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Popular Science

Lecturer Mikael Jakobsson, Rosa Colón Guerra (a resident at MIT’s Visiting Artists program), and graduate student Aziria Rodríguez Arce have created a new board game, called Promesa, that more accurately reflects the reality of Puerto Rico’s history and people, reports Maria Parazo Rose for Popular Science. “The game is based on the real-life PROMESA act, which was established by the US government in 2016 in response to the island’s debt crisis, putting American lawmakers in charge of the country’s finances,” explains Rose. “To win, you must settle Puerto Rico’s bills and build up the country’s infrastructure, education, and social services.” 

Voice of America

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with Voice of America: Straight Africa Talk host Haydé Adams about the “ghost of apartheid,” and the electoral future of South Africa.

New York Times

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was “perhaps the most transformational politician in Japan’s post-World War II history,” reports David E. Sanger for The New York Times. “We didn’t know what we were going to get when Abe came to [our] office with this hard nationalist reputation,” recalls Prof. Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies. “What we got was a pragmatic realistic who understood the limits of Japan’s power, and who knew it wasn’t going to be able to balance China’s rise on its own. So, he designed a new system.”

The Hill

Prof. Richard Samuels speaks with Hill reporter Tobias Burns about the legacy of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe “sought to shift the center of gravity in Japanese political culture away from the pacifism that characterized most of the early to mid post-war period to a place that was, in his view, more normal,” explains Samuels.

The Boston Globe

A forthcoming study by Prof. Erik Lin-Greenberg finds that the use of drones in the military could lower the risk of escalating an existing conflict, reports Kevin Lewis for The Boston Globe. Lin-Greenberg “presented members of the military with scenarios in which a US reconnaissance aircraft is shot down by a surface-to-air-missile from a hostile country,” writes Lewis. “The military decision-makers generally felt they had to escalate with force when the downed aircraft was manned, whereas that was generally not the case with a drone.”

Nature

In an editorial for Nature, Chancellor Melissa Nobles, Chad Womack of the UNCF, Prof. Ambroise Wonkam of Johns Hopkins University, and Elizabeth Wathuti of the Green Generation Initiative detail the long history of racism in science and outline their work as guest editors on a series of special issues of Nature focused on racism in science. “Racism has led to injustices against millions of people, through slavery and colonization, through apartheid and through continuing prejudice today,” write Nobles and her co-authors. 

USA Today

Based on data from the MIT Election Data and Science Lab and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have found that mortality rates are improving faster in Democratic counties than Republican ones, reports Adrianna Rodriguez for USA Today. “Democratic counties also saw greater reductions in deaths from chronic lower respiratory tract diseases, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, and kidney disease,” writes Rodriguez.

WCVB

Information from MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were used in a new study that found mortality rates in Democratic and Republican counties are growing further apart, reports WCVB. The study found “that mortality rates decreased more in Democratic counties than in Republican counties,” writes WCVB.

The Washington Post

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank spotlights postdoctoral research associate Brian Guay’s research examining why “Republicans share between 200 percent and 500 percent more fake news (fabrications published by sites masquerading as news outlets) than Democrats.” Guay explains that “the issue primarily seems to be a supply issue. There’s just way more fake news on the right than the left.”

The Washington Post

Writing for The Washington Post, Prof. Charles Stewart III provides evidence that hand counting paper ballots is less accurate than using ballot scanners to tabulate results. “Computers — which ballot scanners rely on — are very good at tedious, repetitive tasks,” writes Stewart. “Humans are bad at them. And counting votes is tedious and repetitive.”

Fast Company

A new report by researchers from the MIT Election Data and Science Lab “examines the federal government’s history of election spending—and suggests ways it could consider dispersing monies to help underfunded election administrators,” reports Talib Visram for Fast Company. “The federal government not being a full partner in the game, especially given its fiscal resources, contributes mightily to the underfunding of this area,” says Prof. Charles Stewart III.

NBC Boston

Carol R. Saivetz, a senior advisor for MIT’s Security Studies Program, speaks with NBC Boston about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The claims that this was all about NATO expansion are really false,” says Saivetz. “I think it’s much more about Putin’s imperial ambitions and this whole idea that unless he can put back together the Soviet Union that somehow Russia is not a great power.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Steven Simon of the MIT Center for International Studies and Jonathan Stevenson of the International Institute for Strategic Studies underscore the need for extensive analysis of the growing dangers to American democracy. “The overarching idea is, publicly and thoroughly, to probe just how bad things could get precisely to ensure that they never do,” they write, “and that America’s abject political decay is averted.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Kevin Lewis spotlights how MIT researchers surveyed thousands of Democrats and Republicans to rate the reliability of nonpolitical news headlines. “People genuinely believe that opposing partisans are more gullible, even when that stereotype is costly to them,” writes Lewis. “On the other hand, that stereotype can be corrected with evidence.”

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Shoshana Wodinsky spotlights a new study by MIT researchers that finds videos are not likely to sway public political opinion more than their textual counterparts. “It’s possible that as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, video captures your attention more than text would,” says Prof. David Rand. “You might be more likely to look at it. This doesn’t mean that the video is inherently more persuasive than text – just that it has the potential to reach a wider audience.”