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Weekend Reads 4/15/17

Weak parties and strong partisanship are a bad combination

Strong partisanship with weak parties makes for a couple of fairly serious problems for a democracy. The destabilization of institutions, for one. It's hard for institutions — elected ones like Congress, the presidency, or state governments — to have legitimacy when partisan motives are constantly suspect. This is also true for other kinds of institutions, like courts and, as we've seen most recently, law enforcement agencies like the FBI. Citizens view much of what these institutions do through a partisan lens.

Can the Search for Alien Life Be Spurred by a Lottery?

Unlike a conventional lottery ticket, the SETI lottery ticket would function like a bond, with ticketholders receiving a small percentage of its value every year, making the value of the ticket grow.

Lights for Gaza & the Darkness of Lent

In the darkest of times, we often need God the most. May this Lenten season allow us to seek light in the midst of darkness. As we experience the light of God, may we share that light with others. One tangible way of giving light is by donating a small inflatable solar powered light to a family in Gaza. For every $25 donation, a family in Gaza receives a light. The light will provide greater opportunities for students to study, mothers to cook meals for their families, and for children to play. In addition, for every light, one individual will take the message of the humanitarian crisis and limited electricity in Gaza to elected officials on Capitol Hill, seeking to address the systemic issues contributing to the problem.

The Skinniest House in America

The Rose Park neighborhood home was constructed back in 1932 by a man named Newton P. Rummonds. He’d acquired the land as a payment for a $100 loan a year earlier, and someone bet him that he couldn’t build a livable house on the 10-by-50-foot lot. The skinny, stuccoed house soon followed.

Today, the building is a registered city landmark and is recognized as America’s skinniest house by the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, just barely beating out the narrowest homes on the East Coast.

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