20
May

Study: Fox News, CNN, MSNBC are "least informative" news sources

1,185 respondents nationwide were asked about what news sources they consumed in the past week and then were asked a variety of questions about current political and economic events in the U.S. and abroad. On average, people were able to answer correctly 1.8 of 4 questions about international news, and 1.6 of 5 questions about domestic affairs. 

…the study concludes that media sources have a significant impact on the number of questions that people were able to answer correctly. The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well.  And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly. 

“These differences may be small, but even small differences are important when we’re talking about millions of people,” said Cassino. “We expect that watching the news should help people learn, but the most popular of the national media sources – Fox, CNN, MSNBC – seem to be the least informative.”  

18
May

Religion can improve your self-control — even if you don’t believe in God

Psychologists at Queen’s University have demonstrated that test subjects who are primed to think subconsciously about religion — including agnostics and atheists — actually perform better at tasks requiring self-control than those who aren’t.

"When we say ‘self control,’" Queen’s University psychologist Kevin Rounding tells io9, "what we’re talking about is our capacity to refrain from personally desirable actions and impulses, and instead opt for behaviors that are more advantageous by bringing our behavior in line with more socially acceptable standards."

"If religion does function as a means of cultivating self-control," the researchers muse, "then even subtle reminders of religious concepts should result in higher levels of self-control."

29
Feb
The number of American mosques has nearly doubled over the past decade, jumping from 1,209 in 2000 to more than 2,100 in 2010…
16
Nov

High Childhood IQ Linked to Subsequent Illicit Drug Use, Research Suggests

Although it is not yet clear exactly why there should be a link between high IQ and illicit drug use, the authors point to previous research, showing that highly intelligent people are open to experiences and keen on novelty and stimulation.

Other research has also shown that brainy children are often easily bored and suffer at the hands of their peers for being different, “either of which could conceivably increase vulnerability to using drugs as an avoidant coping strategy,” explain the authors.

03
Nov

Study: 30 top firms paid no federal income taxes

Poor people don’t pay income tax and conservatives freak out. Fortune 500 companies don’t pay income tax and conservatives applaud.

01
Nov

Majority of Americans Support Taxing the Rich and Redistributing Wealth

69% of Americans think Republican policies favor the rich

66% of Americans think the nation’s wealth should be more evenly distributed

65% of Americans think million-dollar households should receive a tax increase

Source

26
Oct

66% of Americans Think Wealth Gap is Unfair

24
Oct

62% of Americans Want to Abolish the Electoral College

Another sensible policy supported by the majority of Americans….so of course it’ll never happen.  

12
Oct

Iran, Uganda, and Russia have better income distribution than America

The CIA’s World Factbook: COUNTRY COMPARISON :: DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILY INCOME - GINI INDEX

I am flipping the fuck out over these numbers. Meanwhile, of course, all of the supposedly “socialist” countries have terrific income distribution because they are strong welfare states with progressive tax rates.

3 words: Occupy Wall Street 

09
Sep
A chart that details the dangers of various drugs.
I need not point out, I’m sure, the wild inconsistencies in our country’s drug policies based on this and many other studies.
By the way, MDMA could be the cure for cancer, but obviously it’s more important to arrest dancing kids with glow sticks than it is to save tens of millions of lives. 

A chart that details the dangers of various drugs.

I need not point out, I’m sure, the wild inconsistencies in our country’s drug policies based on this and many other studies.

By the way, MDMA could be the cure for cancer, but obviously it’s more important to arrest dancing kids with glow sticks than it is to save tens of millions of lives. 

25
Aug

Scientists Say Marijuana Doesn’t Hurt Your Brain, Could Lead to “Radically New Ideas”

A study recently conducted by the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University stated the following:

"The adverse impacts of cannabis use on cognitive functions either appear to be related to pre-existing factors or are reversible in this community cohort even after potentially extended periods of use."

In other words, the stereotypical image of marijuana smokers as dumb and forgetful is in fact totally unfounded in well-conducted research. Furthermore, a recent paper by scientists at University College, London proposed the following:

"Marijuana seems to induce a state of hyper-priming, in which the reach of semantic priming extends to distantly related concepts. As a result, we hear “dog” and think of nouns that, in more sober circumstances, would seem rather disconnected, such as “leash” or “hair.” This state of hyper-priming helps explain why cannabis has been so often used as a creative fuel, as it seems to make the brain better at detecting those remote associations that lead to radically new ideas.”

Admittedly, most of this “hyper-priming” is probably useless and contributes nothing to society…but still, the point remains: marijuana ain’t so bad.

08
Aug

Gender Equality = Sexy Time

from USA Today:

Equality leads to more sex.

That’s the gist of a new study about the sexual marketplace that used global data and found there’s more sex in countries with higher gender equality than in those with less.

…new research, published in The Journal of Social Psychology earlier this summer, used two data sets on 37 countries, including an international online sex survey of 317,000 people and data specific to gender equity and related subjects. He found that countries ranked higher in gender equality also generally had more casual sex, more sex partners per capita, younger ages for first sex and greater tolerance/approval of premarital sex. Rankings were by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, 2006; the USA ranked 16th.

"In countries where women are at a big disadvantage, they restrain sex, so the price is high and men make a lifetime commitment to support them to get sex," Baumeister says. "Men will do whatever is required for sex.”

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