Yale: White liberals dumb down speech when talking to minorities

The researchers call it a "competence downshift."

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  • The study examined how Democratic and Republican presidential candidates used language when speaking to black and white audiences.
  • A second study focused on how white people use language in emails to strangers with stereotypically white or black names.
  • The lead researcher called the findings "kind of an unpleasant surprise."
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A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you

Most people don't just think the world should be run meritocratically, they think it is meritocratic.

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

'We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else …' Barack Obama, inaugural address, 2013

'We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.' Donald Trump, inaugural address, 2017

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The surprising lives of Myanmar's logging elephants

Most captive elephants are kept under immensely cruel conditions. In Myanmar, they're treated differently.

Ruben Salgado/Getty Images
  • Myanmar's logging industry has a very particular kind of employee: elephants.
  • While many captive elephants are subjected to horrible treatment, Myanmar's logging elephants live twice as long as elephants kept in zoos and are "semi-captive".
  • While they are treated exceptionally well for captive elephants, are logging elephants truly treated humanely?
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Loneliness not only feels bad, experts have characterised it as a disease that increases the risk of a range of physical and psychological disorders. Some national prevalence estimates for loneliness are alarming. Although they can be as low as 4.4 per cent (in Azerbaijan), in other countries (such as Denmark) as many as 20 per cent of adults report being either moderately or severely lonely.

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Amazon won’t sell porn, but will sell anti-vaxxer books

As Facebook and YouTube move to moderate anti-vaccination content, Amazon has given no indication that it plans to do the same.

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  • Tech companies like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube have all recently moved to ban, demonetize or otherwise moderate content related to anti-vaccination causes.
  • Amazon, which currently sells documentaries, books and merchandise created by anti-vaxxers, has offered no plans to do the same.
  • How much responsibility private companies should take when it comes to keeping potentially dangerous information from the public remains an open question.
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