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The Conversation

Why nobody will ever agree on whether COVID lockdowns were worth it

  • Written by James D. Long, Associate Professor of Political Science, Co-founder of the Political Economy Forum, Host of "Neither Free Nor Fair?" podcast, University of Washington
imageStuffed bears in windows were a common sight during the early 2020 lockdowns.Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

As an increasingly vaccinated world emerges from lockdowns, lots of people are talking about whether the fight against the pandemic was too strong or too weak. Some people argue restrictions did not go far enough; others maintain the...

Read more: Why nobody will ever agree on whether COVID lockdowns were worth it

Biden's Supreme Court commission probably won't sway public opinion

  • Written by David Ryan Miller, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Vanderbilt University
imageAmid strong political pressure to pack the Supreme Court, President Biden formed a commission to study ways to reform the court.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

In late 2020, President Donald Trump nominated conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was quickly confirmed to fill the seat previously held by the late Ruth...

Read more: Biden's Supreme Court commission probably won't sway public opinion

5 ways MacKenzie Scott’s $8.5 billion commitment to social and economic justice is a model for other donors

  • Written by Elizabeth J. Dale, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Leadership, Seattle University
imageGraduates of Cal State Fullerton, one of many universities with nonwhite majorities that billionaire MacKenzie Scott is supporting.Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced on June 15, 2021, that she and her husband Dan Jewett had given US$2.7 billion to 286...

Read more: 5 ways MacKenzie Scott’s $8.5 billion commitment to social and economic justice is a model for...

Faith still shapes morals and values even after people are 'done' with religion

  • Written by Philip Schwadel, Professor of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
imageFor many, leaving religion does not mean leaving behind religious morals and values.Jesus Gonzalez/Moment via Getty

Religion forms a moral foundation for billions of people throughout the world.

In a 2019 survey, 44% of Americans – along with 45% of people across 34 nations – said that belief in God is necessary “to be moral and...

Read more: Faith still shapes morals and values even after people are 'done' with religion

Smelling in stereo – the real reason snakes have flicking, forked tongues

  • Written by Kurt Schwenk, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut
imageLong misunderstood, snake tongues have fascinated naturalists for centuries.reptiles4all/iStock via Getty Images Plus

As dinosaurs lumbered through the humid cycad forests of ancient South America 180 million years ago, primeval lizards scurried, unnoticed, beneath their feet. Perhaps to avoid being trampled by their giant kin, some of these early...

Read more: Smelling in stereo – the real reason snakes have flicking, forked tongues

US bishops set collision course with Vatican over plan to press Biden not to take Communion

  • Written by Steven P. Millies, Associate Professor of Public Theology and Director of The Bernardin Center, Catholic Theological Union
imageThe Vatican has warned U.S. bishops not to deny Communion to President Biden.L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP

A rift between conservative American bishops and the Vatican could be laid bare on June 16 as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meets amid talk of a growing divide in the church over Pope Francis’ leadership.

During the...

Read more: US bishops set collision course with Vatican over plan to press Biden not to take Communion

Joe Biden, a father’s love and the legacy of 'daddy issues' among presidents

  • Written by Chris Lamb, Professor of Journalism, IUPUI
imageJoe Biden, right, and his son Beau had a strong relationship until Beau's death in 2015.Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden often talks about the close relationship he had with his father and how this influenced him growing up as “the scrappy kid from Scranton,” Pennsylvania.

Biden was born into wealth, the son of...

Read more: Joe Biden, a father’s love and the legacy of 'daddy issues' among presidents

What Greek epics taught me about the special relationship between fathers and sons

  • Written by Joel Christensen, Professor of Classical Studies, Brandeis University
imageOdysseus reuniting with his father, Laertes.Leemage/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Father’s Day inspires mixed emotions for many of us. Looking at advertisements of happy families could recall difficult memories and broken relationships for some. But for others, the day could invite unbidden nostalgic thoughts of parents who have...

Read more: What Greek epics taught me about the special relationship between fathers and sons

Americans gave a record $471 billion to charity in 2020, amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, job losses and racial justice

  • Written by Anna Pruitt, Researcher and Managing Editor, Giving USA, IUPUI
imageFood banks, with help from volunteers, scrambled to meet higher demand.Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A flood of donations to support COVID-19 relief and racial justice efforts, coupled with stock market gains, led Americans to give a record US$471 billion to charity in 2020.

The total donated to charity rose 3.8% from the prior year in...

Read more: Americans gave a record $471 billion to charity in 2020, amid concerns about the coronavirus...

With Ford's electric F-150 pickup, the EV transition shifts into high gear

  • Written by Brian C. Black, Distinguished Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Penn State
imageFord calls its all-electric F-150 Lightning "the truck of the future."Ford, CC BY-ND

When President Joe Biden took Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning pickup for a test drive in Dearborn, Michigan, in May 2021, the event was more than a White House photo op. It marked a new phase in an accelerating shift from gas-powered cars and trucks to...

Read more: With Ford's electric F-150 pickup, the EV transition shifts into high gear

More Articles ...

  1. It wasn't just politics that led to Netanyahu's ouster – it was fear of his demagoguery
  2. Bringing joy back to the classroom and supporting stressed kids – what summer school looks like in 2021
  3. Sticky baseballs: Explaining the physics of the latest scandal in Major League Baseball
  4. Artisan robots with AI smarts will juggle tasks, choose tools, mix and match recipes and even order materials – all without human help
  5. Teaching kids social responsibility – like how to settle fights and ask for help – can reduce school bullying
  6. Friends are saying 'I do' – but might not understand the legal risks of their platonic marriages
  7. What a Title IX lawsuit might mean for religious universities
  8. Rocky Mountain forests burning more now than any time in the past 2,000 years
  9. Netanyahu may be ousted but his hard-line foreign policies remain
  10. Southern Baptist Convention's focus on mission recalls history of promoting white dominance
  11. Why the Second Amendment protects a 'well-regulated militia' but not a private citizen militia
  12. Property disputes in Israel come with a complicated back story – and tend to end with Palestinian dispossession
  13. Electric heat pumps use much less energy than furnaces, and can cool houses too – here's how they work
  14. 8 ways to manage body image anxiety after lockdown
  15. Summer reading: 5 books for young people that deal with race
  16. NASA is returning to Venus to learn how it became a hot poisonous wasteland – and whether the planet was ever habitable in the past
  17. Opioid overdoses spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, data from Pennsylvania show
  18. New technologies claiming to copy human milk reuse old marketing tactics to sell baby formula and undermine breastfeeding
  19. Why do cats knead with their paws?
  20. What's the G-7? An international economist explains
  21. Shipping is tough on the climate and hard to clean up – these innovations can help cut emissions
  22. Middle-aged Americans in US are stressed and struggle with physical and mental health – other nations do better
  23. Over half of adults unvaccinated for COVID-19 fear needles – here's what's proven to help
  24. From abortion and porn to women and race: How Southern Baptist Convention resolutions have evolved
  25. Why the legacy of Billy Graham continues to endure: 3 essential reads
  26. 'In the Heights' celebrates the resilience Washington Heights has used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
  27. Sports writers could ditch the 'clown questions' and do better when it comes to press conferences
  28. Historic change: Arab political parties are now legitimate partners in Israel's politics and government
  29. Tribal colleges empower Native students with an affordable, culturally relevant education – but need more funding
  30. What are 'ghost guns,' a target of Biden's anti-crime effort?
  31. Women are as likely as men to accept a gender pay gap if they benefit from it
  32. A new reason Americans are getting leery of billionaire donors
  33. Working with dangerous viruses sounds like trouble – but here's what scientists learn from studying pathogens in secure labs
  34. Parking reform could reenergize downtowns – here's what happened when Buffalo changed its zoning rules
  35. Alcohol companies make $17.5 billion a year off of underage drinking, while prevention efforts are starved for cash
  36. The FDA's big gamble on the new Alzheimer's drug
  37. Here's what I tell teachers about how to teach young students about slavery
  38. Is tax avoidance ethical? Asking on behalf of a few billionaire friends
  39. Senator Warren's wealth tax might prevent billionaires from paying nearly nothing in taxes – but it's probably not constitutional
  40. 535 new fast radio bursts help answer deep questions about the universe and shed light on these mysterious cosmic events
  41. Lack of burial space is changing age-old funeral practices, and in Japan 'tree burials' are gaining in popularity
  42. COVID-19 messages make emergency alerts just another text in the crowd on your home screen
  43. How Joe Biden could increase pressure on Vladimir Putin if their June 16 meeting fails to deter Russia's 'harmful' behavior
  44. A volcanic eruption 39 million years ago buried a forest in Peru – now the petrified trees are revealing South America's primeval history
  45. Protesters marching in Elizabeth City, N.C., over Andrew Brown's killing are walking in the footsteps of centuries of fighters for Black rights
  46. Vacuna contra VIH/SIDA: ¿Por qué no hay una después de 37 años, pero ya tenemos varias para COVID en solo unos meses?
  47. Supreme Court weighs voting rights in a pivotal Arizona case
  48. Restoring land around abandoned oil and gas wells would free up millions of acres of forests, farmlands and grasslands
  49. Bringing tech innovation to wildfires: 4 recommendations for smarter firefighting as megafires menace the US
  50. 3 ways schools can improve STEM learning for Black students
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