In 1990, television reporters came into my first grade classroom and asked me what I thought about the Gulf War. I had an automatic answer that echoed my parents’ protest generation: “War is bad. People get killed. Stop the war.” Then I told the reporter about the letter campaign we had started in my class. We were asking the first Bush to send the troops home.
With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” looking imminent, the next question on America’s mind is what a military with openly gay soldiers will look like. Most experts, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, believe that a repeal of the discriminatory law won’t at all endanger the military’s stability. And a large majority of enlisted troops agree with them. But what if a military that welcomes gays and lesbians with open arms doesn’t just not fall part, but actually shows remarkable improvement?
For decades now, scientists seeking to understand why people are gay have done neurological research on homosexual versus heterosexual brain patterns. Though these experiments might initially sound like phrenology, pseudoscientific hooey that attempted to predict mental ability based on the size and shape of the skull, in fact, they have been academic and replicable. And while there’s still no consensus as to what makes someone gay, the differences between gay and straight brains that these studies have uncovered are not insignificant.
When it comes to social networking and the internet, popularity is, apparently, not the same thing as influence. A new study by social-media maven Brian Solis and researchers at Vocus has pitted meat-dress-wearing Lady Gaga, who has 6.5 million Twitter followers and counting, against U2's Bono, one of the most recognizable men in the world by face and voice, and a big-time philantropist and activist. The goal? To figure out what makes an online influencer (slash, to figure out who is more influential between these two pop stars).
It's an interesting study relevant to all of us with an online life, obviously—not just to famous people. Among the key findings: