For curious people who think: Facts, and Opinions, that matter

Brain food for your week: Facts, and Opinions, that matter. Enjoy.

The crew on the 2015 biological sampling cruise of the ABYSSLINE in 2015 Photo: Helena Winklund, Abbyssline Project, Creative Commons
Undersea Mining: scientists race to get to the bottom first: report.


The Dunblane massacre at 20: how Britain rewrote gun laws. By Peter Squires

Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School, near Stirling, Scotland on March 13 1996, armed with four legally-owned handguns and over 700 rounds of ammunition. In three to four terrible minutes, he fired 105 shots killing 16 children and their teacher, and wounding 15 more children. His last shot killed himself. In the 20 years since Dunblane, a great deal has been learned about preventing gun violence.

German economist challenges orthodoxy, inequality, by Noah Barkin

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Marcel Fratzscher, in contrast to many of his German counterparts, does not believe the German economy and the rules-based governance – Ordnungspolitik – that has shaped it since World War Two is a model that others should emulate.

Trying (and Trying) to Get Records From America’s “Most Transparent Administration” By Justin Elliott Report

Documents are the lifeblood of investigative journalism, but these problems aren’t of interest only to reporters. America’s  Freedom of Information Act is supposed to deliver on the idea of a government “for and by the people,” whose documents are our documents. The ability to get information from the government is essential to holding the people in power accountable.

Undersea Mining: scientists race to the bottom first, by Brooke Jarvis, OnEarth

Ask oceanographer Craig Smith what the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific is like beneath all that water, and he’ll describe a strange undulating world far beyond the reach of sunlight, populated by an enormous array of bizarre-looking creatures, both huge and tiny, known and unknown. And he’ trying to get to them before the underwater miners.

Beyond silicon: the search for new semiconductors, by Thomas Vandervelde

Our modern world is based on semiconductors. But  silicon – used in all manner of computers and electronic gadgets – has its technical limits, particularly as engineers look to use electronic devices for producing or processing light. The search for new semiconductors is on.

Orcas: the whales with a dam problem. Photo: Minette Layne
Orcas: the whales with a dam problem. Photo: Minette Layne

Whales with a Dam Problem, by Chelsey B. Coombs

The only resident population of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest befuddle biologists, because their numbers seem to be stuck at around 80 individuals. The stagnation, recent research shows, may largely come down to the fact that these orcas are picky eaters whose primary food source—salmon—are having population problems of their own.


RIP George Martin, the Fifth Beatle. By Mike Jones

George Martin was so integral a part of the Beatle’s story that he was called “the Fifth Beatle.” – a moniker that, in the 1960s, was also given to their then manager Brian Epstein. In both instances, the accolade is richly-deserved – without Epstein the Beatles would have not won a recording contract, and without Martin they would not have made records.

Man Booker International 2016 Longlist. By Deborah Jones

Household, pseudonymous and new names are included in the longlist of 13 books in line for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, released March 10.


 View of the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Sea of Marmara, as seen from the Topkapı Palace. Photo Gryffindor/Wikipedia

Manthorpe: the prospect of war between Russia and Turkey is troubling. Above, the Bosphorus. Photo: Gryffindor/Wikipedia

Russia and Turkey eye each other with guns drawn, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs Column

Of the many disaster scenarios that could spring from the civil war in Syria, the prospect of war between Russia and Turkey is by far the most troubling.

The sound of white noise, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda  Column

Sometimes, when I’m driving late at night to pick up my wife at a train stop, or on my way to some event in Washington (about an hour from where I live) I turn on conservative talk radio. Just to listen to the other side. And the angry voices fill my car.

Out of Time: Daylight (Saving) Delusions, by Deborah Jones, Free Range   Column

Listening to rain lashing windows as I moved through the house changing time, I wondered, Do we think we’re magicians, able to “save” daylight any more than we can conjure an end to a storm?


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