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Undisciplined: Social Disorder

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Kyle Garrity, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
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If you are a frequent participant in a social media community, you know what it’s like when someone new comes along and just doesn’t seem to understand or care about the established rules. But our guest this week wanted to know what happens when newcomers join spaces where the rules aren’t just very well established, but also really toxic.

Ashwin Rajadesingan is a third year PhD student at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, where his research is focused on computational social science and aimed at building better online communities. His new study explores how toxic cultures are maintained in specific social media groups.

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.