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Do “Concealed Carry” Gun Laws Lead to More Violence?

‘…[C]oncealed carry laws… are now legal in all fifty states. In two decades the number of concealed-carry permit holders has increased from under five million to 12.8 million… More American civilians have died by gunfire in the past decade than all the Americans who were killed in combat in the Second World War.

The media will always focus on mass shootings. While tragic, those are not the episodes that result in the majority of gun deaths. Those occur one by one, on late night streets outside of bars, in homes due to domestic fights or accidental shootings, and simply when someone’s vision is primed for violence and so decides to pre-empt the situation.

…[A] person holding a gun is more likely to misperceive an object in another person’s hand to be a gun…While a fringe community in size, the ‘Open Carry’ sect of gun advocates presents an even more dangerous proposition. Knowing, instead of imagining, that a potential adversary—really, who initially perceives a person walking toward you with a gun as a friend?—is armed does not hint at de-escalation of violence. The human brain simply is not built that way. Add in alcohol and anger, both which stoke and taunt the lizard brain, and the difference between self-defense and offense becomes difficult to discern…’

Source: Big Think

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Found: A Gorgeous New Shade of Blue

YInMn‘Mas Subramanian and his team at Oregon State University weren’t looking to create colors; they were just mixing chemicals together to see what they could produce. They were aiming for something with an electronics application. Instead, they got YInMn Blue—a new and vibrant blue pigment.

YInMn Blue came from mixing manganese oxide, which is black, with “other chemicals” and baking them in a 2,000 degree oven. One of the samples that came out was this beautiful blue color. Its name comes from some of those “other chemicals,” which included the elements Yttrium and Indium.

YInMn Blue has some other nice properties. It’s non-toxic! It’s very durable. And since it absorbs infrared waves with remarkable efficiency, it could be used to help keep buildings cool, if used in exterior paint. Imagine flying over a city of a roofs painted bright blue instead of dirty white or dark black. That’s a very beautiful future…’

Source: Atlas Obscura

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World-Record-Setting Bonfire Last Weekend

‘This past weekend, the good people of Ålesund, Norway celebrated their annual Midsummer festival, Slinningsbålet. Like most celebrations, this one features eating, drinking, and other assorted revels.Unlike most ones, though, it also features a multi-story bonfire the size of the Statue of Liberty, which towers over the landscape for hours before collapsing into a waterfall of flames… Ålesund volunteers hand-build the bonfire out of pallets, hosting them up with ropes and stacking them into an elegant, building-shaped structure. When the time comes, they climb up their creation, light the wick at the top, and then climb back down again before the blaze begins.According to The Local, this year’s bonfire was the biggest ever, measuring about 155.5 feet tall. Video footage shows the flames slowly engulfing their scaffolding, as several fire boats tame them with constant streams… Eventually, the whole caboodle disintegrates into the surrounding ocean.

“We were sitting on the beach over 100 meters away, but the heat was still intense,” wrote festival attendee and Instagram user thegypsyviking. “I hope the gods are pleased.” ‘

Source: Atlas Obscura

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Hitler Wasn’t a Psychopath but Apparently Our Best Presidents Were

Here are the Presidents who rated most strongly on psychopathic trends, as per a survey of Presidential biographers and historians. Note the inclusion of some of the Presidents rated best by historians (as well as GW Bush):

  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Zachary Taylor
  • Bill Clinton
  • Martin Van Buren
  • Andrew Jackson
  • George W. Bush

Some of our less-effective leaders were among the least strongly psychopathic: Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush.

‘Okay, so, what the hell? Here’s neuroscientist James Fallon.Why do we prefer leaders who are, as Fallon puts it, “world-champ liars, pathological liars, even for the hell of it?” Well, it turns out that they lie for us. We’re totally cool with someone being a psychopath as long as they’re our psychopath…’

Source: Big Think