Three great hands-on science learning ideas courtesy of National Geographic: goo.gl/HrBehR
As many of my geography students know, a country needs a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1 children per woman if it wants to have a population that is neither growing nor shrinking. China has a TFR of about 1.2, meaning that its population is both aging and (eventually) shrinking. The Economist (UK) looks at how and why fertility rates vary across China, from low (1.79 in Guangxi, bordering Vietnam) to ultra-low (0.71 in Beijing). www.economist.com/news/china/21729573-no-province-has-many-babies-some-shortfalls-are-much-worse-others-chinas-demographic
A recent survey of Nobel Prize winners in science, medicine, and economics asked what they thought the biggest threats to mankind are. At the top of the list? The co-mingled issues of overpopulation and environmental degradation (34%) and nuclear war (23%). In another part of the survey, 70% of respondents consider political polarization and populism to be either a "grave threat" or a "serious threat" to scientific progress. www.timeshighereducation.com/features/do-great-minds-think-alike-the-the-lindau-nobel-laureates-survey
After a natural disaster, a detailed knowledge of geography can save lives. First responders and relief workers need to know what was there before a disaster hit -- especially number and types of buildings -- in order to know how many people might be in trouble where. Using satellite imagery and open access software, anyone with a computer can help. You can get started with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team: www.hotosm.org/get-involved
Combining 28 factors ranging from income growth and safety to adequate sleep and divorce, WalletHub has put together this map of U.S. happiness. The happiest states (in bright blue): Minnesota, Utah, Hawaii, and California. The least happy states (faded to white): West Virginia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alabama. wallethub.com/edu/happiest-states/6959/
The question of God continues to be discussed, as it has been for centuries, from various perspectives, including theological, scientific, and philosophical. Philosophers who specialize in this field apply the tools of philosophy -- logic, rational inquiry, thought experiments -- to probe issues of knowledge vs. belief, God as a concept, and free will. You can test out the logical consistency of your own beliefs about God with this short multiple-choice experiment.
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