Understanding Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. | Pacific Standard


.. Another cost to this approach became apparent only later. Withholding any votes from Obama’s big proposals meant, by definition, that the Democrats ended up forcing them through on party line votes, which further inflamed the grass-roots conservative backlash to the president.

This backlash helped Republicans win in 2010 and 2014, but it also left McConnell with an empowered right wing, led by the likes of Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, that was deeply wary of this onetime moderate with weak ideological moorings.

Source: Understanding Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. – Pacific Standard

Half of the Earth must be preserved for nature conservation


Researchers who study the trajectory of biodiversity loss are alarmed that, within the century, an exponentially rising extinction rate might easily wipe out most of the species still surviving at the present time.

Source: Half of the Earth must be preserved for nature conse…

Marvel at the Newest Map of the Milky Way | Smithsonian


The map you see above shows the biggest, most complete view of the cold galaxy ever made. Covering 140 degrees in length and three degrees in width of the southern plane of the Milky Way, it’s more than four times more detailed than the last map of the galaxy.

Red portions of the map were taken by APEX, the background blue portions were taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and the faint red structures were taken by the ESA’s Planck satellite, which observes the universe’s background radiation. Check out the European Southern Observatory’s website for more detailed views of the map.

Source: Marvel at the Newest Map of the Milky Way | Smart News | Smithsonian

How the Sound of Barking Dogs Could Restore Marine Ecosystems | Pacific Standard


During the month of dog barks, raccoons spent much less time hanging around looking for food, and they were about half as likely to stick around after spending 10 seconds listening to dog barks, compared with seal barks.

That had a major impact on marine life. After a month of dog barks, crab and fish populations in the inter-tidal zone—the area covered by water at high tide and exposed to air at low tide—were double what they were after a month of seal barks.

Even crabs that lived mostly under water felt the effects: They were 50 percent more common when raccoons were scared off by dog barks.

Source: How the Sound of Barking Dogs Could Restore Marine Ecosystems – Pacific Standard

Innovators May Be Non-Conformists, But They Are Not Risk-Takers | Smithsonian


Adam Grant, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, had a hit on his hands with his first book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, a look at how generosity can drive professional success. With his second book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, he questions conventional wisdom about what makes a successful innovator.

Step one is to focus more on values than rules.

One mistake a lot of parents make is they basically prevent their children from thinking for themselves by saying ‘these are the rules you have to follow.’

What parents of highly original children do differently is they focus on values and say ‘these are the guiding principles in our family, now let’s have a dialogue about what this means to you.’

You see kids get to take ownership over their own values and principles. Then when they grow up and confront other people, they’re comfortable standing their ground.

Source: Innovators May Be Non-Conformists, But They Are Not Risk-Takers | Innovation | Smithsonian

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The Broadway Revival of “Fiddler” Offers a Profound Reaction to Today’s Refugee Crisis | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian


Migration and displacement were central to Fiddler on the Roof‘s story long before the musical made its Broadway debut on September 22, 1964, and then ran for 3,242 performances until July 2, 1972—a record that was not eclipsed until 1980, when Grease ended its run of 3,388 performances.

Source: The Broadway Revival of “Fiddler” Offers a Profound Reaction to Today’s Refugee Crisis | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian

BBC | Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much?


British society values that its members show respect without imposing on someone else’s personal space, and without drawing attention to oneself: characteristics that linguists refer to as “negative-politeness” or “negative-face.”

America, on the other hand, is a positive-politeness society, characterized by friendliness and a desire to feel part of a group.

Source: BBC – Future – Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much?

The Deep Roots of ‘Green’ Behavior | Pacific Standard


A person determined to achieve wealth and/or power is unlikely to behave in “green” ways, no matter what he may preach. But someone focused on self-realization, service to others, and/or community involvement very likely will.

“We conclude that focusing on intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, life goals may be important not just for individuals’ well-being, but also for the well-being of future generations,” writes a research team led by Wenceslao Unanue of Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile.

Source: The Deep Roots of ‘Green’ Behavior – Pacific Standard

Quantum Spin Squeezing Gets Real


In their experiment, approximately 1 million rubidium atoms are kept in vacuum and cooled to just 10 microkelvin, or ten millionths of a kelvin above absolute zero.

The researchers levitate the atoms in an optical lattice, a grid of intersecting beams that creates a kind of egg carton for holding the atoms.

This setup keeps the atoms extremely still, so that they don’t move during the measurements. It also isolates the atoms from the rest of the world, “so that they can live in a world where quantum mechanics is important,” PML/JILA’s James Thompson says.

The rubidium atoms are suspended in an optical cavity, between two almost perfectly reflective mirrors. The spacing of the mirrors determines the cavity’s resonance frequency, similar to how the size of a bell determines the note at which it rings.

Then, just as with an atomic clock, the atoms are partially energized to an excited state.

Source: Quantum Spin Squeezing Gets Real

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin move forward in developing smart bullets for surface ship defense


Attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), missiles, small planes, fast in-shore attack boats, and other maritime threats pose a deadly and evolving threat to ships and other maritime vessels.

These kinds of threats demand that Navy ships have access to leading-edge defensive capabilities — specifically an ability to engage multiple and diverse targets coming from a range of directions and do so rapidly and with high precision using current close-range shipboard gun systems.

Source: Raytheon and Lockheed Martin move forward in developing smart bullets for surface ship defense