Algorithms: what are they? What can they do?

At its most basic, an algorithm is a procedure to solve a problem. A computer program can be a procedure to solve a problem expressed in a computer language. On many social media and digital commerce sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and on and on), algorithms control how users experience the sites–what they see, the options they are offered, who they communicate…

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Drinking alcohol and the risk of cancer: what do Americans believe?

Can drinking alcoholic beverages cause or increase the risk of developing cancer? Yes. But do Americans believe that? An update to the Drinking alcohol: how much is too much? bibliography; for the most current version of the bibliography, see — https://sciencebibliographies.strategian.com/drinking-alcohol-how-much-is-too-much-2/. Featured article (this article has been added to the Science Primary Literature database): *Kiviniemi, M. T., Orom, H., Hay, J. L., & Waters, E….

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Online extremism: the dangers and the psychology

**for the most current version of this bibliography, see — https://sciencebibliographies.strategian.com/online-extremism-the-dangers-and-the-psychology/ Online extremism–through social media and other channels–is real and is very dangerous. The events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the United States show that plainly. We must all be better, more critical users of social media–if you choose to use social media. The overriding motivation of Facebook, Twitter, Google,…

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Corruption and power: the connection

Was Lord Acton right? “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Or, is it more as John Steinbeck described “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power”? Is there a connection between having power (in politics, government, business, etc.) and becoming or being corrupt? There seem to be examples all around us and, yet, we also see…

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Updated: Narcissism and social media–the connection

Since the early days of social media, researchers have looked at the relationship between narcissism and social media use.  Narcissism is a personality type “marked by a grandiose sense of self-importance, low communion with others, and feelings of entitlement.”  People with extreme forms of narcissism may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) which is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiose behaviors, excessive need…

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Updated: 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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