Getting Over Rock and Roll, With the Help of Lead Belly

 So, let’s say you’ve achieved 80’s rock stardom, complete with the bar tours, a beer commercial, historically singular hair cuts, and even an album called “Smoking in the Fields”—where does one go from there? For Dan Zanes, the answer wasn’t exactly straightforward, and there were a couple of ill-fated solo albums in the mix, but he eventually took a cue from the mysteriously inspiring folk legend, Lead Belly, and found a new and remarkably successful path

Zanes has since launched a highly successful second career as a children’s musician, with a Grammy to his name and a gig with the Disney Channel. Does he miss the rock-n-roll days? Definitely not. And he’s now in the place where he doesn’t have to suffer the whims, and illogical IP rights of the music industry's crumbling monoliths.

 Zanes also gives some unique insight into song writing: imagine the party, the deadheads and concert-goers dancing to your music while writing it—this makes it more fun for everybody. Plus, Zanes gives some insight into another somewhat uncommon situation in his life: he was approached and wound up with a role in a recent Mathew Broderick movie, A Wonderful World, about a dark and failed children’s musician—how did he take such an offer?

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit

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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Why a 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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