10 insights on today's news that will make you smarter tomorrow
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(165) updates to this series since
It can feel risky to try reconnecting with people in our lives after falling out of touch — but fears of rejection are often overblown.
More young voters could come out to vote in November, sparked by abortion and other hot political issues
Most young people want abortion to be legal and disagree with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling. This could lead to high youth voting rates in the 2022 midterms.
US abortion restrictions are unlikely to influence international trends, which are largely becoming more liberal
Only 24 countries today totally ban abortion. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in the U.S. is unlikely to lead other countries to join that list.
The fundamental issue at stake in abortion debates is personhood, which is viewed differently around the world, an anthropologist writes.
Medical aid in dying is still called 'assisted suicide.' An anthropologist explains the problem with that
More than 20% of Americans already live in a state with access to a medically assisted death. Despite this changing legal climate, the language for describing this new way to die remains antiquated.
Crystals are part of a larger tradition of metaphysical religions that have a long history in the U.S.
White children are especially likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD, according to a new study
ADHD diagnoses are on the rise, a trend that might in part be driven by overdiagnosis. A new study finds that white children are especially likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD.
Overcoming conspiracy theories isn’t just about information. A scholar of religion explains that the emotions they inspire are part of their appeal.
Believe it or not, medication names are intended to be easy to remember and descriptive of the function they serve in the body.
A climate scientist looks at what works to fight climate change and some popular ideas that aren’t as cheap or effective as people hope.
It’s increasingly difficult to move about — both in the physical world and online — without being tracked.
Current expiration date system leads to confused consumers and wasted food. A food safety researcher explains another way to know what’s too old to eat.
As late as 1970, only about 5% of Americans chose to be cremated. In 2020, more than 56% Americans opted for it.
Because some seizures are relatively subtle, they can go unrecognized, leading to a delay in diagnosis.
Researchers know what kinds of behavior enhance feelings of social connection. Here are four ways to connect.
The power of short breaks, movement and other practices on improving mental health: 4 essential reads
Researchers suggest it is important to build daily habits that support mental well-being and seek care when necessary.
'Rage giving': Charities can get a boost from current events, such as controversial Supreme Court rulings
When anger over everything from the killing of unarmed people of color to new restrictions on access to abortion bubbles over, many Americans act on it.
An expert on grief recommends giving people space and time to come to terms with loss and don’t expect them to need — or want — "closure."
Here's a look at a grand jury's major role in criminal justice and why prosecutors are using them to investigate efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
There’s a new party in town — but it may not last long.
People who say they don’t want children are often told they’ll change their mind. The authors of a new study found otherwise.
A 1994 U.S. policy was supposed to deter migration by securing popular access points. Instead, it drives people to enter by more hazardous means, such as being crammed in hot tractor-trailers.
500K American men get vasectomies every year. A specialist explains the easy and reversible procedure
As more younger, single men ask for one following the Supreme Court abortion decision, a urologist explains what to expect with a vasectomy.
The UN recently declared a universal human right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Here's where resolutions like this can lead
It’s more than moral posturing. Resolutions like this have a history of laying the foundation for effective treaties and national laws.
Rising concern about possible environmental damage from the active ingredients in sunscreens could have ripple effects on public health if it causes people to use less of them.
Understanding and changing the environment in which habits form is a critical step when it comes to breaking unwanted behaviors and forming healthy ones.
What is a semiconductor? An electrical engineer explains how these critical components work and are made
Semiconductor chips are electronic devices that store and process information. Today they can contain billions of microscopic switches on a chip smaller than a fingernail.
Cigarette advertising aggressively targets kids in low- and middle-income countries, a new study finds
In places around the world that lack restrictions to combat the problem, tobacco companies are using marketing strategies aimed at children, like displaying tobacco products at kids’ eye level.
What are classified documents? Who gets to see them? What happens if they are released?
Nasty, brutish – but not necessarily short. Here’s how archaeologists know plenty of people didn’t die young.
You don't have to be a spy to violate the Espionage Act – and other crucial facts about the law Trump may have broken
Two national security law experts explain how the Espionage Act isn’t only about international intrigue.
The attack on Salman Rushdie promptly led to speculation on whether the attacker had been influenced by the 1989 fatwa against the author. A scholar explains what a fatwa is — and isn’t.
Why is it so difficult to swat a fly? A team of insect experts explains how a fly’s sophisticated vision allows it to quickly react to visual cues.
Which microbes live in your gut? A microbiologist tries at-home test kits to see what they reveal about the microbiome
The types of microbes residing in your gut can affect your mental and physical health. Home microbiome tests promise to help consumers improve the composition of their gut microbes.
A new screening tool to help study reviewers identify what’s fake or shoddy in research may be on the horizon. And everyday people can apply some of the same critical analysis tools.
What is listeria? A microbiologist explains the bacterium behind recent deadly food poisoning outbreaks
Everyone eats – intentionally or unintentionally – millions to billions of live microbes every day. Most are completely harmless, but some can cause serious illnesses in humans.
Does turning off the air conditioning when you're not home actually save energy? 3 engineers run the numbers
Energy modeling software provides insight into whether letting your AC relax while you’re gone all day will save you energy — and money.
Studies show that most people who are overweight or obese are also chronically dehydrated.
As the U.S. gets less religious, some thinkers warn that it may get more selfish as people engage less with their communities. A team of scholars decided to investigate that concern.
Diets high in fat, sugar and processed foods are associated with higher calorie intake, poorer memory and lower cognitive function.
Inspired by real events, the films tackle issues of race, gender and class in ways that will resonate with many of today’s viewers.
A tax credit expansion played a bit role in child poverty reduction. But the government’s failure to reach all eligible Americans meant many families never got that temporary benefit.
For many who must travel to get an abortion, the financial burden of the trip can be overwhelming.
The most cost-effective energy efficiency investments you can make – and how the Inflation Reduction Act could help
Cutting a home’s energy waste starts with stopping the leaks. Energy-efficient appliances and windows can make a difference, too.
Holocaust photos found in attics and archives help recover lost stories and provide tools against denial
Holocaust scholars once relied on documents and survivor testimonies to reconstruct history. Now, they’re turning to wordless witnesses to learn more: long-lost pictures found in attics and archives.
Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe biopic, “Blonde,” will carry the NC-17 rating – a first for the company. Here's why.
Human skin stood up better to the sun before sunscreens and parasols. An anthropologist explains why
People may love the sun, but we’re not our ancestors. Humanity’s relationship with the sun has changed, and this means changing your behavior to save your skin.
Health officials say the recent case of polio in New York state and the presence of poliovirus in the municipal wastewater suggests that hundreds more could already be infected with the disease.
In Nevada, people create a makeshift city toward the end of summer and later burn it down. What’s behind this event, and what makes it meaningful?
Ghost islands of the Arctic: The world’s ‘northern-most island’ isn’t the first to be erased from the map
The new discovery echoes a mission in 1931, when a five-day zeppelin flight sent robots to the stratosphere and redrew the maps of the high Arctic.
A simmering, difficult, and timely question returns to the Supreme Court this fall: What happens when freedom of speech and civil rights collide?
Some Spanish-speaking activists are already using a different gender-inclusive term that could be a better replacement for Latino or Latina.
Meditation holds the potential to help treat children suffering from traumas, difficult diagnoses or other stressors
A behavioral neuroscientist explains the results of a new study that provides the first glimpse into what happens in children’s brains as they meditate.
The balance of U.S. political power is at stake in the 2022 midterm elections. Voters have several ways to cast their ballots — and the majority of Americans are choosing one of them.
2022's summer of climate extremes: How global warming and La Niña fueled disasters on top of disasters
A climate scientist explains the forces behind the summer’s extreme downpours and dangerous heat waves — and why new locations will be at risk in the coming year.
The United States came in 41st worldwide on the UN’s 2022 sustainable development index, down nine spots from last year. A political historian explains the country’s dismal scores.
There are benefits to taking college classes in the metaverse, but there are also potential problems.
Natural gas has been marketed for decades as a clean fuel, but a growing body of research shows that gas stoves can contribute significantly to indoor air pollution, as well as climate change.
Worrying about how many people believe false ideas misses the real danger — that people are influenced by them whether they believe them or not.
Why does nature create patterns? A physicist explains the molecular-level processes behind crystals, stripes and basalt columns
Nature begins forming patterns at the molecular level — and sometimes they grow to enormous sizes.
It’s not just COVID-19. Low salaries, subpar working conditions and lack of resources in the classroom are three of the reasons why teachers are abandoning the profession.
Nonprofits may need to spend about one-third of their budget on overhead to thrive – contradicting a rule of thumb for donors
Two scholars found that when arts nonprofits devote 35% of their budget to overhead, they fare best in terms of attendance.
Paying for the stuff you want with currency is way easier than relying on chairs you made or chickens you raised.
The U.N.’s latest estimate of 50 million has grown substantially since its last estimate in 2017, when it reported 40 million persons were enslaved.
Derided as "toys for the rich," the specimens being bought and sold raise broader questions about the relationship between science and capitalism.
Summer swimming season may be over, but you can still get swimmer's ear – and you don't even need to go in the water
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s possible to get swimmer’s ear without a dip in the pool, lake or ocean. Two doctors explain what this painful infection is and how to get rid of it.
Many religions value forgiveness, but the details of their teachings differ. A psychologist of religion explains how Christian and Jewish attitudes compare.
Understanding why people underpredict expenses could help them budget more accurately — and even encourage them to save more money.
It's not just sugary food that's responsible for poor oral health in America's children, especially in Appalachia
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which provides an opportunity to draw more attention to this chronic but often preventable problem.
The number of bank robberies is at about the lowest since the 1960s. A researcher investigates why.
The big reason Florida insurance companies are failing isn't just hurricane risk — it’s fraud and lawsuits
About 9% of homeowner property claims nationwide are filed in Florida, yet 79% of lawsuits related to property claims are filed there.
Artificial intelligence can spot differences in images from before and after a storm over wide areas in almost real time. It showed Hurricane Ian’s vast damage in Florida.
'Dude food' is not patriotic. Vegetables and moderation are more deeply rooted in the nation's early history
The celebration of generous portions, meat and fat as masculine and patriotic would have been alien to Washington and Jefferson, who advocated vegetables and moderation as American ideals.
Buddhists believe that bodhisattvas reside in heavenly realms but can also appear on Earth disguised as humans, animals or other types of beings.
A Pennsylvania prison gets a Scandinavian-style makeover — and shows how the US penal system could become more humane
A pilot project at a Pennsylvania prison is trying out lessons from Scandinavia that could offer some ideas for reforming U.S. prisons.
Don’t let microbes and insects turn your Halloween masterpiece into a horror show before the big night.
Acts of defiance, big and small, have continued uninterrupted across multiple generations in Iran. Women’s activism has been constant, as has their imprisonment.
A study of what customers experience when they’re asked to chip in for a cause during checkout suggests that retailers should be careful about participating in these campaigns.
There hasn’t been a new form of male birth control since the 1980s. More contraception options for all partners could help reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies.
Rapid tests can be an incredibly useful tool for early detection of COVID-19. Unfortunately, they sometimes leave people with more questions than answers.
Published in 1962, "Silent Spring" called attention to collateral damage from widespread use of synthetic pesticides. Many problems the book anticipated persist today in new forms.
Evangelical college students say they often feel misunderstood. What helps boost understanding between students of all faiths?
College can be a time to interact with people with different worldviews, but meaningful exchanges often require intent.
Quiet quitting and the great resignation have a common cause – dissatisfied workers feel they can't speak up in the workplace
Research shows that workers rarely call out unethical behavior or even just operational problems, in large part because they fear serious consequences.
Since 1913, the number of seats in the House has remained constant even though the nation’s population has more than tripled.
More than 22 million people currently live in Florida following a century of rapid growth, and demographers project that the population will continue increasing over the next decade.
Going out of your way to get grossed out might seem like a contradiction of human nature. But it serves a strong evolutionary purpose.
How unhealthy is red meat? How beneficial are vegetables? A new rating system could help cut through the confusion
Health guidelines can feel contradictory and hard to interpret. But a new star rating system should help consumers and policymakers better parse the evidence behind health risks and outcomes.
Supporters and volunteers love them. But it’s difficult for political scientists to determine whether signs influence the outcome of elections, since no two campaigns or election cycles are alike.
Elon Musk is poised to take Twitter private. Here's what that means for the company and its future success
The world’s richest man says he intends to complete the $44 billion deal by the Oct. 28 deadline, but that may be the easy part.
From its origins as a Celtic pagan ceremony to its celebration of all things gruesome and ghoulish today, Halloween has been reinvented over the centuries.
Have you visited Yew Nork? Does your stummy ache? What dog of bag food will we get? A psycholinguist explains what’s really going on when people misspeak.
Most Americans trust scientists and science-based policy-making. Here's why freaking out about the minority who don't isn't helpful
It’s tempting to focus on the minority of Americans who hold negative views about scientists. But blaming others for their lack of trust won’t build the relationships that can boost trust.
The numbers of students missing 15 days or more of school in a given year is on the rise in the US. Evidence shows certain approaches can get kids back in school and help them stay in class.
Christian nationalist ideas are about more than simply being religious and patriotic. They form a worldview about how the nation should be structured and who belongs there.
Squandering all that money is easier than it seems.
Parents have very warm feelings toward other parents. Here’s why that could be bad news for the child-free
If parents prefer to associate with other parents, what does that mean for people who have decided against having kids?
Here's a look at what affirmative action is — and isn’t — as well as what its effects are, and why, among others, the military has supported it for decades.
For every headline about pickleball’s miraculous growth you can also find stories about conflicts and infighting among various leagues and governing bodies, as well as between pickleballers and tennis players.
An anthropologist explains why we all have some irrational beliefs and the reason they give us comfort.
More than 300,000 were arrested for cannabis possession in 2020, records show. Meanwhile, the drug is being legally sold for profit in 19 states.
Respiratory viruses are hitting young children and infants particularly hard this fall and winter season, and experts don’t yet know exactly why.
Babies should never sleep on couches, sofas, stuffed armchairs or an incline. Co-sleeping is a bad idea, too.
A finance expert explains why President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program got blocked — and what’s next for student loan borrowers in search of relief.
A leading climate scientist explains why going over 1.5 degrees Celsius puts the world in a danger zone.
Using frequent flyer miles can ease the blow to your wallet. But is there an optimal time to use miles? Here's what two economists found out.
A scientist who led one of the first projects to map the Hawaiian Islands’ deep volcanic plumbing explains what’s going on under the surface.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, his on-and-off girlfriend and others involved in the failed company were reportedly in a polycule together.
Research shows storms that might have caused minimal damage a few decades ago are becoming stronger and more destructive as the planet warms.
The use of "y'all" has often been seen as vulgar, low-class and uncultured. That’s starting to change.
Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. teenagers battle depression. Here's how parents can help.
Researchers know pregnant moms’ brains change in ways that seem to help with caring for a baby. Now they've ID'd changes in new dads’ brains too.
Shorter days affect the mood of millions of Americans. A nutritional neuroscientist offers tips on how to avoid the winter blues
Along with low mood, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include anxious feelings, low self-esteem, longer sleep duration, constant craving for carbohydrates and low physical activity levels.
How can you best find a balance during the holidays so that you are fulfilled instead of frazzled? Perhaps you should take a few cultural cues from the Danes.
Finding good gifts can be tricky. Here are some research-backed tips to help you with your holiday shopping.
From picking the tree to getting it home to setting it up, the choices you make can help it stay fresher — and safer — longer.
Toilets eject aerosol droplets that may carry disease-causing pathogens. Learning how the particles move could help cut exposure in public restrooms.
Though difficult to pinpoint, white educators often put forth stereotypes when they discuss Black students among themselves, research found.
The death of a pet can be a deeply painful experience. But acknowledging the way pet grief is different can help people find consolation.
There are reports of people pronouncing the letter “r” in Boston. Down in Tennessee, people are noticing a lack of a Southern drawl. But is it really possible to lose one’s accent?
A hearing specialist offers tips to turn down that annoying ringing, buzzing and hissing in your ear
Although there’s no cure for tinnitus, help is out there – including sound-generating devices, background noise and talk therapy.
There was once a time when you could simply put old photos and love letters out of sight and out of mind. Editing your ex out of your digital life is a lot trickier.
The annual Arctic Report Card is a reminder that what happens in the Arctic affects the rest of the world.
As viral infections skyrocket, masks are still a tried-and-true way to help keep yourself and others safe
Decades of research show that respiratory illnesses are dramatically reduced when people wear face masks.
The U.S. government regulates many industries, but social media companies don’t neatly fit existing regulatory templates. Systems that deliver energy may be the closest analog.
How is it possible to spend so much time with your parents and grandparents and not really know them? If you skirt the small talk and dig a little deeper, you’ll be surprised at what you might learn.
Long-term consumption of food allergens may lead to behavioral and mood changes, including depression, anxiety and ADHD.
What causes stuttering? A speech pathologist explains the science and misconceptions around this speech disorder
Your attitudes toward people who stutter may depend partly on what you think causes stuttering.
Keeping human foods away from pets is one way to avoid emergency veterinary hospital runs during the holidays.
The dead of winter, when the longest night of the year takes place, is also a time of renewal. Here's why the winter solstice is worth celebrating.
Twitter in 2022: 5 essential reads about the consequences of Elon Musk's takeover of the microblogging platform
The intersection of content management, misinformation, aggregated data about human behavior and crowdsourcing shows how fragile Twitter is and what would be lost with the platform’s demise.
2022 will be remembered in the U.S. for devastating flooding and storms — and extreme heat waves and droughts. Here's what it all means.
In winter, light in the northern latitudes is dim and very blue compared to summer light. Reindeer eyes have evolved to be better suited for this.
For the first time, researchers have been able to produce estimates of the rate of hate crimes against LGBTQ people.
There are many things you can do to help your pets when they’re sick.
When sleep routines go haywire, here are the things to keep in mind to help the whole family reset.
Tiny fluctuations in the time between each beat of your heart can provide clues about how much stress your body is experiencing.
Mindfulness can teach us to be more present — not just for ourselves, but also for our colleagues, friends and loved ones.
"Career portfolioing" is a trend where people assemble different sources of income, such as side gigs, to give them a measure of independence from employers who provide little job security.
Do you think that creativity is an innate gift? Think again. New research highlights how anyone can train their creative muscles by rethinking the anxiety, frustration and anger they encounter in daily life.
A study says students who work while enrolled in college are about 20% less likely to complete their degrees than similar peers who don’t work.
How does a child become a shooter? Research says easy gun access, exposure to screen violence up risk
Many questions remain after a 6-year-old shot a Virginia teacher. Research shows watching gun violence on screen can desensitize kids to firearms' harm.
Short, frequent walks throughout the day are key to helping prevent the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Meditation and mindfulness offer many health benefits — and may be as effective as medication in some cases
Many people look to diet trends or new exercise regimens to get a healthier start on the new year. But there is one strategy that’s been shown time and again to boost both mood and health: meditation.
NASA had a banner year in 2022. Its missions dealt with the farthest, closest, hottest and coldest conditions in the universe.
US birth rates are at record lows – even though the number of kids most Americans say they want has held steady
Childbearing goals have remained remarkably consistent over the decades. What has changed is when people start their families and how many kids they end up having.
Green jobs are booming, but too few employees have the right skills. Here are 4 ways to close the gap
Green jobs go beyond solar panel installation and wind turbine maintenance. They’re found in fields from design to economics and in many types of management.
As omnivores, humans can choose not to consume any animal products. But what happens when we feed a vegan diet to our carnivore companions?