Climate change and human behavior

In the face of the many and significant challenges of a changing climate, how and why do humans act the way they do? Does it take a crisis for people to actually do something? And, when the crisis passes, does the action stop? Are human beings, collectively, doomed to failure due to inaction, denial, greed, corruption, and, the most challenging barrier, outright fear? Quick bibliography–articles…

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Symmetry breaking and Biology

“During the latter half of the twentieth century, spontaneous symmetry breaking became important in biology. All organisms start off as highly symmetric entities, such as a single spherically symmetric cell. As the organism grows, this highly symmetric state becomes unstable, owing either to internal stresses and strains, or to influences from the environment. Enter spontaneous symmetry breaking: the organism will move to one of a…

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Arabidopsis: model organism in Biology

Arabidopsis thaliana is a small, annual rosette plant. It belongs to the family of the Brassicaceae in the eudicotyledonous group of angiosperm vascular plants. This family also includes related oilseed crops, vegetables and spice plants–rapeseed, brussel sprouts, various cabbages, cauliflower, garden radish, and mustard. From: eLife 2015;4:e06100, “The Natural History of Model Organisms: Planting molecular functions in an ecological context with Arabidopsis thaliana“, Ute Krämer….

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Crowds: behavior, social change, movement, collective action, social media, context, identity

Humans often gather into large groups–crowds. As part of crowds, do we act and think differently than we would if we were isolated or in a smaller group? Do large crowds represent dangerous and unstable situations? Is there actually such a thing as “mob rule”? Or, do crowds actually bring about social change? What about virtual crowds? Social media creates large virtual gatherings of individuals….

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The psychological origins of prejudice, discrimination, and racism

Are people “hard-wired” to discriminate based on skin color, ethnicity, religion, place of origin, gender, sexual identity, etc.? Is it hereditary? Do we have no choice? Or, is it learned? As children, are we taught to discriminate by our parents, our greater family, in school, in church, by our friends? If we learn to be racist, can we learn not to be racist? If so,…

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The use of face masks/face shields to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases–are they effective?

How effective is wearing face masks and/or face shields in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases? Recommendations in the United States, at least, have varied often depending upon who issued them–politicians or medical professionals. Quick bibliography: What does the research say about the effectiveness of wearing face masks and/or face shields to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases? *Bhaskar ME, Arun S….

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