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Weekend Reads 5/9/15

If Black People Lived As Long As White People, Election Results Would Be Very Different

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.5 million black people died during that 35-year period. But if the mortality rates had been comparable, an additional 2.7 million black people would have been alive, and of those, an estimated 1 million would have cast votes in the 2004 election.

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Discrimination in Kentucky

It's been fifteen months since Ken Ham debated Bill Nye over the viability of creationism as a model of origins (video link). Ham has spent most of those 15 months embroiled in a different sort of controversy.

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Weekend Reads 5/2/15

Love Is the Primary Energy to Amend Climate Change

It my seem odd to look to a colonial Quaker as the model for amending climate change — I say amend because we have already changed the climate; the best goal now is to stop further change and amend our way of live — but his model/witness may be the exact model/witness we need.

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Dealing with Drought

California is dry. Really dry. Historically dry. Life-alteringly dry. Dry enough to bring out the political extremists, as if they had crawled up through those cracks in the ground.

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Weekend Reads 4/25/15

Genetically modified crops? Nature got there first

One of the most frequently mentioned issues with GMO foods is a vague concern about bringing genes from distantly related organisms into plants. But an international team of biologists has now found that this has occurred naturally in a major crop plant: the sweet potato.

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How and Why

The ancient Babylonians believed solar eclipses were a sign of the anger of the gods. Often, the priests recommended appeasing the gods by sacrificing the king. But Babylonian astronomers recorded the dates and times of eclipses, and discovered a regular pattern. Armed with this knowledge, they were able to predict the date of the next eclipse.

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Weekend Reads 4/18/15

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The "Mythical Moderate"

It's a longstanding tradition in American politics that presidential candidates spend most of the primary season trying to appeal to the party's base, liberal or conservative. Then whoever wins the nomination tries to do an about face and present himself or herself as the more moderate and reasonable candidate for the general election. The thinking behind this strategy is that primary voters tend to be extremist, but most voters hew to the center.

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Weekend Reads 4/11/15

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Ideology and Character

In his recent column Why I Don't Like Bill Maher Leonard Pitts succinctly describes what is wrong with American politics today:

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