The Problem of Choice: Few Americans Seek Public Affairs News Online

By way of the Internet, Americans today have more public affairs and science-related information available to them than at any time in history. Yet the availability of information does not mean people will use it. Given the many competing alternatives across entertainment, celebrity culture, and other diversionary content, only those Internet users with a very strong preference for public affairs will use the medium for "hard" news on a regular base.

This general pattern of Internet consumption is once again reflected in the just released "Pew State of the News" survey. In the section focusing on "online news," as graphed above, though roughly 70% of Americans say that they have sought news online in the past, only roughly 30% of Americans are regular online news consumers, or "got news online yesterday." In the same survey, 3% of respondents reported reading a "news blog" yesterday.

Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
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Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

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Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
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