It’s an unfamiliar neighborhood and you find yourself in the middle of a bunch of streets and buildings you’ve never seen before. Giving the environment a quick once-over, you make a snap decision about whether you’re safe or not. And chances are, that first "gut" call is the right one.
Evolutionary biologists Dan O’Brien and David Sloan Wilson set out to test whether we do indeed have the capacity to judge urban neighborhood safety just by looking at physical structures. It turns out that we do. They showed participants a selection of photos taken in unfamiliar neighborhoods and then asked them to rate what they perceived the social quality in each of these environments might be, especially when it came to crime. When the responses were compared to the results of a previous study they conducted in which participants were asked to rate their OWN neighborhoods, the ratings were similar. If an outsider thought a neighborhood looked safe, people actually living there were able to verify it. In other words, the hunches had been correct.
Walking down a street in Japan, would you have a hunch that some of the cement used in the sidewalks and buildings might be radioactive? On his website, Chris Martenson reports that radioactive ashes from debris taken from the Fukushima power plant have been recycled for use in cement for other Japanese buildings, and aerial scans show strange "glows" coming from some new buildings. After the Master of the Key told Whitley about climate change, he learned that coastal cities might drown. Get the new, UNCENSORED version of The Key–in bookstores NOW! (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show).