Once a week.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Glad the divorce rate in America is falling? Thank millennials.
Millennials are killing everything great about our society including…divorce?
- Despite baby boomers divorcing at record rates, millennials have managed to reduce America's divorce rate by 18 percent.
- The secret to their success is more education and waiting until they are older to tie the knot.
- But marriage rates have also declined as marriage becomes a status symbol in a culture of growing social inequality.
Millennials are destroying everything. At least, that's the hyperbole promoted by baby boomers through op-eds and Facebook posts.
A quick Google search will net you a bevy of articles bemoaning young Americans killing this or that aspect of our society. They are a bunch of tender snowflakes whose political correctness hampers free speech. Their addiction to technology erodes traditional family values. They are ruining the sacred institution of marriage. And the final straw? They're trying to kill straws.
But stereotypes do not constitute evidence. Data does, and a recent analysis suggests millennials are preserving at least one traditional value, marriage. In fact, today's young women are responsible for a steep deduction in America's the divorce rate — despite baby boomers divorcing at record rates.
Plummeting divorce rates
Dr. Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, wrote the analysis. Titled "The Coming Divorce Decline," it was submitted for presentation at the 2019 Population Association of America meeting.
Cohen compared the number of divorces to the total number of married women. His analysis showed that from 2008 to 2016, there was an 18 percent drop in the rate of divorce. When controlling for factors like age, the decline continues to trend downward at 8 percent.
However, not all generations are pulling their weight equally.
Contrary to the popular belief, the baby bombers have not settled down in their sunset years. The data show that boomers continue to divorce at much higher rates than previous generations. This has sparked a phenomenon called the gray divorce boom.
Writing for the L.A. Times, sociologist Susan L. Brown notes that fewer than 10 percent of divorcees in 1990 were older than 50. Today, it is one in four.
"Boomers are more likely than previous generations to have experienced divorce and remarriage," Brown writes. "And those remarriages, it turns out, are at greater risk of ending in divorce. In part, that's because these marriages tend to be more fragile due to the relationship challenges associated with forming a stepfamily."
Countering the gray divorce boom
Today, young women are more likely to be older, have an education, and not have children before first tying the knot.
(Photo from c1.staticflickr.com)
Offsetting the baby boomer divorce rate are the marriages of their millennial cohorts. Younger women are simply not showing an inclination toward separation.
Why? Cohen suggests that three major factors explain this shift. First, today's young women are more likely to be older than 25 when they get married. They are also more likely to have a college education and not have children before tying the knot. Cohen's analysis argues these factors contribute to more stable marriages and less chance of divorce.
Based on this composition of new marriages, as well as the lessening influence of the baby boomers on demographics, Cohen believes the divorce rate will continue to fall. However, his analysis also notes that this marital makeup runs the risk of making marriage more exclusive and potentially a "central component of the structure of social inequality."
"One of the reasons for the decline is that the married population is getting older and more highly educated," Cohen told Bloomberg. "Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they're doing."
Marriage the new status symbol?
Many low income adults are choosing not to marry because of the costs associated with it.
(Photo by Wikimedia)
It's not just divorce that's plummeting. Marriage itself is also on the downturn.
According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, American marriages peaked in 1920, when the marriage rate was at 92.3 percent. By 1960 that number dropped to 73.5, and it's been a slippery slide ever since. Today, the marriage rate hovers at around 32 percent, but appears to have stabilized.
(Note: Since Cohen's analysis used a ratio between divorces and the total number of married women, the overall declining marriage rate did not affect his outcomes.)
The Center's data also show concern that marriage is becoming a status symbol and a benchmark for growing social inequality.
Women's education has become a major factor in marriage rates. In 1940, 63 percent of women without a high school diploma were married, compared to 53 percent of women with at least a bachelor's degree. By 2016, women with a bachelor's degree were 32 percent more likely to get married than women without a high school education.
Similarly, when looking at race and ethnicity, the Center found that 60 percent of all women were married in 1940. But in the decades that followed, there developed a widening gap between women of different ethnicities. By 2016, for example, white women were nearly twice as likely to get married than black women.
According to a Pew Research survey, low income and financial instability are the major reasons why never-married adults don't tied the knot. In fact, 47 percent of those with income less than $30,000 cite low income as the main deterrent to marriage.
So, while millennials may have the divorce rate down, it may be a pyrrhic victory if they are not up to the challenge of combating growing social inequality.
- Is Keeping Up With the Joneses Grounds for Divorce? - Big Think ›
- In Defense of Divorce - Big Think ›
- Marriages are Stronger Than Ever, Divorce Rates Dropping - Big Think ›
Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.
- U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
- Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
- While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
The U.S. Navy controls patents for some futuristic and outlandish technologies, some of which, dubbed "the UFO patents," came to light recently. Of particular note are inventions by the somewhat mysterious Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais, whose tech claims to be able to "engineer reality." His slate of highly-ambitious, borderline sci-fi designs meant for use by the U.S. government range from gravitational wave generators and compact fusion reactors to next-gen hybrid aerospace-underwater crafts with revolutionary propulsion systems, and beyond.
Of course, the existence of patents does not mean these technologies have actually been created, but there is evidence that some demonstrations of operability have been successfully carried out. As investigated and reported by The War Zone, a possible reason why some of the patents may have been taken on by the Navy is that the Chinese military may also be developing similar advanced gadgets.
Among Dr. Pais's patents are designs, approved in 2018, for an aerospace-underwater craft of incredible speed and maneuverability. This cone-shaped vehicle can potentially fly just as well anywhere it may be, whether air, water or space, without leaving any heat signatures. It can achieve this by creating a quantum vacuum around itself with a very dense polarized energy field. This vacuum would allow it to repel any molecule the craft comes in contact with, no matter the medium. Manipulating "quantum field fluctuations in the local vacuum energy state," would help reduce the craft's inertia. The polarized vacuum would dramatically decrease any elemental resistance and lead to "extreme speeds," claims the paper.
Not only that, if the vacuum-creating technology can be engineered, we'd also be able to "engineer the fabric of our reality at the most fundamental level," states the patent. This would lead to major advancements in aerospace propulsion and generating power. Not to mention other reality-changing outcomes that come to mind.
Among Pais's other patents are inventions that stem from similar thinking, outlining pieces of technology necessary to make his creations come to fruition. His paper presented in 2019, titled "Room Temperature Superconducting System for Use on a Hybrid Aerospace Undersea Craft," proposes a system that can achieve superconductivity at room temperatures. This would become "a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology," conveys Pais.
High frequency gravitational wave generator.
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
Another invention devised by Pais is an electromagnetic field generator that could generate "an impenetrable defensive shield to sea and land as well as space-based military and civilian assets." This shield could protect from threats like anti-ship ballistic missiles, cruise missiles that evade radar, coronal mass ejections, military satellites, and even asteroids.
Dr. Pais's ideas center around the phenomenon he dubbed "The Pais Effect". He referred to it in his writings as the "controlled motion of electrically charged matter (from solid to plasma) via accelerated spin and/or accelerated vibration under rapid (yet smooth) acceleration-deceleration-acceleration transients." In less jargon-heavy terms, Pais claims to have figured out how to spin electromagnetic fields in order to contain a fusion reaction – an accomplishment that would lead to a tremendous change in power consumption and an abundance of energy.
According to his bio in a recently published paper on a new Plasma Compression Fusion Device, which could transform energy production, Dr. Pais is a mechanical and aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), which is headquartered in Patuxent River, Maryland. Holding a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Pais was a NASA Research Fellow and worked with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. His current Department of Defense work involves his "advanced knowledge of theory, analysis, and modern experimental and computational methods in aerodynamics, along with an understanding of air-vehicle and missile design, especially in the domain of hypersonic power plant and vehicle design." He also has expert knowledge of electrooptics, emerging quantum technologies (laser power generation in particular), high-energy electromagnetic field generation, and the "breakthrough field of room temperature superconductivity, as related to advanced field propulsion."
Suffice it to say, with such a list of research credentials that would make Nikola Tesla proud, Dr. Pais seems well-positioned to carry out groundbreaking work.
A craft using an inertial mass reduction device.
Credit: Salvatore Pais
The patents won't necessarily lead to these technologies ever seeing the light of day. The research has its share of detractors and nonbelievers among other scientists, who think the amount of energy required for the fields described by Pais and his ideas on electromagnetic propulsions are well beyond the scope of current tech and are nearly impossible. Yet investigators at The War Zone found comments from Navy officials that indicate the inventions are being looked at seriously enough, and some tests are taking place.
If you'd like to read through Pais's patents yourself, check them out here.
Laser Augmented Turbojet Propulsion System
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.
China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.
But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.
Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.
If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.
If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.
Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.
According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.
The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.
But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.
Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.
Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.
We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.
Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).
With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.
The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.
- How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
- One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
- Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.