Race is a “social concept, not a scientific one” claimed geneticist J. Craig Venter following the discovery that humans share 99.9% of the same genetic code irrespective of our skin color.
Race is a "social concept, not a scientific one" claimed geneticist J. Craig Venter following the discovery that humans share 99.9% of the same genetic code irrespective of our skin color. "But as Nell Irvin Painter explains in ‘The History of White People,’ her exhaustive and fascinating new look at the history of the idea of the white race, it's a social construct that goes back much further and is much more complicated than many people think. In the book, Painter, a professor of American history at Princeton, chronicles the evolution of the concept of whiteness from ancient Rome -- where, she points out, the slaves were largely white -- to the 21st century America and explains how, in the era of Obama, our once-narrow concept of whiteness has become at once far broader and less important than ever before. The elevation of some ethnic groups -- Germans and Scandinavians -- as ‘whiter’ than others can largely be tied to a small number of scientists who shared an obsession with both measuring people's skulls and pinpointing the world's ‘most beautiful’ people. As Painter writes, a number of social and demographic upheavals (which she dubs ‘enlargements of whiteness’) over the last two centuries have gradually thrown many of those assumptions into question."
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A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
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