Want to get American gun violence to European levels? Then you need to confiscate guns.

President Obama is clearly fed up. His speeches after mass shootings — speeches that have become a bit of a morbid ritual, given how regularly the shootings occur — have grown angrier, more emotional, and more disgusted at America’s gun violence problem and Congress’s unwillingness to do literally anything to stop it. “This is a political choice that we make,” Obama declared Thursday night, after the 294th mass shooting of 2015, “to allow this to happen every few months in America.”But let’s be clear about precisely what kind of choice this is. Congress’s decision not to pass background checks is not what’s keeping the US from European gun violence levels. The expiration of the assault weapons ban is not behind the gap. What’s behind the gap, plenty of research indicates, is that Americans have more guns. The statistics are mind-blowing: America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population but almost half of its civilian-owned guns.

Source: Vox

Why is there something rather than nothing?

That is the question that physicist Lawrence Krauss answers in his book, A Universe from Nothing. The book’s trailer provides a little more context. Everything we see is just a 1% bit of cosmic pollution in a Universe dominated by dark matter and dark energy. You could get rid of all the things in the night sky — the stars, the galaxies, the planets, everything — and the Universe would be largely the same.And my favorite line from the trailer: Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.

Source: Kottke

An Ancient Volcanic Collapse Triggered an 800 Foot Tsunami Wave

‘Scientists have just uncovered one of the largest tsunami events in the geologic record, and naturally, it started with an epic splash. 73,000 years ago, the eastern flank of Cape Verde’s Fogo volcano collapsed into the sea, kicking up an 800-foot wave.

Think about that for a sec. That’s two thirds the height of the Empire State Building. If a mega-tsunami of that size struck a coastal city today, the consequences would be pretty apocalyptic. And such events aren’t outside the realm of possibility.

“Most of these fairly young oceanic volcanoes — such as in the Azores and the Canary Islands and Hawaii — are incredibly high and steep, so the potential energy for a collapse to happen again is there,”said Ricardo Ramalho, a co-author on a study describing the mega-tsunami that was published this week in Science Advances.’

Source: Gizmodo