John Oliver on net neutrality

Net neutrality is a really important issue that is hard to get people excited about, except for those who are really into internet policy. But John Oliver did an long segment about it that got to the core issue so clearly and understandably that Tim Wu, the Columbia University professor who coined the term ‘net neutrality’, said that it had “rendered every other explanation obsolete.”
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We fight in wars on all sides now

Glenn Greenwald writes that developments in Syria and Libya illustrate the same pattern that we saw in Iraq earlier, of how the US destabilizes countries on the blithe assertion that it can once and for all time militarily install a stable regime that will be friendly to it, only to end up creating fertile breeding grounds for violent groups like ISIS/ISIL I Syria and Iraqqand the militant groups dueling for power in Libya.
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Humor and atheists

A paper presented at a conference looked at the emergence of the New Atheist movement and argued that it has used humor quite effectively in creating its public image, and that humor is in general quite effective in creating greater acceptance of marginalized groups.
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Lead and violent crime

While police forces around the country have been massively increasing the numbers and size and scope of their weaponry, in the process becoming quasi-military forces without the training that the military receives, violent crime (and teen pregnancies) has been steadily and quite dramatically declining over the last four decades. It would be a mistake to think that this negative correlation has a causal basis in that stronger policing has led to the decline because the decline has been nationwide and benefited areas that changed their policing as well as those that did not.
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The counterfeit president

The academic Cornel West was one of the first prominent African-American supporters of Barack Obama’s candidacy for president to denounce him for serving as a neoliberal opportunist once he got into office after his election in 2008, and going back on so many of his campaign pledges. In a recent interview with Thomas Frank, he says that Obama posed as a kind of Lincoln but what we got was a “brown-faced Clinton”.
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Atheist politicians in the UK and US

There is no reason to think that the level of unbelief among elected officials in the US is much less than it is in the general public so it is really quite embarrassing that there are no openly atheist members of the US Congress. Compare that with the UK where they actually have a state religion of which the Queen is the head but where their All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group has 150 members, most of them elected atheists.
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Why return trips seem shorter

We have all felt it. The return trip from some place seems to be quicker that the outward trip, especially if you were going to a new place. I used to think that this was due to the fact that on the return trip we were now familiar with the route, which meant that we did not have to pay close attention to where we were going and that this somehow translated into the journey seeming to be shorter
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