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Foolproof

Alex J. Pollock reviews Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe by Greg Ip.

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Psychostimulants

Junkie Jihadis and the Narcotic Ways of War by Lukasz Kamienski.

ISIS has revelled in its brutality. Reports of ISIS fighters, jihadist terrorists and insurgents fuelled by drugs on their murderous rampages have generated outrage and astonishment. The vision of intoxicated jihadists adds an almost inconceivable level of fright, but it should not. There is nothing exceptional in ISIS fighters popping pills. Drugs and warfare have always gone hand in hand – from Homeric warriors to Wehrmacht troops, and more recently US pilots during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though the use of intoxicants by non-Western irregulars is often portrayed in the media as unique, the fact is that Western soldiers have been fighting while high for much of history.

There are differences. ISIS’s substance of choice is Captagon, a powerful stimulant metabolised in the body to form amphetamine and theophylline. It makes for a perfect combat drug that numbs fear, induces bravado, enhances strength, promotes alertness and alleviates pain. Jihadists are reported to consume it pervasively, while also pumping themselves full of cocaine, heroin and hashish. It’s a potent cocktail, transforming young men into highly stimulated, ferocious and seemingly crazed fighters. It engenders feelings of invincibility and diminishes fear, including fear of death. In short, ISIS fighters are high on two powerful intoxicants: jihad and psychostimulants.

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Liberty

The Right to Be Differently Excellent: Why Christian Colleges Should Be Allowed to Be Christian by Adam J. MacLeod.

Vanderbilt is legally free to constitute itself as a non-religious university. The question is whether Gordon College will be left free to constitute itself as a Christian college. Will we have equal liberty, or only liberty for those who despise Christianity?

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Simplicity

Why is Simpler Better? by Elliott Sober.

Ockham’s Razor says that simplicity is a scientific virtue, but justifying this philosophically is strangely elusive.

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Relentless

What’s Behind the Relentless Pursuit of Excellence? by Bradley Stulberg.

Three athletes discuss the source of their passion.

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Trick?

What Neuroscience Says about Free Will by Adam Bear.

We’re convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself.

More at SA.

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Gospel

The Gospel of Happiness by Christopher O. Tollefsen.

Christopher Kaczor’s The Gospel of Happiness brings new insight to Christian practice by applying the lessons of positive psychology to it. His approach shows how both religious and secular seekers of happiness can learn and benefit from the other tradition.

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Debunkers

Who Will Debunk The Debunkers? by Daniel Engber.

In 2012, network scientist and data theorist Samuel Arbesman published a disturbing thesis: What we think of as established knowledge decays over time. According to his book “The Half-Life of Facts,” certain kinds of propositions that may seem bulletproof today will be forgotten by next Tuesday; one’s reality can end up out of date.

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Violence

Why Aren’t We Having a National Conversation About Leftist Violence? by David Harsanyi.

If a mob of conservatives attempted to shut down a major Hillary Clinton event, as rioters did the other day during a Donald Trump event, America would be thrust into an insufferable national dialogue about the growing violent tendencies of the Right to crush debate. There would be a flood of anxious op-ed pieces and cable news roundtables featuring chin-stroking pundits contemplating the future of discourse in America. No one would be spared.

And you better believe every conservative politician in the country would be asked to comment on this bloodcurdling development.

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Sci-Hub

Who’s Downloading Pirated Papers? Everyone by John Bohannon.

In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, which hosts 50 million papers and counting. Over the 6 months leading up to March, Sci-Hub served up 28 million documents. More than 2.6 million download requests came from Iran, 3.4 million from India, and 4.4 million from China. The papers cover every scientific topic, from obscure physics experiments published decades ago to the latest breakthroughs in biotechnology. The publisher with the most requested Sci-Hub articles? It is Elsevier by a long shot—Sci-Hub provided half-a-million downloads of Elsevier papers in one recent week.

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DNA

Is There a Fountain of Youth in Our DNA? by Brian Alexander.

Study of exceptionally healthy old people fails to trace their well-being to specific genes.

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Crisis

The Theory Crisis in Psychology by Rolf Reber.

Psychology answers the wrong questions instead of asking the right ones.

More at PT.

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Cobb

CJ reviews Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen.

Related: You can read an excerpt here.

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Extinction

Human Extinction Isn’t That Unlikely by Robinson Meyer.

“A typical person is more than five times as likely to die in an extinction event as in a car crash,” says a new report.

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Cruz

The Problem with Ted Cruz by Charles Hurt.

It is true that Clinton’s cackles are like claws on a chalkboard for even many Democrats. But that visceral, revolting antipathy is nothing compared to people’s reaction to Cruz.

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Gap

The Divorce Gap by Darlena Cunha.

There’s a common perception that women siphon off the wealth of their exes and go on to live in comfort. It’s wrong.

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Barbarians

Are There Barbarians at the Gates of Science? by Robbert Dijkgraaf.

The increasingly complex border between science and society is changing both.

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Matters

Why Spinoza Still Matters by Steven Nadler.

At a time of religious zealotry, Spinoza’s fearless defense of intellectual freedom is more timely than ever.

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Humanities

Bradley Watson reviews Why We Need the Humanities: Life Science, Law and the Common Good by Donald Drakeman.

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Decline

3 Reasons Why America Is Starting to Lose God by Andy Tix.

The rise of self, negative attitudes, and a decline in awe may be responsible.

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