What Is Beauty?

The Financial Times appeals to an Oxford philosophy professor to find the essence of beauty. Darwin said it was sex. For Estée Lauder, it was glamor. But what does beauty mean today?

The Financial Times appeals to an Oxford philosophy professor to find the essence of beauty. Darwin said it was sex. For Estée Lauder, it was glamor. But what does beauty mean today? "'Beauty,' wrote Umberto Eco in his study of European aesthetics On Beauty, 'has never been absolute and immutable but has taken on different aspects depending on the historical period and the country.' Yet if the definition of beauty is ever shifting," asks the FT, "how can we make sense of its significance?" After analyzing three new books on the subject, the FT finishes by saying that "Beauty may be an amorphous, shape-shifting concept, with positive as well as negative connotations, but one thing it’s not is only skin deep."

Why federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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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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Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

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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