from the world's big
Two-thirds of U.S. students attend diverse schools
School diversity is less widespread in central and northern states
- In 2020, there will be more children of color than white children in the U.S.
- These maps indicate how racial diversity is changing the demographics of America's schools
- Diversity has massively increased, but more so in the south and on the coasts than elsewhere
Demographic change is here
This hex map (3) shows the degree of change in diversity in America's schools from 1994/95 to 2016/17. A higher value (and darker color) means more change, and vice versa. The biggest change in diversity by far was noted in DC, the least in New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Image courtesy of Cédric Scherer
The U.S. is undergoing profound demographic change: by the early 2040s, it will be a 'majority minority' country – whites will make up less than half of the total population.
That change won't just suddenly arrive two decades from now. In the younger demographic cohorts, it's already here. In 2020, there will be more children of color than white children, the U.S. Census Bureau projects.
Different degrees of diversity
The second hex map shows the degree of diversity itself, in 2016/17. The index tends to be higher in coastal and southern states, lower in central and northern ones. Delaware appears to have the most diverse schools, West Virginia the least.
Image courtesy of Cédric Scherer
Comparing nationwide data 22 years apart (1994/95 and 2016/17), the Washington Post recently examined whether the racial diversity of America's young was matched by racial integration in its public schools. And indeed: more school districts are diverse than ever before, and more students now attend schools with children of different races than ever before.
- In 1995, 45% of students went to school in diverse districts (1), most of which tended to be in large metropolitan areas and in the South. Nearly a third of students went to school in 'extremely undiverse' districts: in mainly rural, mostly white areas of the country.
- Between 1995 and 2017, more than 2,400 districts switched from 'undiverse' to 'diverse', mainly in smaller cities and suburbs that had previously been almost uniformly white. In 2017, 66% of students attended school in diverse districts; the number of students in 'extremely undiverse' districts declined accordingly.
White or diverse? Both or neither?
This bivariate (4) map shows both where the 'whiter' school districts are: in the purple states; and where the more diverse states are: in the yellow states. "Obviously, the data is partly correlated: a high proportion of whites always leads to low diversity; but still I found the pattern quite interesting," says Mr Scherer. Low diversity also occurs in places with few white students, e.g. New Mexico and Mississippi; and New York manages to be both quite white and fairly diverse.
Image courtesy of Cédric Scherer
- As a result, in 2017 early 11 million students went to school in 'highly integrated' school districts: more than ever, and nearly double the 5.8 million children in 'non-integrated' districts. The remainder, 10.3 million students, attended school in 'somewhat integrated' school districts.
These maps are based on the same data (2) used by the Washington Post, but take a slightly different tack. "I calculated the Simpsons diversity index, a quantitative measure used in ecology to estimate the species diversity in a community. High values (max 1) indicate high diversity and low values (min 1) low diversity," says Cédric Scherer, a Berlin-based computational ecologist and data visualization designer.
Strange Maps #998
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
(1) A school district counts as 'diverse' when less than 75% of the student body belongs to a single race; 'undiverse' when between 75% and 90% belong to a single race; and 'extremely undiverse' when more than 90% of the students belong to a single race.
(2) The Common Core of Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Public school data only; no private, charter or virtual schools.
(3) Maps subdivided into hexagonal tiles.
(4) Bivariate data shows the relation between two variables, in this case 'whiteness' and 'diversity'.
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A recent study on monkeys found that stimulating a certain part of the forebrain wakes monkeys from anesthesia.
- Scientists electrically stimulated the brains of macaque monkeys in an effort to determine which areas are responsible for driving consciousness.
- The monkeys were anesthetized, and the goal was to see whether activating certain parts of the brain would wake up the animals.
- The forebrain's central lateral thalamus seems to be one of the "minimum mechanisms" necessary for consciousness.
Pixabay<p>When the team electrically stimulated a part of the brain called the central lateral thalamus, located in the forebrain, the monkeys woke up: they opened their eyes, blinked, reached out, made facial expressions and showed altered vital signs. </p><p>"We found that when we stimulated this tiny little brain area, we could wake the animals up and reinstate all the neural activity that you'd normally see in the cortex during wakefulness," Saalmann told Cell Press. "They acted just as they would if they were awake. When we switched off the stimulation, the animals went straight back to being unconscious."</p><p>This area of the brain may function as an "engine for consciousness," Redinbaugh told Inverse. Although past studies have shown that electrical stimulation can arouse the brains of humans and animals, the new findings are unique because they reveal which specific neural interactions appear to be minimally necessary for consciousness.</p><p>"Science doesn't often leave opportunity for exhilaration, but that's what that moment was like for those of us who were in the room," Redinbaugh told <a href="https://www.inverse.com/science/first-squid-mri-study-brain-complexity-similar-dogs" target="_blank"><em>Inverse</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Future applications<p>The team said the findings could have many applications down the road, but more research is needed.</p><p>"The overriding motivation of this research is to help people with disorders of consciousness to live better lives," Redinbaugh told Cell Press. "We have to start by understanding the minimum mechanism that is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, so that the correct part of the brain can be targeted clinically."</p><p>"It's possible we may be able to use these kinds of deep-brain stimulating electrodes to bring people out of comas. Our findings may also be useful for developing new ways to monitor patients under clinical anesthesia, to make sure they are safely unconscious."</p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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