What has the legalization of abortion to do with the crime drop rate in the late 1990s? Nothing, you might think at first. The authors of the book Freakonomics would argue against your thought. Steven Levitt is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. Stephen Dubner is a journalist working for ABC News and The New York Times. They met at an interview and decided to work together on several books. This book was a result of their productive cooperation.
Democracy is not a new invention. During 600 C.E. to 1000 C.E. the Vikings hold meetings called Ting. There they settled disputes, discussed, accepted or rejected laws and even decided to change their religion (from the old Norse religion to Christianity). Later, they created a kind of supra-Ting, a National Assembly called Althing. Other historic examples of democratically ruled societies are the city-states of ancient Greece, ancient Rome (before the reign of Julius Caesar) and some Italian cities during the Middle Ages. But in which aspects do they differ from today’s democracy? What are the key elements of democracy and what challenges do they have to face?
Everyone agrees that human psychology consists of reasoning and moral intuition, otherwise known as head and heart. The point of contention is which part is more important and more dominant. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argues that reason could always be the master and in control of the human body. Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business disagrees with this view. In his work, he tries to analyze the origin of morality, the conflict between the head and the heart, why people gather themselves in groups and what implications his findings have on topics like religion or politics.
In 1996 the U.S. government developed the then fastest supercomputer in the world. The project cost about $55 million and occupied a floor space of about 80 percent of a tennis court. The machine reached the power of 1.8 teraflops. Just nine years later another computer hit this benchmark. The difference: It could fit into every living room and cost only about five hundred dollars. The computer was the PlayStation 3, developed by Sony.
Bernie Sanders is currently serving his second term in the Senate of the United States. He considers himself a democratic socialist and a progressive politician. He rose to fame because of his rather unconventional run for presidency, which he lost in the end against his democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Clinton then lost to the republican candidate Donald Trump, who is the 45th president of the United States.
Bruce Flemming is Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. While calling himself a liberal he teaches becoming marines who are often representing strictly conservative views. In his view both ideologies, liberalism and conservativism are dominating current American landscape but due to an ongoing polarisation are unable to find common compromises. In this book he tries to identify both self-sufficient worldviews, describe examples why and how they clash in ongoing debates and tries to give a solution to end this in his view useless confrontation and how both sides are able to approach one another.