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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Dr. Oz and dietary supplements

Whenever I go to the dentist, it seems like the Dr. Oz show is on their TV in the waiting room. It is an absolutely nauseating show where the host uses his impressive medical credentials to plug various products with wildly exaggerated claims. And yet apparently people take him seriously, making the dietary supplement industry highly profitable.
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Liability for self drive cars

Self-driving cars are already here and even legal on some public roads. It is likely that they will be better drivers than many of the humans that drive cars since they have faster reaction times and do not suffer from the impairments and distractions of people, such as talking on cell phones or even texting. They could be a boon for older and disabled people who will no longer be limited in their ability to go places.
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Facing death-7: The problem of prolonged death

Part of the aversion to thinking about death may not be the actual fact of dying but unease about the way we might die. In many ways we are fortunate that we live in a time when medical advances have enabled us to have much greater life expectancies than our ancestors. While much of this improvement has arisen because of reduced infant mortality, some has been because of our ability to combat many illnesses that once used to be quickly fatal. Because of the possibility of rapid response and treatment, many of the quick ways of dying such as due to heart attacks and strokes have been eliminated. But that improvement is not without its costs. We now see many more people having long and lingering deaths, the body and mind gradually losing functionality in ways that cannot be fixed, like an old car in which one part after another starts breaking down and one starts to wonder how much more one should invest in keeping it going.
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