BC-The Conversation for December 17, 10am, ADVISORY

December 17, 2021 GMT

Here’s a look at what The Conversation, a non-profit source of explanatory journalism from experts in academia, is offering today.

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-Kim Jong-un





The magnificent history of the maligned and misunderstood fruitcake


COMMENTARY The polarizing dessert that people love to hate became a Christmas mainstay thanks, in part, to the U.S. Postal Service. 787 words. By Jeffrey Miller, Colorado State University

Bell hooks will never leave us – she lives on through the truth of her words

COMMENTARY Bell hooks, the Black feminist writer and intellectual, died on Dec. 15 aged 69. Scholar and activist Karsonya Wise Whitehead provides a personal reflection on what hooks meant to her life. 1137 words. By Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Loyola University Maryland

Kim Jong Un’s decade in power: Starvation, repression and brutal rule – just like his father and grandfather

COMMENTARY Kim Jong Un has followed his father and grandfather in ruling by fear. The coronavirus pandemic has made North Korea ever more isolated, while expanded military capabilities make it a growing threat. 946 words. By Sung-Yoon Lee, Tufts University

Student loans linked to greater harm for parents who borrow for their children than people who borrow for themselves

COMMENTARY Student loan debt can hurt borrowers, but the pain is even greater when borrower is taking out a student loan for their child, new research shows. 660 words. By Thomas Korankye, University of Arizona

A Persian festival, Yalda, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, with pomegranates, poetry and sacred rituals


RELIGION People stay up all night, telling stories and eating dried fruits, in addition to watermelon and pomegranate, to celebrate the sunrise soon after the longest night of the year. 483 words. By Pardis Mahdavi, Arizona State University

The US is making plans to replace all of its lead water pipes from coast to coast

COMMENTARY It will cost tens of billions of dollars to find and remove all the lead service lines that deliver water to US homes and schools. A public health expert explains why he sees it as money well spent. 1052 words. By Gabriel Filippelli, IUPUI

Sold-out supplies, serving a public need and other adventures of doing science during a pandemic – 4 researchers share their experiences

SCIENCE OR TECHNOLOGY Supply chain issues, emergency science, social distancing requirements and a lot more free time offered both challenges and opportunities for research scientists. 1234 words. By Christian L’Orange, Colorado State University; Erin Lavik, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Nilanjan Banerjee, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Tony Schmitz, University of Tennessee

How to help those who have lost loved ones to suicide cope with grief during the holidays

COMMENTARY Nearly all suicide-loss survivors experience guilt, wondering what they could have done to prevent it. But despite decades of research, experts struggle to identify risk factors and predict suicide. 641 words. By Michael R. Nadorff, Mississippi State University and Julie Cerel, University of Kentucky

The ‘runner’s high’ may result from molecules called cannabinoids – the body’s own version of THC and CBD

COMMENTARY A growing body of research points to the body’s natural cannabinoid system as the primary driver behind the runner’s high – and the mental health boost and stress relief following exercise. 1207 words. By Hilary A. Marusak, Wayne State University

Convenient but susceptible to fraud: Why it makes sense to regulate charitable crowdfunding

COMMENTARY The informality and the speed can be helpful in emergencies. But it’s hard to make sure that money raised in a hurry is used in accordance with what donors expect. 933 words. By Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, University of Notre Dame

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