Legitimate News or Not? Scientists Find Out Why People Can’t Tell the Difference Between Real News and Satire on Social Media

Researchers at the Ohio State University have found there may be clear downsides to getting news from social media. And not for the reasons you might think.

Researchers found that when people view a blend of news and entertainment through a single portal, through a single social media app they pay less attention to the source of content they consumed. Meaning there is a higher risk for mistaking satire for news or vice versa.

When consuming content that is separated into clearly defined categories (a news section, entertainment section, health and wellness etc.) they didn’t have the same problems deciding on the credibility of the content.

The scientists involved in this research believe they have found a legitimate danger when it comes to people blending news and entertainment viewing on apps like Facebook and Twitter. Researchers stated that while people like that one-stop-shop idea for media content, that jumbling of content makes everything seem the same or equal to us.

The issues is that there is no visual difference on Facebook, for example, between something like the New York Times and a random blog. Everything is the same, color scheme, font, frames etc. So one obvious solution would be for social media companies to develop ways to distinguish content.

Until something like this happens researchers believe that using social media as a one stop shop for content could be reducing positive media literacy behaviors.


OSU Scientists Use Machine Learning to Find Unexploded Ordinance

Researchers at the Ohio State University have found a unique use for artificial intelligence; they’ve been using AI to look at satellite images of Cambodia looking for unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War era. This new approach has already drastically increased crater decetion by more than 160%.

The model created by AI combined with declassified military records from the U.S. suggest that as many as 44 to 50% of bombs in the area remain unexploded. Most attempts to find and safely remove unexploded ordinance like bombs and landmines has been much less effective than what is needed in Cambodia.

Researchers found that efforts on the part of Cambodia and their national clearance agency have been concentrating on low risk areas and that there are other areas that present a much greater risk that they should be focusing on.

Researchers stated that until efforts to clear mines has been less effective because no one was able to accurately pinpoint the areas that needed demining the most.

Researchers used machine learning to analyze satellite images for evidence of bomb craters. Between the researchers knowing how many bombs were dropped in the area and the general location where they fell and the AI finding the craters researchers are able to determine with how many bombs exploded and where. They can then determine with more accuracy how many bombs are left unexploded and where they might be found.



OSU Researchers Study Mold Growth in Carpets

New research at OSU has looked in to the mold level in carpets that reside in high moisture environments. As one might expect, they found these carpets to contain higher levels of mold than those in drier areas.

Additionally, the research found that the level of dust in the carpet and from what material it is made can affect mold growth. The mold and dust is easily circulated into the air by simple human walking which increases our exposure as we go about our daily lives.

The research team found fungi (the mold growth the team tended to find was fungi) can borrow into the fibers of rugs when they are made from wool or other natural materials. There was even some evidence to suggest the fungi is even able to use carbon present in the wool.

The study examined olefin, nylon and wool; 2 synthetic, 1 natural carpet material. However, most carpets in the U.S. are made of synthetic fibers.

Most carpet in the U.S. is made of synthetic fibers. The study wanted to discover preventative measures to reduce our exposure to dust and mold harboring in our carpets.

Moisture was the most important factor when it came to mold growth. Dust attracts moisture so dusty carpets invite mold.

The surprise result was the role dust played in mold growth. Researcher suggested that one of the best things you can do is vacuum your carpets as often as possible, especially in high traffic areas. They recommended vacuuming as much as once a day to decrease the dust that mold loves so much.


Buckeye Scientists Studied Effectiveness of Gratitude Practice on Anxiety and Depression

Scientists at the Ohio State University have analyzed the data from twenty seven different studies that all looked at the effectiveness of “gratitude intervention” for treating anxiety and depression. While the researchers think that practicing gratitude is beneficial it has “limited” clinical effects on depression and anxiety.

While different kinds of gratitude practice have been a part of all kinds of professional therapies to suggestions made second-rate self-help books the fact may be that in treating clinical depression and anxiety it just isn’t that effective.

There are two very popular practices. One is called “three good things.” In this exercise one writes down three good things that happened to them that day and reflects on them. The second is a known as a “gratitude visit” in which one writes a leader to someone they know thanking them for the value they add to their life.

Many of the studies did comparative work between a gratitude practice activity and another activity with a dissimilar topic. As an example, a study might have had a college student write about their class schedule instead of a gratitude activity.

In these types of studies, it was found that gratitude practice had not much more success at relieving people’s symptoms than any other kind apparently unrelated activity.

Researchers stated that, perhaps unsurprisingly, just telling people to be more grateful for what they have when it comes to helping their depression and anxiety symptoms isn’t all that useful.


New Babies Aren’t All Joy for Relationships

A new study suggests that a child can spark very real feelings of jealousy and fear for a partner who is already feeling abandoned by their partner.

The study found that partners who displayed signs of anxiety about their relationship before the birth of a first child were more likely feel jealous because of the child after birth.

Researchers dispelled some myths about new babies. Many would think it impossible to be jealous of a new baby.

Though when one is already feeling fear of rejection the extra attention spent on the new child can feel like a betrayal. Immediately after the birth of the first child can be an extremely difficult time on a couple and this kind of jealously can exacerbate the situation.

The research team believes their new study fits directly into the discourse on relationships and childbirth which has found many links between child rearing and dissatisfaction in romantic relationships.