Best of 2011: Weed Is Not a Gateway Drug, Politics and Religion Are Key in Choosing Mates, and More Random Stories of 2011

Brief History Of the Modern Middle East


People talk about the violence in the Middle East and really have no clue about the actual history of this violence. Well taking the time to look around the web and I found several informative posts. So I compiled them together to give you an understanding of the last one hundred years of violence in the region.

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Elyse Mc.D. sent in this graphic based on data from the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality that summarizes a number of aspects of inequality.

*click to make bigger*

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Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled on Friday that marijuana has “no accepted medical use” and should therefore remain illegal under federal law — regardless of conflicting state legislation allowing medical marijuana and despite hundreds of studies and centuries of medical practice attesting to the drug’s benefits.

The judgment came in response to a 2002 petition by supporters of medical marijuana, which called on the government to reclassify cannabis, which is currently a Schedule I drug — like heroin, illegal for all uses — and to place it in Schedule III, IV or V, which would allow for common medical uses.

The DEA ruled that marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” has a “high potential for abuse,” and “lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE


What Makes People Choose A Mate? God and Politics

Researchers from Rice University and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln analyzed data collected from more than 5,000 couples in order to find out how similar political beliefs were among spouses. In their preface to the study, called “The Politics of Mate Choice,” they explain that the notion of opposites attracting does not often turn out, scientifically, to be the case:”Spouses resemble each other on traits ranging from physical characteristics (height, weight, skin color, neck circumference, and ear lobe size) to life situations such as educational attainment, income, age, occupation type, and general socioeconomic status, and to mental and social traits such as personality, intelligence, and attitudes.”

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE


Should Being Beautiful — or Ugly — Pay Off?

Beauty, or lack thereof, seems to be the topic of the week.

Sunday’s New York Times started it off, with an op-ed arguing that ugly people should be protected under the law like other minority groups. Sociologist Catherine Hakim disagreed, contending (and promoting her new book Erotic Capital) that discrimination is a part of life and that women should use their looks to get ahead. Too bad for those of us who aren’t gorgeous.

Then, controversy erupted over a girls’ T-shirt being sold on J.C. Penney’s website. The T-shirt, which was printed with the message “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me,” was immediately criticized by consumers for being sexist, and the store pulled it from the site.

It appears that the idea that beauty — or ugliness — should pay off doesn’t itself seem to be attractive to many.

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Ten Professions For Blacks Seeking Greater Opportunities

African-Americans have been working hard from the first days our ancestors saw these shores, yet we have yet to reach full representation in many of our nation’s leading industries. Forty years after the civil rights movement, our level of representation in many fields lags severely behind our percentage of the general population. The good news is that more leaders in these fields are taking diversity seriously, which can be a boon for blacks in the coming decades. Industry watch dogs, political organizations and professional groups are pressuring hiring managers to step up minority recruitment and retention efforts.

Black have been underrepresented in the following fields for years, but now there is an emphasis on rectifying the problem. The top ten careers in which African-Americans are underrepresented ironically point the way out of limiting employment scenarios onto new paths:

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Infographic: The Opportunity Gap

GOOD, infographic, opportunity gap, Hyperakt, higher education

The opportunity gap disproportionately impacts students of color who come from low-income backgrounds. The demographic inequalities black and Hispanic students in the United States face in comparison to their white peers put them at a disadvantage before they even enter school. When combined with the educational disparities known as the achievement gap, students of color often have to overcome more challenges to have an equal chance at life’s opportunities.


Study: For Women, Skinnier Figures Can Equal Fatter Paychecks

Ladies, are you feeling bad about those extra five pounds? This might just make you feel worse. (Sorry!)

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, women who are “very thin” earn nearly $22,000 more than their “average weight counterparts.” The study was conducted by Timothy A. Judge from the University of Florida and Daniel M. Cable, from the London Business School, who examined the relationship between income and weight in men and women.

And not only are women earning less if they are of average weight, they are actually punished if they are overweight; Forbes reports that “‘Heavy’ and ‘Very Heavy’ women lost over $9,000 and almost $19,000, respectively, than their average weight counterparts.”

Sadly (but not surprisingly), gaining weight seems to have a harsher impact on women’s income than it does on men’s. The study showed that when men gain weight, their paychecks don’t suffer the same way women’s do. And of course, you can’t forget that men were likely already earning more to begin with. So ladies, even if you’ve worked to close that gender wage gap, there’s also now the gender and weight wage gap. We wish we could make some snarky jokes about this, but frankly, we’re just too depressed at the moment.

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE


Americans estimate our wealth distribution and fail. horribly.

Giving Credit Where It Is Due

This graphic was created by Andrew Price for GOOD Magazine, inspired by a paper written by Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Daniel Norton (Harvard Business School) entitled “Building a Better America – One Wealth Quintile at a Time”.

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE



Sara P. let us know about a map at National Geographic that shows the distribution of surnames in the U.S.

The names are color coded by region of origin of the name:

A note on methodology: geographers looked at the most common by counting the most common last names in phone books and selecting the most common names in each state. This hides significant diversity in names in large cities that may have had a greater mix of immigrant groups that the state overall; for instance, a map of the most common names just in New York City might look quite a bit different than the most common names in New York state.

Nonetheless, the concentration of last names serves as an echo of immigration and settlement patterns. British-origin names tend to dominate across the U.S., unsurprisingly, particularly Smith, Johnson, and Williams. Because slaves were often given the last names of their owners, a significant proportion of individuals with British last names are African American — for instance, African Americans are about 20% of people named Smith.

Several Irish-origin names stand out in Massachusetts, as well as some French surnames in Maine:

For the rest of the story CLICK HERE


Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses The Big Bang…

Social Networks And You…The Nitty Gritty From Pew Research

New Facts About Families/Muslim Population/Internet Trends



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