The Conversation


Black voters won Alabama for the Dems. Here's what they need in return

  • Written by Sharon Austin, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of African American Studies, University of Florida

As a scholar of African-American and Southern politics for the last 25 years, I’ve witnessed a lot of election upsets and surprises. None has been more interesting than the Democrat Doug Jones’ election to the U.S. Senate in a Dec. 12 special election against Republican Roy Moore.

I’m not talking here about the controversy...

Read more: Black voters won Alabama for the Dems. Here's what they need in return

Some new nonprofits take off, others flop – and nobody knows why

  • Written by Fredrik O. Andersson, Assistant Professor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
imageIt's easier to appear destined for greatness on the drawing board than in real life.Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

Wayne Gretzky’s observation that you will always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take holds true for charitable donors. They cannot expect great things to happen, or new innovations to take root, unless they are...

Read more: Some new nonprofits take off, others flop – and nobody knows why

An archaeological dig in Israel provides clues to how feasting became an important ritual

  • Written by Natalie Munro, Professor, University of Connecticut
imageLightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

This holiday season millions of families will come together to celebrate their respective festivals and engage in myriad rituals. These may include exchanging gifts, singing songs, giving thanks, and most importantly, preparing and consuming the holiday feast.

Archaeological evidence shows that such communally...

Read more: An archaeological dig in Israel provides clues to how feasting became an important ritual

When cringeworthy gifts are worse than inconsiderate

  • Written by Deborah Y. Cohn, Associate Professor of Marketing, New York Institute of Technology
imageSometimes a gift that might seem reasonable is no nicer than a stocking full of coal. Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock.com

Ever wondered why your mom bought you that inexplicable thing? You’re not alone.

I have spent years doing consumer research related to gift giving. In my field, conventional wisdom surmises that when gifts fail to please...

Read more: When cringeworthy gifts are worse than inconsiderate

What Doug Jones's win means for Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon and the Democrats

  • Written by David C. Barker, Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University
imageSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls for Roy Moore to step aside. He later said "let the voters decide."AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Here’s the thing about selling your soul: The devil had better deliver. It’s one thing to be damned; it’s another to be a damned loser.

This is the difficult lesson that the Republican...

Read more: What Doug Jones's win means for Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon and the Democrats

Can math predict what you’ll do next?

  • Written by Daniel J. Denis, Associate Professor of Quantitative Psychology, The University of Montana
imageBig data makes it a bit easier to guess your next move.blackboard1965/shutterstock.com

Good scientists are not only able to uncover patterns in the things they study, but to use this information to predict the future.

Meteorologists study atmospheric pressure and wind speed to predict the trajectories of future storms. A biologist may predict the...

Read more: Can math predict what you’ll do next?

Mercury from industrialized nations is polluting the Arctic – here's how it gets there

  • Written by Daniel Obrist, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell
imageGates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Plants on the Arctic tundra absorb mercury from the air, then transfer it to soil when they die.Paxson Woelber, CC BY

Scientists have long understood that the Arctic is affected by mercury pollution, but know less about how it happens. Remote, cold and seemingly pristine, why is such an idyllic landscape...

Read more: Mercury from industrialized nations is polluting the Arctic – here's how it gets there

With FCC's net neutrality ruling, the US could lose its lead in online consumer protection

  • Written by Sascha Meinrath, Director of X-Lab; Palmer Chair in Telecommunications, Pennsylvania State University
imageThree of these smiling people undid U.S. consumer protections online.Federal Communications Commission

The internet may be an international system of interconnecting networks sharing a rough global consensus about the technical details of communicating through them – but each country manages its own internet environment independently. As the...

Read more: With FCC's net neutrality ruling, the US could lose its lead in online consumer protection

Alabama and #MeToo's disruptive force

  • Written by Ashwini Tambe, Editorial Director, Feminist Studies; Associate Professor, Department of Women's Studies, University of Maryland
imageA woman rallies for Doug Jones on Dec. 12. Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore who was accused of sexual misconduct.AP Photo/John Bazemore

Roy Moore’s electoral defeat in Alabama is an important victory for #MeToo.

Let’s recall that the allegations about his preying on teenagers came to light amidst a wave of #MeToo-inspired charges....

Read more: Alabama and #MeToo's disruptive force

A parent's guide to ending sexual harassment and assault

  • Written by Merle H. Weiner, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law, University of Oregon
imageTeaching kids early can help.

The resignation of three members of Congress – John Conyers, Al Franken and Trent Franks – should serve as a reminder to parents to talk to their children about sexual misconduct.

As a law professor with a focus on domestic and sexual violence, I know that the law alone does not deter sexual misbehavior....

Read more: A parent's guide to ending sexual harassment and assault

More Articles ...

  1. Why there's no place like home for the holidays
  2. Trump's right about one thing: The US Senate should end its 60-vote majority
  3. Stinkhorns, truffles, smuts: The amazing diversity – and possible decline – of mushrooms and other fungi
  4. Harvard students and DOJ will find answers elusive in quest to learn about admissions decisions
  5. You're not going to get accepted into a top university on merit alone
  6. Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy
  7. How Republican missteps turned Alabama blue
  8. You (and most of the millions of holiday travelers you encounter) are washing your hands wrong
  9. California needs to rethink urban fire risk, starting with where it builds houses
  10. Will China's crackdown on 'foreign garbage' force wealthy countries to recycle more of their own waste?
  11. What 'Last Tango in Paris' teaches my students about sexual ethics
  12. Study reveals racial inequality in Mexico, disproving its 'race-blind' rhetoric
  13. Gold rush opportunists, hippie goat ladies, Latino newcomers: California entrepreneurs dream of cheese
  14. 3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net
  15. Design is key in college 'promise' programs
  16. Can college 'promise' programs deliver?
  17. How parenthood has changed the way I read ancient childhood stories about Jesus, Mary and Joseph
  18. How parenthood has changed the way I read ancient stories of Joseph and Mary's relationship with Jesus
  19. Dreading conflict during the holidays? Let it go, let it go, let it go
  20. An anthropologist explains why we love holiday rituals and traditions
  21. The moral questions in the debate on what constitutes terrorism
  22. To prevent the next global crisis, don't forget today's small disasters
  23. Child marriage is still legal in the US
  24. The secret behind the success of the new 'Star Wars' films
  25. Why evangelicals are OK with voting for Roy Moore
  26. How Bill McKibben's radical idea of fossil-fuel divestment transformed the climate debate
  27. Following the developing Iranian cyberthreat
  28. Venezuelan regime sweeps mayors races, tightening Maduro's grip on power
  29. How the war on tipping harms customers
  30. AIM brought instant messaging to the masses, teaching skills for modern communication
  31. 5 ways the proposed PROSPER Act could impact students
  32. How to put data to work in your neighborhood
  33. Can cranberries conquer the world? A US industry depends on it
  34. Naughty or nice: Is there a financial reward for acting ethically?
  35. American Jews and charitable giving: An enduring tradition
  36. How the 'Greatest Showman' paved the way for Donald Trump
  37. Taxing the rich to help the poor? Here's what the Bible says
  38. For baby's brain to benefit, read the right books at the right time
  39. What will Trump's declaration on Jerusalem mean to Palestinians?
  40. Honduras's election crisis is likely to end in violence
  41. Will artificial intelligence become conscious?
  42. California fire damage to homes is less 'random' than it seems
  43. Who's to blame for keeping Time's #MeToo 'silence breakers' silent?
  44. Eating out might be devouring your food budget – and you probably have no idea
  45. Why Trump's evangelical supporters welcome his move on Jerusalem
  46. Can Atlanta's new mayor revive America's 'black mecca'?
  47. Hanukkah's true meaning is about Jewish survival
  48. DNA has gone digital – what could possibly go wrong?
  49. Exposure to wildfire smoke: 5 questions answered
  50. The GOP tax plan, state and local taxes deductions – and you