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What we've been getting wrong about choosing gifts

Buying a gift can feel like a test. You want the gift to show how thoughtful you've been, and how you've taken the recipient's interests and personality into account. Yet according to the authors of a new psychology paper, this isn't the optimal approach. Show More Summary

Philip Glass, ‘Organic': The Week In One Song

This week: the European Space Agency’s Philae lander finds evidence of organic molecules — never before found on an object like a comet — on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko To mark this, here’s Philip Glass’s minimal composition Organic, taken from the 1982 soundtrack to the film “Koyaanisqatsi.”  

The Charles Mitchell v. John L. Sullivan draw belt

Title belts in boxing today are the ostentatious displays of official victors, but it wasn’t always thus. In the 19th century, before the rules for title championships were encoded, both the title and the waist accessory were more loosely assigned. John L. Sullivan was considered the first heavyweight champion of the world even though any [...]

Who is running the Egyptian state?

For scholars and many journalists, most non-democratic regimes look the same: they are led and designed by autocratic dictators—or sometimes by small cliques—according to the leader’s whims and interests. “Pinochet’s Chile” was often portrayed as the projection of the will of a single general, and the Chinese political system is seen as the operation of a […]

This is why the Voting Rights Act is on trial in North Carolina

In a Winston-Salem, N.C. federal courthouse, closing arguments are taking place this morning in a hotly-contested trial over North Carolina’s restrictive voting law. The U.S. Department of Justice and civil rights groups say that the 2013 law, passed by a Republican legislature over the objections of Democrats, violates the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. The […]

Why one city in Congo is astonishingly stable and prosperous.

Several years ago, I got a request from some officials at a well-known international organization, wondering if we could chat about the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. After some polite conversation about my own research, my inquisitors got...Show More Summary

France wants Google to censor the world

Google politely suggests France should stick it Web google france right to be forgotten internet censorship

Layer of melting ice helps spheres fall faster through water

Skaters know melting ice cuts friction, it turns out the trick works under water too. Balls coated in ice fell faster in a tank of water as the coating melted

Caterpillar drugs ants to turn them into zombie bodyguards

Ants protect caterpillars in exchange for a sugary secretion, but there're more to their relationship than meets the eye

Zoologger: The giant sea spider that sucks life out of its prey

The unusual creatures of Antarctica's Southern Ocean are all legs and no body, with a long proboscis to suck up their soft-bodied prey, such as jellyfish

Home, sweet exomoon: The new frontier in the search for ET

We're fixated on the idea that life can only exist on a planet like Earth – but the most likely habitat might lie elsewhere

Making better solar panels by mimicking butterfly posture

From the UNIVERSITY OF EXETER Butterflies heat up the field of solar research The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy…

Game of Thrones Could Go Eight Seasons

There could also be a prequel, maybe Trending game of thrones Jon Snow

Friday assorted links

1. Mark Turner part one, and part two. 2. Musical preferences are linked to cognitive styles (speculative). 3. Don’t take a selfie with a bison. 4. The leading horses are those with the most friends. 5. Noah Smith praises Berkeley. 6. Claims about ants. 7. The boom in mini-organs.

Arrived in my pile

Arthur C. Brooks, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America. Greg Mankiw has reviewed the book.

Do pandas respond to incentives?

Smarter than the average bear: Panda tricked zookeepers into giving her an air-conditioned room, round-the-clock care and extra bamboo by pretending she was pregnant Here is the full story, with videos, consider this speculative.  For the pointer I thank the excellent Mark Thorson, a loyal MR reader.

7-28-15 It Was A Four Chapter Day

Tuesday, July 28th First: Have you made your phone call to the White House today? 202-456-1111 Ask him to breach the 4 lower Snake River Dams, save the world's greatest salmon producing river system, save the Southern Resident Orcas, save the Snake/Columbia River salmon, and save taxpayers millions of dollars. Show More Summary

A Delightful 1912 Children's Book About a Wayward Rocket

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. The Rocket Book, by Peter Newell, was published in 1912 by Harper & Brothers. Show More Summary

Metal Detectorists Caught After Late Night Helicopter Chase

Ariel view of Beit Shemesh archeological site (photo IAA) The The Hovav Ruins is an archaeological site dating back to the beginning of the Bronze Age and containing later structurs and finds. A week ago there was extensive vegetation...Show More Summary

Roger Bland Leaves BM

Today is Roger Bland's last day at the British Museum, where he has worked more than 35 years. He was appointed a curator in the Department of Coins and Medals in 1979 but was seconded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport from 1994 to 2003 in connection with his work on the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities. Show More Summary

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