The History of Torture

Abu Ghraib stencil

Why We Can’t Give It Up:   Torture had become ‘as extinct as cannibalism’ in post-Enlightenment Europe. So why has it come roaring back in the last century? (via Historynet)

You Just Can’t Go On Deciding One Thing After Another…

Sleeping when studying - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Image via Wikipedia

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? “Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing.” (via NYTimes)

‘West Memphis Three’ freed from prison


Some good news this week, a gross miscarriage of justice undone by a strange legal maneuver.  If you haven’t been following the case, here is a Wikipedia article. Three young men have spent 18 years in prison after convicted, on little basis beside being into Death Metal, of a brutal  murder they did not commit. Many of us were first introduced to their plight in this documentary. Now they have been released on time served in return for changing their pleas to guilty, even though they have always maintained their innocence. (via  Washington Post).