Dogs can recognize a bad person and there’s science to prove it

Science confirms that dogs can recognize a bad person.

human behavior, dogs, sniffing the truth, experiment

Dogs can smell fear, but can they sniff out the truth? Your dog might actually be smarter than you're giving it credit for.

It turns out, dogs are pretty good at picking up on human behavior. Science says so. A team led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan conducted a study which found out that dogs actually know if you're to be believed or not.

The study involved tricking dogs in the name of science. Humans have known for a long time that if you point at an object, a dog will run to it. Researchers utilized this information in their study. During the experiment, they pointed at a container that was filled with hidden food. Sure enough, the dog ran towards the container. Then, they pointed at a container that was empty. The dogs ran towards it, but found that it had no food.

Photo by Toshi on Unsplash

This doggo has some concerns.

The third time the researchers pointed at a container with food, the dogs refused to go to the container. They knew the person pointing wasn't reliable based off their previous experience. 34 dogs were used in the experiment, and every single dog wouldn't go towards the container the third time. This experiment either proves that dogs can spot a liar or that dogs have major trust issues.

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

Ready to eat.

In other words, if you lie to your dog, your dog forms the opinion that your word isn't good and will behave accordingly. "Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligence evolved selectively in their long life history with humans," said Takaoka, who was also surprised that dogs were quick when they “devalued the reliability of a human."

John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol in the UK, who wasn't involved in this study, says that the results indicate that dogs prefer predictability. When gestures are inconsistent, dogs tend to become nervous and stressed.

The researchers have plans to repeat the experiment swapping out the dogs with wolves because wolves are closely related to dogs. The point of this isn't to get bitten by wolves, but rather, to see the "profound effects of domestication" on dogs.

This article originally appeared on 06.06.19


14 images of badass women who destroyed stereotypes and inspired future generations

These trailblazers redefined what a woman could be.

Throughout history, women have stood up and fought to break down barriers imposed on them from stereotypes and societal expectations. The trailblazers in these photos made history and redefined what a woman could be. In doing so, they paved the way for future generations to stand up and continue to fight for equality.

This article originally appeared on December 14, 2016.


Why mass shootings spawn conspiracy theories

Mass shootings and conspiracy theories have a long history.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill/The Conversation

Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

While conspiracy theories are not limited to any topic, there is one type of event that seems particularly likely to spark them: mass shootings, typically defined as attacks in which a shooter kills at least four other people.

When one person kills many others in a single incident, particularly when it seems random, people naturally seek out answers for why the tragedy happened. After all, if a mass shooting is random, anyone can be a target.

Pointing to some nefarious plan by a powerful group – such as the government – can be more comforting than the idea that the attack was the result of a disturbed or mentally ill individual who obtained a firearm legally.

In the United States, where some significant portion of the public believes that the government is out to take their guns, the idea that a mass shooting was orchestrated by the government in an attempt to make guns look bad may be appealing both psychologically and ideologically.

Our studies of mass shootings and conspiracy theories help to shed some light on why these events seem particularly prone to the development of such theories and what the media can do to limit the ideas' spread.

Back to the 1990s

Mass shootings and conspiracy theories have a long history. As far back as the mid-1990s, amid a spate of school shootings, Cutting Edge Ministries, a Christian fundamentalist website, found a supposed connection between the attacks and then-President Bill Clinton.

The group's website claimed that when lines were drawn between groups of school-shooting locations across the U.S., they crossed in Hope, Arkansas, Clinton's hometown. The Cutting Edge Ministries concluded from this map that the "shootings were planned events, with the purpose of convincing enough Americans that guns are an evil that needs to be dealt with severely, thus allowing the Federal Government to achieve its Illuminist goal of seizing all weapons."

Beliefs persist today that mass shootings are staged events, complete with "crisis actors," people who are paid to pretend to be victims of a crime or disaster, all as part of a conspiracy by the government to take away people's guns. The idea has been linked to such tragedies as the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the Sandy Hook Elementary attack that resulted in the deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

These beliefs can become widespread when peddled by prominent people. U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been in the news recently because of her belief that the Parkland shooting was a "false flag," an event that was disguised to look like another group was responsible. It's not clear, though, in this instance who Rep. Greene felt was really to blame.

Conservative personality Alex Jones recently failed to persuade the Texas Supreme Court to dismiss defamation and injury lawsuits against him by parents of children who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. Jones has, for years, claimed that the Sandy Hook massacre didn't happen, saying "the whole thing was fake," and alleging it happened at the behest of gun-control groups and complicit media outlets.

After the country's deadliest mass shooting to date, with 59 dead and hundreds injured in Las Vegas in 2017, the pattern continued: A conspiracy theory arose that there were multiple shooters, and the notion that the shooting was really done for some other purpose than mass murder.

Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Making sense of the senseless

These conspiracy theories are all attempts to make sense of incomprehensibly terrifying events. If a lone shooter, with no clear motive, can singlehandedly take the lives of 60 individuals, while injuring hundreds more, then is anyone really safe?

Conspiracy theories are a way of understanding information. Historian Richard Hofstadter has indicated they can provide motives for events that defy explanation. Mass shootings, then, create an opportunity for people to believe there are larger forces at play, or an ultimate cause that explains the event.

For instance, an idea that a shooter was driven mad by antipsychoticdrugs, distributed by the pharmaceutical industry, can provide comfort as opposed to the thought that anyone can be a victim or perpetrator.

Polls have shown that people worry a lot about mass shootings, and more than 30% of Americans said in 2019 that they refused to go particular places such as public events or the mall for fear of being shot.

If the shootings are staged, or the results of an enormous, unknowable or mysterious effort, then they at least becomes somewhat comprehensible. That thought process satisfies the search for a reason that can help people feel more comfort and security in a complex and uncertain world – especially when the reason found either removes the threat or makes it somehow less random.

Some people blame mass shootings on other factors like mental illness that make gun violence an individual issue, not a societal one, or say these events are somehow explained by outside forces. These ideas may seem implausible to most, but they do what conspiracy theories are intended to do: provide people with a sense of knowing and control.

Conspiracy theories have consequences

Conspiracy theories can spark real-world threats – including the QAnon-inspired attack on a pizza restaurant in 2016 and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

They also misdirect blame and distract from efforts to better understand tragedies such as mass shootings. High-quality scholarship could investigate how to better protect public places. But robust debates about how to reduce events such as mass shootings will be less effective if some significant portion of the public believes they are manufactured.

Some journalists and news organizations have already started taking steps to identify and warn audiences against conspiracy theories. Open access to reputable news sources on COVID-19, for example, has helped manage the misinformation of coronavirus conspiracies.

Explicit and clear evaluation of evidence and sources – in headlines and TV subtitles – have helped keep news consumers alert. And pop-up prompts from Twitter and Facebook encourage users to read articles before reposting.

These steps can work, as shown by the substantial drop in misinformation on Twitter following former President Donald Trump's removal from the platform.

Mass shootings may be good fodder for conspiracy theories, but that does not mean people should actually consume such ideas without necessary context or disclaimers.

Michael Rocque is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Bates College.

Stephanie Kelley-Romano is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies at Bates College

This article first appeared on The Conversation on 02.20.21.. You can read it here.

Between the bras, makeup, periods, catcalling, sexism, impossible-to-attain beauty standards, and heels, most men wouldn't survive being a woman for a day without having a complete mental breakdown. So here's a slideshow of some of the funniest Tumblr posts about the everyday struggles that women face that men would never understand.

All photos courtesy of Tumblr.

This article originally appeared on 01.09.16


Cancel all coal projects to have 'fighting chance' against climate crisis, says UN Chief

"Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with the 1.5 degree goal."

Photo from Pixabay.
A coal power plant.

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams on 3.3.21. You can read it here.

Emphasizing that the world still has a "fighting chance" to limit global warming with immediate and ambitious climate action, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday urged governments and the private sector to cancel all planned coal projects, cease financing for coal-fired power plants, and opt instead to support a just transition by investing in renewable energy.

"Once upon a time, coal brought cheap electricity to entire regions and vital jobs to communities," Guterres said in a video message at the virtual meeting of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. "Those days are gone."

"Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with the 1.5 degree goal," Guterres continued, referring to the policy objective of preventing planetary temperatures from rising more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. "Global coal use in electricity generation must fall by 80% below 2010 levels by 2030," he added.

Meeting the 1.5 °C climate target over the course of this decade is possible, according to Guterres, but will require eliminating "the dirtiest, most polluting and, yes, more and more costly fossil fuel from our power sectors."


In his address, the U.N. chief outlined three steps that must be taken by public authorities as well as companies to "end the deadly addiction to coal."

  • Cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline;
  • End the international financing of coal plants and shift investment to renewable energy projects; and
  • Jump-start a global effort to finally organize a just transition.

Guterres called on the 37 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—a group of relatively rich countries with a greater historical responsibility for extracting fossil fuels and emitting the greenhouse gasses that are causing deadly pollution and destroying the climate—to "commit to phasing out coal" by 2030, while urging non-OECD countries to do so by 2040.

Pleading for an end to the global bankrolling of coal projects and a move toward supporting developing countries in transitioning to clean energy, Guterres asked "all multilateral and public banks—as well as investors in commercial banks or pension funds—to shift their investments now in the new economy of renewable energy."

While stressing that "the transition from coal to renewable[s] will result in the net creation of millions of jobs by 2030," Guterres acknowledged that "the impact on regional and local levels will be varied."

"We have a collective and urgent responsibility to address the serious challenges that come with the speed and scale of the transition," he continued. "The needs of coal communities must be recognized, and concrete solutions must be provided at a very local level."

The U.N. chief urged "all countries to embrace the International Labor Organization's guidelines for a just transition and adopt them as minimum standard to ensure progress on decent work for all."

The coronavirus pandemic, Guterres noted, has "accelerated" the decline in "coal's economic viability," while recovery plans provide an opportunity to bring about a green transformation of the world's infrastructure.

In many parts of the world, a just transition dovetails with guaranteeing universal access to energy, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and special representative of the secretary-general for Sustainable Energy for All.

Ogunbiyi told conference attendees that almost 800 million people worldwide still lack access to basic electricity, while 2.8 billion are without clean cooking fuels.

"Right now, we're at a crossroads where people do want to recover better, but they are looking for the best opportunities to do that," she said. "And we're emphasizing investments in sustainable energy to spur economic development, create new jobs, and give opportunities to fulfill the full potential."


Satanists put up a billboard in Florida promoting state's abortion law loophole

Another surprising act of public service from the Satanic Temple.

via The Satanic Temple / Twitter

Unexpected acts of public service.

This article originally appeared on 12.30.20.

In some states, women are put through humiliating and dangerous pre-abortion medical consultations and waiting periods before being allowed to undergo the procedure. In four states, women are even forced to bury or cremate the fetal remains after the procedure.

These government-mandated roadblocks and punitive shaming serve no purpose but to make it more difficult, emotionally damaging, and expensive for women to have an abortion.

Eighteen states currently have laws that force women to delay their abortions unnecessarily: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In a number of other states, mandatory-delay laws have been enacted but are enjoined or otherwise unenforced.

To help women get around these burdensome regulations, The Satanic Temple is promoting a religious ritual it believes provides an exemption from restrictions. According to the Temple, the ritual is supported by the federal Religious Freedoms Restoration Act.

GIF from

Pentagram GIF

The Temple is a religious organization that claims it doesn't believe "in the existence of Satan or the supernatural" but that "religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition."

The Temple says its exemption is made possible by a precedent set by the Supreme Court's 2014 Hobby Lobby decision. According to the Temple, it prevents the government from putting a "burden on free exercise of religion without a compelling reason."

Ironically, Hobby Lobby's case claimed that providing insurance coverage for birth control conflicted with the employer's Christian faith. The Satanic Temple argues that unnecessary roadblocks to abortion conflict with theirs.

via The Satanic Temple

Religious freedoms.

The Temple is promoting the ritual on I-95 billboards in Florida where women must endure an ultrasound and go through pre-procedure, anti-choice counseling before having an abortion.

The Temple's billboards inform women that they can circumvent the restrictions by simply citing a Satanic ritual.

"Susan, you're telling me I do not have to endure a waiting period when I have an abortion?" one of the women on the billboard says.

"That's true if you're a SATANIST!" the other replies.

Next to the ladies is a symbol of a goat head in a pentagram and a message about the ritual.

via The Satanic Temple

Image of The Satanic Temple billboard.

The Temple also provides a letter that women seeking abortions can provide to medical staff. It explains the ritual and why it exempts them from obligations that are an undue burden to their religious practice.

The Temple believes that some medical practitioners may reject its requests. However, it believes that doing so is a violation of religious freedom and it will take legal action if necessary.

"It would be unconstitutional to require a waiting period before receiving holy communion," the temple says in a video. "It would be illegal to demand Muslims receive counseling prior to Ramadan. It would be ridiculous to demand that Christians affirm in writing the unscientific assertion that baptism can cause brain cancers."

"So we expect the same rights as any other religious organization," the video says.

The Satanic Temple’s Religious Abortion Ritual

To perform the ritual, a woman looks into a mirror to affirm their personhood and responsibility to herself. Once the woman is focused and comfortable, they are to recite two of the Temple's Seven Tenets.

Tenet III: One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone. One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone.

Tenet V. Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.

Then they are to recite a personal affirmation: "By my body, my blood. Then by my will, it is done."

The ritual affirms The Temple's belief in personal responsibility and liberty that, coincidentally, mirror that of the U.S. Constitution.

"Satan is a symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds," the Temple's website reads.

Hail Satan!

There are two types of people in this world – those who panic and fill up their cars with gas when the needle hits 25% or so, and people like me who wait until the gas light comes on, then check the odometer so you can drive the entire 30 miles to absolute empty before coasting into a gas station on fumes.

I mean…it's not empty until it's empty, right?

But just how far can you drive your car once that gas light comes on? Should you trust your manual?

Photo from Pixabay.

I believe that reads empty.

Now, thanks to Your Mechanic sharing this information in a recent post, you can know for sure. Of course, they also want to warn you that driving on a low fuel level or running out of gas can actually damage your car.

Proceed at your own risk.

Graph from Your Mechanic.

How far you can go on empty.

Here's a link to a larger version of the chart.

Now, thanks to Your Mechanic sharing this information in a recent post, you can know for sure. Of course, they also want to warn you that driving on a low fuel level or running out of gas can actually damage your car.

Proceed at your own risk.

These are, of course, approximations that depend on several factors, including how you drive, your car's condition, etc. So don't automatically blame your mechanic if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

This article originally appeared on 06.25.21.


19 countries photoshopped one man to fit their idea of the perfect body

Beauty is in the eye of the photoshopper.

If you ask people what they think the “perfect" body looks like, you're sure to get a range of answers, depending on where the person is from. Last year, Superdrug Online Doctor created a project, “Perceptions of Perfection" that showed what people in 18 countries think the “perfect" woman looks like. The project was a viral hit.

They've recently released the male version.

This time, they asked graphic designers—11 women and eight men—in 19 countries to photoshop the same image to highlight the male beauty standards for their country.

Some of the images are certainly amusing, but the collective result is an interesting look at what people find attractive around the world.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection"

The original photo.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for U.K.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Venezuela.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for South Africa.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Spain.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Serbia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Portugal.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Macedonia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Nigeria.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Indonesia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Pakistan.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Bangladesh.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for China.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Colombia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Croatia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Russia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Australia.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for United States.

Image from “Perceptions of Perfection”.

Photoshopped for Egypt.

This article originally appeared on 09.14.17


A viral Twitter thread about body autonomy is a reminder of the ‘fear’ and ‘shame’ women still are forced to confront.

Body autonomy means that a person has the right to whatever they want with their own body.

Body autonomy means a person has the right to whatever they want with their own body.

We live in a world where people are constantly telling women what they can or can't do with their bodies. Women get it form all sides — Washington, their churches, family members, and even doctors.

A woman on Twitter who goes by the name Salome Strangelove recently went viral for discussing the importance of female body autonomy.

Here's how it started.


She continued talking about how her mother had a difficult pregnancy.


Her mother asked her doctor about the possibility of sterilization.


As was typical of the times, she was chastised by her male, Catholic doctor.


Her mother was made to feel guilty about simply exploring the medical options about her own body. But later on, a new doctor made her feel more comfortable about her situation.











Once her mother had the courage to speak up, her own family members supported her.





This article originally appeared on 6.20.21.