Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Those of us who cite the disproportionate application of the death penalty as a reason for outlawing it do so because we believe that a criminal-justice system is not an abstraction but a real thing, existing in a real context, with a real history. In America, the history of the criminal justice—and the death penalty—is utterly inseparable from white supremacy. During the Civil War, black soldiers were significantly more likely to be court-martialed and executed than their white counterparts. This practice continued into World War II. “African-Americans comprised 10 percent of the armed forces but accounted for almost 80 percent of the soldiers executed during the war,” writes law professor Elizabeth Lutes Hillman.

In American imagination, the lynching era is generally seen as separate from capital punishment. But virtually no one was ever charged for lynching. The country refused to outlaw it. And sitting U.S. senators such as Ben Tillman and Theodore Bilbo openly called for lynching for crimes as grave as rape and as dubious as voting. Well into the 20th century, capital punishment was, as John Locke would say, lynching “coloured with the name, pretences, or forms of law.”

Jordana Timerman:

The sheer amount of vehicles on Lima’s roads also boggles the mind. For example, last year there were 32,500 buses circulating inside the city. Taxis are even worse: there are an estimated 230,000 taxis operating, of which only 40 percent are legal. Similarly populated New York City has 5,700 buses and only 13,000 cabs.

Main Street USA, digital watercolor

Copyright © 2014 Mike Frizzell

Noah Smith:

The human race is on the brink of momentous and dire change. It is a change that potentially smashes our institutions and warps our society beyond recognition. It is also a change to which almost no one is paying attention. I’m talking about the coming obsolescence of the gun-wielding human infantryman as a weapon of war. Or to put it another way: the end of the Age of the Gun.

Hammons Tower, Springfield, MO

Arthur C. Clarke pretty much wrote “Her”

From “The Fountains of Paradise”, chapter 21:

That beautiful, dispassionate voice, untouched by human glottis, had never changed in the forty years that he had known it. Decades, perhaps centuries, after he was dead, it would be talking to other men just as it had spoken to him. (For that matter, how many conversations was it having at this very moment?) Once, this knowledge had depressed Rajasinghe; now it no longer mattered. He did not envy ARISTOTLE’s immortality.

Double dipping in scholarly publishing

In fact, our current models of scholarly publishing place a growing financial burden on university and college libraries. In practice, faculty members effectively give away journal and book manuscripts to publishers for the privilege of seeing them in print. In turn, publishers sell faculty scholarship back to our academic libraries and charge them a price for the right to lend out print copies or disseminate digital copies on proprietary databases. As a result, higher education pays twice for scholarship produced by its own faculty: first, in the form of salary or sabbatical support for individual professors, and second, in fees for the right to distribute the work. (The financial burden is more extreme in the grant-funded sciences, where commercial publishers charge substantially higher journal subscription fees to libraries and publication fees to contributing authors.) The current business model benefits neither the average historian nor the institutions of higher education that employ many of us.

From "Writing History in the Digital Age", Kristen Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty, eds.