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Pick any of the big topics of the day – Brexit, climate change or Trump's immigration policies – and wander online.

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Why the illusory truth effect works

Repeating lies makes people believe they are true, show studies.

  • Two recent studies looked at the illusory truth effect.
  • The effect describes our propensity to start believing untrue statements if they are repeated.
  • The phenomenon is a universal bias linked to cognitive fluency but can be counterbalanced.
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Elizabeth Warren: Boost Social Security by taxing the richest 2%

"We need to get our priorities straight," Warren said.

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  • Warren published a Medium post on Thursday outlining a plan to increase Social Security benefits by $200 per month, if she's elected president.
  • Social Security contributions are capped for Americans who make $132,900 or more per year. Warren wants to scrap that and impose new contribution requirements.
  • Left unchanged, Social Security will run out of its $2.9 trillion reserve fund by 2035, according to recent estimates.
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To overthrow a tyrant, try the 3.5 Percent Solution

A study of 323 uprisings against repressive regimes yields stunning insights.

  • No democracy movement has ever failed when it was able to mobilize at least 3.5 percent of the population to protest over a sustained period
  • At that scale, most soldiers have no desire to suppress protesters. Why? Because the crowd includes their family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
  • With a population of 327 million, the U.S. would need to mobilize about 11.5 million people to assert popular, democratic power on the government. Could that happen?
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Academic freedom: What it is, what it isn’t and why there’s confusion

Academics are often attacked for having the audacity to pursue their research wherever it leads. But engaging with difficult, challenging ideas is a large part of what academia is about.

  • Academic expression is neither free expression nor political, though it is connected to both. Because of this misunderstanding, academic expression is often attacked, not because of the quality of scholars' ideas, but because of scholars' audacity in sharing them.
  • The Scholars at Risk network is working to ensure that academics of all stripes have the academic freedom they need to pursue their work. In this video, Robert Quinn stresses that this is not a left/right issue, nor is it something that's only happening halfway across the world, and he explains why it's so important to defend academic freedom.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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