Chewing the Facts: Gender Gap, Gut Decisions, and Plastic Skin.

Chewing the Facts is a round up of recent news for Moxy readers to chew on and chat about at their after-work cocktails or during mid-day coffee breaks. Published twice a month, this brain candy is meant to create an open conversation about the things happening in our world today.

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Yes, Virginia, (And Florida and Ohio and Connecticut) There IS a Gender Gap.

One of the things the 2012 presidential election revealed is that news of the death of the gender gap in American politics has been greatly exaggerated.

Even before the election, in fact, statisticians and pollsters — among them the seemingly prophetic Nate Silvers — pointed to evidence that the gender gap is alive and quite well today.

As early as October 21, Silver, on the FiveThirtyEight blog, extrapolated a national 18 point gender gap between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney; the former with a 9 point lead over women, and the latter with a nine point lead over men. (Read more at msmagazine.com.)

Going with Your Gut

If someone told you that making a decision on instinct alone would provide you with the more positive outcome nine out of ten times, would you believe them? That stunning figure is not mere hyperbole; it is a result of early stage research on the subject of instincts or gut feelings.

Professor Marius Usher of Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences conducted a series of experiments recently, wherein subjects were required to make a choice when provided with limited information regarding all options. 90 percent of the subjects selected the more advantageous option based solely on instinct. (Read more at Eureka Alert.)

America is Not Falling Off a “Fiscal Cliff”

Since the re-election of President Obama, a large amount of time has been spent by those in the media and government warning the public (and one another) about the dangers of the nation flying off a so-called “fiscal cliff,” a slate of discretionary spending cuts that is set to take effect on the first of the year.

The cuts and other modifications were created last August in a last-ditch effort to solve the debt ceiling debate between the Congress and President. Despite the doomsday predictions, however, many outside of Washington are informing the American people that the so-called “cliff” is more rhetorical device than actual tipping point. (Read more at Salon.com.)

Touch-sensitive Plastic Skin Heals Itself

A major breakthrough in the creation of practical artificial skin has been made by chemical engineers at Stanford.

A team led by Professor Zhenan Bao has come up with a prototype substance that is both sensitive to pressure and able to heal itself, repeatedly, when damaged.

Previous attempts to create artificial skin have been met with a multitude of obstacles. Some versions have been able to heal, but only once and others function only in extreme heat. The latest version of the substance can operate properly at room temperature. (Read more at Eureka Alert.)

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