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‘Medicare for all’ is a pipe dream

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A new study released by Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has received a lot of attention this week. Dr. Marc Siegel The Hill It concludes that the “Medicare for all” proposal endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others would “increase federal budget commitments by approximately $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years of full implementation.” The study goes on to point out that “doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to ... Read More »

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

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Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Richard Gunderman The Conversation Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings ... Read More »

Australia is in the grip of a sleeplessness epidemic

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In December last year, at the height of the dual citizenship scandal which ultimately led to this weekend’s Super Saturday byelections, ABC’s 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales asked Malcolm Turnbullwhat ran through his head in the middle of night when he couldn’t sleep. Fleur Anderson The Canberra Times She received short shrift. “You know what? I sleep right through the night. Do you sleep well?” Turnbull said. “The key to being a happy and effective prime minister is to get a good night’s sleep ... Read More »

We’re racist towards robots, too, study finds

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Have you ever wondered why you rarely see a brown or black robot? A couple of researchers at Monash University in Melbourne and Canterbury University in New Zealand were having trouble finding any — why were all the robots white? RN Drive – By Barbara Heggen and Mariella Attard – ABC It led them to investigate whether people ascribe race to robots, and if this changed their behaviour towards them. What they discovered was that humans carry their racial biases over to ... Read More »

WSU Researchers see positive policing changes after cannabis legalization

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Clearance rates improve for burglaries, vehicle thefts Washington State University EurekAlert! PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have found that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not hurt police effectiveness. In fact, clearance rates for certain crimes have improved. Clearance rates — the number of cases solved, typically by the arrest of a suspect — were falling for violent and property crimes in the two states before they authorized retail sales of marijuana late in 2012. The rates ... Read More »

Men who murder v men who abuse: Queensland research aims to find the difference

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Researchers will interview Queensland prisoners in the hopes of discovering the difference between men who abuse their intimate female partners versus men who murder them. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Griffith University professor Paul Mazerolle hopes the project could provide much-needed practical information on the reasons behind the escalation from violence to murder. “A number of years ago we undertook the Australian Homicide Study, so we have an existing data set of 302 people who have murdered somebody, and a subset ... Read More »

Chart of the day: The Government hasn’t been very good at predicting population growth

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Australia’s population growth has outstripped official expectations for more than a decade, according to the Government’s own estimates. By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape BBC The Intergenerational Report provides “a projection into the future, giving us an estimate of the challenges we face as a nation”. But across the four reports stretching back to 2002, the Government has repeatedly underestimated how fast the population is growing. In 2002, the first report assumed net overseas migration would continue at 90,000 people per ... Read More »

Immigration decline costing UK economy billions, says think thank

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Meeting government targets on immigration means £12bn hit to public finances, say Global Futures Peter Stubley Independent The fall in immigration since Brexit is already costing the UK more than £1bn a year, according to new analysis by an independent think tank. Global Future, which promotes the benefits of openness, calculates that the loss to the public finances is the equivalent of more than 23,000 nurses or 18,000 doctors. It also claims that meeting the government’s immigration target of “tens of thousands” will also cost Britain ... Read More »

Game changing game changes

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‘Stochastic games’ can resolve Tragedy of the Commons Harvard University All it took for rewriting the rules of understanding evolution of cooperation was a series of chance encounters between Martin Nowak, Krishnendu Chatterjee and Christian Hilbe. Chatterjee, a computer science professor at IST Austria, mentioned the idea of stochastic games – games which can change based on players’ actions – during his first visit to Harvard in 2008, and the idea sent Nowak down a… “People who study evolution of ... Read More »

More Than One-Third of Australians Experiencing Food Insecurity

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More than one-third of Australians are experiencing some form of food insecurity, a number significantly higher than previously reported, new research shows. Luke Michael ProBono An Edith Cowan University (ECU) nationwide survey of 2,334 Australians found that 36 per cent of people have experienced low or very low food security at some time. These findings are in stark contrast to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, which suggests only four per cent of Australians experience food insecurity. Lead researcher Lucy… ... Read More »

What’s the real price of getting rid of plastic packaging?

SARANGKOT, KASKI DISTRICT, NEPAL - 2016/10/02: Empty Coca Cola bottles in crates are piling up. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Economics of Change Crunching the numbers of how much switching might cost us How much would it cost to switch to plastic alternatives? Richard Gray crunches the numbers. By Richard Gray BBC Walking along a short section of stony beach, Claire Waluda stoops briefly to pick up something from between the rocks. It is a brightly coloured plastic bottle top – just one of hundreds of bits of plastic that she finds washed ashore on the remote, windswept island ... Read More »

Study examines alcohol’s effects on sexual aggression

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A new Aggressive Behavior study has examined alcohol’s “in the moment” effects on sexual aggression, or the acute effects of alcohol on men’s decisions about how to respond to sexual refusals in a dating simulation. EurekAlert! In the study, 62 men in their 20s were randomly assigned to consume alcohol (target breath alcohol level 0.080%) or no alcohol. Participants were encouraged to talk to a simulated woman as if they were on a date, and they made choices from a ... Read More »

Victorians more worried about crime than commute times, survey finds

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Violence in homes and communities and tougher treatment for criminals are among the top issues for Victorians according to a new poll of the nation’s concerns. Noel Towell The Age The Council for the Economic Development of Australia survey explored issues that matter to Australians in an effort to understand whether people feel they are reaping the benefits of decades of prosperity. Despite Melbourne’s growing congestion problems “reduced commuting times” was found to be one of the least important areas ... Read More »

Plastic-eating bacteria discovered by student could help solve global pollution crisis

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Exclusive: Microbes found near plastic refinery degrade material, turning it into food Tom Embury-Dennis Independent A student may have found a solution to one of the world’s most urgent environmental crises – breeding bacteria capable of “eating” plastic and potentially breaking it down into harmless by-products. The microbes degrade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – one of the world’s most common plastics, used in clothing, drinks bottles and food packaging. It takes centuries to break down, in the meantime doing untold damage to its… Plastic-eating bacteria… Read More »

133 politicians murdered ahead of Mexico elections: study

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A total of 133 politicians have been murdered in the run-up to Mexico’s elections on July 1, the consulting firm Etellekt said, as the violence gripping the country exploded into politics on a record scale. Mexico City Hurriyet The murders – mostly of local-level politicians, the most frequent targets for Mexico’s powerful drug cartels — were recorded between September, when candidate registration opened, and the close of campaigning on Wednesday, when an interim mayor was killed in the… The victims included 48 ... Read More »

Why your brain never runs out of problems to find junio 28, 2018 8.00pm CEST

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Why do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? David Levari The Conversation It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever. Think of a “neighborhood watch” made up of volunteers who call the police when they see anything suspicious. Imagine a new volunteer who joins the watch to help ... Read More »