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Many were surprised when white women voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but they shouldn’t have been. Even though women overall tend to vote for Democrats, white women have regularly voted Republican since the 1950s, a fact that may have been obscured by traditional voter analysis that sets white men as the default group. “When you use white men as the standard, of course, women look, super Democrat, because white men are disproportionately much more heavily Republican,” says Jane Junn, professor of political science and gender and sexuality studies at the University of Southern California.
“When you use that as the baseline category from which everything else is then analyzed, you fail to see that pattern of white female support for Republicans, and Trump in particular, and the same thing happens in .” Junn has co-authored a paper suggesting that voting behavior analysis that interprets the results for women as a deviation from the patterns set by men is outdated and obscures true voter preference. When it comes to voter analysis, the default group is traditionally the largest voting group. And even though women outvote men—and have done so since the 1960s—white male voters continue to be the norm against which all other voting groups are compared.
“It violates what we would ordinarily do when we use statistics to interpret group-based behavior, and that is, it is identifying the modal group incorrectly. … Mode just means the largest group, and males—in particular, white males—are not the largest group of voters in the United States,” Junn says. “That is actually females. White females are the modal group in U.S. voting behavior, and that goes for national-level—presidential voting—and also at the local level.” In 2020, 68% of women who were eligible to vote reported that they voted, compared to the 65% turnout for men. In the 2016 presidential election, 63% of women and 59% of men reported voting.
When it comes to race and gender, 69.6% of white women reported voting, compared to 67% of white men in 2020. While in 2016, 66.8% of white women and 63.7% of white men reported voting. Junn says the white male-centric approach to voter analysis is limiting because it doesn’t take the dynamic nature of the electorate into consideration. “The vantage point encourages us to think in static terms,” she says. “It encourages us to think about behavior only as a function of the past, or mostly as a function of the past, and it encourages us to just think things are stable.”
Rethinking how votes are analyzed requires undoing centuries of conditioning, says Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “What is the modal group? What is the norm? What is the ideal within the political sphere?” Koning asks. “The political sphere has always been synonymous with male and with masculinity, and I think it takes a lot of time to change, to overturn, and to evolve from something like that.”
Setting white men as the normal standard to which everyone else is compared can imply that anything that is dissimilar from that is abnormal or deviant, according to Junn. “Why do we still say, you know, the senator from Kentucky, but we have to say the female senator from West Virginia? Or the candidate for president, Joe Biden, and the Black female vice presidential candidate?” Junn says. “The modifiers are always attached to categories that are unusual or different.”
Koning agrees. “You’re creating a very specific frame through which the political system is being seen that frankly, may not be the frame that is beneficial or is most beneficial for the public good and the advancement of society.” She thinks it will take many more election cycles to break the historical habit of painting men as the modal group. “This discussion has leveled up in the classroom. I think this discussion is bubbling up within gender studies and women in politics programs. I don’t know if this discussion has really reached a mainstream level,” Koning says. “I don’t think it is a conversation that is being had at the forefront yet, even after all of this, even after all these decades.” (VOA/JC)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)