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Election Notes: Santorum Sweeps the South

Rick Santorum had a great day on Tuesday, winning the Republican primaries in both Alabama and Mississippi—a state in which no poll had shown Santorum in the lead. Newt Gingrich, whose campaign said had to win both states to in order to remain a credible candidate, came in second in both. Mitt Romney came in an embarrassing third in each, underscoring his inability to connect with Southern conservatives.


 Santorum’s victory ensures that the race will go on. But don’t be fooled. Romney has won almost twice as many delegates as Santorum. Although Romney looked like a loser on Tuesday, he still managed to win the most delegates. That’s because he won handily both in Hawaii—after most political reporters had gone to bed—and in American Samoa, where the just 70 Republican caucus-goers allotted Romney 9 delegates. Those victories show why Romney is winning. His superior organization and greater resources allow him to pick up votes in places where his opponents can't even compete. As Kris Broughton says, that makes the delegate math nearly impossible for Romney’s opponents.

Nevertheless, the long, grinding campaign is taking its toll on Romney. Every victory for his opponents feeds doubts about his electability and allows conservative opposition to him to fester. And the race against Santorum seems to be winning Romney few friends: the percent of voters who have an unfavorable impression of him has climbed almost to 50%.

Political Futures Markets

Chance President Obama will win reelection: 60.4% (Intrade)

Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 89.0% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 58.5% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 69.9% (Intrade)

Polls

President Obama’s approval rating: 47.5% (Pollster)

Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 33.6% (Pollster)

Republican advantage on a generic congressional ballot: 0.4% (Real Clear Politics)

Comment

“If you’re the front-runner and you keep coming in third, you’re not much of a front-runner.”—Newt Gingrich

UP NEXT: the Missouri caucus on Saturday, March 17, the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, March 18, and the Illinois primary on Tuesday, March 20

Rick and Ann Santorum image from Gage Skidmore

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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