Happy Arkhipov Day, Everybody
David Berreby is the author of "Us and Them: The Science of Identity." He has written about human behavior and other science topics for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Smithsonian, The New Republic, Nature, Discover, Vogue and many other publications. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Paris, a Science Writing Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory, a resident at Yaddo, and in 2006 was awarded the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship for the first edition of "Us and Them." David can be found on Twitter at @davidberreby and reached by email at david [at] davidberreby [dot] com.
Today is the 47th anniversary of the day a courageous Soviet submarine officer, Vasili Arkhipov, probably saved the world from nuclear armageddon.
On October 27, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. Navy destroyers were trying to force Arkhipov's submarine to surface near Cuba. The captain was ready to retaliate by firing a nuclear-armed torpedo.
Three officers -- captain, political officer and Arkhipov, who was second officer -- had to agree to launch the weapon. The other two officers favored using the nuke, which could very well have started World War III. Arkhipov refused to go along, so the submarine surfaced instead.
Being one person against two is not easy. Even judges on U.S. appellate courts appear swayed by the dynamic, for instance. According to this paper by Cass Sunstein, on the three-judge panels that decide most U.S. Court of Appeals cases, judges appointed by Democratic presidents are more likely to vote like Republicans if the other two panelists were appointed by a Republican, and Republicans are more likely to vote like Democrats when the situation is reversed).
For resisting the urge to fire back at people who were dropping depth charges on him, for declining to be swayed by his military and ideological indocrination, Arkhipov deserves to be remembered on the anniversay of the day when his decision might well have saved civilization.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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