Smartening Up America

During this election period we've noted a frightening level of ignorance in America. Many people interviewed at political rallies evidence little knowledge about history, geography, or religions or cultures different than their own. I saw one video clip in which a man said, "I don't know about electing a Nigra [sic]; after all, this is a Christian country." Now, where would you begin with this guy?

He's far from alone. In The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby relates that a quarter of Texas' high school biology teachers believe that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaries. Evidently we're burdened with an old and endemic anti-intellectualism. My cynical side predicts that during my lifetime I'll be called an "elitist" because I can read.

Popular ignorance threatens democracy. Unless we terminate this creeping disdain for knowledge, we'll lose our nation as we know it. So here's my question: do you know of any ongoing or impending intiatives designed to educate Americans about the rest of the world and America's place in it?

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less