Mason Varnado

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How an ordinary New Zealand town became steampunk capital of the world

Farming community of Oamaru attracts visitors from around the globe after community embraced subculture where wrought iron meets science fiction<p>The humble farming town of Oamaru, three hours south of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, used to be known for its population of blue penguins …

New Zealand

We Talked to a Doctor Who Treats 'Cannabis Use Disorder'

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says 9 percent of marijuana users will abuse it.<p><i>This post originally appeared on VICE Canada.</i><p>With the exception of a few sober stints, Jeffrey has been waking and baking every day for the last six years.<p>The 24-year-old script supervisor, who grew up in a small …

How Einstein and Edison Solved Problems in Their Sleep

There's a scientific way you can use your half-asleep brain to solve problems.<p><i>This story first appeared on The Muse, a Web destination with exciting job opportunities and expert career advice.</i><p>Eat. Sleep. Solve problems. Repeat. You probably spend a large part of your waking hours tackling …

Creativity

Donald’s Achilles’ heel: Trump’s racism could lose him moderate white support, data shows

Trump’s overt bigotry could drive Independent whites to the Democratic party<p>Over the past few weeks, there has been been renewed discussion about Donald Trump’s past racism and the racism that has persisted throughout his campaign. Trump and his father were sued twice by the Department of Justice …

Racial resentment and police misconduct: The factors driving personal perception of cop violence

Attitudes about police behavior are strongly tied to racial bias and party affiliation<p>On Wednesday, graphic footage of Alton Sterling being shot and killed surfaced, showing that police had previously subdued Sterling before shooting him. The next day, Philando Castille was killed by a police …

Democrats' new platform adopts many Sanders demands

Democratic leaders had toiled past midnight for the second night in a row when they finally finished haggling over their platform, a compilation of the party's principles and proposals.<p>Dozens of printouts of amendments, covering issues from healthcare policy to industrial hemp production, were …

Middle-class

Why the Department of Justice wants to force its 28,000 employees to confront unconscious racial biases

As police have grappled with accusations of racism in the wake of shootings of unarmed black Americans, the Department of Justice has pushed law enforcement departments to undertake increasingly popular trainings on how unconscious biases – such as racial prejudice – influence policing.<p>Now, the …

Justice

Obama Cautions Against 'Hysteria' Over Brexit Vote

President Obama is warning against financial and international "hysteria" in the wake of last week's vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.<p>"I think that the best way to think about this is, a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration," Obama said of …

European Union

Why Didn’t the FBI Stop Omar Mateen?

The face of terrorism is changing. And critics say the bureau has been too slow to catch on.<p>If Omar Mateen was a disciple of “radical Islam,” as Donald Trump angrily described him, and “one of the soldiers of the caliphate,” as the Islamic State approvingly deemed him, he wasn’t a very impressive …

Terrorism

Is white America blind on racism, or just playing dumb?

The Washington Highlands area of Milwaukee is the kind of suburb that says you’ve arrived. The lawns are immaculate: manicured green parcels bordering big, square-jawed houses. Each home is a hotchpotch of architectural styles. Clearly, most owners built the dwelling of their dreams themselves. …

Black Students

History of Humanistic and Rational Thought in the Arab world

<i>Last Edited: 4th of May 2016</i><p>There is a rich and often overlooked tradition of humanistic thought in Arab history that this page aims to highlight. …

Religion

Gloria Steinem’s new show links global instability to violence against women: “For the first time there are fewer females on earth than males”

Salon talks to the feminist pioneer about her all-female journalist team telling stories of women around the world<p>Violence against women is a vast, worldwide problem on a scale that's so big that it's unfathomable to most people who try to get a handle on it. But Gloria Steinem, along with an …

Trump/Nixon: will 2016 make us witnesses to another revolution?

On 3 November 1969, as the Vietnam war and protests against it raged on, Richard Nixon addressed a divided nation. At the end of his 31-minute speech, he coined a phrase that stuck.<p>Trump ends California swing marked by bold remarks, criticism and violence<p>Read more<p>“So tonight,” he said, “to you, the …

Donald Trump

The rich are getting richer – the poor are getting robbed

Much fuss is made about financial inequality, but what about inequality of crime? It’s a question that has never been properly answered. Last year, <i>The Spectator</i> put out an appeal for help with social questions that weren’t being addressed by politicians or academia. One was whether the much-lauded …

European churches say growing flock of Muslim refugees are converting

Anecdotal evidence suggests rising pattern of Muslims becoming Christians, with some churches conducting mass baptisms<p>A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.<p>Reliable data on conversions …

Religion

A universal basic income only makes sense if Americans change how they think about work

Eduardo Porter's broadside against a universal basic income focuses almost entirely on the cost and efficiency of cutting every American a check that would keep them out of poverty. But the harder — and more important — question around a UBI is about how it interacts with our culture of work. And …

Top writing tips

I once heard a very good author say “there are as many ways of writing as there are people out there doing it”. What he meant was, we all have a unique style – or “voice”. No amount of writing tips will help you discover what kind of writer you truly are, but some of the following thoughts and …

Writing

Suicidal and detained for my own safety, I saw the mental health system failing

I was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Campus security at my university had called the police when I expressed an intent to harm myself at a bar. As I was put in the back of the police car, I felt a mixture of shame at being treated like a common criminal, as though I’d done …

Mental Health

Obama stages Republican voter intervention

Returning to the scene of his first trip as president, Obama says GOP voters are betting against the economy.<p>President Barack Obama’s message in the heartland on Wednesday recalled the simplicity of the original Clinton campaign: If you’re voting on the economy, it’s stupid to vote for a Republican.<p>…

Government

One of England's Greatest Poets Talks Mysticism, Spirituality, and Salvation

Aidan Dun tells us about meeting Arthur Rimbaud in a vision and finding inspiration in King's Cross.<p>These days, England doesn't much care for its poets, tending to prefer them safely dead and serviceable as colorful subjects for the heritage industry. The one I'm meeting lives more or less in …

Donald Trump Is Not Expanding the GOP

A POLITICO analysis of early-voting data shows little evidence for one of the Republican nominee’s core claims.<p>Donald Trump likes to say he has created a political movement that has drawn “millions and millions” of new voters into the Republican Party. “It’s the biggest thing happening in …

Government

In Racial Profiling Lawsuit, Ariz. Judge Rules Sheriff Arpaio In Contempt Of Court

An Arizona judge has ruled that Joe Arpaio, who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff," is in civil contempt of court. Judge G. Murray Snow says Arpaio has repeatedly and knowingly disobeyed his orders to cease policing tactics against Latinos that he says amount to systemic racial …

Policing

A rare interview with Don DeLillo, one of the titans of American fiction

If you want to reach Don DeLillo, don't try to email him; he doesn't email. His preferred method of business communication is via fax. He still writes his novels on a typewriter.<p>That technological reticence notwithstanding, DeLillo is one of the titans of American fiction. The 79-year-old DeLillo …

Literature

The Perils of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

The series allowed children to build their own story—but it also created false perceptions about decision-making.<p>I should probably start by saying that I’m bad at decisions. Lots of people say that, I know. But most people have never agonized so deeply over which of two New York City apartments to …

We are torturers and murderers: America’s first casualty of war is the Constitution

W dispensed with the Eighth Amendment; Obama with the Fifth and Fourteenth. Through it all, Congress has been MIA<p>Let’s face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land -- otherwise considered …

Most Americans want “radical change” — it’s socialism or barbarism, and Clinton would only mean more of the latter

<b>Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Jim Young/Photo montage by Salon)</b><p>2/3rds of voters in the U.S. seek “radical change”; supporters of all presidential candidates except Clinton agree<p>Ben Norton<p>April 6, 2016 12:15pm (UTC)<p>The 2016 presidential election is among the most interesting …

Middle-class

Pope Francis Questions Whether Trump is a Viable Candidate for Catholic Voters

February 18, 2016 by Artur Rosman<p>The Catholic blogosphere has seen its own share of debate about whether Catholics can in good faith vote for …

Christianity

The judge Antonin Scalia wanted to replace him has divergent views on one of Scalia’s signature issues

In 2012, Scalia said he wanted Judge Frank Easterbrook — appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 — of the US Seventh Circuit to replace him.<p>"If there is one other judicial name associated with the two principal theories of this book — textualism and originalism — it is Frank Easterbrook," …