The Global Decline of the Death Penalty

An Amnesty International reports says that while opposition to the death penalty has gained much global support, powerful countries like the U.S. and China continue to execute convicts.

China executes more of its citizens than any other country, followed by Iran. "Amnesty does not provide a precise figure of executions in China as Beijing keeps such figures secret. Instead, it has challenged the Chinese authorities to publish figures for the number of people sentenced to death and executed each year to confirm claims of a reduction in the use of the death penalty. China, however, last year did move to cut down the number of offences that carry the death penalty, which applies to no less than 68 crimes. If the changes go through, the death penalty would be removed for such crimes as tax fraud, and for smuggling valuables and cultural relics."

1 in 100 water molecules started in solar nebulae

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
  • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
  • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
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