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Randomness Week

darwin

True Darwinism Is All About Chance

Though the rich sometimes forget, Darwin knew that nature frequently rolls the dice.

Genes Are Us

body-makeup

Why Our Molecular Make-Up Can’t Explain Who We Are

Our genes only tell a portion of the story.

Sociological Images

osaka-zoo

Some Natural-Looking Zoo Exhibits May Be Even Worse Than the Old Concrete Ones

They’re often designed for you, the paying visitor, and not the animals who have to inhabit them.

The Conversation

troll-sign

What I Learned From Debating Science With Trolls

“Don’t feed the trolls” is sound advice, but occasionally ignoring it can lead to rewards.

Climate Confidential

california-drought

Outlawing Water Conflict: California Legislators Confront Risky Groundwater Loophole

California, where ambitious agriculture sucks up 80 percent of the state’s developed water, is no stranger to water wrangles. Now one of the worst droughts in state history is pushing legislators to reckon with its unwieldy water laws, especially one major oversight: California has been the only Western state without groundwater regulation—but now that looks set to change.

ProPublica

flash-bang-1

The ‘Non-Lethal’ Flash-Bang Grenades Used in Ferguson Can Actually Be Quite Lethal

A journalist says he was singed by a flash-bang fired by St. Louis County police trying to disperse a crowd, raising questions about how to use these military-style devices safely and appropriately.

Sociological Images

empty-polaroids

Do Better Looking People Have Better Personalities Too?

An experiment on users of the dating site OKCupid found that members judge both looks and personality by looks alone.

Quick Studies

mobile_loss

No, Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder Isn’t Real

But people are anxious about losing their phones, even if they don’t do much to protect them.

Go Outside

new-orleans

What Can Hurricanes Teach Us About Socioeconomic Mobility?

Hurricane Katrina wrought havoc on New Orleans but, nine years later, is there a silver lining to be found?

Hot in Here

antarctica-ice

When Climate Change Denial Refutes Itself

The world is warming—and record-cold winters are just another symptom.

Genes Are Us

tree-gears

Why ‘Nature Versus Nurture’ Often Doesn’t Matter

Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to try to separate the social and the biological.

The World Wide Web

aol-sign

Why My Neighbors Still Use Dial-Up Internet

It’s not because they want to. It’s because they have no other choice.

ProPublica

fracking-aerial

Oil and Gas Companies Are Illegally Using Diesel Fuel in Hundreds of Fracking Operations

An analysis by an environmental group finds hundreds of cases in which drillers used diesel fuel without obtaining permits and sometimes altered records disclosing they had done so.

Hmmm

phantom-cat

The Mystery of Britain’s Alien Big Cats

In a nation where the biggest carnivorous predator is a badger, why are there so many reported sightings of large cats?

Quick Studies

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How a Shift in Human Head Shape Changed Everything

When did homo sapiens become a more sophisticated species? Not until our skulls underwent “feminization.”

The Rest of the World

elephants-1

Ending the Sale of All Ivory May Be the Only Way to Save Africa’s Elephants

Populations of Africa’s forest and savannah elephants continue to decline precipitously, leading conservationists to call for more extreme measures.

ProPublica

docs-spyware

Leaked Documents Show Spyware Was Used to Snoop on U.S. Computers

Software created by the controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United States.

The World Wide Web

revisions

How to Detect Shoddy Wikipedia Entries

Become a master of Bayesian statistics.

Homecoming Week

cabin-yukon

Why I Lived Alone in a Cabin for Six Months

Sam Riches went looking for solitude in nature, hoping to find his Jack London moment—but after half a year, he came back with a slightly different conclusion: self-reliance is overrated.

The World Wide Web

comment

Just Kill All of the Comments Already

Even if they’re not vile and psychologically damaging, most of them aren’t worth your time. And we already have a better system in place.

Homecoming Week

homecoming_tuatara

Finding a Home for New Zealand’s Living Dinosaurs

For the past three decades, researchers in New Zealand have undertaken extraordinary—and at times, controversial—efforts to save an 80-million-year-old species from the edge of extinction. Unfortunately for the tuatara, other man-made forces are threatening their survival once more.

Homecoming Week

dog_homecoming

Do Dogs Understand When a Soldier Comes Home?

The animal science behind your favorite heartwarming YouTube phenomenon.

The Slightly Smaller Screen

shark-week

A Shark Scientist Bites Back

Shark Week inspired David Shiffman to become a marine biologist, but now he’s made it his personal mission to publicize the television event’s misinformation.

True Crime

mountain-lion

Shooting a Mountain Lion

Until his illegal hunting business was shut down by authorities, you could have paid Christopher Loncarich $7,000 to bag a mountain lion.

Quick Studies

fitbit cropped

Your Fitbit Might Be Ripping You Off

Without more specific analysis, personal health tools tend to leave the “burden of synthesis on the self-tracker.”

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Your Brain Decides Whether to Trust Someone in Milliseconds

We can determine trustworthiness even when we’re only subliminally aware of the other person.

Young, Undocumented, and Invisible

While young migrant workers struggle under poor working conditions, U.S. policy has done little to help.

Education, Interrupted

When it comes to educational access, young Syrian refugees are becoming a “lost generation.”

No, Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder Isn’t Real

But people are anxious about losing their phones, even if they don’t do much to protect them.

Being a Couch Potato: Not So Bad After All?

For those who feel guilty about watching TV, a new study provides redemption.

The Big One

One third of the United States federal budget for fighting wildfires goes toward one percent of such fires. September/October 2014 big-one-fires-final

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.