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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.” 

CNBC

Prof. Joshua Angrist speaks with CNBC about how his research on schooling and education has helped shaped government policy. “We don’t make specific policy recommendations, but we do encourage policy makers to look at the evidence,” says Angrist. “Whenever there is something on the public docket that is related to education policy, we always encourage both voters and politicians to look at the evidence.”

New York Times

Prof. Daron Acemoglu notes that “the decline in popular support for democracy is greater in the United States than elsewhere, especially among the young,” reports Thomas B. Edsall for The New York Times. Acemoglu explains that “one way to address the discontent with contemporary democracy among so many voters on the right would be to implement traditional center-left economic policies, including many supported by the Biden administration,” writes Edsall.

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, President L. Rafael Reif and Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO & co-founder of Blackstone, praise the new “CHIPS and Science Act” and highlight the need for further action on the ‘Science’ part of the law. “We urge Congress to capitalize on this bipartisan momentum and appropriate the funds that the bill authorizes,” they write. The nation's "future competitiveness, prosperity and security all rely on technological leadership. To sustain its strength in the long term, the U.S. needs to invent and manufacture the next new technologies.”

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

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.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock and University of Michigan Prof. Kira Thurman explore how the idea that performing or listening to classical music is an apolitical act flourished in the wake of World War II due to the process of denazification. “In moments of war and violence, it can be tempting to either downplay classical music’s involvement in global events or emphasize music’s power only when it is used as a force for what a given observer perceives as good,” they write.

The New Yorker

Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock speaks with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker about how some Western institutions have cancelled performances by Russian artists following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Some of the discussion of these issues has fallen into some old patterns of thinking that we as musicologists are alert to,” says Pollock, “and want to warn against, which includes reacting to these kinds of bans by insisting that music is apolitical, or that there’s something fundamentally and inherently apolitical about music, which is a really problematic and untrue statement, and a knee-jerk response.”

New York Times

Prof. David Autor, Harvard University Prof. Gordon Hanson, University of Zurich Prof. David Dorn, and Monsah University Prof. Kaveh Majlesi have described an “ideological realignment in trade-exposed local labor markets that commences prior to the divisive 2016 U.S. presidential election,” reports Thomas B. Edsall for The New York Times.

Bloomberg

Prof. David Rand and Prof. Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina in Canada found that people improved the accuracy of their social media posts when asked to rate the accuracy of the headline first, reports Faye Flam for Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily that [users] don’t care about accuracy. But instead, it’s that the social media context just distracts them, and they forget to think about whether it’s accurate or not before they decide to share it,” says Rand.

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.”

GBH

GBH’s Basic Black host Callie Crossley speaks with Lecturer Malia Lazu,about how issues surrounding Covid-19, voting rights, economic downturn, police brutality, education, climate change and politics will impact communities of color in the coming year. “What I see is a democracy fighting itself,” says Lazu. "People in power, republicans or democrats, being bought into the idea of democracy more than the people in the democracy.”

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.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Shawn Donnan spotlights Prof. David Autor’s series of research papers examining the impact of the surge of Chinese imports on the overall American economy and specific regions of the country. Autor and his colleagues make the case that “well-funded, targeted government policies could have helped prevent the economic blight that engulfed many affected communities.”