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Does your favorite music reveal your political beliefs?

1,007 people were surveyed about their political affiliations and opinions, and their music tastes to learn to what extent they correspond to each other. Survey results are shown as infographics.

Do our politics align with our musical tastes? (All infographics by TickPick)

"This machine kills fascists,” read the handwritten scrawl taped to Woody Guthrie’s guitar. It was Depression-era testament to the link between two common passions: politics and music. Our feelings about them say something about how we view our world. But is there a one-to-one correspondence between them? Do people with one kind of politics prefer a particular form of music? Ticketing company TickPick decided to find out by surveying 1,007 music fans through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Here's what it found.

Party (music) affiliations unite us

Favorite genres

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, the top two genres are classic rock and then pop. This is heartening—some things we do agree on. Going down the list there are differences, sure, but still…


Favorite artists

It turns out that regardless of party affiliation, all of the respondents liked pretty much the same artists.


Hot-button issues and music tastes

Well, so much for our Kumbaya moment. When it comes to how we feel about specific issues—and the president—our music tastes are no longer in harmony. In general, it seems like people will be clustered to either side of our national dance floor, with far more of them on the side that favors pot legalization, gun control, same-sex marriage, and no border wall.

To Trump or not to Trump

KISS or Beyoncé? They’re the #2 artists on both sides of this question, with recent events casting doubt on #1 as shown.


Or should this be White House Reds?

As you can see, when the survey was taken, Trump supporters preferred Garth Brooks, and opponents picked Kanye. Since then, Kanye has announced his support for Trump, so his position may have swapped columns. We demand a recount! (Or maybe the results have been tampered with.) This is why the #2 winners may be more accurate. At least this week.

Legalization of marijuana

It’s totally plausible that Taylor Swift fans don’t want to see pot made legal while Nirvana fans do. Got it. But we’re skeptical about Justin Bieber’s current fans. Sure, when he was a tween idol, but now? Cough.


Bang, Bang

Gun control. Ow. This topic exhibits a real cultural divide, with all pop artists for those seeking tighter gun laws, and those against into country, rock, and… Frank Sinatra? (Also, not to make trouble, but three out of five pro-gun control favorites are people of color, while every single anti-gun-control favorite is white.)


Support for same-sex marriage

This breakdown is remarkably similar to the preferences of the pro-and anti-legalization people. Weird. Culture war much? (A little bit surprised about Celine Dion fans.)


A border wall

Okay, now we really think the music culture wars are real. Surprise in the pro-wall camp: The Bee Gees. Fortunately, the wall still allows immigrants from the Isle of Man.


Out of tune

Yeah, we’re a fractious bunch, having little in common other than rock oldies and Top 40. Our diversity is our strength, though, right? Just leave that radio station where it is, please.

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Lee Jae-Sung of Korea Republic lies on the pitch holding his knee during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Korea Republic and Germany at Kazan Arena on June 27, 2018 in Kazan, Russia.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

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