Once a week.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
97 – Where (and How) Evolution Is Taught In the US
This map is drawn up by a proponent of evolution, as can be deduced from the remarks on the map and even its colours (green is good, red is bad).
Scientists generally accept the theory of evolution as the back-story of how animal species (including humans) came into being over a period of several billion years. Religious literalists maintain their belief in creation, as laid down in the Bible: God made the earth and all that is on it (including humans, after His own image) in one week, a couple of thousand years ago.
These are the extreme positions in a debate that has been raging for years now in the United States, and more particularly in the school system. Since each state can determine what should be in the local schools’ curriculum, the teaching of evolution and/or creation differs throughout the country. Yet contrary to what one might think, it’s not so that creation is taught in the Bible Belt states (in the South), and evolution in more liberal states (everywhere else).
This map is taken here from the website Science Against Evolution, which quite cleverly tries to win the debate for creation by arguing that the theory of evolution itself has been discredited by scientific evidence and by numerous scientists. However, the map is drawn up by a proponent of evolution, as can be deduced from the remarks on the map and even its colours (green is good, red is bad).
Green indicates that evolution theory is taught in a ‘very good/excellent’ way. These states include the liberal states of
But also a Midwestern, more conservative state such as
and even two southern states with a reputation for religiosity:
Yellow indicates indicates where evolution is taught in a ‘satisfactory/good’ manner. This includes the majority of states, from the north and west not usually included in the Bible Belt, such as
Similarly, the colour red, indicating where the teaching of evolution is’ unsatisfactory, useless or absent’, is spread out across the entire country, not just in the South:
The map first appeared in 2002 in Scientific American, and was based on data collected by Lawrence S. Lerner of California State University at Long Beach.
"Deepfakes" and "cheap fakes" are becoming strikingly convincing — even ones generated on freely available apps.
- A writer named Magdalene Visaggio recently used FaceApp and Airbrush to generate convincing portraits of early U.S. presidents.
- "Deepfake" technology has improved drastically in recent years, and some countries are already experiencing how it can weaponized for political purposes.
- It's currently unknown whether it'll be possible to develop technology that can quickly and accurately determine whether a given video is real or fake.
The future of deepfakes<p>In 2018, Gabon's president Ali Bongo had been out of the country for months receiving medical treatment. After Bongo hadn't been seen in public for months, rumors began swirling about his condition. Some suggested Bongo might even be dead. In response, Bongo's administration released a video that seemed to show the president addressing the nation.</p><p>But the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=324528215059254" target="_blank">video</a> is strange, appearing choppy and blurry in parts. After political opponents declared the video to be a deepfake, Gabon's military attempted an unsuccessful coup. What's striking about the story is that, to this day, experts in the field of deepfakes can't conclusively verify whether the video was real. </p><p>The uncertainty and confusion generated by deepfakes poses a "global problem," according to a <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/is-seeing-still-believing-the-deepfake-challenge-to-truth-in-politics/#cancel" target="_blank">2020 report from The Brookings Institution</a>. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense released some of the first tools able to successfully detect deepfake videos. The problem, however, is that deepfake technology keeps improving, meaning forensic approaches may forever be one step behind the most sophisticated forms of deepfakes. </p><p>As the 2020 report noted, even if the private sector or governments create technology to identify deepfakes, they will:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"...operate more slowly than the generation of these fakes, allowing false representations to dominate the media landscape for days or even weeks. "A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on," warns David Doermann, the director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of Buffalo. And if defensive methods yield results short of certainty, as many will, technology companies will be hesitant to label the likely misrepresentations as fakes."</p>
Context is everything.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new behaviours into daily routines, like physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Meanwhile, many old behaviours such as attending events, eating out and seeing friends have been put on hold.
A new study looks at how images of coffee's origins affect the perception of its premiumness and quality.
- Images can affect how people perceive the quality of a product.
- In a new study, researchers show using virtual reality that images of farms positively influence the subjects' experience of coffee.
- The results provide insights on the psychology and power of marketing.