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Posted inLife

New book explains how “retributive justice,” the high-profile sanctioning of some in society, helps authoritarians solidify public support

October 13, 2021 – By some lights, it seems curious how authoritarian leaders can sustain their public support while limiting liberties for citizens. Yes, it can be hard to overthrow an entrenched leader; that does not mean people have to like their ruling autocrats. And yet, many do. After all, authoritarian China consistently polls better […]

Posted inLife

Books: The Politics of Rights of Nature, By Craig M. Kauffman and Pamela L. Martin

August 17, 2021 – With the window of opportunity to take meaningful action on climate change and mass extinction closing, a growing number of communities, organizations, and governments around the world are calling for Rights of Nature (RoN) to be legally recognized. RoN advocates are creating new laws that recognize natural ecosystems as subjects with […]

Posted inUS

New MIT study shows devastating cost of failure to coordinate economic reopenings

May 21, 2020 – Social distancing is the core policy response to COVID-19. But as federal, state, and local governments begin opening businesses and relaxing shelter-in-place orders worldwide there is a lack of quantitative evidence on how policies in one region affect mobility and social distancing in other regions. In particular, no one has measured […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Breaching a “carbon threshold” could lead to mass extinction

July 9, 2019 – In the brain, when neurons fire off electrical signals to their neighbors, this happens through an “all-or-none” response. The signal only happens once conditions in the cell breach a certain threshold. Now an MIT researcher has observed a similar phenomenon in a completely different system: Earth’s carbon cycle. Daniel Rothman, professor […]

Posted inWorld

Study: Democracy fosters economic growth

March 8, 2019 – As long as democracy has existed, there have been democracy skeptics — from Plato warning of mass rule to contemporary critics claiming authoritarian regimes can fast-track economic programs. But a new study co-authored by an MIT economist shows that when it comes to growth, democracy significantly increases development. Indeed, countries switching […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Study: Much of the surface ocean will shift in color by end of 21st century

Feb. 4, 2019 – Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world’s oceans, and a new MIT study finds that over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean’s color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones. Satellites should detect these changes in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Existing laser technology could be fashioned into Earth’s “porch light” to attract alien astronomers

Nov. 4, 2018 – If extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere in our galaxy, a new MIT study proposes that laser technology on Earth could, in principle, be fashioned into something of a planetary porch light — a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light years away. The research, which author James […]

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