Quote of the day

"Politics is opposed to morality, as philosophy is to naïveté"
— Emmanuel Levinas

The Flying Car Takes Off

They promised us flying cars — and they kept the promise; a flying car comes to market, built by two Slovaks who hatched the idea in communist times as a means for escaping to the West. “No longer or wider than a standard five-door Bentley, it drives along the road like a space-age roadster. It flies through the skies like a private jet. And if everything goes to plan, it could be in customers’ garages within two years” (2,025 words)

Gone Girl: An American In ISIS

The story of Hoda, a 20-year-old American student brought up in suburban Alabama who was radicalised over the internet, got on a plane, and is now a fighter’s widow with Isis in Syria. Her “deeply religious” Muslim father says she was brainwashed. She says not. “Everyone’s parents or family members says that about those who have come here. To that I say: Fear Allah, fear Allah with what you accuse us of” (4,595 words)

Imagined Libraries Of The Future

The library is one of fiction’s favourite tropes. “Silent stretches of volumes ready to offer up innumerable secrets” have inspired Umberto Eco and J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Jorge Luis Borges. But what of centuries to come when knowledge is digital? Will the imagined libraries of the future be ruins, like the “ancient monument of an intellectual age” which baffles the traveller in H.G. Wells’s Time Machine? (1,250 words)

States Re-Adopt “Gruesome” Execution Methods

The shortage of lethal injection doses which can be obtained by states in the US which use the death penalty has forced prison authorities to search the grisly alternatives. This has brought back a method of execution long thought to have been consigned to history books: the firing squad. The state of Utah executed one prisoner who chose a firing squad over other possible ways to die. Other states don’t offer choices. (962 words)

Should 16-Year-Olds Vote?

A discussion, prompted by the British general election. In Britain the minimum voting age is 18 — but for last year’s Scottish independence referendum the voting age was lowered to 16. What if the voting age were lowered to 16 in general elections also? A younger electorate might force politicians to focus more on the wants of the young — but only if the young turn out to vote as diligently as do the old (1,876 words)

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