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Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?

The Twitter version: There’s a slight decrease in violent crime when violent movies are playing. People who like violence tend to go watch the movie instead of going out and doing violent things. Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases aggression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004,…

Xark!: Why I shut down comments

While blogs still exist as convenient ways for authors to compile and archive their writing over time, commenting has long been driven (by spammers) into other social media, like Twitter and Facebook. What follows is an interesting snapshot of the Cyberculture change, as it was happening. What really changed between 2005 and 2009 was that regular people left blogging for social media platforms that far better suited their purposes. Blogs,…

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A 27-Story Vertical Forest Grows in Milan

Bosco Verticale was conceived in response to the alarming levels of air pollution in Milan. The structure itself is no more radical than your average high-rise tower block, but when fortified with over 700 balcony-perched trees, not only will the buildings look like two enormous topiaries in the middle of the city, but they will also filter dust particles, absorb carbon dioxide, and protect the apartment complexes within from radiation…

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On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Human

In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, the brilliant physicist, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful – a “beautiful” – mind. And indeed, because of his disability, Hawking embodies the mythical figure capable of grasping the…