The Power of Persuasion
March 13, 2014
Flickr CC By: Maria Elena

Emotions expressed on Facebook can be contagious, according to researchers at the University of California. Researchers studied the messages of more than 100 million users, and found that "emotional changes in one person caused emotional changes in another person."

The data, which was first published in the Wall Street Journal, showed that the number of negative posts increased 1.16 percent when it was raining, and positive comments dropped 1.19 percent. And when friends living in other cities where it wasn't raining read a gloomy message, their moods also darkened.

Posts were sorted by whether they contained positive or negative language, such as the word "sad" or "happy." To strip out the effect of topic contagion, the researchers removed any status updates that were actually about the weather. "We wanted posts where it is raining on you and it is making you write negative posts that are not about the weather," Dr. James Fowler said. [Wall Street Journal]

Since more than a billion people use Facebook, it's easy to see how an upbeat or downbeat mood in one place can quickly spread on the social network. "It is going to have implications for financial markets, which have bubbles and busts, and it has implications for political activity," Fowler said.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal. Jordan Valinsky

2016 Watch
2:22 p.m. ET
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Since the launch of her presidential campaign in April, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has remained rather tight-lipped when it comes to speaking with the press. However, the Democratic candidate for president will break her silence on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar.

While Clinton continues to hold her place as the frontrunner of the Democratic field, fellow candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made significant gains in recent polls. A recent CNN/ORC poll found that 43 percent of New Hampshire Democrats back Clinton, while a substantial 35 percent support Sanders. Clinton's campaign is maybe even a little worried.

The Clinton campaign's Communications Manager Jennifer Palmieri noted that Clinton is "paying a price" for refusing to do national interviews until now. "The more media interviews you do, the less any one interaction matters," Palmieri said. "America will see more of her." Stephanie Talmadge

This just in
1:44 p.m. ET
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Euclid Tsakalotos was sworn in as Greece's finance minister on Monday, after the previous officeholder, Yanis Varoufakis, abruptly resigned earlier that morning. An Oxford-educated economist, Tsakalotos was Greece's chief negotiator with creditors and is said to be adept at the finer points of eurozone etiquette. "He speaks their language better than they do," a unnamed Greek official told The Guardian. That would be a departure from the pugilistic Varoufakis, who said upon his exit, "I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride."

On Sunday, Greece overwhelmingly voted to reject a bailout deal with its creditors, handing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a decisive victory and strengthening his position in negotiations.

You can read more about Tsakalotos' aristocratic upbringing at The Guardian. Nico Lauricella

Le Crash
1:37 p.m. ET

Several riders are out of the Tour de France after a crash involving 20 or so cyclists led to a massive pile up on the road. Organizers halted the race following the incident, with the Daily Mail reporting that "the number of doctors that had to stay behind at the scene would have meant it was unsafe for the peloton to ride ahead." Former pro Paul Sherwen told NBC that he couldn't remember a time when the Tour had actually stopped the race due to a crash; the Daily Mail likewise dubbed it "one of the worst crashes" in the race's history. Several cyclists are out of the race entirely due to injuries, including Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin, who had been in third place before the crash. Jeva Lange

Debating E.T.
1:30 p.m. ET
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Data relayed by the Rosetta spacecraft's Philae probe that landed on Comet 67P indicate the duck-shaped rock body could be home to alien life, astronomers reported Monday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.

Astronomers from the University of Cardiff and Buckingham University said the unusual organic black crust on the surface of the comet, formally known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, appears to have frozen lakes beneath it that could be inhabited by microbial organisms.

"Rosetta has already shown that the comet is not to be seen as a deep-frozen inactive body, but supports geological processes and could be more hospitable to micro-life than our Arctic and Antarctic regions," Dr. Max Wallis said in a statement.

However, scientists behind the Rosetta project are less convinced that the comet could harbor alien lifeOpen University Professor Monica Grady, who helped design Philae's chemical spectrometer, and Rosetta project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor both dismissed claims of alien life as "highly unlikely."

“It's pure speculation,” Dr. Taylor said.  Kelly Gonsalves

Trump's take
1:02 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump just can't seem to learn his lesson. Just last week, the Republican presidential candidate and business mogul landed himself in a heap of trouble for making racist comments about Hispanic-Americans, which cost him contracts with Macy's, Univision, and NBC. But Trump seems to be having a tough time containing himself, tweeting Monday that Jeb Bush likes "Mexican illegals because of his wife." Bush's wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.

Trump seemingly tried to correct his political incorrectness, eventually deleting the offending tweet, but it was too little, too late. The tweet remained up for a total of 24 hours, according to screenshots captured by The Wrap.

Bush, however, isn't too flustered by Trump's derogatory comments. "He's doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign," Bush said. "To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party." Becca Stanek

Queen Bey
12:45 p.m. ET

The land down under is giving Bey the respect she deserves — they're literally putting her on the skyline. Australian design firm Elenberg Fraser has been approved for a 740-foot tower inspired by Beyoncé's music video for "Ghost," Dezeen reports.

"For those more on the art than science side, we will reveal that the form does pay homage to something more aesthetic — we're going to trust you've seen the music video for Beyoncé's 'Ghost,'" explains Elenberg Fraser's website.

Although the building will mostly be residential, visitors may be able to stay in the Beyoncé Tower (okay, okay, its real name is the "Premiere Tower") as it will also host a 160-room hotel. And while the tower's curvy features are also supposedly architecturally significant — something about "structural dispersion, frequency oscillation, and wind requirements" — we all know who Beyoncé's really been haunting. Jeva Lange

Art meets life
11:56 a.m. ET
Tetra Images/Corbis

While it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase a piece of Leonardo da Vinci's artwork, his home can be bought for a fraction of the price. Da Vinci's Tuscan Villa and former residence is currently on the market for $14.6 million, CNBC reports. While that price sounds pretty steep, it's a relative bargain considering a piece of da Vinci artwork recently sold for $75 million — and that was after bargaining down from the original asking price of $200 million.

Da Vinci's Tuscan abode offers views of the Mediterranean Sea, and its garden walls were designed by the artist himself. Da Vinci lived in the five-bedroom house for only a short period of time in the early 1500s, but he wasn't the only famous owner of the home: Before serving as the artist's residence, the villa was a military fort owned Napoleon Bonaparte's sister, Princess Elisa Bonaparte, in the 19th century. Becca Stanek

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