“Look for the helpers” is good for distracting preschoolers from horrors they can’t change; we adults must do better.

“Look for the helpers” is only one part of how Fred Rogers recommended that parents help children deal with tragedy. Let your child know if you’re making a donation, going to a town meeting, writing a letter or e-mail of support, or taking some other action. It can help children to know that adults take many different active roles and that we don’t give in to helplessness in times of…

Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Alice E. Marwick (headsnot)

Why Do People Share Fake News? A Sociotechnical Model of Media Effects

Verrit, like Snopes, Politifact, and a host of other fact-checking sites, reflect fundamental misunderstandings about how information circulates online, what function political information plays in social contexts, and how and why people change their political opinions. Fact-checking is in many ways a response to the rapidly changing norms and practices of journalism, news gathering, and public debate. In other words, fact-checking best resembles a movement for reform within journalism, particularly in a moment…

Illustration of glowing chain links in a shovel of dirt.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader

This fascinating essay, by the grandchild of a Nigerian slave trader, explores a complex cultural legacy. At least as provocative as “Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?” and the stunning, bitter “Molasses to Rum (to Slaves)” from the otherwise cheery musical 1776. African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from…

When Perception Trumps Reality: Republicans aren’t nearly as rich as Democrats estimate. Democrats aren’t nearly as gay or atheistic as Republicans estimate.

Democrats wildly over-estimate the percentage of Republicans who make over 250k a year (estimated: 44%; actual: 2%).  Republicans are almost as bad when it comes to predicting the percentage of Democrats who are LBG (estimated: 38%; actual: 6%) and atheist/agnostic (estimated: 36%; actual: 9%). Both groups were a little closer to the mark when asked to estimate details about their own parties, but the perception they are acting on is…

“for every cliché of a barista or bartender with a liberal arts degree, there were ten with a degree in business.”

This story offers evidence to challenge the stereotype that under employed humanities majors are stuck working in service jobs years after graduation. STEM jobs are indeed the most marketable, but a recent study found  that after five years, business, health professions, education and psychology make up far more of the underemployed graduates than English or foreign languages. If you believe the Burning Glass data, those four majors alone – business,…