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Nov 20, 2017

Why smart people still believe conspiracy theories



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Why Smart People Still Believe Conspiracy Theories

Millions of Americans believe in conspiracy theories. Here's some insight into why many of us believe things that just aren't true

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Nov 19, 2017

Prison survival tip: Don't mock the soaps

Who knew? As part of our series exploring fandoms, we learn from a former inmate that "General Hospital" has a huge fan base in gen pop. "These were some of the hardest-core fighting guys," says Chris Scott. "But when that soap opera came on, you can hear a pin drop on cotton."
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Chris Arnold/NPR

For grad students, the GOP tax bill looks like a ticking time bomb

To help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan drops a rule that shields tuition benefits, which some 145,000 graduate students receive, from taxes. At the most costly institutions, students' tax bills could jump several thousand dollars — a huge hit for young people with little actual income.

One dean calls it "the most serious threat to doctoral education we have ever experienced."

Ahn Young-joon/AP

Seventy years after World War II, these simple statues still rankle Japanese-Korean relations

The United Nations estimates 200,000 girls and women — mostly Koreans — were seized from villages to join Japan's military sexual slavery program, aka "comfort women." To memorialize the victims, South Korea put up dozens of statues, but agreed to take some down in exchange for a Japanese apology and compensation for the women.

Not party to the deal: Activists, who keep putting more statues up. Japan got mad enough to pull its ambassador.

seb_ra/Getty Images/iStockphoto

‘One lawsuit can kill a company’: Some HR departments treat harassment complaints as existential threats, expert says

Only about a quarter of employees who experience sexual harassment report it, according the government — and some who've worked in human resources say employees are right to be wary. The department's job is to protect the company, one consultant says — and that only sometimes lines up with looking out for you.

But with the business climate rapidly changing and new HR models emerging, victims may get more leverage.

Justin Richmond/NPR

These ‘General Hospital’ fanatics prove a little melodrama can soften up the toughest dudes

Serious fandoms spring up across the spectrum of pop culture and sports, and prison inmates are no exception. Chris Scott, who spent 13 years in prison for murder before being exonerated, says a soap opera helped him and many others get through — and even helped turn him into an entrepreneur. And yes, some cracked jokes, he says.

But "they knew the guy that was watching the soap opera probably can kick half of the cellblock he lived on's butt."

Laurel Morales/KJZZ

4 of her 10 children died as toddlers. 3 died in early adulthood. U.S. neglect may be to blame

From 1944 to 1986, mining companies blasted 30 million tons of uranium out of Navajo land, and the radioactive substance still contaminates much of the territory today, including drinking water. Of 521 abandoned mines, the EPA has only cleaned up nine so far. And with an impoverished tribe deeply connected to the land, one advocate says moving away isn’t feasible for people like Helen Nez.

“People have been captive to these exposures now for three generations," he says, and more are sure to suffer.
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