The Conversation

The Conversation

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Twitter posts show that people are profoundly sad – and are visiting parks to cheer up

Joe Roman, University of Vermont and Taylor Ricketts, University of Vermont

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the “happiness” of people’s words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Parents with children forced to do school at home are drinking more

Susan Sonnenschein, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Elyse R. Grossman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

We found that parents who are stressed by having to help their children with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic drink seven more drinks per month than parents who do not report feeling stressed by distance learning. These stressed parents are also twice as likely to report binge drinking at least once over the prior month than parents who are not stressed, according to our results. Binge drinking, which varies by gender, is when women consume at least four, or men have at least five alcoholic beverages (which includes beer, wine, or liquor) within a couple hours of each other.

Love avocados? Thank the toxodon

  Jeffrey Miller, Colorado State University

 Leer en español.

Given avocado’s popularity today, it’s hard to believe that we came close to not having them in our supermarkets at all.

 In my new book “Avocado: A Global History,” I explain how the avocado survived a series of ecological and cultural close calls that could have easily relegated them to extinction or niche delicacy. Instead, the avocado persevered, prospered – and became one of the most Instagrammed foods in the world.

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