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5 ways the North Korea situation could spiral out of control

‘To understand how close we are to full-scale conflict in North Korea, I reached out to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Lewis focuses on nuclear nonproliferation, international security, and disarmament, and he is the author of Minimum Means of Reprisal: China’s Search for Security in the Nuclear Age. I asked Lewis to lay out some of the worst-case scenarios in North Korea. Here’s what he told me…’

Source: Vox

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Glorious — and vulnerable

‘…We’ve just ascended the tallest mountain in the Hawaiian islands, Mauna Kea, to see the pair of 10-meter Keck Telescopes, the largest and most powerful optical telescopes in the world. Hawaii lies 4,000km away from the closest continent, North America, making this the most remote archipelago on Earth. With clear skies, therefore, Mauna Kea has arguably the best “seeing” of any telescope site in the world.

The combination of big mirrors and dark skies has proven nothing short of revelatory. Since the first of the two Keck telescopes began observing the heavens in 1993, astronomers have used the instruments to discover dark energy, find outer Solar System objects that led to Pluto’s demotion, and more. On a given night, an astronomer might point a telescope toward volcano eruptions on the Jovian moon Io or study faint galaxies at the edge of the visible universe.

But increasingly, the mountain’s fair skies are clouded with controversy. Native Hawaiians dispute the right of outsiders to build large telescopes on their sacred mountain, and a proposal to build a much larger instrument, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), on Mauna Kea has galvanized the activists as never before…’

Source: Ars Technica

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Research Explains Why Your Shoelaces Are Always Coming Undone

‘There are a number of forces at play that contribute to the spontaneous untying of shoelaces, according to the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A on Tuesday. Daily-Diamond and his co-researchers were able to figure this out by recording a high-speed video of someone running on a treadmill until their shoelaces untied. From there, they were able to build a working hypothesis, which they tested with further experiments…’

Source: Motherboard

Better yet, the research points to a modification in your shoe-tying methodology that will keep them tied significantly longer.

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R.I.P. Mark Hawthorne, a Man of Few Words Except, ‘I Hate You’

“For many journalists, there is life after The New York Times.

Few, however, have led a life as strange and rich as Mark Hawthorne did. Better known as the beloved and respected “Hate Man” of Berkeley, Calif., Mr. Hawthorne died this month at 80 after living for decades on the streets of Berkeley and in People’s Park. His death became international news when it was reported by The Guardian.

An admission of hate, for Mr. Hawthorne, was a necessary prelude to love.

“He had come to believe that dialogue, understanding or trust between people can only be established if they admit what separates them, or, as he put it, why they hate each other,” Michael T. Kaufman, Mr. Hawthorne’s best friend at The Times, wrote about their reunion, in 1990, after more than two decades apart. “Negative emotions, he insisted, are true and real, while positive feelings are intrinsically hypocritical.”

“As we sat together, once more enjoying conversation and argument,” Mr. Kaufman recalled, “students would occasionally approach and good-naturedly call out, ‘I hate you.’ My friend would reply, ‘I hate you, too.’ …”

Source: New York Times obituary