Perseid meteor shower peaks August 11 and 12

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’One of the best—if not THE best—meteor showers of the year is about to kick into high gear, and the timing is perfect; with the new moon occurring at exactly the same time as the Perseid meteor shower, this show could be spectacular at 60-70 meteors per hour and sometimes double or even triple that.…’

Via Big Think

‘Once you see these images, you understand…’

Japanese Students Recreate Hiroshima Bombing in VR:

’Over two years, a group of Japanese high school students has been painstakingly producing a five-minute virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of Hiroshima before, during and after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago Monday.

By transporting users back in time to the moment when a city was turned into a wasteland, the students and their teacher hope to ensure that something similar never happens again.…’

Via Time

Amusing Ourselves?

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How Donald Trump hacked the media:

’In his classic 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman wrote of the difference between George Orwell’s and Aldous Huxley’s visions of fascism.

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information,” wrote Postman. “Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Postman’s warning rang out in a different era. He worried over the rise of television, not Twitter; he was reacting to Ronald Reagan, not Donald Trump. And yet the facts of our age are more absurd and insulting than anything Postman prophesied.

The point of Amusing Ourselves to Death is that societies are molded by the technologies atop which they communicate. Oral cultures teach us to be conversational, typographic cultures teach us to be logical, televised cultures teach us that everything is entertainment. So what is social media culture teaching us?…’

Via Vox

These Trends Suggest Democratic Midterm Wave Will Get Bigger

‘If 2006 and 2010 patterns hold, a Democratic midterm wave could appear late in the day as vulnerable GOP House seats become targets.

…A lot of seats that wound up falling weren’t even on the radar a few months earlier. Right now, Cook has 34 Republican-held House seats looking very vulnerable (3 are likely Democratic, 7 lean Democratic, and 24 are toss-ups). But the landscape could get much bluer in a hurry.

What would account for this kind of late trend? In 2006 and 2010 it was not, interestingly enough, any deterioration of the president’s own approval ratings. So Donald Trump’s exceptionally stable approval ratings won’t necessarily serve to limit his party’s losses in the House. Late trends could also reflect intensifying excitement over an approaching win for the “out” party…’

Via New York Magazine