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Author: The Conversation

Proliferation of fake photos drives social media hoaxes and spurs polarizing misinformation

By Hany Farid, Professor of Computer Science, Dartmouth College Advances in artificial intelligence have made it easier to create compelling and sophisticated fake images, videos and audio recordings. One month before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an “Access Hollywood” recording of Donald Trump was released in which he was heard lewdly talking about women. The then-candidate and his campaign apologized and dismissed the remarks as harmless. At the time, the authenticity of the recording was never questioned. Just two years later, the public finds itself in a dramatically different landscape in terms of believing what it sees and hears....

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Suicide Contagion: The emotional disease youth face while coping with our devastating culture

By Anna Mueller and Seth Abrutyn Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Memphis Over the past two weeks, two students who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have died by suicide, amplifying the tragedy that community has experienced. In recent years, research has shown that suicide has the potential to spread through social networks like a contagion. If someone is exposed to the suicide attempt or death of a friend, it increases that person’s risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts. The consequences can...

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Violent Transnationalism: White Supremacy is America’s newest global export

By Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe. Despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion that white nationalist terrorism is not a major problem, recent data from the United Nations, University of Chicago and other sources show the opposite. As more people embrace a xenophobic and anti-immigrant worldview, it is fueling hostility and violence toward those deemed “outsiders” – whether because of their religion, skin color or national origin....

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Study finds Millennials are financially conservative but the generation still has $1 trillion of debt

By Jimmie Lenz, Adjunct Professor of Finance, University of South Carolina New findings from the New York Federal Reserve reveal that millennials have now racked up over US$1 trillion of debt. This troubling amount of debt, an increase of over 22 percent in just five years, is more than any other generation in history. This situation may leave you wondering how millennials ended up in such a sorry state. As important as the debt is how millennials’ economic choices vary from the expectations. Millennials are much more conservative than the debt balances may indicate. In fact, in comparison to...

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College admission scandal reveals a fundamental “crisis” in American society

By Rick Eckstein, Professor of Sociology, Villanova University As part of the “Operation Varsity Blues” case that federal prosecutors announced on March 12, dozens of people – including Hollywood actresses and wealthy businessmen – stand accused of having bought their children’s way into elite colleges and universities. As a researcher who has studied how young athletes get admitted to college, I don’t see a major difference between this admission fraud case and how many wealthy families can buy their children’s way into elite colleges through “back” and “side” doors. In my research, I show how most intercollegiate sports are...

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Veterans concerned about climate change could use political clout to shape federal policies

By Matthew Motta Postdoctoral Fellow in the Science of Science Communication at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania News that the Trump administration plans to create a panel devoted to challenging government warnings about climate change has been met with opposition from members of the U.S. military. Citing concerns about the effects of climate change on national security, more than four dozen top-ranking military officials came out in opposition to the Trump administration’s plan. Military concern about the effects of climate change on national security is not new. Months before former Secretary James Mattis left the Defense...

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