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Faster postal service linked to better voter turnout

A more efficient U.S. Postal Service can increase voter turnout in all states regardless of their mail voting laws, according to a Washington State University study.

Michael Ritter.
Ritter

WSU researcher Michael Ritter analyzed election data from 2012 through 2020, when the pandemic encouraged many more people than usual to vote by mail. He found that in general more accessible mail voting laws, such as universal mail-in voting and no-excuse mail voting, increased the probability that individuals would vote. Restrictive laws, such as requiring a witness’s signature or identification for mail-in ballots, had a negative effect.

Faster postal service helped increase the likelihood of voting especially in those restrictive states—raising the probability individuals would vote by 3.42%.

“Across the board, this study shows that having better postal administration makes it more likely there will be more positive outcomes linked to all mail voting laws,” said Ritter, lead author of the study published in the Election Law Journal. “But in states that have the most restrictive mail voting laws, having better postal administration makes a huge difference—it may not seem huge, but for individuals who sometimes are on the fence about voting by mail or not voting at all, it can tip the balance.”

Read more:
MSN.com
Phys.org
Futurity
Postal Times
StudyFinds.org
KHQ-TV

Pandemic led to surge in multigenerational homes

Grandparents served as a safety net for grandkids when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with unexpected numbers of elders moving in or opening homes to an additional 460,000 U.S. children, said a Washington State University researcher.

A study found such multigenerational households comprised a majority in a 2020 surge of nearly 510,000 children in all pandemic-era “doubled-up” residences. That meant kids and at least one parent lived with another adult – grandparent, aunt, cousin or roommate. The study didn’t count a parent’s partner or an adult sibling.

Mariana Amorim.
Amorim

Mariana Amorim, a WSU sociology assistant professor and lead author, said mainly grandparents provided a safety net for families, particularly for six months beginning in spring 2020, when schools and other systems closed.

However, the spike in such living arrangements from 2019 to 2020 was temporary and returned to expected levels in 2021. The research compared such yearly co-residency patterns by using survey data collected by the U.S. Census.

Read more:
The Spokesman-Review
The Chronicle
The Columbian
KOMO-TV
KEPR-TV

 

 

Wildfire season is lasting longer, burning different

The number of acres burned so far in Washington’s wildfire season this year is on trend with what ecologists predicted. But the damage has been catastrophic, and it could be weeks before fire danger subsides. Dryer, hotter summers and changes to the state’s vegetation mean the fire season spans longer than it once did.

Mark Swanson.
Swanson

In the 20th century, fire suppression and exclusion in the American West by European colonizers prevented a lot of fires that would have otherwise naturally occurred.

“If you look at historic averages in the West, we don’t match the acreage of fire that would touch the West precolonization,” said Mark Swanson, a fire ecology professor at Washington State University.

Nowadays, where fires ignite, they tend to burn in ecosystems where fire was excluded for much of the 20th century. A buildup of grown vegetation as a result means those fires will likely burn at a higher intensity and severity — intensity being heat release and severity being what the flames do to the vegetation.

“We deliberately excluded fire, or suppressed it, for much of the 20th century in the West in the belief that fire was bad,” Swanson said. “The irony is that it allowed fuel to accumulate.”

Read more:
Seattle Times
The Spokesman-Review
FireRescue1.com
The Daily News

Check your selfie before you wreck your selfie

That cool selfie you just posted on social media might not be getting the flattering reaction you’re expecting — and may in fact have the opposite effect, new research from Washington State University suggests.

Scientists there used hundreds of actual Instagram users to see if those who take selfies cause others to make “snap judgments about the user’s personality.”

Professor Chris Barry displays a selfie (left) and a posie (right) on two phones. Photo illustration by Bob Hubner/WSU.

“Their work shows that individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likable, less successful, more insecure and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else,” writes Will Ferguson with WSU News. “Basically, selfie versus posie.”

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality by Washington State University psychologists.

The lead author of the study, WSU professor of psychology Chris Barry, says that even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive.

“It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media,” Barry said.

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KOMOnews.com
MSN.com (withBuzz60 video)
PetaPixel
KTVB.com
nieuwsblad.be (Belgium)
WSU Insider
KPNX-PHX (NBC) – click to view
KWTX-WAC (CBS) – click to view
KSDK-STL (NBC) – Aug 22, 2019
KOTV (CBS) – click to view
FM News 101 KXL – click to view
MDedge – click to view
SheThePeople – click to view
Online Articles (India)

Medicine news line – click to view

ScienceDaily – click to view

Breitbart – click to view

Andhravilas – click to view

– click to view

UPI.com – click to view

Social News XYZ – click to view

NewsGram – click to view
Science Codex
Kansas City Live

Neatorama – click to view

KXLJ – click to view

KTVA (CBS) – click to view

Note: Many more outlets published about this research than could be listed here.

A dose of fact

The history of cannabis is full of myths and hype, and that’s never been more true than the present moment as medical science tries to catch up with capitalism.

Rebecca Craft.
Rebecca Craft

Medical marijuana is now legal in 22 states, while recreational use is legal in 11. A tide of claims about the plant’s healing powers has accompanied its rise in acceptance. If you believed the pervasive advertising, you might think THC and CBD are miracle cure-alls for anything that ails you.

The truth is, there are very few scientific studies to substantiate claims at this time, said Rebecca Craft, one of dozens of researchers at Washington State University studying cannabis.

On Tuesday, Craft will share what is known in the talk “Marijuana: Evil Weed or Medical Miracle” at Basalt Cellars in Clarkston as part of the Wine and Wisdom series organized by the Asotin County Library.

Because of cannabis’ federally regulated status, it has been difficult for scientists to do controlled testing on humans, Craft said. Instead, most of the testing has been done on animals and extrapolated to humans.

“Unfortunately, right now the list of what we don’t know is considerably longer than the list of what we do know,” said Craft, who has spoken around the state as part of Humanities Washington programs. In a preview to Tuesday’s discussion, the professor shared some facts with Inland 360.

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Lewiston Tribune