Fewer US Wars In Africa Could Help Africa

When the death toll reached 1,000 in the latest Israel-Palestine exchange, it made frontpage international headlines. Now that 900 people have been killed in the Congo as a result of a botched military operation backed by the United States, most of the world's press is eerily silent.

The US-supported Ugandan troops were meant to kill the leader of a violent Christian rebellion, the Lord's Resistance Army, notorious for recruiting children to its ranks and killing civilians. Ugandan troops' failure to protect nearby villages, which were ransacked by the LRA following the failed military operation, is viewed by the United States as Uganda's mistake, not theirs. American military officials have effectively washed their hands and called it a day's work. (Readers need not conclude, however, that President Obama has done wrong by his African brothers yet. American support for the operation was cleared by the previous administration.)

US-funded Ugandan troops carrying out operations inside the Congo demonstrates American favouritism in a region that continues to disrespect the Congo's territorial integrity. The UN has peacekeeping troops stationed throughout the warring region, where the Congo, Sudan, and Uganda converge, but their mandate is limited. The NGO People of the DR Congo have asked world leaders why no diplomatic effort has been made to address recent violence.

Africa is on the path filled with violent obstacles to modernization. Just how the continent can progress was a question addressed by New York University economics professor William Easterly when he visited Big Think.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.