Loss of local newspapers is making America more politically polarized

Less local newspapers are making the populace more uninformed.

Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman / Getty Image
  • As of 2016 there are roughly 1,300 daily newspapers in the United States.
  • Only 45 percent of counties in the United States contain a daily newspaper headquarters.
  • National news is influencing local politics and make citizens vote blindly along party lines.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Why millions of Americans didn’t vote during the midterms

Fall is a bad time to hold elections.

Photo credit: Joshua Lott / Getty Images
  • Usually, only about 40 percent of eligible voters participate in midterm elections.
  • Political philosopher John Stuart Mill believed it would be for the collective good if everybody voted.
  • Because of logistics, we may need to change the time of year we vote.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Map of political book sales shows a polarized nation

The states with golden stars on them are extra intriguing.

Barnes & Noble
  • Barnes & Noble reported a 57% increase in political book sales compared to 2017.
  • The top three best-selling political books of 2018 have been mostly critical of President Donald Trump, though each state varies in which political books it buys most.
  • Despite the boost in sales, Barnes & Noble could put itself up for sale in the near future.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Don’t trust elections? How Blockchain can protect your vote

Getting your vote to where it matters can be harder and more corrupt than it should be. Could blockchain technology build a better system and rebuild people's trust?

Anyone who's walked into a voting booth and scratched their preference onto a piece of paper knows the same thing: the voting process suffers from a dire lack of technology. We put a man on the moon in 1969--why are we still voting on paper? Going digital isn't just a matter of convenience, but one of accountability—citizens the world over are increasingly losing trust in the democratic system, from miscounted votes, to denying eligible people the right to vote at all. So just how much can we digitize the act of voting? Perhaps blockchain—a public ledger technology where information is irreversibly recorded—can build a better system. Here, Internet pioneer Brian Behlendorf considers two aspects where blockchain can help, and one where it absolutely can't. Better tech can end voter discrimination at polling stations, and falsely reported totals at the state and national levels, but will we ever be able to vote on our mobile devices from the comfort of a blanket fort? Behlendorf delivers the bad news. Brian Behlendorf is the executive director of Hyperledger; for more info, visit hyperledger.org.

Technology & Innovation

Do Your Google Searches Reveal the Real You?

We tell Google things we wouldn't tell our loved ones, or even our own doctors.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has a sneaking suspicion that everybody lies. Instead, we seem to be far more honest with a website than with each other. The things that people type into the Google search bar, Stephens-Davidowitz says, reveal far more about a person than any in-depth interviewer could ever dream of. Even how racist someone can be. What's alarming is that prior to the 2008 election, Stephens-Davidowitz saw a big uptick in racist searches coming from alarming places. He had expected the South to make perhaps a portion of these searches, but he was shocked to see the searches coming from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and more. And to cap that off, most of those searches were hardly fringe searches: they matched the amount of bigger-name searches like Lakers, migraines, and The Daily Show.

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