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As more debates in American politics become constitutional questions, effective citizens must engage in constitutional interpretation. While most Americans venerate the Constitution as a part of a national, civil religion, levels of constitutional knowledge are also very low. In this paper, we analyze how ordinary Americans approach the task of constitutional interpretation. An analysis of two cross-sectional surveys indicates constitutional hermeneutics are a product of political factors, religious affiliation, and biblical interpretive preferences. We also present the results of a survey experiment where the manipulation of a clergy's interpretation of a biblical passage affects how respondents interpret both scripture and the Constitution, providing a potential causal mechanism for learning how to engage in hermeneutics.
An insect trap constructed using three-dimensional (3D) printing technology was tested in potato (Solanum tuberosum Linnaeus; Solanaceae) fields to determine whether it could substitute for the standard yellow sticky card used to monitor Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Triozidae). Sticky cards have shortcomings that prompted search for a replacement: cards are messy, require weekly replacement, are expensive to purchase, and accumulate large numbers of nontarget insects. Bactericera cockerelli on sticky cards also deteriorate enough that specimens cannot be tested reliably for the presence of vectored plant pathogens. A prototype trap constructed using 3D printing technology for monitoring Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Liviidae) was tested for monitoring B. cockerelli. The trap was designed to attract B. cockerelli visually to the trap and then funnel specimens into preservative-filled vials at the trap bottom. Prototype traps were paired against yellow sticky cards at multiple fields to compare the captures of B. cockerelli between cards and traps. The prototype trap was competitive with sticky cards early in the growing season when B. cockerelli numbers were low. We estimated that two or three prototype traps would collect as many B. cockerelli as one sticky card under these conditions. Efficacy of the prototype declined as B. cockerelli numbers increased seasonally. The prototype trap accumulated nontarget taxa that are common on sticky cards (especially Thysanoptera and Diptera), and was also found to capture taxa of possible interest in integrated pest management research, including predatory insects, parasitic Hymenoptera, and winged Aphididae (Hemiptera), suggesting that the traps could be useful outside of the purpose targeted here. We believe that 3D printing technology has substantial promise for developing monitoring tools that exploit behavioural traits of the targeted insect. Ongoing work includes the use of this technology to modify the prototype, with a focus on making it more effective at capturing psyllids and less susceptible to capture of nontarget species.
The illegal wildlife trade is driving declines in populations of a number of large, charismatic animal species but also many lesser known and restricted-range species, some of which are now facing extinction as a result. The ploughshare tortoise Astrochelys yniphora, endemic to the Baly Bay National Park of north-western Madagascar, is affected by poaching for the international illegal pet trade. To quantify this, we estimated population trends during 2006–2015, using distance sampling surveys along line transects, and recorded national and international confiscations of trafficked tortoises for 2002–2016. The results suggest the ploughshare tortoise population declined > 50% during this period, to c. 500 adults and subadults in 2014–2015. Prior to 2006 very few tortoises were seized either in Madagascar or internationally but confiscations increased sharply from 2010. Since 2015 poaching has intensified, with field reports suggesting that two of the four subpopulations are extinct, leaving an unknown but almost certainly perilously low number of adult tortoises in the wild. This study has produced the first reliable population estimate of the ploughshare tortoise and shows that the species has declined rapidly because of poaching for the international pet trade. There is an urgent need for increased action both in Madagascar and along international trade routes if the extinction of the ploughshare tortoise in the wild is to be prevented.
Evangelicals garner much attention in polling and public opinion
research, yet measuring white evangelicals remains elusive, even
opaque. This paper provides practical guidance to researchers who
want to measure or analyze evangelicals. In the social sciences,
many have adopted a detailed religious affiliation approach that
categorizes evangelicals based on the religious tradition of the
denominations to which they belong. Others have used a simpler
self-identification scheme, which asks respondents if they consider
themselves “born-again or evangelical”. While the affiliation and
self-identification schemes are predominant, a practical examination
of these approaches has been absent. Using several waves of the
General Social Survey and the Cooperative Congressional Election
Study, we compare them. We find almost no statistical differences
between the two measurements in prominent demographic, political, or
religious factors. Thus, we suggest that for most a simple question
about broad religious affiliation followed by a born-again or
evangelical self-identification question will suffice.