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For Republican men, environmental support hinges on partisan identity

Who proposes a bill matters more to Republican men than what it says—at least when it comes to the environment, a recent study found.

In an experiment with 800 adults, researchers used an article describing a hypothetical U.S. Senate bill about funding state programs to reduce water pollution to test partisan preferences, changing only the political affiliation of the proposal’s sponsors.

“While we know that Republicans have a lower level of support for environmental legislation than Democrats, when we take the exact same piece of legislation, if it’s Democrats sponsoring it, Republican support drops tremendously,” said lead author Azdren Coma, a Washington State University sociology doctoral candidate.

Democrats in the study who favored the proposal supported the no matter who proposed it and at higher levels than the Republican participants. Republicans’ support varied, however, dropping about 18% when it was described as being proposed by Senate Democrats as opposed to a group of Republican or bi-partisan senators.

When the researchers looked more closely at that change, they found the drop was primarily driven by gender: with support from Republican men decreasing an average of 24%. The findings were reported in The Sociological Quarterly.

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WSU Insider

Only 26% of Americans say they get at least eight hours of sleep

If you’re feeling — YAWN — sleepy or tired while you read this and wish you could get some more shut-eye, you’re not alone. A majority of Americans say they would feel better if they could have more sleep, according to a new poll.

But in the U.S., the ethos of grinding and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is ubiquitous, both in the country’s beginnings and our current environment of always-on technology and work hours. And getting enough sleep can seem like a dream.

One likely reason for Americans’ sleeplessness is cultural — a longstanding emphasis on industriousness and productivity.

Jennifer Sherman has seen that in action. In her research in rural American communities over the years, the sociology professor at Washington State University says a common theme among people she interviewed was the importance of having a solid work ethic. That applied not only to paid labor but unpaid labor as well, like making sure the house was clean.

A through line of American cultural mythology is the idea of being “individually responsible for creating our own destinies,” she said. “And that does suggest that if you’re wasting too much of your time … that you are responsible for your own failure.”

“The other side of the coin is a massive amount of disdain for people considered lazy,” she added.

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Associated Press
Yahoo! News
The Press Democrat
Daily Herald
Journal Courier

Testing AI to advance health equity

A sociologist at Washington State University will test how people at risk for lung cancer in a rural area of the state respond to AI-generated text messages encouraging them to visit a local clinic to be screened for the disease.

Two versions of messages will be sent to some 200 patients, one direct and one polite, said Anna Zamora-Kapoor, who’s leading the NIH-funded project that aims to advance health equity and researcher diversity.

Why it matters: The project aims to help rural clinics use the limited resources they have to reach out to a higher number of patients than they’ve been able to in the past.

It should also show which message would most effectively convince people to be screened for cancer.

Zamora-Kapoor’s project targets people between ages 50 and 80 with a history of smoking who would benefit from a low-dose CT scan to detect lung cancer as early as possible. But the insights from the project could also be useful for screening for other cancers, she said.

“We need to create structures to make sure that emerging and powerful tools like AI and machine learning are democratized,” she told Carmen. “Right now, if we just let the market decide who’s going to access these tools, they’re just going to benefit the rich, they’re just going to benefit urban areas and they’re just going to benefit the white majority that doesn’t have an accent,” she said.

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Future Pulse (

How our first jobs shape the rest of our lives

We all start somewhere. And our first jobs — no matter if you’re an ice cream scooper or an investment intern — leave lasting marks on us. First jobs teach us about ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

MPR News host Angela Davis talked with WSU sociologist Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson about how our first jobs shape our minds, habits and futures.

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Minnesota Public Radio News


Working to help make college accessible to all

Xóchitl López motivates students to attend college and works to make college more accessible to underserved communities, she says.

She is an organizer for the coalition Communities for Our Colleges in Central Washington, an advocacy group. She is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in sociology online at Washington State University after getting her associate degree from Yakima Valley College.

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Yakima Herald-Republic