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How social media has become a direct threat to democracy
INFOGRAPHIC/ ARTICLE: For all the ways information technology brings us together, the monetization and manipulation of information is swiftly tearing us apart. From foreign interference in elections to targeted campaigns designed to confuse and divide on important social issues, groups looking for an effective way to infiltrate and influence democracy have found generous hosts in the world of social media. There are 6 ways in which social media poses a direct threat to democracy. SOURCE: The Washington Post ...
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Lessons from the longest study on human development 
VIDEO: For the past 70 years, scientists have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It's the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it's produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting. SOURCE: TED ...
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A drug's journey: how drugs get from the lab to the market
VIDEO: It can take up to a decade or more for a drug to make it from first being discovered in the lab to ending up on the shelf of a pharmacy. It has to be put through a rigorous, 4-step process that will establish safety and efficacy. Watch this video to get an idea of what is involved. SOURCE: Conversation EDU via YouTube ...
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What are we drawn to when we see pictures: meaning or “what sticks out?”
INFOGRAPHIC/ ARTICLE: As you’re viewing a photo you’ve never seen before, how do your eyes go about choosing which parts of the image to look at first? The leading theory in attention studies says that our eyes are drawn to things that are visually salient — or, those that “stick out” to us. However, a new study overturns that model by showing that “meaning” seems to be the primary guider of visual attention, while salience plays a secondary role. SOURCE: Big Think ...
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Get a 'Know Thyself' poster: 24 common cognitive biases
INFOGRAPHIC: Learn how to spot biases in yourself and others, and what you can do about them. Download an attractive poster that summarises 24 of the most common errors in thinking. (Many of these items have been covered in previous posts in TTT.) SOURCE: ...
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Meet the nocebo, placebo’s ‘evil twin’
ARTICLE: A placebo is a fake pill or treatment, with no active ingredients, that brings us benefits because we think we’re getting an actual medication and we expect it to work. Placebos are often used in clinical trials as controls, to check whether a new drug actually works. But placebos can also have negative side effects, if we expect the medication to harm us — those negative effects are nocebos. Nocebo is placebo’s evil twin. SOURCE: The Verge ...
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Blockchains: What are they and why will they change the world
LONG ARTICLE FOR HARDCORE READERS: There's so much talk about Bitcoin and other "cryptocurrencies". Behind the hype, the technology that powers them is something called the "blockchain". By all accounts, this is where the true potential seems to lie. This article provides a detailed explanation of blockchains. SOURCE: IEEE Spectrum ...
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Living in the present moment: 5 things you need to do
INFOGRAPHIC/ VIDEO: “Live every day like it is your last. One day you’ll be right.” Each moment of our lives has to be be spent mindfully. Here are 5 strategies for living in the present moment. SOURCE: The Long Now via Big Think ...
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The punctuation guide: a Swiss Army Knife for all writers
WEBSITE/ UTILITY: This website is a must for all writers. It is particularly relevant in an era where communication is by text messages, abbreviations, emoticons and the like. Clearly written prose is a difficult exercise. Proper punctuation clarifies the thought process behind a written statement. A comma in the wrong place can change meaning entirely; a colon or a semicolon in the right place makes a sentence elegant. This visually simple, easily navigable utility is a comprehensive guide to [American] punctuation. SOURCE: The Punctuation Guide ...
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Memory: 4 articles that explore the mystery and magic of how we remember
LONG ARTICLES FOR HARDCORE READERS: It's not possible to conceive living without memory. Everything we do is shaped by our remembrances of events in the past and extrapolations of lessons learned from these imprints, into the future. Yet, memory is a mystery that modern science, fMRIs and all, has not been able to fathom in any meaningful way. Listed below are 4 articles that deal with intriguing aspects of human memory. SOURCE: via The Electric Typewriter ...
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Climate change: FAQs and answers
ARTICLE: Anthropogenic (human-made) climate change is now the most important challenge that confronts humanity over the coming years. Strong emotions have been fanned and, in the age of fake news and post truth, there is considerable confusion in most people's minds. In this review from the New York Times, 17 important questions are addressed in simple, easy-to-understand language. It is vital that we have a clear idea of the issues at stake. SOURCE: The New York Times ...
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Your brain: a maintenance check-list for owners
INFOGRAPHIC/ ARTICLE: There can be no argument about the most important organ that a human being needs. Here’s what everyone should know about the ownership, maintenance, and care of their brain. SOURCE: Business Insider ...
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Ethics matters: looking at society from an ethical perspective
WEBSITE/ ARTICLES/ VIDEOS: This website is a collection of items that deal with the ethics that govern society. The issues addressed are important and common. The site contains articles and videos that are free to access. SOURCE: Ethics Matters ...
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There is no one way to live a good life
LONG ARTICLE FOR HARDCORE READERS: Humanistic psychology is an uplifting, compassionate view of humanity. This article offers two models of human development. SOURCE: Scientific American ...
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Scientists chart 27 distinct human emotions on this interactive map
INFOGRAPHIC/ ARTICLE: The best part of the map is that it’s interactive. If you take your mouse and hover over any part of it, you’ll soon find a short video popping up. Although one can see some strict delineations between one emotion and the next, the visual map also blends categories when necessary, making it highly nuanced. To create this map, the researchers collected 2,185 online videos. Each was a 5-10 second clip portraying a particular emotion. SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)/ Big Think ...
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