Extra Credit: Our pick of stories from around the web that bridge the gap between news and scholarship. Brought to you each Tuesday from the editors of JSTOR Daily.
Who are you calling a fascist? (The Atlantic)
by Dominic Green
Before choosing its word of the year, Merriam-Webster warned that “fascism” was a strong contender, based on the number of people looking up its definition. But does the actual history of fascism, and the work of scholars who study it, illuminate anything about the current moment in Western politics?
Brain health, crime, and poverty (Quartz)
by Olivia Goldhill
What would it take to radically reduce crime? A New Zealand study tracking people from preschool into adulthood suggests that the 20 percent of the population who score the lowest on measures of brain health as toddlers commit 80 percent of crimes later in life. And which kids have unhealthy brains? In many cases, the ones who have suffered the effects of living in poverty.
How kids believe in Santa (The Conversation)
by Jacqueline D. Woolley
Why would children believe in something as absurd as flying reindeer helping to deliver gifts all over the world? To see the answer, look at how kids evaluate evidence to decide whether fish live on the moon.
Is diversity dangerous? (The Washington Post)
by Jóhanna Kristín Birnir, Christian Davenport, and Erika Forsberg
Are people doomed to fight when different ethnic groups share a place? Scholars who study this question agree that there’s no simple arrow between diversity and conflict. Issues like poverty and competition over resources can inflame inter-group fighting, but, intriguingly, conflict may sometimes lead to the creation of firm group identities rather than the other way around.
After the dam (Pacific Standard)
by Francie Diep
Over the past year, more than 500 old dams have been torn down in the U.S. Research tells us what happens next. In many cases, fish return to their former ways in an impressively short time.
Have you seen a story online that does a good job of bridging the gap between the news and scholarship? Or something that seems particularly well-researched? Let us know and we may include it in next week’s roundup. Email us at jstordaily_submissions (at) jstor (dot) org.