Obama’s farewell address: inspiring words, familiar themes, and a ‘primer on democracy’

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama deliv­ered his farewell address Tuesday night, which served as a hopeful goodbye and a call to action, urging Amer­i­cans to bring about pos­i­tive change and stand up to threats that chal­lenge democ­racy. We spoke with polit­ical experts William Crotty and Nick Beauchamp for their reactions.

3Qs: What can we expect in the new congressional session?

The latest leg­isla­tive ses­sion is only hours old, but already wrought with con­tro­versy. Nicholas Beauchamp, an expert in U.S. pol­i­tics, says this is only the begin­ning, and advises onlookers to keep an eye out for ten­sion, dis­cord, and the deploy­ment of uncon­ven­tional polit­ical tac­tics over the coming year.

A victory and an uncertain future at Standing Rock

Protests over laying the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota rep­re­sent more than just a fight over water– and land rights; the move­ment rep­re­sents “a recal­i­bra­tion of what it means to be more fully human in this modern world,” one uni­ver­sity expert says. Here, we take a look at this com­plex issue from three angles—the pol­i­tics, protests, and people of Standing Rock.

Fidel Castro’s death, his legacy, and what is next for US-​​Cuban relations

Fidel Castro, the Cuban rev­o­lu­tionary and con­tro­ver­sial global figure who defied the U.S. for decades, died Friday. “Castro is one of the tow­ering fig­ures of the Modern Era,” said pro­fessor José Buscaglia, a pio­neer in study abroad pro­grams by Amer­ican insti­tu­tions to Cuba. Here, Buscaglia and polit­ical sci­ence expert William Crotty reflect on Castro’s life and legacy.

A guide to the 2016 Massachusetts ballot questions

This year, besides choosing a pres­i­dent, Mass­a­chu­setts voters will have the chance to weigh in on statewide ballot ques­tions on four topics: slot machines, charter schools, live­stock, and mar­i­juana. Here’s what you should know about each of them.

Researchers link Facebook activity to living longer

Northeastern’s William R. Hobbs and col­leagues sug­gest that Face­book use is asso­ci­ated with longer life, par­tic­u­larly if the time spent online is mod­erate and the user’s online activ­i­ties reflect strong social inter­ac­tions in the offline world.

Millennials, shaped by ‘a nation in distress,’ pose a unique challenge to presidential candidates

Millennials—the gen­er­a­tion born between 1981 and 2001—have largely grown up in a post-​​9/​11, Great Recession-​​battered America: a cli­mate that has left them with stag­gering debt and a dis­trust of estab­lished sys­tems, argued Boston Globe jour­nalist Evan Horowitz at this week’s Open Class­room. These voters, he said, could be a major influ­ence in the pres­i­den­tial election.

Study: Using Big Data to monitor societal events shows promise, but the coding tech needs work

Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor David Lazer and his col­leagues ana­lyzed global-​​scale data­bases of news events and found them wanting. Their rec­om­men­da­tions for improve­ments would enable researchers to build models antic­i­pating every­thing from the esca­la­tion of con­flicts to the pro­gres­sion of epidemics.

Who are we? And who belongs here?’ Panel tackles pertinent immigration questions

A team of fac­ulty experts exam­ined Amer­ican atti­tudes about immi­gra­tion during a panel dis­cus­sion on Wednesday. Sen­ti­ments of accepting then rebuking immi­grants has long been a pat­tern throughout Amer­ican his­tory, they said, though the tone of the rhetoric during this pres­i­den­tial race is new.

Want the most telling presidential polling data? Professor says turn to Twitter

Knowing society’s con­stant demand for imme­diate, real-​​time infor­ma­tion, assis­tant pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence Nick Beauchamp devel­oped a model that uses tweets to gauge public opinion of can­di­dates more quickly than tra­di­tional polls.