Back to School: Study a Current Event #30DaysofGOOD

Posted by Eric Steuer and Jessica De Jesus

30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD) is our monthly attempt to live better. This month we're going "Back to School" and committing to learn something new every day.

These days, we have more options for getting information quickly than at any time in history. But vaster, faster access to news doesn't guarantee that we really know or truly understand what's happening in the world. Take, for example, the results of a recent research project reported on by the Poynter Institute:

People who watch no news at all can answer more questions about international current events than people who watch cable news, a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds.

While part of the problem lies with the choices we make about where we get our news from, there's also the issue of information deluge. We're bombarded with so many tiny bits of news throughout the course of a day that we're unable to meaningfully investigate any individual piece of it.

Today's task is to try something new. Step away from the noise of the screaming heads on TV and radio news. Abstain from clicking on every intentionally-aggravating headline your friend's uncle's coworker posts on Facebook. Instead, choose a single important issue or world event that's happening right now, and focus for an hour on getting a better, deeper understanding of it.

You've probably heard a lot about the current crisis in Syria, but what do you know about its origins? Use Wikipedia to read up.

Only have a vague sense of what's in Paul Ryan's much-buzzed-about federal budget plan? Give it a read at House.gov, where you can also see the current proposals of all other United States Representatives.

Curious about the technological innovations and scientific goals of the latest Mars rover? Visit NASA's website and start exploring.

Let us know in the comments section of this post what you decided to study, and how you went about it. And if you've got tips or ideas for staying on top of important current affairs (and weeding out the garbage), please share them with the GOOD community.