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Electoral psychology: Why people vote … or do not vote

According to some recent surveys, almost half of all United States citizens who are eligible to vote do not report to their polling stations to cast their ballots. In this Special Feature, we look at some of the psychological explanations behind voter apathy.Earlier this year, the Knight Foundation — who are a U.S.-based nonprofit —…

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According to some recent surveys, almost half of all United States citizens who are eligible to vote do not report to their polling stations to cast their ballots. In this Special Feature, we look at some of the psychological explanations behind voter apathy.Earlier this year, the Knight Foundation — who are a U.S.-based nonprofit — publicized the data they collected through The 100 Million Project. This is a large survey that aims to get to the root of why so many U.S. individuals choose not to vote.The Knight Foundation note that in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, around 43% of eligible voters did not cast their ballots.To find out why this was, The 100 Million Project surveyed “12,000 chronic nonvoters nationally and in 10 swing states,” as well as “a group of 1,000 active voters who consistently participate in national elections and a group of 1,000 young eligible voters (18–24 years old).”Based on the respondents’ answers, the Knight Foundation observed some common themes among many nonvoters. For example, they tended to lack conviction that their votes would count and feel under-informed about current social issues.In this Special Feature, we delve deeper into the psychology around voting and not voting to find out more about the driving factors behind civic engagement.If you would like to check your registration status or register to vote, we have added some useful links at the bottom of this article.First of all, who is most likely to vote? In terms of demographics, women have consistently had a higher turnout than men, and older adults are more likely to vote than younger adults.Although many issues, including health status, can influence whether or not a person decides to cast their vote, when it comes to psychological factors, things seem to be getting increasingly complicated.The field that studies the psychology of voting and not voting is called “electoral psychology,” and it looks at the factors that may influence an individual in their voting choices and whether or not they choose to vote at all.Such factors may include questions of personal identity, ethics, and emotional responses.One of the psychological characteristics that researchers have traditionally linked with a likelihood to vote is altruism.According to a study by Prof. Richard Jankowski, from the Department of Political Science at the State University of New York at Fredonia, “weak altruism is the single most important determinant of the decision to vote.”In his study, Prof. Jankowski used data from the National Election Survey Pilot Study in 1995 to see if he could find a link between various measures of “humanitarianism” and voter turnout.He found that people who demonstrated “weak altruism” — that is, those who are likely to engage in a certain act if it is likely to benefit someone else or at least cause no harm to someone else — were the most likely to cast their vote in elections.Other research also hypothesizes that, besides giving them a strong sense of civic duty, people may also choose to vote in order to maintain their social standing and connections.A 2016 study in the British Journal of Political Science seems to confirm that idea. Its authors found that civic engagement, including activities such as voting, tends to be viewed in a positive social light.Because of this, people may feel motivated to vote so as to reap the social reward of being well regarded by their community.On the other hand, which characteristics might correlate with a sense of apathy around civic engagement, including voting?In the book The American Nonvoter, Profs. Lyn Ragsdale and Jerrold Rusk — who are two political scientists from Rice University in Houston, TX — delve into that question.Looking at events from U.S. history that speak of the public’s political disengagement, Profs. Ragsdale and Rusk point out that an increased mistrust in politicians and their decisions led to “disillusionment over government legitimacy” in the context of the Vietnam War.“This mistrust […] led to an increase in nonvoting,” they write.Overall, Profs. Ragsdale and Rusk argue that the sense of uncertainty that voters experience during a political campaign can affect voter turnout during elections.“[The book’s] central premise is that uncertainty in the national campaign context affects how many people do not vote and who does not vote,” they explain.However, a 2017 study in the California Journal of Politics and Policy argues that mistrust in politicians or the government is not the only, or even the best, predictor of nonvoting behavior.Looking at data collected through statewide surveys in 2012–2014 by the Public Policy Institute of California, the study authors found a stronger correlation between nonvoting behavior and political disengagement.In other words, people who were less likely to be interested in politics were also less likely to vote. However, the study authors were unable to establish whether or not this relationship was causal and, if so, in what direction the causality might flow.According to the Behaviour Change Advisory Group of the British Psychological Society, there are also some other factors that researchers have linked to voter apathy.These include “diffusion of responsibility,” which refers to a person’s tendency to think that other people are better qualified to make certain decisions, and “evaluation apprehension,” which means that a person is afraid of being judged negatively for their actions.However, the Behaviour Change Advisory Group also note that there are often multiple psychological factors at play that may influence nonvoting behavior.“Many other studies in political psychology have looked at other reasons and factors that might affect voters’ behavior, such as self-efficacy (a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task), personality (conscientiousness and emotional stability), stress, voting history and habit, and even the location of voting can exert subtle influences.”As to what might change a person’s attitude to voting and motivate them to cast their ballot during elections, studies have zeroed in on a few key factors — all of which amounts to creating a positive emotional experience and reinforcing social bonds.A study from 2011, for instance, suggests that people are more likely to vote again if they feel a sense of accomplishment as given by an expression of gratitude from their community.Study author Prof. Costas Panagopoulos — who is a political scientist at Northeastern University in Boston, MA — conducted a series of “gratitude experiments,” in which a random subset of eligible voters received postcards that either encouraged them to cast their ballots in an upcoming election or expressed thanks that they had voted in a previous election.Prof. Panagopoulos found that those who had received a message of thanks had a higher voter turnout rate than those who had received reminder postcards or no postcards at all.“Making people feel good by reinforcing the notion that society is grateful for their participation in the political process reminds people that they have a role to play and reinforces their willingness to be responsive,” he explained in an interview.However, the prospect of social shame can also motivate people to demonstrate more civic engagement.In a previous study, from 2010, Prof. Panagopoulos conducted an experiment in which he sent random eligible voters from different states emails claiming either that lists of people who did not vote would be made public following elections or that lists of people who did vote would be made public and the voters’ engagement praised following elections.“The experimental findings suggest shame may be more effective than pride on average,” he concluded.Finally, a 2012 study in the journal Nature also suggested that close social ties are important in influencing whether or not people choose to vote.In this study, the investigators noticed that people were more likely to attend the polling station on election day if people they were close to had also expressed the intention to vote.Nevertheless, although a person’s psychology may indeed have a say in whether or not they choose to vote, factors related to social inequality and disempowerment weigh even more heavily as obstacles in the way of participating in this democratic process.Paradoxically, a first step toward addressing these inequities may simply be this: voting.To check your voter registration status, click here to visit the website of VoteAmerica, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout. They can also help you register to vote, vote by mail, request an absentee ballot, or find your polling place.
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Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale: Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy F41, More Receive Price Discounts

Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing…

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Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing the newly launched Galaxy F41. Separately, Samsung is hosting a festive season sale through its online store in India to offer deals and discounts on various accessories, wearables, and smart TVs.Discounts on Samsung phonesFlipkart is offering the Samsung Galaxy S20+ at a discounted price of Rs. 49,999 as a part of its Big Billion Days sale. It’s a discount of Rs. 28,000 on its current price of Rs. 77,999. If you’re looking for a Galaxy Note model, Flipkart also has the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ at Rs. 54,999, down from its retail price of Rs. 85,000.Flipkart will also sell the Samsung Galaxy F41 during the sale. As mentioned, customers will get an additional Rs. 1,000 discount on prepaid transactions and SBI customers can avail another 10 percent discount on it.Discounts on Samsung Galaxy Watch and Tablet A 8.0In addition to smartphones, Flipkart’s sale brings the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Wi-Fi only at Rs. 8,999 that normally retails at Rs. 9,999. Customers can also pick the Samsung Galaxy Watch 46mm Bluetooth variant at Rs. 11,990 — a discount of Rs. 8,000 on the current price of Rs. 19,990.Flipkart also has a Smart Upgrade Plan that lets customers purchase Samsung premium phones by paying 70 percent of their price. After a 12-month period, they will have the option to either upgrade to a new phone via Flipkart and return the initial phone purchased, or pay the 30 percent balance.The Flipkart Big Billion Days sale is currently live only for Flipkart Plus members. However, it will be available for regular customers starting Friday and will go on until October 21.Samsung is also hosting the festive sale through its online store in India that brings up to 40 percent discount on the Galaxy S20+, up to 60 percent discount on wireless chargers and JBL speakers, and up to 45 percent discount on various smart TVs including The Frame. There will also be up to 12.5 percent cashback for HDFC, ICICI, and SBI bank customers.The Samsung sale is live and will go on till November 16.Flipkart, Amazon have excellent iPhone 11, Galaxy S20+ sale offers, but will they have enough stock? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

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United States charges six Russian intelligence operatives with hacking

October 20, 2020 by Joseph Fitsanakis THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Justice has unsealed charges against six members of Russia’s military intelligence agency for allegedly engaging in worldwide computer hacking against several countries. The charges, announced in Pittsburgh on Monday, represent in a rare move that targets specific intelligence operatives and identifies them by name…

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October 20, 2020
by Joseph Fitsanakis

THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Justice has unsealed charges against six members of Russia’s military intelligence agency for allegedly engaging in worldwide computer hacking against several countries. The charges, announced in Pittsburgh on Monday, represent in a rare move that targets specific intelligence operatives and identifies them by name and visually. According to the US government, the six Russian operatives were instrumental in some of the most destructive and costly cyber-attacks that have taken place worldwide in the past five years.

The indictment alleges that the six Russian intelligence operatives were members of a hacker group named “Sandworm Team” and “Voodoo Bear” by cybersecurity experts. In reality, however, they were —and probably still are— employees of Unit 74455 of the Russian Armed Forces’ Main Intelligence Directorate, known as GRU. Their cyber-attacks employed the full resources of the GRU, according to the indictment. They were thus “highly advanced”, and were carried out in direct support of “Russian economic and national objectives”. At times, the group allegedly tried to hide its tracks and connections to the Russian government, by making it seem like its cyber-attacks were carried out by Chinese- and North Korean-linked hackers. However, according to the US government, its operations and targets were carried out “for the strategic benefit of Russia”.

The hacker group has been active since the end of 2015, and is alleged to have continued its operations until at least October of 2019. Alleged attacks include a major assault on the power grid of Ukraine in December of 2015, which left hundreds of thousands without electricity and heat. Other alleged attacks targeted the government of Georgia and the French national elections of 2017. The charges include alleged attacks on Western chemical laboratories that examined the toxic substance used in 2018 against former GRU officer Sergei Skripal in England.

Finally, some of the group’s alleged efforts centered on sabotaging the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Russian athletes were barred from the games, after the Russian government was accused of participating in wholesale doping of its Olympic team. Notably, none of the attacks connected with the group’s operations appeared to have directly targeted the United States —though some of the viruses that were allegedly unleashed by the group affected some American companies.

► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 October 2020 | Permalink

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Best coffee maker for 2020: Bonavita, Ninja, Oxo, Bunn and more – CNET

It’s hard to brew tasty coffee. Coffee grounds need to hit hot water for an optimal length of time. That water must be within a precise temperature range too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy. And the ones that don’t (which is the vast majority) serve pots that taste…

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It’s hard to brew tasty coffee. Coffee grounds need to hit hot water for an optimal length of time. That water must be within a precise temperature range too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy. And the ones that don’t (which is the vast majority) serve pots that taste truly awful.We’ve found some noteworthy exceptions on the market, so whether you want to brew perfect lattes, make iced coffee or turn coffee beans into the ideal cup of fresh coffee, you don’t need to spend a mint to get the best coffee maker. You can drop almost $500 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that’s as beautiful as it is capable, or on a programmable commercial coffee maker. But all it takes is $15 to get Oxo’s superb Single Serve Pour Over funnel.

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And there are plenty of compelling choices in between for a coffee lover’s brew. One is our Editors’ Choice winner, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup, our pick for best all-around automatic brewer. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve outstanding and dramatic results. No matter your budget, there’s a coffee machine on this list that’ll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you. We’ll periodically update the list with new products as we test them. We promise, you’ll never have to drink coffee from pods or an ancient coffee pot again.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker delivers SCA Golden Cup-rated coffee that tastes just as good coffee from our previous favorite, the Bonavita Connoisseur, but Oxo’s new brewer is more thoughtfully designed. This drip machine also comes with a special single cup filter basket for Kalita Wave filters. The Oxo Brew is compact, stylish, and also sturdy, plus it comes with a thermal carafe that doesn’t drip or spill. 

Read our Oxo 8 Cup Coffee Maker review.

Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless steel-lined thermal carafe whips up a large coffee pot of joe at astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink.

Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It’s hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer’s unique combination of spectacle and quality. It makes a coffee pot of distinctly rich, deep and seductively flavorful coffee. Its vintage brewing process, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction, is also mesmerizing to watch. No paper filters needed as the Siphon Brewer comes with a reusable stainless steel filter.

Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don’t always want the same cup. It can create everything from solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to iced coffee, to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot up to two hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in multiple sizes, from small cups all the way up to full carafes.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo’s cold brew coffee maker takes much of the headache out of the process. This Oxo Brew coffee maker saturates coffee grounds evenly and lets you drain cold brewed coffee from them into its glass carafe with relative ease.

Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Delicious coffee and great tasting drip from a product that costs just $15? It sounds unlikely but that’s just what the affordable Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over offers. It only makes coffee one drink at a time and requires you to provide the hot water. That said, the simple brewer transforms the otherwise complex task of pour-over into one that’s easy, clean and almost foolproof.

Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Judging by the Ratio Eight appliance, the people at Ratio believe that a coffee maker should be beautiful as well as functional. Starting at $495, each brewer is crafted from a selection of premium materials like walnut, mahogany and glass. (Both the water reservoir and carafe are made from hand-blown glass.) Their sturdy aluminum bases are available in numerous finishes as well. And yes, the Ratio Eight with its glass carafe also makes excellent drip.  

Read our Ratio Eight review.

Megan Wollerton/CNET

Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster KBT 741 drip coffee machine sports a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, the year the first Moccamaster hit stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently puts out perfect freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. Its stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot a full six hours.

Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.

A note on testing coffee makers Evaluating the performance of a coffee maker is trickier than it might sound. The first step is to know what good drip coffee actually is. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, there are criteria critical to brewing quality java. Mainly these are brewing time and water temperature. Hot water should come into contact with grounds for no less than four minutes and no longer than eight. Additionally, the ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96C). To confirm how each coffee maker meets that challenge, we log the length of their brew cycles. We also employ thermocouple heat sensors connected to industrial-grade data loggers. That enables us to record the temperature within the coffee grounds while brewing is underway. We measure the temperature inside the brewing chamber of every coffee maker we test.
Brian Bennett/CNET
After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given we factor in the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, that data lets us calculate the Total Dissolved Solids percentage of each brew. From there we arrive at the extraction percentage. The ideal range is commonly thought to be between 18 and 20%. We also back up measured data with a good, old fashioned taste test. If the taste of a cup of coffee is bitter, there’s a good chance it was over extracted during the drip. On the opposite end, an under extracted cup of coffee will typically taste weak — it can even taste sour or have the flavor of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to achieve average results. More coffee recommendations

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