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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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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The First Strawberries

A retelling of a Cherokee legend

In days long ago, the Great Spirit created First Man and First Woman. These two lived in harmony in a lodge on the edge of a forest, but sometimes they would argue.

One day, after a very bitter argument, First Woman became so angry with her husband that she left. She walked away down the forest path without looking back. First Man just watched her go.

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On Inequality

Washington Post columnists George Will and E. J. Dionne both wrote about inequality last week. Not surprisingly, they had very different takes on the subject.

Dionne has taken note of how Congressional Republicans are increasingly turning to rhetoric usually associated with Democrats.

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Weekend Reads 3/28/15

Population could outpace water by mid-century

Data on global water use shows we are currently in a period of relatively stagnant growth, he said. Per-capita water use has been declining since 1980, largely due to improved efficiency measures and heightened public awareness of the importance of conserving Earth's limited supply of freshwater. This has helped offset the impacts of recent population growth.

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Does the Bible Claim pi Equals Three?

Then he made the molten sea; it was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely.

1 Kings 7:23

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