When the copyright industry is demanding that Google censors “search results” from their investigative reports, they are demanding that an investigative news agency alter their journalistic findings because those findings of fact happen to be starkly embarrassing to the copyright industry. Further, the copyright industry is also demanding that the news agency should lie to the public about what the world actually looks like.

Both schools of thought, however, assume that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with new, more powerful weapons did coerce Japan into surrendering on August 9. They fail to question the utility of the bombing in the first place -- to ask, in essence, did it work? The orthodox view is that, yes, of course, it worked. The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, when the Japanese finally succumbed to the threat of further nuclear bombardment and surrendered. The support for this narrative runs deep. But there are three major problems with it, and, taken together, they significantly undermine the traditional interpretation of the Japanese surrender.

For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates.

The velomobile -- a recumbent tricycle with aerodynamic bodywork -- offers a more interesting alternative to the bicycle for longer trips. The bodywork protects the driver (and luggage) from the weather, while the comfortable recumbent seat eases the strain on the body, making it possible to take longer trips without discomfort. Furthermore, a velomobile (even without electric assistance) is much faster than an electric bicycle.

The current legal system around sampling is outdated and broken. It was created in 1991 by a judge throwing Bible quotes around who (more importantly) failed to consider the doctrine of fair use. Treating all samples the same unfairly burdens producers who use samples to create unique and original work. They system has been maintained by the economics of how it benefits players in the industry with the most time, money, and lawyers. The claims of producers like Girl Talk - that sampling constitutes fair use and is in line with copyright law - should see its day in court. Until it does, the music industry will continue to be hampered by ambiguity that stifles creativity. Clearing samples can be impossible for all but the biggest stars, which leaves the music industry’s dreamers facing a hard choice between restricting their creativity or making music with the nagging fear of a lawsuit. A law that makes it impossible to play by the rules is not a good one.

We covet diamonds in America for a simple reason: the company that stands to profit from diamond sales decided that we should. De Beers’ marketing campaign single handedly made diamond rings the measure of one’s success in America. Despite its complete lack of inherent value, the company manufactured an image of diamonds as a status symbol. And to keep the price of diamonds high, despite the abundance of new diamond finds, De Beers executed the most effective monopoly of the 20th century.

The headline isn't really backed up in the article, but interesting nonetheless:] For our study, recently published in Urban Design International, we analyzed a dozen historically dense, small cities from around the country in which the shares of residents getting to work by automobile range from 43 to 91 percent. We compared the rates of automobile use to the number residents and employees per square mile. We found that cities with higher rates of driving have fewer people – a difference of more than 4,000 people per square mile for each 10 percent change in automobile use. As the Penn model suggests, this has to do with the amount of land used to move and store all those cars. [As I'm always saying to people who complain that Swedish cities aren't sufficiently accessible by car: building more roads makes things worse, not better.

We are enamored with the automobile and most still see it as a ticket to the good life, not a burden on the checkbook. We’re entrenched in 70 years of a psyche that proclaims our prosperity as a nation is tied to our road system (and how fast we can get to the Applebee’s). The end result comes with the caveat that you have to burn a half-gallon of gasoline to pick up a half-gallon of milk.

Last week's mass slaying of 26 schoolchildren and teachers in a Connecticut elementary school has cast a familiar pall over the nation. While particularly gruesome because of the setting and age of the victims, these killings are only the most recent in a series of similar incidents.

...

In a number of fundamental ways, this kind of gun violence is connected to the structures, institutions, and ideology of the US. In particular, mass killings and our reaction to them represent Americans' fraught relation with public power and individual rights.

Sweden is perhaps as renowned for an egalitarian mind-set as it is for meatballs or Ikea furnishings. But this taxpayer-financed preschool, known as the Nicolaigarden for a saint whose chapel was once in the 300-year-old building that houses it, is perhaps one of the more compelling examples of the country’s efforts to blur gender lines and, theoretically, cement opportunities for both women and men.

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