How refugees have the power to change the society they join

What history can teach us about refugees. 

An Afghan refugee girl carries her brother at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Islamabad on February 1, 2018. (Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

In the late 17th century, small bands of refugees began making their way into Spanish Florida. At first, they arrived in small numbers, carrying little more than the clothes on their backs, and without generating much interest. The material demands they might place on the Spanish state were at best modest. Yet these refugees and their experience in Spanish Florida would raise nettlesome political questions. Refugees have a special power to unsettle political communities, one that far outstrips their claim on practical resources.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Women are more likely to survive a crisis than men

Girl babies may have one distinct advantage over boy babies. But what is it?

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We know that women live longer than men on average, no matter what culture or region of the world we focus on. In many places, they live a full decade longer. And this isn’t a newly discovered phenomenon. Historical records state this was so throughout history. Several studies have looked into it. But scientists are still wondering, is there a biological reason? Or does it have to do with how women are socialized?

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Technology & Innovation

Why China Isn't Taking America's Garbage Anymore—Literally

China's expanding middle class is changing the world. The results are a global recycling dilemma.

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Most of us don’t think of what happens to the plastic items we put in the recycling bin. It’s a matter of out of sight, out of mind. Some believe manufacturers turn them all into new products, but is that the case? What really happens after that plastic bottle leaves your hand? In truth, only 9.5% of all plastic in the U.S. is recycled. Surprisingly, 15% is burned for electricity or heat.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Learning is more than retaining information—how mentors make the difference

Two-thirds of the achievement gap for American children is due to the "summer learning loss". Here's how we fix that.

Is America's achievement gap crisis caused by long summer vacations? "In lower income neighborhoods, kids forget anywhere from two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half months of what they learned during the school year over the summer, while their middle-class peers break even or even make gains," says Karim Abouelnaga, CEO of Practice Makes Perfect. This startling statistic is why he started a different kind of summer school, one based on a chain of near-peer mentors, where kids are connected with college students and college students are connected with teaching professionals. "This model, where everyone is sort of a participant but also a beneficiary, creates this win-win-win situation for everyone, making summer school a lot more fun and exciting." Why do some eighth grader students only have a fourth grade reading level? Theoretically speaking, they’ve only been in school for half the time, says Abouelnaga. To find out more, visit practicemakesperfect.org.

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Mind & Brain

Here's Why Overpopulation Isn't a Crisis at All

Overpopulation is often viewed as a nightmare, but what if it's a dream come true?

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