Guns, Malthus, Cities, Water, Olympics

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America’s Guns: Political Philosophy Not Public Health

Anonymous | Philosopher's Beard | 8th October 2015

A philosopher pleads that mere statistics won't win the gun control debate; the pro-gun position stems from a "heroic" strain in American political thinking, leading from Locke to the Second Amendment. There are two alternatives: arguing for Dewey's pragmatism as a more viable national philosophy, or showing that concealed-carry won't prevent a hostile government takeover but does engender an untenable feeling of public fear (2,980 words)

Will The Earth Ever Fill Up?

Adam Kucharski | Nautilus | 1st October 2015

In 1798, Thomas Malthus predicted that “the passion of the sexes”, left unchecked, would “soon cause human populations to outstrip their resources”. In the two centuries since, various thinkers have predicted that the human population is teetering on the brink of “Malthusian catastrophe”. So does Earth have “a maximum occupancy”? The answer “may depend as much on our own resourcefulness as on the laws of Nature” (2,120 words)

Cities Can’t Run Out Of Room

Emily Badger | Washington Post | 6th October 2015

From Silicon Valley to Brooklyn, high real estate prices elicit fears that "there's no more room". But to economists, the idea that a residential area can ever be filled up rings false - particularly in low-density US cities. It's about political tradeoffs, not physical limits. Increasing density can mean greater efficiency and diversity. And many simple changes could boost the housing supply, without harming neighbourhoods (2,155 words)

The Universe’s Most Miraculous Molecule

Richard Gunderman | The Conversation | 8th October 2015

The "miracle" of water, critical for life, and the second most abundant substance in the universe. Its extra-strong hydrogen bonds give it a high boiling point and surface tension, as well as "capillary action", the molecular attraction which defies even gravity. It is a universal solvent for many substances, though not fats and oils. Expanding as it freezes, water forms floating ice cubes and dazzling snowflakes (1,080 words)

The White Man In That Photo

Alexa Combs Dieffenbach & Riccardo Gazzaniga | Griot | 3rd October 2015

The iconic photo of two American sprinters giving the Black Panther salute at the 1968 Olympic Games shows the white Australian athlete, Peter Norman, looking uninterested. The photo deceives – Norman supported the Americans’ protest, and wore a badge in solidarity. For this he was cast out by the Australian sports establishment, denied work and recognition, but he never apologised for following his principles (1,770 words)

Video of the day: My Dad

What to expect: Highly stylised animation (5'53")

Thought for the day

Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one

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