What stops people from changing their minds?

A persistent barrage of information is not the best method for getting through to someone with a different point of view.

  • When you want someone to see things differently and to abandon their previous stance, sometimes persistence is not key.
  • "Too often we think change is about pushing," says Jonah Berger, author of the book The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind, and a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. "We think if we just come up with one more way people will eventually come around."
  • Through speaking with people who have successfully changed minds of others, Berger identified five common barriers and created the REDUCE framework for finding the catalysts needed to break through: reactants, endowment, distance, uncertainty, and corroborating evidence.
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What does kindness look like? It wears a mask.

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
  • The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
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Moral failings of leaders collapsed even the best societies, finds study

Researchers found the common element in the destruction of even the most powerful empires.

Destruction from The Course of Empire.

Credit: Thomas Cole. 1836.
  • Researchers found a commonality between the collapse of ancient empires.
  • Even the best-run nations fell apart because of leaders who undermined social contracts.
  • The scientists found that societies that had good governments broke up even worse than those with dictators.
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No bread, no circuses: The Olympics and climate change

Perhaps downhill and cross-country skiers don't face the fate of potters, typesetters and saddlers, but their situation is certainly unclear.

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Global warming is making it difficult to organize sporting tournaments, but it's an even greater threat to small local clubs. Meanwhile, Big Sport is taking the lead in climate hypocrisy.

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Cornell University program aims to end world hunger in 10 years

Can we end world hunger by 2030? Thanks to a new program, the data for it is all there.

Children being given food at an aid camp in Rwanda.

Credit: SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • An international team of researchers has released a series of studies geared towards ending world hunger.
  • They are thought to be some of the first people to use Evidence Synthesis for agricultural data.
  • Their ideas could increase food production and lower poverty for a low cost, regardless if they meet their lofty goal.
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Six ways machine learning threatens social justice

Machine learning is a powerful and imperfect tool that should not go unmonitored.

Credit: Monopoly919 on Adobe Stock
Technology & Innovation
  • When you harness the power and potential of machine learning, there are also some drastic downsides that you've got to manage.
  • Deploying machine learning, you face the risk that it be discriminatory, biased, inequitable, exploitative, or opaque.
  • In this article, I cover six ways that machine learning threatens social justice and reach an incisive conclusion: The remedy is to take on machine learning standardization as a form of social activism.
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Beyond Meat: Are you ready for lab-grown salmon?

An overfished planet needs a better solution. Fortunately, it's coming.

Photo: tenkende / Shutterstock
Technology & Innovation
  • Cell-based fish companies are getting funding and making progress in offering a new wave of seafood.
  • Overfishing and rising ocean temperatures are destroying entire ecosystems.
  • The reality of cell-based fish is likely five to 10 years away.
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