrowdSignal (formally PollDaddy)
Create surveys, polls, and quizzes. Works well with WordPress sites. Free version offers unlimited polls. The $29 a month account for more options such as customization and export options.

Doodle
Create polls. Great for finding a meeting time among people. Cuts down on email exchanges. Can’t be embedded, but can be linked. It’s a PCMag Editors' Choice productivity app. Everything you need for polling is free. The $39 a year Private account takes away ads and gives you the ability to see who hasn't answered a poll yet and encryption options. Business account for $69 a year.

eSurveyPro
Interface could be better. Multiple reports. More options than SurveyPlanet and some design advantages over Toluna QuickSurveys. Features not as strong as Checkbox Survey and SoGoSurvey. Free options includes unlimited surveys, questions, and respondents. Basic plan includes data exporting, email support. $40 per month for the Premium plan.

KeySurvey
Sometimes confusing interface. Can import questions from Word docs. Works best with straightforward a survey structure. Includes a collaborative task manager, administrative controls, and various reporting options. No direct social media integration. Customized pricing, so who knows how much it cost.

Mentimeter*
Allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback by phones. Fewer  features than Socrative or Poll Everywhere, but it is free and easy to use.

Poll Everywhere*
Instant audience feedback through texting. Embed in PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides for live surveys. Can replace clickers in classrooms. Free version for up to 25 responses per poll. $19 a month for more options.

Qualtrics
Expensive but winner of PC mag’s Editors' Choice award for creating surveys. Interface is powerful and thoughtful organization but has a learning curve. Create shared reports. Really meant for professionals.

Quizlet*
Create study tools like flash cards and quizzes or make use of those created by others. Useful for rote learning. Easy to use but limited functionality. Popular among language learners. Although it will link to Google Classroom, it will not connect with academic LMS (learning management systems like Blackboard). App available. Free version for most features. $1.99 to make it ad free. $19.99 for more options.

Poll Junkie
Unlimited polls and responses with more features than social media polls. Share the link or embed the code. Only free with no sign up.

SoGoSurvey
Create online surveys. Nice interface with lots of starter templates. An option to merge surveys. Limited flexibility in question ordering. Tracks email invitations and responses. Strong reporting functions including a helpful calendar. Stacks up decently against SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey. Pro accounts from $12 to $40 a month.

SurveyGizzmo
Supports the creation of forms, including payment forms, quizzes, and surveys. Users can include text, or other media. Can import questions from Word docs. Includes a bulk-edit mode. A free option with unlimited survey questions but otherwise limited. $25 per month for the Explorer plan.

SurveyMonkey*
Popular option for easily creating simple surveys. Designed to be accessable. Free option allows for up to 10 questions and an unlimited number of surveys that can be sent to up to 100 respondents. Has a mobile app to check survey progress. $32 per month for the Advantage plan. $99 a month for the Premier tier.

SurveyPlanet
Easy step up from Google forms to create surveys with a very clean interface but very basic. Limited question choices and limited options for surveys requiring more complex questions. The free version is generous: unlimited surveys of unlimited length to unlimited respondents. $15 a month for the Pro plan.

Toluna QuickSurveys
An online survey tool with nice reporting options, including the ability to create shared reports. Limited options for more complex questioning. Works best with straightforward a survey structure. $85 per month for the Premium option. A hefty $85 a month for access to Toluna analytics.

Zoho Survey
Online or offline surveys. Easy to use but limited question options. Has a mobile app to check survey progress. Great reporting features. Comparable to SurveyPlanet but with more features and options. Limited free option. Many features are available for the $20 a month option. $60 per month for the Enterprise plan.

More tech tools here.

Articles of Interest - Nov 26

***TECHNOLOGY

The promise and peril of gene drives  Economist

A dystopian human scoring system in China is blocking people from booking flights  BGR

These Precision Parts 3D-Printed From Fake Moon Dust Bring Us One Step Closer to Living on Mars  Gizmodo

***MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY

How to edit a human  1843 magazine  

Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies  MIT Technology Review 

***BIG DATA & AI 

Using AI to screen proteins in a patient’s body to detect disease—before there are outward symptoms  New York Times 

How AI is being used to vet babysitters, screen applicants and watch employees  Axios 

How bots, algorithms, and artificial intelligence are reshaping the future of corporate support functions— real-life examples and key factors for success factors  McKinsey 

The features to look for when picking big-data visualization tools  Search Business Analytics

 ***SOCIAL MEDIA  

The rise and rise of photo-editing  1843

Instagram’s new profile designs emphasize users instead of their follower count  The Verge 

Facebook and The Innovator’s Dilemma  Columbia Journalism Review

Social Media, Online Accountability, and the Meaning of an Apology  The Walrus  

Russia's elite hackers may have new phishing tricks  Wired 

Amazon says technical error disclosed customer information  Axios 

Face Scans are Speeding up Airport Security  Wired

***JOURNALISM 

J-School Leaders Say It's Time to Speak Out  Inside Higher Ed

When journalism meets Hollywood Global Editors Network  Medium  

How to do “man-on-the-street” interviews in a foreign country  The Ground Truth Project

Why Trump wants to control follow-up questions  Washington Post 

The greatest threat to American journalism: the loss of neutral reporting  The Hill

People Singing "Amazing Grace" Were Arrested For Blocking An ICE Van From Driving Away With An Undocumented Immigrant  BuzzFeed News  

How Implicit Bias Works in Journalism  Harvard’s Nieman Reports  

***THE BUSINESS OF JOURNALISM

Digging Deep Into Local News, A Small Newspaper In Rural Oregon Is Thriving  NPR

Canada introduces a $595 million package in support of journalism  Harvard’s Nieman Lab

***FAKE NEWS

The Seven Commandments of Fake News  The New York Times

‘Misinformation’ picked as word of the year by Dictionary.com  The Hill

Just Six percent of Twitter Bots Account for 31 percent of Misinformation  Ars Technica 

Protecting the Value of Medical Science in the Age of Social Media and “Fake News”  JAMA

One of the first two Muslim women in US Congress is already battling a fake news campaign Quartz

Study shows 60% of Britons believe in conspiracy theories  The Guardian

Why QAnon believers think ‘the Storm’ has tripled in size  Daily Dot

The BBC Is Fighting Against Russian Disinformation With A News Service In Serbia  BuzzFeed News

***PERSONAL GROWTH 

The Power of Mind-Wandering  Becoming (my blog)

Everyone Wants to ‘Influence’ You  New York Times

More Americans find meaning in money than in religion or friends  Quartz

A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes  Vox

***WRITING & READING

Seattle high-school teacher shares ‘the wonder of books’ with students on a different kind of field trip  Seattle Times 

Using “very”  Chronicle of Higher Ed

100 Notable Books of 2018  New York Times

***LANGUAGE

It’s hard to have an unusual name in China  1843 magazine  

Brain responses to language in toddlers with Autism linked to altered gene expression  Science Daily 

***LITERATURE

A new exhibition at the British Library explores how cats have inspired—and frightened—writers across the centuries  Smithsonian Mag 

Tales of the unexpected: 10 literary classics you may not have read  The Guardian

***RACE & ETHNICITY ISSUES

Pro-Publica, PBS Frontline Project: 'Documenting Hate: New American Nazis'   NPR

Why are we only talking about Mom Books by white women?  The Cut

No charges for FedEx driver who fatally punched man calling him racial slurs  Oregon Live 

Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America Vice

***POLITICS

How populist are you?  The Guardian 

***LEGAL ISSUES 

Political Scientist Weighs In On Trump's Criticism Of 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals  NPR

Free speech violation or a simple arrest? Supreme Court faces a familiar problem Washington Post

***RELIGION

What Should America Do With Its Empty Church Buildings?  The Atlantic

Clerical sexual-abuse scandals strengthen the pope’s conservative critics  Economist

When atheists lack the courage of their convictions: A review of Seven Types of Atheism  Economist    

Most Americans say religion will live on  Axios  

What Einstein meant by ‘God does not play dice’  Aeon 

The U.S. class divide extends to searching for a religious congregation  Pew Research 

Where Americans Find Meaning in Life  Pew Research

***RELIGION OUTSIDE THE U.S.

All Nations, ORU Grieve Reported Death of Missionary  Charisma News 

Charismatic Christianity in Ethiopia  Economist 

***RELIGION AND POLITICS

Franklin Graham: Trump "defends the faith"  Axios

***GOOD NEWS 

Baby saved from choking to death at NC restaurant on Thanksgiving Fox Carolina

Woman's 3850 mile rollerblade journey relying on the kindness of strangers  AOL News

***ART & DESIGN

Download 569 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art  Open Culture

The Mystery Font That Took Over New York  New York Times 

Winners of the 2018 ESPON Awards for panoramic photography  My Modern Met

***MUSIC 

Malcolm Gladwell and Rick Rubin Launch a New Music Podcast

The woman with a musical dress  1843 magazine 

 ***FILM

How does the process of colourisation affect our understanding of history?  History Today

The evolution of pace in popular movies  Statistical Modeling, Causal Interence, and Social Science

***SEXUAL HARASSMENT & ASSAULT 

Proposed Title IX changes would make campus hearings into "mini courtrooms," higher education lawyers say  Inside Higher Ed

Advances in forensic science and robotics may help law enforcement analyze some of the country’s 225,000 unprocessed rape kits  Undark 

***BUSINESS & FINANCE 

The Wired Guide to Online Shopping  Wired

Selfish people earn less money than generous people  Quartz 

***HEALTH

Critically Ill Children Who Received Wishes Cut Their Health Care Costs  NPR

What an unprecedented study found about 3D printing’s dangers  Fast Company

Standing Desks are Overrated  New York Times

100 million Americans have chronic pain. Very few use one of the best tools to treat it  Vox 

Bed Rest Is Still Often Prescribed During Pregnancy, Despite Proven Risks  NPR 

***TRAVEL

Leaning Tower of Pisa continues long path towards vertical Associated Press

***FOOD

Not Oatmeal  Constellate Magazine  

Iceland's president admits he went 'too far' with threat to ban pineapple pizza  CBC

Romaine lettuce from California linked to E. coli outbreak  The Verge

Americans are divided over whether eating organic foods makes for better health  Pew Research

***ANIMALS  

Nature film crew breaks "no interference" rule to rescue penguins  CBS News 

***SCIENCE 

The ‘myth’ of scientific facts infected decades of criminal cases where bitemark dentists were presented as scientific experts”  Science Direct   

A new book explores the partnership of science and the military—and its long and often fraught history  Undark  

Can Science Create Superhumans?  The Naked Scientists 

***PSYCHOLOGY  

What Amazon Reviews Reveal About Humanity BuzzFeed News

Why suicide is falling around the world, and how to bring it down more  Economist

***NEUROSCIENCE  

Study: To predict the future, the brain has two clocks  Berkeley 

What Happens to the Brain in Zero Gravity?  Singularity Hub

***PHILOSOPHY

First women of philosophy  Aeon

Obligation to Obey the Law  Wireless Philosophy 

***PRODUCTIVITY

Information overload is nothing new  1843 Magazine 

Why you’re not prioritizing sleep even when it’s hurting your productivity  Fast Company

***HISTORY 

Hear the Sounds of World War I: A Gas Attack Recorded on the Front Line, and the Moment the Armistice Ended the War  Open Culture

The worst year to be a human has been revealed by researchers  CNN

The History Of Signatures And Their Present Relevance  NPR 

'Married man' Justin Bieber says wants to be more like Jesus  Reuters 

 ***RESEARCH 

The Experiments Are Fascinating. But Nobody Can Repeat Them  New York Times

To catch misconduct, journals are hiring research integrity czars  STAT

Duke University to settle case alleging researchers used fraudulent data to win millions in grants  Science Magazine 

The Ethical Quandary of Human Infection Studies  Undark 

Journal retracts 29 articles but doesn’t explain which ones  Inside Higher Ed 

Legal threats, opacity, and deceptive research practices: A look at more than 100 retractions in business and management  Retraction Watch

***HIGHER ED

A Film About Higher Ed That Should Bother You a Little  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Enough With All the Innovation (opinion)  Chronicle of Higher Ed

***TEACHING

Why Grades Still Matter  Chronicle of Higher Ed

The Solar System Quilt  Open Culture

“Best” Student excuses  Dynamics of Writing

***STUDENT LIFE

Sleep Pod Companies Want to Disrupt Naps on Campus  Ed Surge 

UMKC professor used students as servants for decades  The Kansas City Star 

Students fear dorm mold problem led to adenovirus death  New York Post  

Millennials are no longer living with their parents  Axios  

College athlete disowned by her parents almost loses her eligibility  Business Insider

***STUDENT MEDIA  

For the First Time, a Black Woman Will Lead The Harvard Crimson  New York Times  

Hundreds of issues of the Maroon-News stolen, members of swim team found responsible  Student Press Law Center

College Media Association censures Univ of N. Ala after newspaper adviser targeted AL.com 

The Power of Mind-Wandering

The seemingly trivial activity of mind-wandering is now believed to play a central role in the brain’s “deep learning,” the mind’s sifting through past experiences, imagining future prospects and assessing them with emotional judgments: that flash of shame or pride or anxiety that each scenario elicits.

A growing number of scholars, drawn from a wide swath of disciplines — neuroscience, philosophy, computer science — now argue that this aptitude for cognitive time travel, revealed by the discovery of the default network, may be the defining property of human intelligence. “What best distinguishes our species,” Martin Seligman wrote in a Times Op-Ed with John Tierney, “is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future.” He went on: “A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise.”

 Today, it seems, mind-wandering is under attack from all sides. It’s a common complaint that our compulsive use of smartphones is destroying our ability to focus. But seen through the lens of Homo prospectus, ubiquitous computing poses a different kind of threat: Having a network-connected supercomputer in your pocket at all times gives you too much to focus on. It cuts into your mind-wandering time. The downtime between cognitively active tasks that once led to REST states can now be filled with Instagram, or Nasdaq updates, or podcasts. We have Twitter timelines instead of time travel.

At the same time, a society-wide vogue for “mindfulness” encourages us to be in the moment, to think of nothing at all instead of letting our thoughts wander. Search YouTube, and there are hundreds of meditation videos teaching you how to stop your mind from doing what it does naturally. The Homo prospectus theory suggests that, if anything, we need to carve out time in our schedule — and perhaps even in our schools — to let minds drift.

Steven Johnson writing in the New York Times

Suicide's lack of Closure

There’s an inherent lack of closure to suicide. Even when people write notes, they can reveal so little. Suicides often leave loved ones, acquaintances and co-workers to question themselves for the rest of their lives. And in their own grief, they, too, can entertain dangerous thoughts. 

“With suicide you have that added trauma to it,” said Julie Cerel, the president of the American Association of Suicidology. “The ‘why’ question of trying to search for meaning when there’s no meaning available—If I only had a note. If I only talked to the last person that they talked to. The ‘onlys’ can be torturous.’” Last year, Cerel published a study examining the consequences of suicide and found that each one could affect as many as 135 other people.

The fundamental mystery of suicide has long made it an object of fear and contempt within the medical establishment. Since the 1950s, public health officials have tried hotlines, individual therapy, group therapy, shock therapy and forced hospitalizations. Doctors have taken away people’s shoelaces and belts and checked in on attempt survivors every 15 minutes to make sure they are still safe. They have coerced patients into signing contracts swearing that they would not kill themselves. They have piled on psychiatric medications with ever-more invasive side effects, only to watch the number of suicides continue to climb.

Jason Cherkis writing in the Huffington Post 

The Best Thing My Psychic Mom Taught Me

I think of my mother (the fortune teller) each time I sit before my screen and begin to write. You have to speak in metaphors, in paradox, in symbolism, I hear her voice. You have to tell a story that will allow the client to experience the truth without you ever having to name it. I write first drafts as if I were turning over tarot cards, too: I scribble single, disjointed paragraphs until the right image of a character emerges.  And I think constantly of Mami’s biggest lesson: Nobody wants the truth, but everyone wants a story.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras writing in BuzzFeed News