Arms and the men

That Bloomberg article Greg mentions below is, indeed, something else. They had me at "Shi'ite Muslim rebellion". They also mentioned 4 armed men being arrested outside the US Embassy. The government has a different explanation for their presence.

SANAA, Yemen, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Four Yemenis carrying hand grenades and guns who were arrested near the U.S. embassy in the capital Sanaa were passers-by and were not planning to target the building, an official said Wednesday.

If you don't know much about Yemen, you are probably chortling in a little bit of disbelief (of course, if you don't know much about Yemen, you probably aren't coming to this blog. It is hard to stumble upon by mistake). It barely made an impact on me. This doesn't seem an unusual Yemeni story at all. I actually find it kind of charming.

But if this story gets traction- and I doubt it will, except on fringe sites- expect there to be hand-wringing about Salih's complicity with terrorists or hysterical stories about (altogether now) a "country awash in guns". The latter is, after "homeland of Bin Laden", the softest landing pad for journalists parachuting into Yemen.

And to an extent it is true- there are a lot of guns and arms in Yemen. But for those interested in looking at the full picture, which can calm some hysterics and present a more full view of the role of guns in Yemen, I can't recommend highly enough Derek Miller's 2003 report for the Small Arms Survey. It is balanced, learned and meticulously researched. Check it out, so you can have some stats for when people start arguing about Yemen at parties.

Or does that only happen at my parties?

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

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
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less