Boko Haram, Climate, Doping, Zingales, Testing

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How Boko Haram Keeps Its Secrets Secret

Fulan Nasrullah | African Arguments | 18th September 2015

Three reasons that Boko Haram, among insurgencies, is particularly good at secrecy: they maintain tight control over recruitment ("they do not allow walk-in fighters") and deeply vet new recruits; the top leadership is divided into factions which don't communicate with outsiders; and local political and military elites often share an interest in maintaining secrecy. All this stymies intelligence work against the group (920 words)

The State Of The Climate Movement

Alex Evans | Global Dashboard | 8th September 2015

Argues that the climate movement went wrong for two decades through a "technocratic agenda," "owned by a ‘priesthood’ of experts," where the public's role is only "to listen to the experts and then remember to turn out the lights." But since 2010, climate activists have understood how movements work as "incubators for new values," that must unite small groups in friendship and tell big stories (3,080 words)

Let Athletes Dope

Torbjörn Tännsjö | Boston Globe | 10th September 2015

Doping bans "promote a sense of justice and fairness that we reject in society at large." Elsewhere, we either don't care whether people use artificial means to boost their abilities (e.g. when scientists take drugs to help them concentrate) or we actively reject the idea that "natural strength" is a "moral virtue." We should "look upon the athlete in the manner we now look upon the Formula 1 driver", where effort meets science (2,510 words)

A Conversation With Luigi Zingales

Luigi Zingales & Tyler Cowen | Conversations with Tyler | 16th September 2015

Wide-ranging interview with the economist Luigi Zingales. Highlights economic similarities between unification of Italy and unification of Europe. "In the old days, you were sending troops to maintain the South and the order. Now, you use the Central Bank, but it’s not that different. At the end of the day, what I fear is a desertification of the Southern part of Europe similar to what happened in the Southern part of Italy" (12,010 words)

Doping In Professional Sports

Bruce Schneier | Schneier On Security | 10th August 2006

Drug testing is a "classic security arms race: improvements in detection technologies lead to improvements in drug detection evasion, which in turn spur the development of better detection capabilities." Unusually, though, "the detectors have the ability to look into the past"; they can freeze blood or urine samples from athletes and test them in future when detection methods improve. For athletes, deciding whether to take drugs is a classic Prisoner's Dilemma (840 words)

Video of the day: How To Walk Through Walls Using the 4th Dimension

What to expect: Explanation from the 4D video game Miegakure (3'31")

Thought for the day

There are silences harder to take back than words
James Richardson (

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