Editor's note

In the wake of civil unrest and violence at The University of Virginia last weekend, university administrators are understandably wary of similar violence occurring at their own schools this fall. Legal scholars Neal Hutchens and Kerry Melear take a look at the current state of campus carry laws, including the eleven states that will require universities to permit concealed guns on campus.

With the fate of Confederate statues now causing political turmoil, our scholars explore all sides of the debate.

We have coverage from around the world in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Europe this week and UCLA historian James L. Gelvin looks at “the new ideas emerging about how and why men are attracted to IS.”

And for a more hopeful perspective, on World Humanitarian Day, as we remember those who risk their lives to serve others, Indiana University’s David King examines the role of religion in motivating people to do so.“It is true that too often,” he writes, “faith appears to serve as the motivation for exclusion, bigotry and hate” but it also drives people to “volunteer more, give more, and give more often.”

Kaitlyn Chantry


Top story

Eleven states now have some sort of law permitting guns on college campuses. Lucio Eastman (Free State Project)

More states are allowing guns on college campuses

Neal H. Hutchens, University of Mississippi; Kerry B. Melear, University of Mississippi

More and more states are passing legislation requiring that students and faculty be permitted to carry concealed weapons on campus. But shouldn't universities have a choice when it comes to campus safety?

Politics + Society

How much longer will Maduro's grip on power last? Look to the military

David Pion-Berlin, University of California, Riverside

The loyalty of Venezuela’s soldiers is getting shaky. History shows from the Arab Spring to Latin American coups, when the military withdraws support for a leader, a fall from power is imminent.

How a British royal's monumental errors made India's partition more painful

Adil Najam, Boston University

The partition of India led to a genocide that was unprecedented in scale. How far was one man, Lord Mountbatten, who hurriedly drew the new borders, responsible?

Are Islamic State recruits more street gang members than zealots?

James L. Gelvin, University of California, Los Angeles

With terrorists striking again in Spain and in Finland, one cannot help but ask -- again -- why people want to follow the Islamic State. Some new theories are emerging.

Charlottesville attack shows homegrown terror on the right is on the rise

Arie Perliger, University of Massachusetts Lowell

The United States is seeing an uptick in far-right extremist violence. It's time to pay more attention to this scourge and its causes.

Science + Technology

End-to-end encryption isn't enough security for 'real people'

Megan Squire, Elon University

Governments' efforts to weaken communications security undermine and distract from the need to protect the real weak points in our online communications.

Tracing the sources of today's Russian cyberthreat

Dorothy Denning, Naval Postgraduate School

The Russian cyberthreat goes back over three decades, extends into the country's educational systems and criminal worlds, and shows no signs of letting up.

Does biology explain why men outnumber women in tech?

Alice H. Eagly, Northwestern University

Here's what research actually says about differences between males and females – and the question of what's innate and what's acquired.

Voyager Golden Records 40 years later: Real audience was always here on Earth

Jason Wright, Pennsylvania State University

Humanity is the real target for these recordings which continue to inspire us to better understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

Economy + Business

Trump's threat to withdraw from NAFTA may hit a hurdle: The US Constitution

Tim Meyer, Vanderbilt University

As the Trump team begins renegotiating NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, a key plank in its strategy – a threat to withdraw – may be a hollow one.

How union stakes in ailing papers like the Chicago Sun-Times may keep them alive

Marick Masters, Wayne State University

Giving labor unions a financial stake in a company such as a newspaper can offer unique advantages that could benefit employees, society and the bottom line.

Health + Medicine

Why social smoking can be just as bad for you as daily smoking

Bernadette Melnyk, The Ohio State University

About one in 10 Americans say they sometimes smoke, often in social settings. Many think it's not so bad for them. A new study has some scary findings, when it comes to matters of the heart.

Why state-level single-payer health care efforts are doomed

Simon Haeder, West Virginia University

With Obamacare in peril and no health care plan in sight, it's logical to ask whether states could design their own single-payer health insurance plans. Efforts in California show why it's unlikely.

The hidden stories of medical experimentation on Caribbean slave plantations

Londa Schiebinger, Stanford University

Slaves were involved in medical experimentation in the 1700s – both as sources of knowledge and as nonconsenting participants.

Are you lonesome tonight? Why we, like Elvis, turn to food for comfort

Melissa Wdowik, Colorado State University

Perhaps no one entertainer from the 20th century influenced pop culture as much as Elvis. And yet, by his own admission, the King turned to food for comfort. Here's why food takes on added meaning.


The legal threat to diversity on campus

Liliana M. Garces, University of Texas at Austin

For colleges and universities that lack the multi-billion-dollar endowments of schools like Harvard, the mere threat of legal action may be enough to put an end to race-conscious admissions policies.

How parents can help their freshman teens cope with stress

Chris Palmer, American University School of Communication

School can always be stressful, but starting high school for the first time comes with its own fears and anxieties. Here's some simple advice for parents to help their freshmen navigate the new year.

Environment + Energy

Harvard study strengthens link between breast cancer risk and light exposure at night

Richard G. "Bugs" Stevens, University of Connecticut

Study uses satellite data to add to growing evidence that nighttime light exposure raises risk of breast cancer, with the strongest link among young women.

How safe is chicken imported from China? 5 questions answered

Maurice Pitesky, University of California, Davis

China has started exporting cooked chicken meat to the United States. Is it safe to eat? An agriculture extension specialist discusses possible concerns about food safety and contamination.

Red team-blue team? Debating climate science should not be a cage match

Richard B. Rood, University of Michigan

Why assembling two teams to debate climate change is all about political spectacle and sowing doubt – and has nothing to do with actual climate science.

Bait and switch: Anchovies eat plastic because it smells like prey

Matthew Savoca, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A new study shows that anchovies – key food for larger fish – are attracted to plastic trash because it smells like food. This suggests that toxic substances in plastic could move up through food chains.

Arts + Culture

The Confederate statue debate: 3 essential reads

Nick Lehr, The Conversation

Should they stay or should they go?

How subversive artists made thrift shopping cool

Jennifer Le Zotte, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Over the past 100 years, discarded and secondhand goods have been used by artists to reject mainstream aesthetics.

Ethics + Religion

How religion motivates people to give and serve

David King, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Religious values, deeply rooted in texts, serve as an important motivator for giving. Religious Americans volunteer more, give more, and give more often.

Explaining polygamy and its history in the Mormon Church

Joanna Brooks, San Diego State University

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, taught that a righteous man could help numerous women and children go to heaven by being 'sealed' in plural marriage. Norms have been revised, but tensions remain.

Today’s quote

If plastic looks and smells interesting to fish, it will be very hard for them to discern that is it not food...Our consume-and-dispose culture is coming back to haunt us via the fish we eat.


Bait and switch: Anchovies eat plastic because it smells like prey

Matthew Savoca

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Matthew Savoca