Unmarried Women Are More Politically Liberal. Here’s Why.

There’s long been evidence that unmarried women are more politically liberal than married ones, but there’s never been a good explanation for why this is the case. Now there is. Sociologist Kelsy Kretschmer of Oregon State University (OSU) found that women who are not married tend to be more concerned about the social status of women as a group, which makes them more politically liberal and likely to vote Democrat than married women.

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An Airbnb user enjoys her rented balcony but may have unintended negative economic consequences on the community she visits.

What’s the Economic Impact of Airbnb?

Airbnb is considered a godsend by many travelers. The (mostly) affordable alternative to staying in hotels and motels has become widely popular since it launched in 2008. The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco and estimated to be worth nearly 20 billion dollars, has risen to such heights by promising hosts and renters an intimate experience of sharing, learning, and togetherness, and by allowing hosts to earn money through renting available space in their homes. Much of the appeal for travelers hinges on the benefits of having a local host in a new or foreign place who can offer welcoming conversation and guidance on where to shop and eat, and how to get around–a chummier version of a hotel concierge.

This sociologist has enjoyed staying in the homes of others via Airbnb in several countries and states across the U.S., and has found it to be an unbeatable way to travel in terms of social and economic value. But data compiled by Murray Cox, a self-described “digital storyteller” and community activist, disrupts the pleasant veneer that makes Airbnb so appealing to many.

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Labor Violations Occurring for Over a Decade at Apple Suppliers

Right now hundreds of thousands of young Chinese workers are laboring on iPhone 7 production lines. With these products set to launch in September, the final assembly is happening in a series of Foxconn and Pegatron factories across the country.

Foxconn is likely a familiar name to readers, as it became the focal point of international media attention in 2012 after widespread legal and ethical labor violations were revealed by This American Life and The New York Times. Pegatron, however, has received scant media attention, despite its growing role in Apple’s supply chain over the last four years. Unfortunately, the terrible conditions in which 100,000 young Chinese workers labor and live at Pegatron’s Shanghai factory are painfully familiar.

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What I Learned From the Mining Community That Produced My Engagement Ring

When people in the global North think about gold, “they think about something beautiful and precious, like your ring,” says Dajhanna Zarate, the daughter of a miner, referring to the gold engagement ring on my left hand. But when people who work at her father’s mine in Peru think about gold, she says, “they think about a metal — about rocks and hard labor.”

The band of my engagement ring, which supports a flower-shaped cluster of small, ethically sourced diamonds, is made of Fairtrade gold from the SOTRAMI mine in Peru where Zarate’s father has worked for 27 years.

“When someone buys Fairtrade gold jewelry, they give something precious to the miners and the community,” Zarate added near the end of our long, crackly conversation over WhatsApp.

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Who Really Owns Guns?

Our perception of who owns guns in the U.S. is heavily shaped by stereotypes perpetuated by news media, film, and television. The armed Black man is one of the most pervasive, but the image of the armed white southerner, the military veteran, and the hunter are common too.

The results of a 2014 Pew Research Center survey reveal that while some of those stereotypes hold true, others are way off the mark, and likely quite damaging as such.

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Why Feminists Are Fighting About Rihanna’s New Video

The internet is buzzing about the controversial video for Rihanna’s hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money” (BBHMM). The video has been viewed over 19 million times after just eight days online, and has boosted sales of the digital single, bringing the tally to 735,000 since its debut on March 26, 2015. The popularity of the video has even been credited with a spike in streaming of the single, which lifted the track to the number 15 spot on the Billboard Top 100 list during the second week of July.

But not all of the attention is praise. Some journalists and bloggers, who identify as feminists, have slammed the video for its theme of violence, especially that directed at a kidnapped woman who appears nude through much of the seven-minute long video.

CO2 Emissions Growth Takes a Bite Out of Apple’s Sustainability Claims

Apple recently announced that it had spent $848 million on a 25-year purchase of solar power from First Solar in California. The deal makes Apple’s US operations 100 percent powered by renewable energy, and is the largest solar deal on record. The company also announced in February a $1.8 billion plan for the construction and operation of two data centers in Ireland and Denmark that will provide renewably powered Apple data to its European customers, just as it already does for those in the United States. And on April 16, Apple announced a partnership with SunPower to build two solar plants in China, to power its corporate and retail facilities in the region.

According to its 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, Apple has avoided about 750,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 2011 with its various energy-saving measures. In the midst of a climate crisis fueled by the burning of fossil fuels, these are undeniably good moves. As such, Apple is deservedly receiving praise for these efforts at its US operations.

Lisa Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and now Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, has spearheaded these projects for the company since mid-2013. Jackson announced the solar deal in a televised conversation with Jeffrey Ball for The Wall Street Journal in late March. While speaking with Ball, Jackson said that it was important to her and the company to show others that it is possible to earn profit, return money to shareholders and “still be on the right side of sustainability.”

While Jackson’s statement rings true for Apple’s US facilities, those represent just 1 percent of the company’s 2014 emissions. An investigation into the year-over-year growth in Apple’s annual emissions since 2010 shows that the company is in fact on the wrong side of sustainability, with substantial growth in manufacturing and transportation emissions, including those per product sold. This historical growth in emissions combined with Apple’s gargantuan land and water footprints paint a dirty portrait of a company claiming to be a leader in the battle against climate change. Continue reading

Despite Claims of Progress, Labor and Environmental Violations Continue to Plague Apple

By Nicki Lisa Cole and Jenny Chan

Apple made headlines in late January 2015 when it reported the largest quarterly profit ever in corporate history: $18 billion. A record-breaking $74.6 billion quarterly revenue generated this profit, thanks in large part to the sale of 74.5 million iPhones during the same period.

For Apple, this is a great start to 2015, just as 2014 was a fantastic year for the company. Last year, they sold more than 169 million iPhones, (1) which earned them nearly $102 billion in sales. With $183 billion in total 2014 revenue, and $39.5 billion in profit, (2) Apple is the most valuable company in the world.

But for many hundreds of thousands of young Chinese toiling on Apple assembly lines, 2014 was not such a good year. Reports from China Labor Watch (CLW) and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), and evidence gathered by researchers Jenny Chan, Mark Selden and Pun Ngai detail a litany of labor law violations at numerous factories across China. Troublingly, this evidence shows that many of the same problems reported to Apple in 2013 continued unabated through 2014. Conditions have in fact worsened at several sites.

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The Most Important Words in Emma Watson’s UN Speech Were About Masculinity


Emma Watson, British actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, said many smart, important, sociologically informed things during her speech on gender equality at the UN on September 20, 2014. Surprisingly, the most important words of Ms. Watson did not have to do with women and girls, but rather with men and boys. She said:

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

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