America's New National Psychology, Mid-Recession

A series of polls conducted over the last three years shows that, in the midst of the Great Recession, Americans are resilient, wary, and divided but most still believe in the power of hard work.

What's the Latest Development?


Polls conducted throughout the Great Recession suggest a new national psychology is emerging. Americans are questioning many (though not all) of the assumptions on which our communal character is built. "I myself don't see no one trying to help me," said one unemployed lumber mill worker, capturing the majority opinion that in these tough times, Americans are paddling alone. Despite the feeling of isolation, a majority still believes, despite evidence to the contrary, that hard work alone can create greater material wealth.  

What's the Big Idea?

Skepticism has pervaded the would-be bread and butter of American life. College education, once thought of as a ticket to the middle class, is increasingly seen as too expensive. Home ownership is no longer an automatic goal as many families pay the high price for taking on too much debt. The Recession has confirmed one tradition, though: skepticism of government. Americans believe government action has mainly benefited banks and large corporations, the same group they blame for causing the recession.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less