In The Pipeline

Some social science for your weekend: #TDOPicks of the week

Editor’s Note: On weekends we bring you #TDOPicks – our picks for the best social science features we’ve found on the Internet this week. We feature a variety of content aimed at both the layman and the social science professional. Tell us what you’re reading or watching by tweeting @theDailyOpium with #TDOPicks or posting links on our Facebook page.

“Why the French Love the Golden Arches,” Matt Goulding, Slate.

Does globalization necessarily entail the creeping homogenization of the world’s taste buds? The case of McDonald’s in France and other non-US markets provides an interesting dissenting case:

More and more, the key to McDonald’s future appears to be found in the DNA of the places it inhabits. And with it, suddenly the fast-food giant that to many represents the globalization of taste suddenly finds itself in a very unlikely position: as a defender of local cuisine.

“40 maps that explain the world,” Max Fisher, Washington Post.

An excellent data dump of 40 maps that you may not have seen at school.

“A reminder about ‘literally,'” David Haglund, Slate.

Is the “new” use of “literally” really a bastardization of the language? You may be surprised:

He points out people have used literally as an intensifier for statements that were not literally true since at least the late 18th century. And it wasn’t just anyone using the word this way: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain—any number of respectable writers have thus employed literally.

“George Orwell’s letter on why he wrote ‘1984,’” The Daily Beast.

A window into the uncertain times of the early 20th Century: George Orwell warns of the dangers of totalitarianism and leader-worship in a letter to a reader.

I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers° of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means.

“New meta-analysis checks the correlation between intelligence and faith,” Akshat Rathi, Ars Technica.

“Are more religious people more likely to be less intelligent?” On balance, what does the literature about this question really tell us? A new analysis of the many studies may have the answer.