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“Momfluencers” Can Negatively Impact Motherhood


Friday, April 5th, 2024


This week’s core story is about: Momfluencers.


Just 57 companies are responsible for 80% of all fossil fuel and cement carbon emissions since 2016. Going back even further, 70% of fossil fuel and cement CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution can be traced to just 78 corporate and state entities, according to a new report by think tank InfluenceMap. 

The U.S. was the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) in 2023. The U.S. exported an average of 11.9 billion cubic feet of LNG per day last year, up 12% from 2022, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration. 

California is entering the spring with its snowpack at 110% of its historical average. The state’s reservoirs are also in good shape heading into the upcoming dry months, with 11 of the state’s 12 major reservoirs currently storing more than 100% of their average.

NASA will create a standard time for the Moon. A White House directive issued this week orders the agency to work with other parts of the federal government to create a standard by the end of 2026 for what it calls “Coordinated Lunar Time.”

“Momfluencers” Can Negatively Impact Motherhood


A new study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found exposure to idealized portrayals of motherhood on social media can negatively impact mothers who have a tendency to compare themselves to others.

What to know: 

The researchers found mothers with higher social comparison orientation (or a greater tendency to compare themselves to others) are more negatively impacted by idealized portrayals of motherhood on social media (e.g., a clean house, happy kids, dinner made each night, etc.) than those with lower social comparison orientation.  

  • More specifically, moms with a greater tendency to compare themselves to others were more likely to perceive their parenting competence as low when exposed to idealized portrayals on social media (by so-called “momfluencers”). 

  • In effect, the idealized portrayals caused these mothers to feel less confident about their own parenting abilities.

The present study builds on previous work by the same lead researcher that found exposure to idealized portrayals of motherhood increased anxiety and envy among new moms.

  • The present study included 464 new moms who were shown Instagram posts and surveyed to gauge their social comparison orientation, self-esteem, perceived parental competence, life satisfaction, and more.

Why it matters: 

Lead author Ciera Kirkpatrick believes the idealized portrayals could be especially impactful for new moms.

  • “I have lots of examples of postpartum moms showing off their ‘must-haves’ – a $1,000 bassinet or a $300 bottle washer, these really expensive things – and that likely creates pressure on moms,” said Kirkpatrick. “Or the ‘typical day’ videos that show a postpartum mom meal planning or cleaning their house every night. That just feeds into the pressure.”



GLP-1 Drugs May Help Slow Parkinson’s Disease

A new study by researchers at the Universities of Bordeaux and Toulouse in France suggests the rising class of GLP-1 drugs, like Ozempic and Wegovy, may help people living with Parkinson’s disease. 

Small but mighty: 

  • The study included 156 people with Parkinson’s who were randomly assigned to take the GLP-1 drug lixisenatide or a placebo for one year, finding symptoms like tremors, stiffness, slowness, and balance worsened in the placebo group but not the group taking the drug.

  • Experts describe the improvements observed in the study as “encouraging” for people living with Parkinson’s disease, but caution that the findings are modest and further work will be needed before making any changes in clinical practice. 




U.S. Landfills Emit More Methane than Previously Believed

A new study by researchers at Carbon Mapper and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found U.S. landfills emit methane at 2.7 times the rate reported to federal regulators, adding to the growing body of evidence that landfills are significant drivers of climate change.

Big emitters: 

  • The researchers performed aerial surveys of around 20% of the nation’s 1,200 landfills, detecting emissions hot spots at 52% of sites, “far exceeding” the 0.2% to 1% detection rate observed at oil and gas infrastructure in California and Texas’s Permian Basin. 

  • The researchers say their work reveals the need for a comprehensive monitoring strategy for methane emissions at U.S. landfills, as the sites are the nation’s third-largest source of human-caused methane emissions



Secure World Foundation

Russia and China Are Catching Up to the U.S. in Space Weaponry

A new report by the Secure World Foundation shows Russia and China are quickly catching up to the U.S. in key counterspace capabilities, like electronic warfare and situational space domain awareness, shedding light on the growing space arms race between the three superpowers.

Space weapons: 

  • The report, which is compiled from publicly available information, found Russia and China have made significant strides in space-based electronic warfare in recent years, including technologies that can jam electrical signals or otherwise disable foreign satellites. 

  • Russia in particular has embarked on an ambitious set of programs since 2010 aimed at regaining offensive counterspace capabilities, including surveillance and tracking programs, and “at least some” activities which are of a “weapons nature.”


DNA Analysis Identified Relatives of George Washington from Unmarked Remains, Helping Identify Service Members Going Back to WWII

A new study by researchers at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used a new DNA sequencing technology to identify the remains of George Washington’s grandnephews, Samuel Walter Washington and George Steptoe Washington Jr., and their mother, Lucy Payne Washington.

  • Without getting lost in the weeds, the researchers performed a range of DNA tests on unmarked bone fragments left at the Harewood family cemetery in Charles Town, West Virginia in the mid-1800s, along with samples from a living descendant, to confirm the suspected identities of the recovered remains.

  • The findings shed light on a long-standing mystery surrounding our first president’s younger brother, Samuel, and his children, and provide the first patrilineal DNA map for Washington, who had no children of his own.

Opening doors:

The researchers say their work opens the door for new ways of positively identifying the remains of service members lost in previous conflicts whose remains contain only heavily degraded DNA.

  • “Very importantly, these methods will allow us to expand our pool of viable family reference sample donors to 3rd and 4th degree relatives in an effort to increase the number of DNA-assisted identifications, particularly those of past conflicts such as World War II, Korea, Cold War, and Southeast Asia/Vietnam,” said study author Charla Marshall.


  • $1.46 million - How much U.S. adults think they’ll need to retire comfortably, up 53% since 2020, according to a new survey by Northwestern Mutual. The survey also found Americans today have an average of $88,400 saved for retirement.

  • $45.6 trillion - The combined wealth of America’s top 1% of earners (those with more than $11 million in assets) at the end of 2023, adding $2 trillion in the fourth quarter alone, according to new data from the Federal Reserve. 


Long Video. Here are the climate solutions actually worth funding. (10 min)

Short Video. Learn about the Scottish village nestled in the Italian Alps. (4 min)

Fun Video. Learn how we’re already using AI far more than you might think. (7 min)

Good Read. Meet baseball’s official historian and learn how he dug up the game’s unknown origins. (1,741 words; 7 min)

Neat List. Check out a new ranking of universities based on open-access research that placed six Chinese institutions in the top 10.


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Written by Ryan Wittler