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On the night of November 15, 2021, British Columbia’s Nicola River sounded like thunder.
Boulders boomed beneath a raging current that was bursting its banks, taking out everything in its path.
Residents along Highway 8 were devastated by the destruction. But they were not alone.
Communities all over southwest British Columbia felt the impact of flooding and landslides unleashed by an “atmospheric river” rainstorm.
It was the costliest disaster in the province’s history, resulting in an estimated $13 billion worth of damage.
Yet no place experienced flooding like the Nicola Valley, a dry-belt area that rarely sees extreme rain.
On the one-year anniversary, J.B. MacKinnon recounts an extraordinary flood that laid waste to homes and lives—and the idea that we can control nature.
A newly released official music video for the iconic 1966 song:
Artist and director Em Cooper explored the space between dreaming and wakefulness, working on an animation rostrum on sheets of celluloid. She painted every frame individually in oil-paint, a labourious process which took many months.
Five weeks into the protests that erupted across Iran in response to the killing of Mahsa Amini, the floundering Iranian authorities thought it would be a good idea to put up a massive poster in central Tehran depicting dozens of eminent Iranian women as supporters of the mandatory wearing of the hijab. Photographs of academics, writers, directors, artists, actors and athletes were shown in a collage with the slogan ‘Women of Our Land’ which was plastered on the billboard the regime reserves for its most urgent public messaging, a massive structure towering over Valiasr Square. The display included such unlikely figures as the novelist Simin Daneshvar, who wore the hijab only after the revolution made it compulsory, depicted patriarchal oppression in her fiction, and is on record saying that she wished ‘the world was run by women’.
Within hours, several women demanded their images be removed. The existence of a photograph showing them with a headscarf did not mean they were pious or even that they respected the government; it simply meant they had observed the law. […]
More than two hundred people have been killed since the protests began in mid-September and the clerical authorities show no sign of relenting. Despite this, the demonstrators have reason to celebrate. On the streets and in daily life, they have defeated the state’s mandatory hijab policy, which is often described as the key pillar of clerical rule, but more tangibly is used as an instrument of policing whose function is control and distraction from the state of the country. Last month, I watched girls in central Tehran walking around with their hair showing, impressed by their ease and fearlessness. Some even sat on the marble steps of a mosque sipping melon juice and chatting, scarves down. Last week, an Iranian climber competed in an international competition with her hair uncovered. A crowd of ecstatic supporters gathered to meet her at the airport on her return to Tehran. The authorities’ imperious response to public anger was a serious miscalculation, sustaining the protests and leading them to grow more radical. Morality policing lies in ruins. No one knows what senior politicians are hearing from their wives, sisters and daughters, but never have the Islamic Republic’s political elite and its most dogmatic constituencies looked so divided at a time of crisis.
Nikola Jokić is an NBA basketball player from Sombor, Serbia, whose nose turns the color of a ripe plum after a few minutes of exerting himself on the court. He has a heavy brow that sits low over piercing blue eyes. He often seems to be breathing heavily through his open mouth. His usual expression, when on the court, doesn’t suggest exhaustion so much as a kind of muted confusion and mortification, almost a feeling of embarrassment, as though he is not entirely sure what is happening on the court and what he is supposed to be doing. Although nearly seven feet tall, his body was, in the early years of his career, flabby. There was none of the muscle definition one associates with professional athletes. The overall effect was that of a large, chubby kid who was in some way overmatched by his situation. Over years of dedicated work on his body, the flab has abated but the expression remains the same, as does the nose. Organized basketball, let alone professional basketball, is in many ways so strictly choreographed that it is silly to compare it to the chaos of a playground, yet the same subterranean currents of menace and intimidation run through both.
When I first saw Jokić’s inflamed-looking nose, I had a visceral sense of a kid on the playground who has been bullied. Not literally punched in the nose but teased to the point where he had gone off to a corner to grieve and recover and was now returning to the fray with only the red nose as evidence of his private ordeal. But this is a projection. I am the kid in this description.
Exactly what constitutes agency seems to be a subject of active debate. I’m going to try to sketch out roughly what I think of as agency, but I don’t intend this to be a super precise definition or the definitive word on it.
Roughly, agency is the capacity to act to satisfy some preference.
This breaks down into three parts:
The capacity to act.
Possessing preferences over outcomes of those actions.
Being able to choose to use the former to satisfy the latter.
A lot of why agency is interesting is because people often don’t exhibit it in cases where they would benefit from doing so. This isn’t a judgement on those people - “those people” very much includes me, which is much of why I’m interested in this subject.
I think the most central and distinctively agency-related way to have failures of agency are in the third part of the three part characterisation: Failure to use the capabilities you have to satisfy the preferences you have.
Somehow, Brazil did not go completely haywire last week. It’s a low bar to clear, but an important achievement nonetheless. Following a bitterly contested campaign, leftist challenger (and two-term former president) Lula beat incumbent far-right president Jair Bolsonaro in a squeaker on Sunday October 30th. It was a scenario many of us had feared, since Bolsonaro had virtually promised a chaotic, “Stop-the-Steal”-style battle if he was announced to have lost.
Instead, he met the announcement with stony silence, ghosting Lula and the world for an interminable 47 hours. Then, in a two-minute speech last Tuesday, he thanked his voters, underlined his followers’ indignation at “how the election was run,” but said that “our methods must not be those of the left” (meaning lawless and chaotic). He never mentioned Lula, much less congratulated him. He neither conceded the election nor contested it. Yet minutes later, through a senior aide, he let it be known that his administration would collaborate in the transition ahead of Lula’s January 1st swearing-in ceremony.
It could have been so much worse. […]
How do we make sense of the coup that didn’t bark? I suspect the full story won’t be known for years, until key players in Lula’s campaign, the armed forces and Bolsonaro’s (misnamed) Liberal Party write their memoirs. For now, we can speculate on a few factors.
How we are born - by Caesarean-section or vaginal delivery - alters how our immune system responds to vaccines, a Scottish and Dutch study suggests.
Babies born vaginally had double the level of protective antibodies produced after childhood vaccines.
The researchers said the difference was caused by the types of good bacteria, which colonise our bodies at birth.
And while C-section babies do get protection, it may need topping up with probiotics or extra vaccines.
It’s a simple sentence that captures the hopes and fears of modern-day parents as much as the bronze age Canaanite who owned the doubled-edged ivory comb on which the words appear.
Believed to be the oldest known sentence written in the earliest alphabet, the inscription on the luxury item reads: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”
We argue that cross-national variability in homicide rates is strongly influenced by state history. Populations living within a state are habituated, over time, to settling conflicts through regularized, institutional channels rather than personal violence. Because these are gradual and long-term processes, present-day countries composed of citizens whose ancestors experienced a degree of “state-ness” in previous centuries should experience fewer homicides today. To test this proposition, we adopt an ancestry-adjusted measure of state history that extends back to 0 CE. Cross-country analyses show a sizeable and robust relationship between this index and lower homicide rates. The result holds when using various measures of state history and homicide rates, sets of controls, samples, and estimators. We also find indicative evidence that state history relates to present levels of other forms of personal violence. Tests of plausible mechanisms suggest state history is linked to homicide rates via the law-abidingness of citizens. We find less support for alternative channels such as economic development or current state capacity.
It is widely assumed that thinking is independent of language modality because an argument is either logically valid or invalid regardless of whether we read or hear it. This is taken for granted in areas such as psychology, medicine, and the law. Contrary to this assumption, we demonstrate that thinking from spoken information leads to more intuitive performance compared with thinking from written information. Consequently, we propose that people think more intuitively in the spoken modality and more analytically in the written modality. This effect was robust in five experiments (N = 1,243), across a wide range of thinking tasks, from simple trivia questions to complex syllogisms, and it generalized across two different languages, English and Chinese.