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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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This App Collects Data on How Frequently Women Are "Manterrupted"

There's an app that detects manterruptions—but we round up the research to find out which groups of people are really doing the most interrupting.

Photo: Woman Interrupted App

Introducing our word of the day – “manterruption”. It’s a pretty self-explanatory term, describing a behavior when men interrupt women unnecessarily, which leads to a pretty serious imbalance in the amount of female vs. male contributions in a conversation.


The phenomenon of women’s voices being heard less for one reason or another has been studied and discussed. Indeed, early studies "seem to indicate a larger tendency on the part of men to interrupt in cross-sex conversations." Men also tend to talk more readily than women. A 2004 study on gender issues at Harvard Law School found that men were 50% more likely than women to volunteer at least one comment during class and 144% more likely to volunteer three or more comments. 

Another study from Brigham Young University and Princeton found that during board meetings men dominate 75% of the conversation, which as a consequence leaves decision-making mostly to men. Interestingly, when the researchers instructed the participants in the study to decide by a unanimous vote, the time inequality disappeared and more importantly the group arrived at different decisions. Meaning, women’s voices bring a different and valuable perspective in a conversation and should be heard more.

To raise awareness about this issue, a Brazilian ad agency created the Woman Interrupted APP. The app tracks the amount of times a woman is being interrupted by men during a conversation. It uses the mic on the phone to analyze the conversation (without recording it) and based on female and male voice frequencies as well as personal voice calibration, it creates a graph of interruptions, including the time that they happened. Furthermore, daily, weekly and monthly statistics can be produced.

The app launched on International Women’s Day together with a beautiful collection of posters from artists around the world, who created them to promote the fight against manterruption.

Here's the thing, though: while fighting for the cause of hearing the female perspective equally in all matters of business, government, and life is definitely worthwhile, blaming it all on interrupting men doesn’t seem fair. Because it is not just men who interrupt women, women do it too. As a matter of fact, a study done in a tech company showed that 87% of the time that women interrupt, they are interrupting other women.

There are also other dynamics at play, for example, seniority. It is still more likely that men will hold a more senior position in a professional environment and, generally, people with a higher rank tend to interrupt more and be interrupted less. In that same study, it turned out that when women hold more senior positions they also tend to interrupt more men and women.

Hearing the voices and perspectives of both genders equally is incredibly important, but we should make sure we are addressing the right root causes and are not antagonizing those who need to be on the same side for progress to be made. 

Photos: Woman Interrupted App

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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