The Civil War & Shakespeare

In a different age, politicians quoting Shakespeare might not have gotten far with voters; in Bard-mad 19th-century America, it was a sure way to win over a skeptical audience.

A century and a half ago, as Lincoln was preparing to assume the office to which he'd been elected in November 1860, Congress was vigorously debating the issues that were tearing a nation asunder. A sense of impending doom was palpable, with delegates from the Deep South convinced that the incoming administration was eager to deprive them of inalienable rights, and delegates from the North insisting that such fears were groundless. Many of the elected officials who took part in these deliberations quoted Lord Byron, John Milton and other poets to buttress their arguments. The author who surfaced most frequently, however, was William Shakespeare, a source of acknowledged wisdom whose influence rivaled holy writ.

​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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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.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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