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Slate

Graduate student Crystal Lee speaks with Slate reporter Rebecca Onion about a new study that illustrates how social media users have used data visualizations to argue against public health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The biggest point of diversion is the focus on different metrics—on deaths, rather than cases,” says Lee. “They focus on a very small slice of the data. And even then, they contest metrics in ways I think are fundamentally misleading.”

Fox News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that political beliefs can help bring people together on social media networks, reports Brooke Crothers for Fox News. On both sides, users were roughly three times more likely to form social ties with strangers who identify with the same party, compared to "counter-partisans.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Frederick Daso writes about a new MIT startup called Alba that is aimed at helping families in Latin America find qualified caregivers for children and the elderly. Daso explains that leveraging the “social networks of both the family and the prospective babysitter allows Alba to provide a babysitter for any parent.”

Inside Higher Ed

In his book The Longevity Economy, MIT AgeLab director Joseph Coughlin notes that on the rare occasion that aging is discussed, views of the elderly are mostly wrong. “The main point that Coughlin is making,” writes Joshua Kim for Inside Higher Ed, is that, “[r]ather than years of decline, life after 65 (or 75 or even 85) can be full of possibility, exploration, and learning.”

Today Show

Dr. Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, speaks with Today Show reporter A. Pawlowski about his new book and why females are uniquely positioned to handle life after middle age. “One of the greatest under-appreciated sources of innovation and new business may in fact be women over 50,” says Coughlin. 

The Atlantic

In an article for The Atlantic, Joe Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes that tech companies often mistakenly view older adults “as a singular, homogenous population that depends on the largesse of others to survive because it can’t pro­vide for itself.” If companies treated older adults like they treat other consumers, they could live not only longer lives, but better lives, suggests Coughlin.    

Salon

Salon’s Heather Digby Parton highlights research from Prof. Ethan Zuckerman regarding the effects of online media on the last election. The study found that clickbait news sites “received amplification and legitimation through an attention backbone that tied the most extreme conspiracy sites.”

New York Times

A new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that running can be socially contagious, reports Gretchen Reynolds for The New York Times. Prof. Sinan Aral explains that the study showed, “In general, if you run more, it is likely that you can cause your friends to run more.”

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Amina Khan writes that a study by MIT researchers shows that exercise can be contagious. The researchers found that a “runner’s peers did influence him or her to run more — but they also discovered that not all users influenced their buddies equally. Individuals were more likely to be prodded to up their game by less-active peers.”

Salon

Graduate students Mohammad Ghassemi and Tuka Al Hanai write for Salon about an app they developed aimed at connecting people from different backgrounds. Ghassemi and Al Hanai note that about a third of the app’s users “report having made a lasting friend, someone they keep in touch with regularly.” 

BBC News

Tim Bowler reports for the BBC News that a new study by MIT researchers finds that workplace chatter can increase productivity. The researchers found that “those who interacted most with their co-workers had the highest productivity - whether or not they were talking about work or sport.”

Guardian

An article co-written by Prof. Carlo Ratti for The Guardian describes how the internet has changed people’s attitudes towards consumption. “The internet has heightened the prestige of sharing by turning it into a communicable experience,” Ratti notes. 

HuffPost

A new book by Prof. Carlo Ratti and graduate student Matthew Claudel focuses on the impact technology has on cities, writes Kate Abbey-Lambertz for The Huffington Post. “Ratti and Claudel envision a potential future where new technology ― from individualized heating grids to neighborhood 3D-printing fabrication studios ― ‘weaves into a tapestry of citizen empowerment’.”

NPR

Prof. Alex “Sandy” Pentland speaks with Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s On Point, about his study examining friendship. “If you’re trying to lose weight…50 percent of the time you are likely to reach out to people who really actually aren’t going to help that much,” Pentland explains, adding that people should be looking to mutual friendships for support. 

The New Yorker

In an article for The New Yorker, Frank Rose features “The City of Tomorrow”, a new book by Prof. Carlo Ratti and graduate student Matthew Claudel. Rose writes that the city Claudel and Ratti envision is “a hybrid of the digital and the physical, a ‘triumph of atoms and bits’ that yields a sort of augmented urban reality.”