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Americans Don’t Want Gun-Owning Neighbors


Friday, April 12th, 2024


This week’s core story is about: Gun-owning neighbors.


The consumer price index (CPI) rose 3.5% in March, topping expectations and pushing inflation higher. The CPI rose 0.4% for the month, putting the 12-month rate at 3.5%, according to new data from the Labor Department. The figure topped Dow Jones estimates of a 0.3% monthly gain and 3.4% year-over-year level.

Most of the Colorado River’s annual flow is being used for beef and dairy cows. Alfalfa used to feed the cattle now soaks up more than half of the river’s annual flow, more than the amount used by all cities and industries in the massive Colorado River Basin, according to a new study by Sustainable Waters.

Around one-quarter (23%) of U.S. teachers say their school went into a gun-related lockdown in the last school year. A majority (59%) of public K-12 teachers also report being at least somewhat worried about a shooting happening at their school, including 18% who are extremely or very worried, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

Researchers may be using AI to evaluate others’ work. Up to 17% of peer-reviewed reports may have been substantially modified by AI tools like ChatGPT, according to a new study posted on the arXiv preprint server by researchers at Stanford University. Reminder: preprint studies have yet to be peer reviewed and accepted for publication by an academic journal.

Americans Don’t Want Gun-Owning Neighbors


A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the State University of New York at Albany asked U.S. adults to choose which types of neighbors they would prefer to live near based on a variety of characteristics, finding Americans don’t want to live near people who own guns.

What to know: 

Compared to households that don’t own guns, the study found the probability that respondents would choose to live near a neighbor dropped by 9 percentage points if that potential neighbor owned a pistol. 

  • The effect of a potential neighbor owning an AR-15 was even larger, with the probability plummeting by over 20 percentage points. 

  • While most characteristics of neighbors (e.g., gender, relationship status, income, etc.) indeed affected the probability that people would choose to live near them, the researchers found owning an AR-15 was “the single best predictor of respondents’ aversion to having someone as a neighbor.” 

Why it matters: 

Interestingly, respondents’ preference for no-gun neighbors was consistent across groups, including those that are traditionally pro-gun, like Republicans and current gun owners. 

  • Regarding potential neighbors who owned an AR-15, members of traditionally pro-gun groups were around 5 to 16 percentage points less likely to choose to live near them.

  • Even when it came to potential neighbors who owned only a pistol, members of pro-gun groups were still largely indifferent to the idea of living near them, exhibiting no preference.

Overall, the study found “there was not a single group that exhibited a significant preference for living near gun owners, and every group was uncomfortable with AR-15-owning neighbors.”



Americans’ Opinions of Government Have Grown More Negative Since 2019

A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows, while Americans rate their state and local governments more positively than the federal government, favorability of all three levels is down from a few years prior.

Declining positivity: 

  • The survey found 50% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of their state government, down from 54% in 2022 and 59% in 2019, while 61% rate their local government positively, down from 66% in 2022 and 69% in 2019.

  • At the same time, just 22% of Americans today have a favorable opinion of the federal government, down from 32% in 2022 and 2019, respectively. 




The Urban-Rural Death Divide Has Skyrocketed in Recent Decades

A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found rural Americans are dying from natural causes, like chronic diseases and cancers, at staggeringly higher rates than their same-age peers living in urban areas, observing especially stunning increases in recent decades. 

Growing gap: 

  • The report analyzed data from two three-year periods (1999 through 2001 and 2017 through 2019), finding the natural-cause mortality rate in 2019 for Americans ages 25 to 54 living in rural areas was around 43% higher than that of urban dwellers, a massive increase from around just 6% in 1999.

  • The researchers found the widening gap was driven by rapid growth in the number of rural women dying from treatable or preventable diseases, with women living in the most rural areas experiencing an 18% increase in natural-cause mortality over the study period, while men only saw a 3% increase.



Michal Collection

Africa Is No Longer the World’s Carbon Sink

A new study by researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa found, in just nine years from 2010 to 2019, the continent of Africa has gone from being a net carbon sink to a net carbon source.

Lost sink: 

  • The study found that while Africa is still taking up just as much greenhouse gasses (GHG) as it has in the past (its “sink capacity”), the amount of emissions from anthropogenic (human-caused) sources has increased so much that the net effect is the continent is now releasing GHGs.

  • Globally, Africa still accounts for only around 4% of fossil fuel emissions, however, the researchers say it now emits nearly 40% of the total global emissions from land use and around 5% of the growing amount of GHGs in the atmosphere.


Glasses Could Boost Earning Power in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

A new study by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast in the U.K. found giving reading glasses to people with presbyopia (the loss of close-up vision) in developing countries can reduce poverty.  

  • The study included 824 people over the age of 35 in Bangladesh, half of whom were given reading glasses immediately while the other half got them eight months later. 

  • After the study period, the researchers found the median monthly income of the glasses group increased by around 33% (from $35.30 to $47.10), identifying several participants who previously couldn’t work due to poor eyesight that were able to rejoin the workforce. 

Why it matters:

Presbyopia is a common condition that happens to almost all humans as they age, typically starting around age 50, and usually results in the need for reading glasses.

  • The present study builds on research finding the development of presbyopia among people in poorer areas can lead to reduced income since reading glasses aren’t as readily available.

  • The authors note the average cost of the reading glasses was $3 to $4, making them a cost-effective intervention to improve the quality of life for a large number of people.


  • 40% - The year-over-year increase in deforestation in the Colombian Amazon in the first quarter of 2024, according to the country’s environment ministry. The increase likely ends a trend in declining deforestation in the region since 2022.


Long Video. What could the Earth look like 300 million years from now? (12 min) 

Short Video. Get the scoop on Disney’s omni-directional HoloTile floor. (5 min)

Fun Video. Learn how NASA used lasers to beam a cat video 19 million miles into space. (3 min)

Good Read. A quick read about Georges-Louis Leclerc, the French aristocrat who understood evolution a century before Darwin. (822 words; 3 min)

Neat List. Check out 11 winning images from this year’s Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest.


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Written by Ryan Wittler