Are Arab Americans White? Maybe Not, according to US Census

Posted November 18th, 2015 at 9:56 am (UTC-4)
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Members of the Arab American Heritage Council meeting in Flint Michigan on Sept. 14, 2012. (Photo by Flickr user Deb Nystrom via Creative Commons license)

Members of the Arab American Heritage Council meeting in Flint Michigan on Sept. 14, 2012. (Photo by Flickr user Deb Nystrom via Creative Commons license)

For 71 years, the United States has classified Americans of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry as “white”, but the federal government is now considering a plan to give this group of Americans its own classification on the next U.S. census.

It’s a move Arab American civil rights groups have spent decades advocating for because, while people of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry are legally white, the reality is that, in everyday life, this population is rarely perceived—or treated—as white.

Graphic: Arab American Institute Source: 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates– U.S. Census Bureau

Graphic: Arab American Institute Source: 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates– U.S. Census Bureau

Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010,  is an Arab American of Lebanese ancestry. (AP Photo)

Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010, is an Arab American of Lebanese ancestry. (AP Photo)

“You have popular perceptions of Middle Eastern and North African Americans as non-white and more than just non-white, but as prospective terrorists, national security threats, subversives,” said Khaled Beydoun, an assistant professor of law at Barry University in Florida. “You have this rift between legal status, and popular and political conceptions of Middle Eastern and North African Americans’ identities.”

A new classification, “Middle East or North African [MENA],” is currently being tested and could make its debut on the next census in 2020.

The U.S. census, which takes place every 10 years, seeks to count every resident in the United States. States use the census information to redraw their congressional districts, while communities use it to plan where to build schools, roads, and hospitals. The data is also useful to governments when it comes to the allotment of funds and support.

No one knows exactly how many Arab Americans there are. The U.S. Census estimates there are 1.9 million. However, the Arab American Institute (AAI) puts that number at 3.7 million. Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn, Michigan, thinks the true number could be closer to almost 6 million.

The majority are concentrated in 10 states, including California, Michigan and New York, according to statistics from the American Community Survey.

The first Arabs to immigrate to America came in the 1880s. This photo of an Algerian immigrant was taken by  Augustus Sherman, the chief registry clerk on Ellis Island from 1892 until 1925. (New York Public Library)

The first Arabs to immigrate to America came in the 1880s. This photo of an Algerian immigrant was taken by Augustus Sherman, the chief registry clerk on Ellis Island from 1892 until 1925. (New York Public Library)

AAI has long advocated for a special category for the Arab-American community, which it believes has been severely under-counted.

“The undercount, apart from stemming research on these communities, has severe consequences on access to certain services—from language assistance at polling places to the enforcement of equal employment opportunities—that are based on Census data,” AAI’s Margaret Lowry wrote on the institute’s blog.

A stand-alone designation could also lead to other legal benefits for MENA Americans, such as access to government-based grants and loans, and race- and ethnicity-conscious affirmative action in higher education.

The proposed reclassification of Arab Americans from white to MENA is perceived by many to be a significant moment of racial progress.

Eva Hetty, a Lebanese immigrant and Detroit factory worker, in 1929. (Image from “Arab Americans in Metro Detroit: A Pictorial History”)

Eva Hetty, a Lebanese immigrant and Detroit factory worker, in 1929. (Image from “Arab Americans in Metro Detroit: A Pictorial History”)

However, it comes during a time of increased state surveillance and the emerging Countering Violent Extremism program, a new national security effort steered by the FBI, which works in conjunction with local police departments to combat terrorism. The effort, in effect, localizes national security and anti-terror policing, says Beydoun.

“If you have this MENA box which passes in 2020, the ability of the government to collect more precise and comprehensive data about communities that it associates with terrorism is greatly enhanced,” he said. “Even though that is a possible peril that arises from the MENA box, I’m still a strong supporter of it.”

Beydoun succinctly summed up the MENA dilemma facing Arab Americans in an essay he wrote for the Michigan Law Review.

“For a population boxed out for decades,” he wrote, “closer scrutiny reveals that being boxed in may be an even more perilous position.”

Asians On Pace to Become America’s Largest Immigrant Group

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 11:39 am (UTC-4)
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Nearly 100 people become U.S. Citizens during a Naturalization Ceremony at Glen Echo Park, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2015. (US Government photo via Flickr)

Nearly 100 people become U.S. Citizens during a Naturalization Ceremony at Glen Echo Park, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2015. (US Government photo via Flickr)

A new map shows where America’s newest citizens are coming from and illustrates how Asians are on pace to become the largest immigrant group in the United States.

Of the nearly 800,000 people who became American citizens between September 30, 2012 and September 30, 2013, more than one-third came from Asia.

779,929 NATURALIZED US CITIZENS IN 2013

Asian: 275,700
North America/Central America/Caribbean: 271,807
Europe: 80,333

Asians made up the largest group of new Americans by region, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

While Mexicans remain the single largest group of foreign-born people who became naturalized American citizens, the map from Marketwatch, shows other nationalities claimed the top spots in 26 U.S. states.

Indians make up the biggest group of naturalized Americans in nine states, including Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. People born in the Dominican Republic are the biggest group in 5 states such as North Dakota, New York and Pennsylvania.

MW-DY512_countr_20151104153003_NS

Europe, which was the biggest source of U.S. immigrants a century ago, made up only 80,333 of 2013’s naturalizations, compared to 275,700 from Asia during the same period.

By country, the biggest groups after Mexico are India, Philippines, Dominican Republic and China.

Native Americans Fight to Save Language That Helped Win WWII

Posted November 11th, 2015 at 9:30 am (UTC-4)
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Former United States Marine and Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, right, leads fellow Marine and Navajo Code Talker Sam Holiday at a ceremony honoring the Navajo contribution to the World War II, Sept. 28, 2015, at Camp Pendleton, Calif.  (AP Photo)

Former United States Marine and Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, right, leads fellow Marine and Navajo Code Talker Sam Holiday at a ceremony honoring the Navajo contribution to the World War II, Sept. 28, 2015, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (AP Photo)

During World War II, the U.S. military recruited Native American Navajo speakers and, together, they developed a code to send secret information past Japanese and German code-breakers.

The code was never broken.

Richard Epstein, a linguist and professor at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, credits the Navajo language’s complex structure for it being such a successful code.

“It was so unbelievably complicated that the enemy couldn’t figure out how it worked,” he said. “And yet we took the children of these people away from their families to train them to speak English only, on the grounds that this language was inferior.”

Discouraging native languages

More than 100 years ago, the U.S. government began sending Native American children to boarding schools where all the instruction was in English. The native cultures and languages of the children were discouraged.

“We had to speak English,” said Sylvia Jackson, one of those children who stopped speaking her native language. “So I lost a lot of just speaking the Navajo language.”

In the last 20 to 30 years, tribal governments have started to promote the teaching of Native American languages in schools. The U.S. Department of Education now also supports Native American language programs.

Today, Jackson is a Navajo language instructor in the small town of Holbrook, Arizona. She teaches Navajo to students at Holbrook High School. Her class is taught entirely in Diné, the Navajo language.

Jackson and her students play an important role in keeping their language alive.

“My parents are actually, they grew up speaking the Navajo language,” she said. “They’re fluent speakers. They’re like a dictionary. If I ask them, ‘How do you say this?’ they translate. But me, I’m learning as I’m going.”

Navajo Nation

The town of Holbrook is an hour by car from the Navajo Nation. The 69,000-square-kilometer territory is the largest of the 326 Indian reservations in the United States. The Navajo Nation covers parts of four states in the American Southwest. It is about the same size as the country of Ireland.

A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah, in May 2015. (AFP PHOTO)

A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah, in May 2015. (AFP PHOTO)

During the 1800s, increasing numbers of European settlers in America moved west. In 1864, the federal government began a campaign to deport Navajos from their lands. The natives were moved to the northwest in a series of marches called the “Long Walk.” The marches took place under the threat of death.

Navajo leaders and the U.S. government reached a peace treaty in 1868. It established the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Today, more than 250,000 people live in the Navajo Nation. They have their own laws, fly their own flag, and elect their own president.

The 2010 United States Census showed that about 170,000 Navajos speak Navajo at home. It is one of the most robust Native American languages today.

A right to speak Navajo

But there is a growing worry that the Navajo language could disappear. Seventy years ago, nearly everyone on the Navajo reservation spoke Navajo as their first language. But today, few young Navajos can speak the language of their grandparents.

A study in 1998 found that only 30 percent of Navajos entering school spoke Navajo as their mother tongue. Just 30 years earlier, that was true of 90 percent of first-grade Navajo students.

Linguist Epstein says a language’s survival depends on one generation passing down knowledge to the next generation.

“In order to keep a language alive, the adults of the community have to be able to transmit it to the young folks,” he said.

Epstein calls teaching and transmitting your native language to your children a right that should be better protected.

“Everybody should have the right to speak their own language, just as much as they should have the right to practice their religion,” he said. “Because their language is as good as everybody else’s language…So if you take that away, you’ve taken away a massive resource for knowing something about a part of human life. And you’ve taken away a part of who those people are. Is that right? Everybody should have the right to speak their language and to transmit their language to their children and to keep their culture alive.”

Navajo class 

On the reservation itself, Navajo language instruction in schools starts at a young age. At Indian Wells Elementary School, third graders are learning how to read, write, and speak Navajo. The school opened in 2001.

Navajo class at Indian Wells Elementary School

Navajo class at Indian Wells Elementary School

Dr. Robbie Koerperich was Indian Wells’ first principal. Now, he is the superintendent of the Holbrook Unified School District and says the district is concerned with preserving the Navajo language.

“The Navajo language itself, I believe, is a major concern on the reservation and in our district, pertaining to the preservation of the language,” Koerperich said. “So the preservation of the Navajo language is part of our mission.”

Hortensia, a third-grader at Indian Wells Elementary, says Navajo language is her favorite class. “So we could learn it and teach it to other people.”

Carrying on

Hortensia says she often visits her grandmother, or naali in Navajo. Grandparents on the reservation play an important part in passing down both the language and culture to their grandchildren.

Morgan, a Navajo language student at Holbrook High School, is one of Sylvia Jackson’s students. She visits her grandparents’ home with her cousins, nieces and nephews, and sometimes feels like an outcast.

“With my nieces and nephews and my cousins, they’re about my age or a bit older and they don’t speak Navajo,” Morgan said. “And so it’s a bit hard when we go out to my grandparents’ place and they try to talk to us. And it feels like — when my grandparents and my parents talk together — I feel like, kind of like an outcast, like I don’t know what they’re saying, but it’s like, I want to learn the language so I can carry it on and then teach my kids. And so we won’t lose the language.”

Today, Sylvia Jackson, who was once taught to forget her native language, now finds herself at the forefront of keeping it alive.

“If you just think about it, my parents, if they go, then that’s going to be me right there who has to carry that on,” she said. “If I don’t have the knowledge that they had, that’s going to be it right there. So, I’m glad that we have students who want to learn the language, who want to keep that language.”

 



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These Are the Unhealthiest Jobs in America

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 6:57 am (UTC-4)
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(Photo by Flickr user wistechcolleges via Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Flickr user wistechcolleges via Creative Commons license)

Sure it’s lucrative, but being a dentist just might be the most unhealthy job in the United States, according to a list put together by Business Insider.

10 UNHEALTHIEST JOBS IN
THE UNITED STATES

1. Dentists, dental surgeons & dental assistants
2. Flight attendants
3. Anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists & assistants
4. Veterinarians, veterinary assistants and technicians
5. Podiatrists
6. Immigration and customs inspectors
7. Histotechnologists
8. Water & wastewater treatment plant operators
9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators
10. Surgical and medical assistants

Exposure to contaminants, disease and infections, along with long periods of time spent sitting, are the main factors that push dentists, dental surgeons and dental assistants, into the realm of the potentially least healthy.

Jenn-Marie Mann

Flight attendants have the second-most unhealthy job in the United States, according to a new survey. (AP Photo)

In fact, exposure to contaminants, disease and infections are key factors for most of the jobs listed in the top 10, (or bottom 10, depending on how you look at it).

Six of the 10 unhealthiest jobs — including anesthesiologists, podiatrists, histotechnologists and surgical personnel —  are related to the health care field.

Although flight attendants are used to flying high, they might be floored to learn their occupation is second on the list of unhealthy jobs, but it’s not because of potential crashes. Aside from exposure to contaminants, disease and infections, there’s the risk of minor burns, cuts, bites or stings.

Airline pilots rank 12th, due to exposure to radiation and contaminants, and because of time spent sitting. Recent studies show sitting for long periods of time can shorten a person’s lifespan.

Workers in oil and gas fields are 11th on the list, due to being exposed to hazardous conditions. People who work with nuclear equipment are 14th thanks to radiation, contaminants and hazardous conditions.

To come up with the list, Business Insider used data from a U.S. Department of Labor database containing detailed information on various occupations in the United States.

To assess each job’s impact on health, six risks were measured, including: exposure to contaminants; exposure to disease and infection; exposure to hazardous conditions; exposure to radiation; risk of minor burns, cuts, bites, and stings; and time spent sitting.

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Is ‘Fat’ the New Normal in America?

Posted November 6th, 2015 at 2:25 pm (UTC-4)
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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

“Fat” may be the new normal in the United States, according to WalletHub.

HIGHEST % OF PHYSICALLY INACTIVE RESIDENTS

1. Mississippi
2. Tennessee
3. Arkansas
4. Oklahoma
5. Louisiana

More than three-fourths of American adults are now either overweight or obese, according to a report that used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, for the first time ever, there are more obese Americans than there are people who are overweight. Obesity is defined as when 30 percent or more of a person’s body weight comes from fat.

Americans have gotten dramatically fatter over the last couple of decades and experts say there are a variety of reasons for that.

“This is obviously a reflection of a generation of decreased physical activity and changing diets that are not healthy,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health. “The biggest concern…is not just the number of people who are obese, but the large number of people who are suffering from severe obesity and that condition is where we see the most dire health consequences and can become life-threatening.”

More than one-fourth of Americans ages 6 and up were completely inactive in 2014, according to the Physical Activity Council. That means more than 28 percent of Americans didn’t participate in individual or team sports, didn’t go to the gym, or camp, or walk for exercise, or even stretch.

“The high rate of inactivity is fundamentally alarming. We have almost 83 million Americans living totally sedentary lives,” said council chairman Tom Cove in a press release.

The lack of physical activity, along with over-sized food portions, lack of access to healthy food, not getting enough sleep, and genetics, all contribute to being overweight or obese.

Source: WalletHub

In the graphic above, a rank of No. 1 corresponds to the state with the biggest weight problems.
Click on each state to see where it ranks.

The states with the most obese adult residents are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. The fewest obese adults are found in California, Utah, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Hawaii and Colorado.

When it comes to children, the highest obesity rates are found in Mississippi,  South Carolina, District of Columbia, Louisiana and Tennessee. The states with the lowest percentage of obese children are Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, New Jersey and Oregon.

A new analysis finds the severely obese cost the nation almost $69 billion in 2013.

“The good news is that in our annual reviews, we’re finding that obesity rates have become more stable among adults,” said Levi. “Only a handful of states have seen very small increase in the adult obesity rate. The bad news is that they are settling in at very high rates that have tremendous public health and quality of life consequences.”

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Why Middle-Aged White People Are Dying Faster Than Other Americans

Posted November 4th, 2015 at 6:01 am (UTC-4)
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(Photo by Flickr user Andy via Creative Commons license)

Middle-aged white people without a college degree are dying faster than other Americans, according to researchers from Princeton University. (Photo by Flickr user Andy via Creative Commons license)

Middle-aged white people without a college degree are dying faster than other Americans, according to researchers from Princeton University.

Thanks to medical advances and preventative measures, overall death rates in the United States have fallen in the last century. However, death rates for white people between the ages of 45 and 54 have increased by one-half a percent per year since 1998, said Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University. Deaton was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace for economics last month.

Case and Deaton believe drug and alcohol overdoses, as well as suicide, are behind the rise in midlife mortality.

Mortality by cause, white non-Hispanics ages 45–54 (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”)

Mortality by cause, white non-Hispanics ages 45–54 (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”)

“Midlife increases in suicides and drug poisonings have been previously noted,” the researchers wrote. “However, that these upward trends were persistent and large enough to drive up all-cause midlife mortality has, to our knowledge, been overlooked.”

People in this age group were more likely to report an increase in poor health as well as an increase in pain, including neck pain, facial pain, chronic joint pain, and sciatica.

The study found the hardest hit were those without a college degree. Death rates increased more than 20 percent from 1999 and 2013 for middle-aged people without a college education, while they actually fell for those who did earn a college degree.

Death rates for whites with only a high school diploma are the highest of any race or ethnic group at 736 per 100,000. That could suggest that setbacks at this stage of life — such as job loss or health concerns — could prove particularly difficult for this group of Americans.

“After the productivity slowdown in the early 1970s, and with widening income inequality, many of the baby-boom generation are the first to find, in midlife, that they will not be better off than their parents were,” the researchers wrote.

Whitedeath country comparison

Death rate for people aged 45–54: US White non-Hispanics (USW), US Hispanics (USH), and six comparison countries: France (FRA), Germany (GER), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada (CAN), Australia (AUS), and Sweden (SWE) (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”)

No other rich countries have experienced a similar trend, according to study. Since 1998, mortality rates in developed countries continued to drop by 2 percent each year while US white non-Hispanic mortality rose by half a percent a year.

MORE ABOUT AMERICA

(Photo by Flickr user John Althouse Cohen via Creative Commons license)
Americans Invent Some Pretty Creepy Stuff

An Italian immigrant - date unknown (William Williams papers /Augustus Sherman photographs/New York Public Library)

From Ireland to Mexico, Maps Show Changing Face of US Immigrants

The death rate for middle-aged blacks and Hispanics dropped during this same period and so did death rates for younger and older people across all race and ethnic groups.

However, while white death rates — including those with and without a college education —  are up, they’re still not as high as black death rates. There are about 415 deaths for every 100,000 white people in the 45-to-54 age group. For blacks, the rate is 581 for every 100,000.

Case and Deaton warn that today’s middle-aged Americans could age into Medicare in worse health than the nation’s current elderly, putting an increased strain on the American health care system.

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From Ireland to Mexico, Maps Show Changing Face of US Immigrants

Posted November 2nd, 2015 at 11:23 am (UTC-4)
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nypl.digitalcollections.510d47dc-453f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

German immigrants – circa 1860 (The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Germans.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860 – 1920)

From Ireland and Germany to Italy and Mexico, a new series of maps illustrates changing trends in immigration to the United States from 1850 until 2013.

The Pew Research Center graphics show the dominant immigrant groups in each state for every decade during that period.

The country’s first great wave of immigrants arrived from Ireland and Germany. In 1850, the Irish were the nation’s largest immigrant group, settling primarily on the East Coast and in Southern states.

Then came the Age of Mass Migration—from 1850 to 1913—one of the largest migration episodes in modern history, when almost 30 million immigrants moved to the United States.

At the time, American borders were completely open to European immigrants.

By the 1880s, the Germans were the nation’s largest foreign-born group in many Midwestern and Southern states.

An Italian immigrant - date unknown (William Williams papers /Augustus Sherman photographs/New York Public Library)

An Italian immigrant – date unknown (William Williams papers /Augustus Sherman photographs/New York Public Library)

In 1880, Chinese were the biggest immigrant group in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.

However, when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted their entry into the United States, other foreign-born groups overtook them in those states.

By the early 1900s, another great influx of immigrants arrived from Southern and Eastern Europe. The 1930s saw Italians become the largest foreign-born group in the country and in nine states, including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey and Nevada.

The make-up of immigrants changed again after 1965. Mexicans became the largest foreign-born group in the country by the 1980s, and by 2013 were the largest immigrant group in 33 states.

 

1850

1900

1950

2000

2013

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Americans Invent Some Pretty Creepy Stuff

Posted October 30th, 2015 at 8:45 am (UTC-4)
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(Photo by Flickr user John Althouse Cohen via Creative Commons license)

Americans invent some pretty creepy stuff and every Halloween the US Patent and Trademark Office looks through its archives, digging up some of the strangest, scariest and, often unsettling, inventions to come through the agency. (Photo by Flickr user John Althouse Cohen via Creative Commons license)

Americans invent some pretty creepy stuff and, every Halloween, the US Patent and Trademark Office looks through its archives, digging up some of the strangest, scariest and, often unsettling, inventions to come through the agency.

Americans celebrate Halloween every Oct. 31. Even though it’s a fun event that’s more about dressing up in costumes and going out to trick or treat for candy from neighbors and friends, the occasion has spooky origins. It may have evolved from traditions in England, Ireland and Scotland — where the Celts believed the dead could walk among the living during the transition between the seasons

The USPTO grants U.S. patents and registers trademarks which give authors and inventors exclusive rights to their writings and discoveries for a limited time.

Some of the discoveries these inventors assumed were worth stealing include a device that alerts people that you’re not quite dead in the event you are mistakenly buried alive.

An 1891 patent by William White of Topeka, Kansas for an Annunicator for the Supposed Dead.

An 1891 patent by William White of Topeka, Kansas for an Annunicator for the Supposed Dead.

And then there’s the coffin seat belt in case the ride in the hearse is a bumpy one.

Coffin seat belt

Coffin seat belt

The Spirit Message Conveying Device helps summon spirits and purports to cause less strain on the user when compared to similar devices.

Spirit Message Conveying Device

Spirit Message Conveying Device

In 1871, long before tamper-proof or children-safe medicine bottles, J. Harrison devised a spikey, not-very-safe-looking Precautionary Attachment for Bottles Containing Poison.

Precautionary Attachment for Bottles Containing Poison

Precautionary Attachment for Bottles Containing Poison

Dr. Thomas Holmes of Washington, D.C., patented a coffin/bodybag in 1863, during the Civil War.

Coffin/bodybag invented during the Civil War

Coffin/bodybag invented during the Civil War

A chin rest for the dead, patented by J.W. Sexton in 1893, could help corpses keep their chin up about no longer being alive.

Chin rest for the dead

Chin rest for the dead

W. Hanlon patented his version of a beheading block and ax in 1890.

Beheading block and ax

Beheading block and ax

The patented Shark Protector Suit from 1989 looks a little like a modern-day Halloween costume.

Shark protector suit

Shark protector suit

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Most Americans Think Science, Religion Conflict

Posted October 28th, 2015 at 8:25 am (UTC-4)
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(Photo by Flickr user Richard Howes via Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Flickr user Richard Howes via Creative Commons license)

A majority of Americans, 59 percent, believe science often conflicts with religion, while 38 percent say the two areas are mostly compatible

The most religious Americans are less likely to believe that religion and science conflict with each other, a new Pew Research poll finds.

People with no particular religious affiliation, or who are not religiously observant, are most inclined to think religion and science generally clash.

One of the biggest areas of contention involves how humans came to be. Two-thirds of Americans — 65 percent — say humans evolved over time.

Some see a contradiction between the Theory of Evolution — which holds that humans evolved from other animals over time — and core tenets of the Christian faith, particularly the belief that a supreme being created life and the Universe.

The debate over evolution and whether it should be taught to American schoolchildren was so heated that it eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court — the highest court in the United States.

In 1925, the southern state of Tennessee passed a bill banning the teaching of evolution at all of the state’s educational institutions. John Scopes, a high school science teacher in the state, challenged the law by teaching evolution to his students. He was arrested and convicted, only to have his conviction overturned by the state supreme court. The law was never enforced in Tennessee again.

PI_2015-10-22_religion-and-science_2-01The issue finally reached the U.S. Supreme Court 40 years later, after Susan Epperson, a Zoology teacher in Arkansas, challenged a state law that banned teaching students that “mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals.” In 1968, the Supreme Court, unanimously declared the Arkansas law unconstitutional.

Today, according to the Pew poll, about 1 in 3 Americans — 31 percent — think humans did not evolve and have always existed in their present form. White evangelical Protestants — 60 percent of them — are more likely than people in other major religious groups to believe this view.

However, 1 in 4 Americans — 24 percent — seems to believe in something of a gray area between evolution and creationism, saying human evolution occurred with the guidance of “a supreme being.”

That’s in keeping with a 2014 survey that studied the public’s beliefs about human origins in depth and found there were people who ascribed to a sort of  theistic evolutionism — the belief that God or a divine intelligence was somehow behind evolution.

“I was surprised at the level of sort of disarray over these beliefs,” said Jonathan Hill, assistant professor of Sociology at Calvin College, who conducted the study. “Their views are rather fragmented, so yes, they could affirm an Adam and Eve and at the same time affirm evolution…the real world and beliefs that people hold on this are very messy.”

Hill found that the more he drilled down and asked people about their views on creationism in greater detail, the less certain people were about historical claims in the bible.

“It tells me there are elites in society who are invested in one narrative or another,” Hill said. “They’re very articulate and they have a lot to gain, one way or another, about a particular narrative about human origins, but it does say that a large swathe of the public isn’t on board with either of those programs.”

US Melting Pot Influences Best Foods to Eat in Each State

Posted October 26th, 2015 at 9:46 am (UTC-4)
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Fried green tomatoes are the best food to eat in the U.S. state of Alabama, according to Business Insider. (AP Photo)

The US melting pot often influences the best foods to eat in each state. (Pictured) Fried green tomatoes in Alabama. (AP Photo)

From fried green tomatoes in Alabama to cheese curds in Wisconsin, the US melting pot influences a list of the best foods to eat in each U.S. state.

Drawing on recommendations from locals, Business Insider came up with the list, which also includes foods that can’t be found elsewhere in the country. Here’s a sampling.

California
The top food in California — a fish taco — is undoubtedly influenced by Mexico, its neighbor to the south as well as its large Latino community. California is home to the largest Hispanic population in the nation.

Fish tacos served at the Santa Cruz pier in California. (Photo by Flickr user m01229 via Creative Commons license)

Fish tacos served at the Santa Cruz pier in California. (Photo by Flickr user m01229 via Creative Commons license)

 

Delaware
In Delaware, it’s all about vinegar French fries. The potatoes are soaked in vinegar and then refrigerated before being fried.

Thrasher's fries (Photo by Flickr user bigbirdz via Creative Commons license)

Thrasher’s fries (Photo by Flickr user bigbirdz via Creative Commons license)

 

Hawaii
In Hawaii, where 16.7 percent of the population is of Japanese ancestry, spam musubi is the delicacy to try. Hawaiians were introduced to spam during World War II, and the Japanese who lived there used the pre-cooked, canned meat to develop this sushi roll made of grilled Spam, sticky rice, and nori seaweed.

Spam Musubi (Photo by Flickr user BDT via Creative Commons license)

Spam Musubi (Photo by Flickr user BDT via Creative Commons license)

 

Louisiana
New Orleans’ working-class specialty – the “Poor Boy” sandwich, is said to have been invented in 1929 to feed striking trolley car workers – the original “poor boys.” Generally known as the po’boy, the sandwich can be stuffed with roast beef and gravy, fried oysters or shrimp, spicy smoked sausage or any variation you can imagine.

Fried Oyster Po' boy sandwich (Photo by Flickr user buck82 via Creative Commons license)

Fried Oyster Po’ boy sandwich (Photo by Flickr user buck82 via Creative Commons license)

 

Missouri
Toasted ravioli is said to have originated when someone dropped ravioli in the deep fryer. No one knows for sure who invented it, but most believe this fried ravioli dish originated in “the Hill,” the Italian neighborhood of St. Louis. Today, less than 4 percent of the state’s population claims Italian ancestry, according to Ancestry & Ethnicity in America.

Toasted ravioli (Photo by Flickr user Liza Lagman Sperl via Creative Commons license)

Toasted ravioli (Photo by Flickr user Liza Lagman Sperl via Creative Commons license)

 

Oregon
This state is known for its berries. In particular, the marionberry’s complex flavor makes it a popular choice for pie fillings.

Marionberry pie (Photo by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig via Creative Commons license)

Marionberry pie (Photo by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig via Creative Commons license)

 

South Carolina
Shrimp and grits — fresh shrimp served with simmered milled corn — is a staple dish in South Carolina. Originally eaten for breakfast, there are several variations of the popular dish which can be served with different ingredients including bacon, garlic, lemon, mushrooms, sausage, tomato, butter sauce or a fried egg.

Shrimp and grits  with scallions, mushrooms and bacon over cheese grits, served at the Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Flickr user Wally Gobetz via Creative Commons license)

Shrimp and grits with scallions, mushrooms and bacon over cheese grits, served at the Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Flickr user Wally Gobetz via Creative Commons license)

 

South Dakota
Kuchen — the German word for “cake” — is the official state dessert of South Dakota. There are several varieties of this dish, including pie-like pastries, coffee cakes, cheesecakes and rolled pastries. People of German ancestry account for almost 44 percent of the state’s population.

Kuchen and coffee (Photo by Flickr user Gourmandise via Creative Commons license)

Kuchen and coffee (Photo by Flickr user Gourmandise via Creative Commons license)

 

Wisconsin
All cheese starts out as curds. In Wisconsin, these curds are deep-fried in beer batter and served with dipping sauces. Immigrants from Switzerland, Germany and other places in Europe, brought their cheese-making traditions with them to Wisconsin, which is the leading producer of cheese in the United States.

Fried cheese curds at the Wisconsin state fair (Photo by Flickr user Connie Ma via Creative Commons license.)

Fried cheese curds at the Wisconsin state fair (Photo by Flickr user Connie Ma via Creative Commons license.)

To see the complete list of the best foods to eat in each U.S. state, head over to Business Insider.

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