The Importance of Railways

If we lose the railways we shall not just have lost a valuable practical asset. We shall have acknowledged that we have forgotten how to live collectively, said the late Tony Judt.

The railways were and remain the necessary and natural accompaniment to the emergence of civil society. They are a collective project for individual benefit. They cannot exist without common accord (and, in recent times, common expenditure), and by design they offer a practical benefit to individual and collectivity alike. This is something the market cannot accomplish—except, on its own account of itself, by happy inadvertence. Railways were not always environmentally sensitive—though in overall pollution costs it is not clear that the steam engine did more harm than its internally combusted competitor—but they were and had to be socially responsive. That is one reason why they were not very profitable.

Stress is contagious–but resilience can be too

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
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Think of the closest planet to Earth... Wrong! Think again!

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Strange Maps
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An Atlantic horseshoe crab in an aquarium. Photo: Domdomegg via Wikimedia Commons.
Surprising Science
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10 novels that brilliantly capture the American experience

The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images)
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