A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Spain and the U.S. has announced that they have discovered a new property of light -- self-torque. Their findings have been published in the journal Science.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Free speech advocates also misunderstand the motivation of those who might want to shut down a debate: they see this as a surefire mark of intolerance. But some debates should be shut down. For public dialogue to make any progress, it is important to recognise when a particular debate has been won and leave it there.
Even the most passionate free speech advocate might not wish to reopen the debate into whether women should be tried for witchcraft, or whether ethnic minorities should be allowed to go to university, or whether the Earth is flat. No-platformers are not scared – they simply think certain debates are over. You may disagree, but it does not mean they are against free speech.
Martha Gill is a political journalist and former lobby correspondent. She has worked as a staffer at the Economist and the New Statesman.
Saturday, June 22, 2019
If you find a wallet stuffed with bank notes, do you pocket the cash or track down the owner to return it? We can each speak for ourselves, but now a team of economists have put the unsuspecting public to the test in a mass social experiment involving 17,000 "lost" wallets in 40 countries.
Overall, 51% of those who were handed a wallet with the smaller amount of money reported it, compared with 40% of those handed an empty wallet. When the wallet contained a large sum of money, the rate of return was 72%.
Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah!
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
People are asking why the shooter in Virginia Beach used a gun to settle his workplace score. The answer is probably pretty simple.
When a man has a gun, he literally holds the power of life and death in his hand. That kind of power is extraordinarily seductive.
With a gun in his hand, a man can look around a room, a building, or a public area and specifically identify who will instantaneously die and whom he will allow to live. It's a power that traditionally has only been held by doctors, priests, police and soldiers.
This is largely a male problem because men commit 85.3 percent of all homicides and 97 percent of all homicides where the shooter and victim don't know each other. In the case of school and workplace shootings, the shooters are also more than 97 percent male.
This goes way beyond the joke of the Small Penis Gun Club or its Facebook site. Men, it turns out, are actually hardwired by evolution and biology to react to having power over others with a boost in testosterone and an increase in aggression.
A 2006 study published in Psychological Science by Klinesmith, Kasser and McAndrew found that men who simply handled a gun were significantly more likely to give other men a higher dose of hot sauce (a commonly used research measure of aggression) right after handling the gun than were men who handled a child's toy.
For men who feel that they've lost control of their lives, or who feel dismissed or disrespected by others, this is pure catnip.
Firing a gun, in addition to raising testosterone levels like simply handling one does, actually produces a feeling similar to intoxication. As UCLA Law professor Adam Winkler points out, shooting guns triggers higher levels of adrenaline and endorphins, producing a high like riding a roller coaster.
In this regard, guns can be thought of as a drug — an intoxicating, mind-altering, power-conferring drug that leads to aggression and, in the United States, to around 40,000 deaths a year.
If a driver must carry liability insurance because his car could kill somebody, why not a gun owner? Why is it that if the Newtown or Parkland kids had been killed by a drunk or even malicious driver, their survivors would have gotten a million bucks each from Geico, but the families of kids killed with guns don't?
Required liability insurance, by the way, is the most Republican/conservative of all gun control measures; it's a "free market solution."
Just as no insurance company will cheaply write insurance for a driver with a few DWIs, so, too, would they restrict people with domestic violence charges, etc. No government involvement necessary for this one, other than the simple requirement to have the policy so long as one owns a gun.
I'm sure the insurance industry would LOVE to write mandatory policies on every gun in America. We're talking about a market of roughly 9 million new guns a year. Roughly half the households in the USA will admit to owning a gun, a wild guess tells me another 25% won't admit it. There are more guns in the USA than there are people, by a healthy margin. And the other thing we know is that none of those guns will ever kill people. How do we know? Because all the murders are concentrated in 25 large cities, leaving the entire rest of the country essentially murder-free.
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Data from 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, shows us that 54% of counties (containing 11% of the population) had zero murders. 69% of counties had no more than one murder, and held about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.
The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. The study shows more than half of all murders occurred in just 2% of counties nationwide.
Note that 2% of counties is OVERSTATING the land area involved here.
In Chicago, the story is almost identical- with admittedly higher numbers. In the first four months of 2017, 222 murders took place in the heavily gun-controlled windy city. Lott writes, "But 23 of the 77 neighborhoods in the city have zero murders, and most of the 40 neighborhoods have only one murder. Twelve of the neighborhoods have 10 or more murders."
When the reality is that ALL the murders take place on a few streets in Chicago, and the State of Illinois is talking about banning AR-15 rifles to "save lives", what does that mean?
The first thing it means is that either the State of Illinois can't do anything about the murders on those streets, or they don't care. Outside third option, they arranged it and they like it that way.
Sunday, June 09, 2019
'The Secret Life of Pets 2' Film Review: Cartoon Offers Outdated Messages About Marriage, Manliness"
Because a cartoon about cute puppies for children is an appropriate vehicle for messaging about marriage and manhood.
Come for the adorable puppies, stay for the toxic masculinity and antediluvian notions regarding love and family.
Milking human's collective affection for our furry and feathered pals, the original "The Secret Life of Pets" imposed the "Toy Story" formula on animals living in New York City in order to show us what they do when we are not looking.
"The Secret Life of Pets 2," on the other hand, for which both Renaud and Lynch reprise their roles, effectively acts as an animated ode to heteronormativity, toxic masculinity and patriarchal worldviews, passed off as harmless plot points to entertain young audiences.
"Pets 2's" descent into the bowels of what reads as conservative messaging begins as Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper), Max's owner, randomly meets a young man, quickly marries and has a child.
In this fictional universe, that's clearly the only natural progression of events in a woman's life. That trope is later reinforced through the pet characters.
To achieve this, she partners with dismissive cat Chloe (Lake Bell), but in no way can "Pets 2" possibly pass the Bechdel test.
In case it wasn't obvious, "Pets 2" makes no attempt at diversifying the notion of what a family is today. No same-sex couples are in sight as pet owners, much less as parents. Nothing that deviates from the default straight married couple is even hinted at.
But now we get to what really got under Carlos Aguilar's saddle, the toxic masculinity part! (I know you were waiting for this ~:)
Making matters worse, Harrison Ford is cast as Rooster, a hyper-masculine shepherd dog brazenly teaching Max how to toughen up.
Rooster is the embodiment of phrases like "Men don't cry," and " Rub some dirt on it." This alpha dog rejects vulnerability by preaching about how sissified city dogs are. The character is disturbing in his unapologetic validation of behavior society as a whole is trying to eradicate. He equates courage with arrogance and other outdated perceptions of manliness.
Defenders may argue it's absurd to attribute such weight to an animated feature, but on the contrary, this is the content to which we should be paying the most attention. Family-friendly releases have the power to communicate nuggets of knowledge to young viewers, and when the information transmitted is this regressive, it's worth raising the alarm.
Update: Secret Life of Pets 2 beats XMen Dark Phoenix at the box office. So everybody agrees that little Carlos is a dumbass.
Thursday, June 06, 2019
THE "zombie" man who died after setting himself on fire outside the White House was "hallucinating after taking Spice laced with Angel Dust".
Police sources are said to have confirmed that Arnav Gupta, 33, had taken the drug K2 which had been laced with PCP.
An unnamed eyewitness said: "Like a torch, his whole body was on fire.
"He was just walking like a zombie or something. Just straight, he wasn't running and screaming or anything. He was walking straight. Then they put the extinguisher on him and put his [fire] out and that's it."
Smoking cannabis to get high is probably not good for you long term, and it is certainly a huge waste of time, but at least it won't destroy your kid's brain and the rest of his/her life with the first puff. There's plenty of very determined stoners out there that have been smoking a ton of weed since the friggin' 1960s, and they can still tie their own shoelaces.
Wednesday, June 05, 2019
Welcome, ladies. Mind the axles.
On the very first day of Pride Month, British police accosted a group of lesbians protesting against transgender activism, asking if they were a "hate group." The lesbian group Get the L Out made a stir last year at the London Pride parade by marching with a sign reading, "Transactivism Erases Lesbians." On Saturday, the group protested transgender activism again in the northern city of Bradford, with signs reading, "Lesbian = Female HomoSEXual."
|2019 hate crime in progress. The sound is my eyes rolling.|
Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah Hoyt!