Potholey Moly

The New York Times’ Alexandra Lange writes despairingly of New York’s two million potholes and ponders longingly on a German model where citizens sponsor pothole repairs.

The New York Times’ Alexandra Lange writes despairingly of New York’s two million potholes and ponders longingly on a German model where citizens sponsor pothole repairs. She says she saw a television report about Niederzimmen in Germany where villagers contribute $68 towards filling in a pothole and in exchange get their name embossed on a patch of new asphalt. She says that with a few tweaks, New York could have its own sponsor-a-pothole program. "True, Niederzimmern is home to only about 1,000 people, and traffic is probably a lot thinner than in New York. Once a pothole is fixed in Niederzimmern, it’s likely set for a while. In New York, potholes are like pets — requiring constant care over years and years — so our program would mean almost literally adopting a patch of road. It would also come with a slightly higher price tag than in Niederzimmern: filling a New York pothole costs about $30; new asphalt every 18 months for 15 years would cost $300. But the idea of such a commitment contains the germ of a viable educational plan for New York: call it Pick-a-Pothole, a citywide civic investment program."

​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.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • 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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In Switzerland, gun ownership is high but mass shootings are low. Why?

In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
  • Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
  • Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
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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?

Videos
  • 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.