I need this car horn

Have you noticed that in US cities, when you are at a stop light and the color changes to green, sometimes the person behind will honk angrily if you do not immediately take off like a jack rabbit? That annoys the hell out of me and is one reason why I almost never use the horn even when it is the person in front of me at a stop light who has not immediately noticed that the light has turned to green. In such cases, it is often the driver behind me who horns.
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The London fire tragedy exposes the costs of government deregulation

The fire that consumed the Grenfell tower block of apartments in London on Tuesday and resulted in 30 people known to be dead and about 70 still missing has turned into yet another demonstration of how cutting government regulations and reducing oversight, as popular a slogan for the Conservative party in the UK as it is for the Republicans in the US, is not some abstract thing but carries with it huge risks to the lives of people. As Polly Toynbee writes:
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Why do trees grow vertically upwards?

Even a cursory acquaintance of with plants will make one aware that they seek the light and will turn towards it. This phenomenon is called phototropism. But if that is the case, then why is it that plants and tall trees seem to grow vertically upwards and do not lean towards the equator, with the tilt being more pronounced the further away from the equator one goes? Even when they grow on sloping hillsides, trees grow vertically and not perpendicular to the ground.
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Personal views and public policy

The leader of the UK Liberal Democratic Party Tim Farron has become the latest casualty of the election and resigned, saying that it appears that you cannot be its party leader and a Christian anymore.

Tim Farron has announced his resignation as Liberal Democrat leader after he was repeatedly pressed during the general election over his personal beliefs on issues including homosexuality.

Farron issued a statement on Wednesday night saying he felt “remaining faithful to Christ” was incompatible with leading his party. It is understood several senior figures in the party had visited Farron in recent days to attempt to persuade him to step down, though he was initially reluctant.

Throughout the election campaign, Farron was questioned over his attitude to homosexuality and abortion, though he insisted he did not believe gay sex was a sin and has said he was pro-choice.

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There is no typical Trump voter

There has been quite a cottage industry of political commentators trying to figure out how a dangerous buffoon like Donald Trump could get enough votes to be elected president. The popular version is that he was propelled into office by low-information, rural and working class angry voters. But this article says that that stereotype is false and that there really is no typical Trump voter.
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They like me! They really like me!

When we switched over to the new server last week, there were some glitches about comments. Marcus Ranum alerted me to the fact that some comments by long time commenters were going straight to the spam folder and not even being queued for moderation, so I went into that folder and rescued them. While doing so, I had to read a lot of genuine spam and two things struck me. One is the sheer volume of spam and the other is the quirky nature of so many of the comments, their peculiar choice of words (‘fastidious’ and ‘peer’ seem to be popular for some reason) and their general lack of grammar and coherence.
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The Noah’s Ark story is one big mess

A young-Earth creationist geologist by the name of Dr. Andrew Snelling is suing the National Park Service to be allowed to take 60 rocks out of the Grand Canyon so that he can prove that the Great Flood of Noah actually happened. He is being supported in his legal battle by a conservative Christian legal group known as the Alliance Defending Freedom. Candida Moss uses that case to anchor her article about why that famous story is far messier than what the Bible actually says.
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All hail the Dear Leader!

Donald Trump had his first full cabinet meeting yesterday, almost five months into his administration, with that fact alone showing how poorly his administration is run. And to top it off, the meeting seemed designed to praise the Dear Leader in a manner that would have made even North Korea’s Kim Jong Un blush. Stephen Colbert describes what happened, and it is interesting (if gag-inducing) to see how far people, even those who are arrogant in other settings, are willing to debase themselves when they are close to someone with power over them.
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