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In American Sniper, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is the ‘sheepdog’ – someone who operates in a state of constant, anxious alertness against inevitable attack. Entertainment Weekly

At its core, American Sniper is about white fear

Many are decrying the film as merely conservative propaganda. But American Sniper – as with many of Eastwood's films – has a more nuanced approach that addresses modern anxieties.
What’s the proper tip for a cup of joe? Shutterstock

Why we should get rid of tipping

The custom is confusing to customers, creates instability for workers and ironically doesn't necessarily result in better service as intended.
A number of snow storms have led schools to declare snow days. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P./Flickr

Schools close and kids lose

A school year of less than 180 days is detrimental to kids’ learning. The most disadvantaged kids lose the most when schools have to declare snow days.
Health marketing materials used to promote measles vaccine during the 1960s. CDC

How vaccines change the way we think about disease

Before the vaccine, we thought measles was a 'mild' illness. This is because vaccines drive down the number of people getting the disease while increasing our awareness of the risks.
A little employee love goes a long way. Southwest Airlines shows how a company can be rewarded for valuing its workers. Reuters

US must invest in its workers and roads to sustain job gains

The economy is creating the most jobs in 15 years, but only a substantial investment in our crumbling infrastructure and underpaid workforce will ensure they last.
Sometimes you don’t need a measuring stick to come up with an assessment: really, really deep. katorisi

Where do those snowfall totals on the news come from?

It's really hard to measure snowfall accurately. The National Weather Service relies on more than 8,000 volunteers with rulers.
Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. K. P. McFarlandVermont Center for Ecostudies, www.kpmcfarland.com

Why Monarch butterflies need a helping hand

An iconic North American migration is in jeopardy. The monarch butterfly migrates back and forth from Mexico to Canada every year, its orange and black sails peppering blue skies. In the past 20 years…
Willie O'Ree, the first black NHL player, debuted for the Boston Bruins in 1958. The Root

Only the puck was black: a story of race and the NHL

Last week’s release of Black Ice – the memoir of Val James, the first African American to play in the NHL – brought me back to when I was a teenager living in Boston. It was the winter of 1978 – the year…
Brian Williams Phil McCarten/Reuters

Brian Williams, the military and American culture

Credibility, generally, is seen as a dividend of honesty. Tell the truth and, over time, people will come to regard you as a trustworthy person, a reliable source of information. Given this formula, the…
Why is the eastern US getting so much Arctic weather this winter? Stuart Rankin/Flickr

A melting Arctic and weird weather: the plot thickens

Everyone loves to talk about the weather, and this winter Mother Nature has served up a feast to chew on. Few parts of the US have been spared her wrath. Severe drought and abnormally warm conditions continue…
A bumble bee foraging for nectar and pollen at a turtlehead plant that produces the compound catalpol, which reduced bee parasite load. Leif Richardson

Flower pharmacies help bees fight parasites

Search for information on ‘self-medication,’ and you’ll likely find descriptions of the myriad ways that we humans use drugs to solve problems. In fact, the consumption of biologically active molecules…
Little pills with big problems. Teens buying pills via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Easier access to prescription drugs puts teens at risk

When you think about substance use and teens, drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy might come to mind. But recreational prescription drug use is a significant problem. Nationally, 17.8% of high school students…
The Hryvna: a vulnerable currency Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Forecast for Ukraine: stormy with rays of sunshine

A year after the Maidan revolution of 2014, Ukraine is at a critical juncture. The conflict with Russia has been escalating. Estimates of casualties exceed 5,000, with some reports putting the number at…
Very few people today live a true hunter-gatherer lifestyle – and Paleo diets likely oversimplify what would have been on the table many millennia ago. Thiery

Real Paleo Diet: early hominids ate just about everything

Reconstructions of human evolution are prone to simple, overly-tidy scenarios. Our ancestors, for example, stood on two legs to look over tall grass, or began to speak because, well, they finally had something…
How long did they wait? Feet via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

When can you start having sex after a heart attack?

Each year in the United States about 720,000 people have heart attacks and about 124,000 people in the UK and 55,000 people in Australia will have them as well. Since the 1980s, survival rates from heart…
The smartphone, and increasingly Apple’s iPhone, is the center of the fast-growing app economy. Reuters

Apple’s record earnings show app economy’s meteoric growth

Even as the US economic recovery remains subpar with employment gains in only the lowest-paying jobs – and sluggish gains at that – one segment is surging: the still-nascent app industry. Apple’s latest…
A makeshift memorial for Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad and Yusor’s sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, who were killed by a gunman in Chapel Hill, North Carolina last week. Chris Keane/Reuters

Was the news media shamed into covering the murders in Chapel Hill?

If a guy kills three of his neighbors over a parking spot, it’s a local story, maybe a national news brief. Its newsworthiness is predicated on the appalling flimsiness of the casus belli: Some folks are…