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Hot ice: The invisible threat making planes fall out of the sky

Why did Air France flight 447 plunge into the Atlantic? Only now are we close to understanding a stealthy phenomenon that has been downing planes for decades

Wonder what your plants are ‘saying’? Device lets you listen in

A small device lets researchers, farmers and amateur plant lovers listen in to electrical changes inside their plants – Penny Sarchet tried it out

Football on the brain

What sets top footballers apart from their peers? Strength and speed certainly matter, but evidence suggests the real difference is in the players' minds

Prehistoric tombs may have doubled as star-gazing observatories

Ancient corridor-like “passage graves” could have helped early tribes see stars as they first rise above the horizon by blocking out the ambient light

three cheers for matt bevin and the hair braiders of kentucky

I’m not the Tea Party type, but I give credit where credit is due. Bravo to Matt Bevin, governor of Kentucky, for signing a bill to legalize hair braiding without a license. Like many states, Kentucky has required that hair braiders obtain an expensive license to practice their craft. Hair braiding license laws are not […]

What I've Been Reading Recently

My brain needs a night off from the crisis, so let's have the quarterly list of books my eyes have nommed up. There's a lot. The Thought Gang by Tibor Fischer Theorizing Patriarchy by Sylvia Walby Either Side of Winter by Benjamin Markovits...Show More Summary

The Most Trustful Societies are Weakly Religious and Diverse

We often think that religion helps to build a strong society, in part because it gives people a shared set of beliefs that fosters trust. When you know what your neighbors think about right and wrong, it is easier to assume they are trustworthy people. The problem is that this logic focuses on trustworthy individuals, […]

is asa slowly dying?

In this month’s ASA Footnotes, there is an article called “Is ASA Only for the Rich?” This passage stuck out: As with most member organizations, ASA’s membership has fluctuated over the last half century. It grew rapidly in the 1960s to an historic high of 14,934 in 1972, and then declined steadily in the 1970s […]

Scattered Thoughts on the Crisis

What with all that's going on, thoughts about this and that have been popping up all over the place, thoughts that do not belong to a coherent blog post. So instead, here there are in all their variegated incoherence. 1. It's that hoary old chestnut again: "Labour MPs have a greater mandate than Corbyn." They don't. Show More Summary

The “Model Minority” Is a Harmful Stereotype, Too

Some believe Asian-Americans face a “gentler” sort of racism than other minority groups—that they are even treated with admiration as a “model minority” group. That said, the “model minority” stereotype doesn’t have negative consequences. Show More Summary

Beautifully preserved feathers belonged to tiny flying dinosaurs

Detailed amber fossils of wings from dinosaurs just 3.5 centimetres long suggest they flew like today’s birds. Such finds let us probe how flight evolved

Zika vaccine protects mice, but may increase risk of dengue

One dose protects mice from Zika but may put people at greater risk of dengue. A more targeted approach may protect against both diseases

Sexing it app: The erotic video games that explore sexuality

So many films and books involve sex scenes, so why not games? These interactive experiences can deal with serious issues in a way that’s more than just pushing buttons

What happens if we pay everyone just to live?

Think universal basic income is a pipe dream? Experiments all over the world are already showing its potential to transform society for the better

Exploitation at Home: Matthew Desmond’s Evicted

By Peter Kaufman If you have not yet heard of the sociologist Matthew Desmond, you probably should. In the relatively anonymous world of professional sociology, Desmond is making quite a name for himself, and deservedly so. He has been dubbed...

An Election or a National Government?

Taking time off from the crisis in the Labour Party, let's turn our attention to the Tories and their position after Thursday's referendum. Emerging from his bolthole this morning, George Osborne tried to strike an assured, calming note in front of the world's TV cameras. Show More Summary

Sense of Political Disenfranchisement Strongly Predicts Support for Trump

One explanation for Trump’s popularity on the political right is that supporters are attracted to him because they feel invisible to “establishment” candidates and Trump, as an “outsider” is going to “shake things up.” A survey of 3,037...Show More Summary

the real story behind the adjunct labor market in academia

For many years, I believed a common story about part-time laborers in the university system. I believed that administrators had slowly cut back on full time tenure track jobs and replaced them with an army of low paid part timers.Tenure was under attack and it will soon disappear. That story isn’t right. Writing in Liberal […]

The Perils of Pure Democaracy

June 26, 2016 Posted by Jay Livingston In yesterday’s post on the Brexit vote, I wondered aloud about the wisdom of using a referendum to decide on specific policies. A commenter characterized my views as “the quintessential liberalShow More Summary

Against the Corbyn Coup

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. The United Kingdom stands on the precipice, politics is thrown into turmoil, and the inevitable coup against Jeremy Corbyn is under way. This is a mistake. A very grave mistake, and I'm going to explain why. Show More Summary

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