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BC-The Conversation for December 20, 10am, ADVISORY

December 20, 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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-Family rifts


-Killer robots



Genomic sequencing: Here’s how researchers identify omicron and other COVID-19 variants


COMMENTARY DNA sequencing has allowed researchers to catch new COVID-19 variants hours after receiving the first positive test sample. 906 words. By Andre Hudson, Rochester Institute of Technology and Crista Wadsworth, Rochester Institute of Technology

Are parents criminally responsible for the actions of their child? In the Oxford shooting case, prosecutors say yes

COMMENTARY It’s rare when parents are criminally responsible for the.actions of their child. The behavior of Jennifer and James Crumbley was so egregious, the prosecutor explained, she had no other choice. 981 words. By Thaddeus Hoffmeister, University of Dayton

Family rifts affect millions of Americans – research shows possible paths from estrangement toward reconciliation

COMMENTARY A researcher who studied family estrangement identifies the main reasons behind it and how people can find a path to reconcile and heal family rifts. 1063 words. By Karl Pillemer, Cornell University

To get people the help they need from the government, postcards may be the answer

COMMENTARY Government agencies are setting up new websites and phone hotlines to provide information. But those might not be the best ways to engage with people who need help the most. 1054 words. By Katerina Linos, University of California, Berkeley; Laura Jakli, Harvard University, and Melissa Carlson, Stanford University


Facebook became Meta – and the company’s dangerous behavior came into sharp focus in 2021: 4 essential reads

COMMENTARY Meta felt the heat in 2021 as whistleblower revelations, congressional ire and demands for data knocked the company back on its heels. Here’s a look at research into the problems Meta poses for society. 853 words. By

UN fails to agree on ‘killer robot’ ban as nations pour billions into autonomous weapons research

COMMENTARY Sci-fi nightmares of a robot apocalypse aside, autonomous weapons are a very real threat to humanity. An expert on the weapons explains how the emerging arms race could be humanity’s last. 1425 words. By James Dawes, Macalester College

What’s the record for how long it’s ever rained without stopping?

SCIENCE OR TECHNOLOGY Extended periods of rain are most likely found in locations where mountains are near oceans. 748 words. By Lynn McMurdie, University of Washington and Joe Boomgard-Zagrodnik, Washington State University

People who are bad with numbers often find it harder to make ends meet – even if they are not poor

COMMENTARY People who struggle with numbers are also likely to struggle in life, new research shows. 683 words. By Wändi Bruine de Bruin, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Paul Slovic, University of Oregon

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