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?
Star Wars is one of the most famous science fiction franchises in history. The first three movies (Star Wars IV-VI) become an important part of today’s pop culture. Overwhelmed by the success of the trilogy, director George Lucas decided to make a sequel trilogy, in which the young Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side. This trilogy consists of three movies, The Phantom Menace (I), Attack of the Clones (II) and Revenge of the Sith (III).
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.
Recently I got into the Netflix series Black Mirror. If is a very beautiful (but also dark) series illustrating the dangers of new technology. The single episodes are not connected with each other, so you can watch them in any order you want. Some episodes are nearer to today’s world that you maybe want them to be while others seem to be further away from today. But no matter how near or far the displayed world seems to be, the series asks important questions how human living is influenced by modern technology.
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.