Why conspiratorial thinking is peaking in America

The internet has given us the opportunity to stay informed better than ever. It's also given us the ability to misinform ourselves — delude ourselves — beyond belief.

  • The internet has allowed fringe groups founded on paranoid thinking to merge in ways we've never seen before.
  • Part of modern political polarization in American is that we're becoming a people who believes in different realities, some of which are based on fears rather than facts. Many of these conspiracy theories are targeted on groups that we believe are plotting against us.
  • There is a romanticization that we're going to somehow solve all of life's unknowns, Da Vinci Code-style. However, this ironically may put us at a disadvantage in terms of breaking puzzles — we look for the familiar in vague stimuli, a pheonmenon known as pareidolia, which only further confounds us.
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Many Americans are actually centrists—in theory, anyway

America is polarized, but not as much as you might think.

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  • A new study finds that Americans aren't as politically polarized as you might think.
  • Respondents generally agreed on the issues of climate change, free speech, and the value of international agreements.
  • The study also found that majorities want a smaller government that provides more services.
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Spot, Boston Dynamics' robot dog, has joined a police squad

The semiautonomous could help to protect officers, but some are concerned about how exactly police plan to use it.

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  • Spot is a four-legged, semiautonomous robot developed by Boston Dynamics.
  • The robot has been used in at least two police "incidents," according to documents obtained by the ACLU.
  • The ACLU said that government agencies should be more transparent about how they plan to use robots in the field.
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What are municipal utilities and why are they suddenly popular?

Can changing who delivers your electricity to you solve a slew of problems?

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  • Cities and movements across the country are considering running their own electric utilities.
  • These operations, known as municipal utilities, are already widespread and have a respectable track record.
  • Representatives of the campaigns to implement municipal control see this as a path to a green, democratic future.
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Marijuana addiction has risen in places where it's legal

While legalization has benefits, a new study suggests it may have one big drawback.

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  • A new study finds that rates of marijuana use and addiction have gone up in states that have recently legalized the drug.
  • The problem was most severe for those over age of 26, with cases of addiction rising by a third.
  • The findings complicate the debate around legalization.
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