Society News

1.5°C pathways can still be achieved, combining fairness and global climate protection

Global warming can still be limited to 1.5°C by 2100 while ensuring that the poor are not hit hardest by climate policies and climate impacts. This is achieved by immediately introducing broad carbon pricing together with re-distributive policies using carbon pricing revenues and further measures to reduce energy consumption, accelerate technological transitions, and transform the land sector.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:53:02 EST

Human behavior guided by fast changes in dopamine levels

A new study shows that dopamine release in the human brain plays a crucial role in encoding both reward and punishment prediction errors. This means that dopamine is involved in the process of learning from both positive and negative experiences, allowing the brain to adjust and adapt its behavior based on the outcomes of these experiences.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 17:32:08 EST

Public gardens contribute to invasives problem

Some nonnative plants cultivated in public gardens or arboretums are escaping to become invasive in wild forests.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 17:31:56 EST

Aging societies more vulnerable to collapse

Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. A new study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that the resilience of political states decreases over time. 
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 17:31:54 EST

Consensus needed on when global warming reaches 1.5°C

A team of scientists has emphasized that -- surprisingly -- there is currently no formally agreed way of defining the current level of global warming relevant to the Paris Agreement.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:37:11 EST

Why reading nursery rhymes and singing to babies may help them to learn language

Phonetic information -- the smallest sound elements of speech -- may not be the basis of language learning in babies as previously thought. Babies don't begin to process phonetic information reliably until seven months old -- which researchers say is too late to form the foundation of language. Instead, babies learn from rhythmic information -- the changing emphasis of syllables in speech -- which unlike phonetic information, can be heard in the womb.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:36:44 EST

To help autonomous vehicles make moral decisions, researchers ditch the 'trolley problem'

Researchers have developed a new experiment to better understand what people view as moral and immoral decisions related to driving vehicles, with the goal of collecting data to train autonomous vehicles how to make 'good' decisions. The work is designed to capture a more realistic array of moral challenges in traffic than the widely discussed life-and-death scenario inspired by the so-called 'trolley problem.'
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:36:35 EST

The world needs more empathy -- here is how science can harness it

In a world grappling with deep-seated division and social upheaval, empathy has become more critical than ever. But science suggests when it comes to evoking empathy, our imagination is more powerful than we previously thought. A new study reveals how the different ways to experience empathy affect our willingness to help others.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:36:29 EST

Illuminating the benefits of marine protected areas for ecotourism, and vice versa

As California, the U.S. and the world work to make good on commitments to conserve 30% of oceans and lands by 2030, all strategies are on the table -- and under the microscope. When it comes to the ocean, one valuable tool is marine protected areas (MPAs), regions that are defined, designated and managed for long-term conservation. Among other benefits, MPAs protect habitats and promote species diversity. They also hold value for communities and industries.  
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 14:54:13 EST

Unsafe lead levels in school drinking water: new study IDs building risk factors

Civil and environmental engineers have determined the factors that may help identify the schools and daycare centers at greatest risk for elevated levels of lead in drinking water. The most telling characteristic for schools in Massachusetts is building age, with facilities built in the 1960s and 1970s -- nearly a third of the facilities tested -- at the greatest risk for having dangerously high water lead levels. 
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 14:54:05 EST

Phasing out fossil fuels could save millions of lives

Scientists provide new evidence to motivate rapid fossil fuel phaseout. The science team determined exposure to ambient air pollution and its health impacts using an updated atmospheric composition model, a newly developed relative risk model and recent satellite-based fine particle data. They estimated all-cause and disease-specific mortality and attributed them to emission categories. They show that phasing out fossil fuels is a remarkably effective health-improving and life-saving intervention. About 5 million excess deaths per year globally could potentially be avoided.  
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:32:41 EST

What makes sustainable consumption so difficult

When it comes to self-discipline, psychological research traditionally focuses on individual responsibility. Some researchers believe this is too short-sighted. Self-discipline doesn't work without effective regulation.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:32:30 EST

Money to burn: Wealthy, white neighborhoods losing their heat shields

White, wealthy neighborhoods in the LA area -- and likely around the world -- are about to start feeling the same heat that has plagued poorer, Hispanic neighborhoods for generations. A new study shows the protective effect of income has largely eroded over the past 40 years, as landscape plants can't keep up with the pace of climate warming. 
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:32:10 EST

Parental engagement positively associated with safer driving among young people, UGR study finds

The results show that while close supervision may be linked to increased anxiety when driving, it is also associated with a more cautious attitude behind the wheel.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:31:35 EST

Climate: Why disinformation is so persistent

Melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, extreme heat waves: the consequences of climate change are more visible than ever, and the scientific community has confirmed that humans are responsible. Yet studies show that a third of the population still doubts or disputes these facts. The cause is disinformation spread by certain vested interests. To try and prevent this phenomenon, a team has developed and tested six psychological interventions on nearly 7,000 participants from twelve countries. The research highlights the extremely persuasive nature of disinformation and the need to strengthen our efforts to combat it.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:30:49 EST

Scientists create framework to guide development and assessment of urban climate action plans

With the world projected to be highly urbanized by 2050, cities are encouraged to take urgent climate actions to mitigate and adapt to the threats of climate change. As climate change intensifies and urbanization increases rapidly, local governments are expected now more than ever to lead climate action planning. However, studies show the limitations of the existing climate action plans (CAPs). So scientists have created an Urban Climate Action Planning (UCAP) framework to guide the development of suitable urban CAPs and support the assessment of the level of suitability of these plans.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 23:44:43 EST

Bees are still being harmed despite tightened pesticide regulations

A new study has confirmed that pesticides, commonly used in farmland, significantly harm bumblebees one of the most important wild pollinators. In a huge study spanning 106 sites across eight European countries, researchers have shown that despite tightened pesticide regulations, far more needs to be done. 
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:25:44 EST

Remote collaborations deliver fewer scientific breakthroughs

Remote teams are less likely to make breakthrough discoveries compared to those who work onsite, according to new research. The researchers' key finding was that, while remote collaboration has the potential to deliver new and creative scientific ideas through easier access to a global knowledge pool, it is harder for such teams to integrate effectively to deliver breakthroughs.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:23:56 EST

Psychological science can help counter spread of misinformation

Debunking, 'prebunking,' nudging and teaching digital literacy are several of the more effective ways to counter misinformation, according to a new report.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 00:39:34 EST

How to stay on task

Our ability to pay attention to tasks—a key component of our everyday lives—is heavily influenced by factors like motivation, arousal and alertness. Maintaining focus can be especially challenging when the task is boring or repetitive.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 16:01:47 EST

Commitments needed to solve aviation's impact on our climate

Researchers could find no simple solution to limiting non-CO2 emissions from aircraft.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:24:15 EST

Kids who feel their parents are less reliable take fewer risks vital to learning and growth

The researchers studied decisions that more than 150 children ages 10 to 13 made while playing games that offered opportunities to risk a little and explore for potential gains.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 18:07:15 EST

Defending your voice against deepfakes

Computer scientists have developed AntiFake, a tool to protect voice recordings from unauthorized speech synthesis.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 18:07:07 EST

Child care centers aren't a likely source of COVID-19 spread, study says

Parents who send their children to child care can breathe a little easier. New research shows that children in daycare were not significant spreaders of COVID-19.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 18:06:49 EST

Extra practice blending letter sounds helps struggling readers

New research has shown that extra practice in blending printed letter sounds can help struggling beginner readers (age 4-5) learn to read.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 13:24:01 EST

A fifth higher: Tropical cyclones substantially raise the Social Cost of Carbon

Extreme events like tropical cyclones have immediate impacts, but also long-term implications for societies. A new study now finds: Accounting for the long-term impacts of these storms raises the global Social Cost of Carbon by more than 20 percent, compared to the estimates currently used for policy evaluations. This increase is mainly driven by the projected rise of tropical-cyclone damages to the major economies of India, USA, China, Taiwan, and Japan under global warming.
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:47:34 EST

Particulate pollution from coal associated with double the risk of mortality than PM2.5 from other sources

Exposure to fine particulate air pollutants from coal-fired power plants (coal PM2.5) is associated with a risk of mortality more than double that of exposure to PM2.5 from other sources, according to a new study. Examining Medicare and emissions data in the U.S. from 1999 to 2020, the researchers also found that 460,000 deaths were attributable to coal PM2.5 during the study period -- most of them occurring between 1999 and 2007, when coal PM2.5 levels were highest.
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:47:11 EST

New tool to enable exploration of human-environment interactions

An international group of scientists are calling for a strengthened commitment to transdisciplinary collaboration to study past and present human-environmental interactions, which they say will advance our understanding of these complex, entangled histories. Their recommendations include the introduction of a new tool, the 'dahliagram,' to enable researchers to analyze and visualize a wide array of quantitative and qualitative knowledge from diverse sources and backgrounds. 
Wed, 22 Nov 2023 19:23:15 EST

'Not dead yet': Experts identify interventions that could rescue 1.5°C

To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global heating to 1.5°C, global annual emissions will need to drop radically over the coming decades. Climate economists say that this goal could still be within our reach. They identify key 'sensitive intervention points' that could unlock significant progress towards the Paris Agreement with the least risk and highest impact.
Wed, 22 Nov 2023 19:22:23 EST

Mind the gap: Caution needed when assessing land emissions in the COP28 Global Stocktake

The land use, land use change, and forestry sector plays a strong role in achieving global climate targets, but a gap exists between how scientists and countries account for its emissions. A new study highlights how mitigation benchmarks change when assessing IPCC scenarios from a national inventory perspective, with net-zero timings arriving up to five years earlier and cumulative emissions to net-zero being 15-18% smaller.
Wed, 22 Nov 2023 12:21:02 EST

Apology psychology: Breaking gender stereotypes leads to more effective communication

From social media to the workplace, non-stereotypical apologies can help repair trust, according to new study.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:54:21 EST

How bloodstain 'tails' can point to significant, additional forensic details

Scientists demonstrate how bloodstains can yield valuable details by examining the protrusions that deviate from the boundaries of otherwise elliptical bloodstains. The researchers studied how these 'tails' are formed using a series of high-speed experiments with human blood droplets less than a millimeter wide impacting horizontal surfaces at various angles. They found that the tail length can reflect information about the size, impact speed, and impact angle of the blood drop that formed the stain.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:52:42 EST

Massive Antarctic ozone hole over past four years: What is to blame?

Despite public perception, the Antarctic ozone hole has been remarkably massive and long-lived over the past four years; researchers believe chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) aren't the only things to blame.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:52:39 EST

Outlook on scaling of carbon removal technologies

  The research makes it clear that ensuring the sustained well-being of our planet requires a more serious commitment toward new carbon dioxide removal technologies, and a faster scale-up of their production.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:52:02 EST

Most-cited scientists: still mostly men, but the gender gap is closing

An analysis of 5.8 million authors across all scientific disciplines shows that the gender gap is closing, but there is still a long distance to go.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:51:53 EST

AI can 'lie and BS' like its maker, but still not intelligent like humans

A researcher contends that the understanding of AI is muddled by linguistics: That while indeed intelligent, AI cannot be intelligent in the way that humans are, even though 'it can lie and BS like its maker.'
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 17:09:42 EST

Creativity in the age of generative AI: A new era of creative partnerships

Generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT) has propelled AI into the mainstream, raising concerns about job displacement and creative work. Experts now emphasize a need to focus on 'co-creativity,' the human-AI interaction instead. Extensive research is needed for comprehending co-creativity which is crucial for the future development of AI.
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 17:09:39 EST

Want better AI? Get input from a real (human) expert

Input from humans helps when deciding whether to trust the recommendations and decisions of a machine-learning system.
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 12:42:07 EST

Poor work performance among Japanese employees strongly associated with insufficient sleep

This study examined the association between work performance and lifestyle habits among Japanese employees. The results revealed that insufficient sleep was the predominant factor affecting work performance in men and women, followed by lack of regular exercise and eating late-evening meals. Furthermore, the study indicated that men were more likely to exhibit lifestyle habits that impacted work performance than women.
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 12:41:55 EST

Nostalgia and memories after ten years of social media

As possibilities have changed and technology has advanced, memories and nostalgia are now a significant part of our use of social media.
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 12:41:24 EST

Half of tested caviar products from Europe are illegal, and some aren't even caviar

Wild caviar, a pricey delicacy made from sturgeon eggs, has been illegal for decades since poaching brought the fish to the brink of extinction. Today, legal, internationally tradeable caviar can only come from farmed sturgeon, and there are strict regulations in place to help protect the species. However, by conducting genetic and isotope analyses on caviar samples from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine -- nations bordering the remaining wild sturgeon populations -- a team of sturgeon experts found evidence that these regulations are actively being broken. Their results show that half of the commercial caviar products they sampled are illegal, and some don't even contain any trace of sturgeon.
Mon, 20 Nov 2023 12:33:10 EST

Environment and wallet benefit from redispensing cancer pills

Redispensing cancer drugs reduces both environmental impact and medical costs, according to new research. The annual savings could amount to tens of millions.
Fri, 17 Nov 2023 10:25:15 EST

New global stocktake: Healthy forests could store much more carbon

Natural carbon reservoirs will play a major role at the COP28 world climate conference in the United Arab Emirates. In a recent study, a team of more than two hundred researchers worldwide presents new estimates of the storage potential of forests around the globe. According to the study, forests could ideally absorb 328 billion tons (gigatons, Gt for short) of carbon. However, as many formerly forested areas are now used for agriculture and as settlement areas, the potential is reduced to 226 Gt. 139 Gt of this (61%) could be achieved by protecting existing forests alone. The remaining 87 Gt (39%) could be realized by reconnecting previously fragmented forest landscapes and managing them sustainably.
Thu, 16 Nov 2023 14:10:05 EST

New study reveals huge potential for future waves of invasive species

Human trade and transport have led to the intentional and accidental introductions of non-native species outside of their natural range globally. These biological invasions can cause extinctions, cost trillions, and spread diseases. A study has investigated how many of these non-native species already exist worldwide and which species groups are particularly prone to become non-native.
Thu, 16 Nov 2023 14:09:43 EST

Reforms needed to expand prescribed burns

A new paper pinpoints obstacles and suggests strategies for getting more prescribed fire on the ground in the wildfire-prone U.S. West.
Thu, 16 Nov 2023 14:09:25 EST

No one-size-fits-all solution for the net-zero grid

As power generation from sources like solar and wind increases, along with the introduction of devices such as heat pumps and batteries, a new optimization tool will help the UK plan for a greener electricity network.   The researchers developed an algorithm to model how these smaller networks distributed electricity -- factoring in how local grids could become unbalanced by adding too many heat pumps in a single area or generating more electricity than the grid could accept.  
Thu, 16 Nov 2023 14:08:33 EST

Nuclear expansion failure shows simulations require change

A team of researchers looked back at a model that predicted nuclear power would expand dramatically in order to assess the efficacy of energy policies implemented today.
Thu, 16 Nov 2023 14:08:31 EST

Focus groups can work without a moderator, shows research

Focus groups that feed views, experiences and opinions into politics, business and research might yield more open interaction and discussion within groups by moving moderators to a separate room, shows new research.
Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:39:09 EST

The name game: CEOs with favorable surnames receive higher pay

Research from Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) shows that the 'favourability' of a CEO's surname plays a major role in determining their job security and can increase their total compensation by as much as 4.9%.
Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:34:56 EST

NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme may have global impact

As ten percent of the world's adult population is predicted to have diabetes by 2030, a major new study finds that the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has a positive effect on reducing risk of developing diabetes.
Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:33:57 EST

Roaming seabirds need ocean-wide protection

Seabirds roam far and wide in the Indian Ocean -- so they need ocean-wide protection, new research shows.
Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:33:45 EST

New process for screening old urine samples reveals previously undetected 'designer drugs'

Researchers have developed a more efficient way to find out which new 'designer drugs' are circulating in the community. In a new study, they showed how high-resolution mass spectrometry can be used to analyze urine samples at scale and uncover molecules from emerging designer drugs that have been missed by conventional testing. The approach can support public health and safety by enabling swift identification of new substances, potentially saving lives and guiding timely clinical responses to drug-related emergencies.
Wed, 15 Nov 2023 11:33:42 EST

US men die 6 years before women, as life expectancy gap widens

We've known for more than a century that women outlive men. But new research shows that, at least in the United States, the gap has been widening for more than a decade.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 21:56:50 EST

Shark fear: Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water...

It's one of the most famous taglines in film history, immortalizing sharks as ruthless predators. But beyond the horror generated by Spielberg's Jaws series, a persistent fear of sharks remains, with consequences that extend into reality.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 21:56:33 EST

High lung cancer rates in naval veterans linked to asbestos

A new study has discovered asbestos exposure led to a higher incidence of asbestos-related lung cancers in British and Australian naval personnel than in other armed forces.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 14:38:23 EST

Reducing 'vivid imagery' that fuels addiction cravings

New research shows promise in treating addiction cravings by combining eye movements and guided instructions to process memories. Researchers transformed dysfunctional memories stored in the brain through processing and integration. EMDR was as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy for cravings with the combination of both resulting in more reduction in craving than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone. Both groups (experimental group and control group using only CBT) had clinically significant reductions in cravings, repetitive negative thoughts, and irrational cognitions, with the experimental group showing greater decreases overall.  
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 14:37:28 EST

Peer educators play key role in new recipe development and testing

Cooking and recipe demonstrations encourage healthy eating and adoption of unfamiliar foods by class participants.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 14:37:03 EST

When languages collide, which survives?

Researchers incorporate language ideologies, along with the impact of interaction between individuals with opposing preferences, on the language shift process. The team chose a quantitative approach based on a society in which only one language with two varieties, the standard and the vernacular, existed. The resulting mathematical model can predict the conditions that allow for the coexistence of different languages, presenting a comprehensive view of how language varieties are distributed within societies.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 14:37:00 EST

How teachers would handle student violence against educators

For the first time, teachers in a nationwide study have told researchers what strategies they think work best to deal with student violence against educators. Teachers rated suspending or expelling students as the least effective way of addressing violence, despite the popularity of 'zero tolerance' policies in many school districts.
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 14:36:29 EST

A 'fish cartel' for Africa could benefit the countries, and their seas

Banding together to sell fishing rights could generate economic benefits for African countries, which receive far less from access to their fisheries on the global market than other countries do from theirs. By joining forces, researchers say African fisheries would not just secure more competitive access fees, they could also protect their seas' biodiversity.
Mon, 13 Nov 2023 15:51:22 EST

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