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A new study from Stanford and Cornell shows that anyone can become an online troll if the conditions are right. Their findings:

  • Cranky people are prone to trolling: The researchers gave participants a test, either very easy or impossibly difficult, sat them down in front of an online forum with either neutral or negative posts, and asked them to make a post of their own. No surprise: the people who took the difficult test and saw negative posts were nearly twice as likely to troll as the participants who took the easy test and saw neutral posts.
  • Trolls beget trolls: Troll posts were most common at times when people were likely to be in a bad mood, like early in the week or late at night. And if one person trolls, that post is more likely to spawn more and more troll posts. One of the researchers: "It's a spiral of negativity."
  • Context is the best predictor: More than a user's previous history or someone's mood, the easiest way to predict trolling was whether the previous post was also a troll post. So even though some people might be predisposed to troll, they're more likely to engage if others have already kicked things off.

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Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines
  4. Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  5. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  6. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  7. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  8. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The 2020 holiday season may just kill Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Online retail and e-commerce have been chipping away at brick-and-mortar businesses over the years but the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 holiday season may prove to be a knockout blow.

State of play: Anxious consumers say financial concerns and health worries will push them to spend less money this year and to do more of their limited spending online.

California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.