How Atlantic City inspired the Monopoly board

The popular game has a backstory rife with segregation, inequality, intellectual theft, and outlandish political theories.

Credit: Davis DeBard, with kind permission.
  • The streets on a classic Monopoly board were lifted from Atlantic City.
  • Here's what it looks like if we transport those places back onto a map.
  • Monopoly started out as its opposite: a game explaining the evil of monopolies.
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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine authorized: Here's what makes it unique

Millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed as early as this week.

Credit: Rafael Henrique via Adobe Stock
  • The FDA and CDC recently authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.
  • It will soon be the third vaccine available in the U.S., the other two being vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
  • The new vaccine has a lower efficacy rate, but clinical data suggest its highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death.
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Why science denial and science negation are different

Surprising as it may seem, we are all very good at denial. Negation, however, is a different phenomena.

Credit: mvdiduk, Rob Atkins via Adobe Stock / Big Think
  • What makes a person espouse an ideology so intensely as to negate the reality of well-established facts? Perhaps the differences between negation and denial can help us understand.
  • Negation looks to the past, while denial looks to the present and future. We negate a historical fact and we deny the reality in front of us. Negation involves a conscious choice to lie, even if it involves the suffering of millions. Denial is subtler and, surprisingly, we all do it.
  • Climate change conflates both negation and denial. Hopefully, understanding why will spur more into action, as we choose to become heroes of a new anti-denialist narrative.
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‘Cockeyed’ map shows both glamour and margins of 1930s Hollywood

Legendary cartoonist John Groth's pictorial map captures LA's film factories in their Golden Age.

Credit: Public domain, via David Rumsey Map Collection.
  • Maps are the safest way to travel during the pandemic - old maps even allow for time travel.
  • This 1930s view of Hollywood captures the film factories of Los Angeles in their Golden Age.
  • But it's not all glitz and glamour: look to the margins for the hard work done by immigrants.
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What democracy and science demand: The ‘Smartmatic vs Fox News’ case

The opening lines of Smartmatic's $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News lay bare the culture of denial in the US.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Smartmatic, an election technology company, has filed a $2.7-billion-dollar defamation suit against Fox News for making false claims about its voting machines during Fox's dishonest campaign against the 2020 US presidential election results.
  • The lawsuit opens with three powerful statements of fact: A scientific truth, a mathematical proof, and an objective political fact: More people voted for Joe Biden than for Donald Trump.
  • We owe the Smartmatic lawyers a debt of gratitude for so cleanly demonstrating what this ongoing election battle is all about. What is at stake is not a political ideology. It's a fight to acknowledge the shared reality we all live in.
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