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Stories by Art Hobson

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Commentary: Male instincts and the appeal of war

Subscriber onlyThe most obvious example of the "modernity paradox" -- the contradictions between science and primitive beliefs -- is modern warfare. Past wars killed and maimed combatants, while leaving most non-combatants and infrastructure intact. Beginning with aerial bombing in World War II, modern wars have been fought in the midst of civilians, and have often even been aimed directly at civilians. Continue reading...

Commentary: Climate change and the clash of cultures

Subscriber onlyThe general theme of my columns has been that a fatal contradiction runs through these modern times. On the one hand, our economy is based primarily on science and rational thought, while on the other hand our beliefs remain mired in primitive instincts and medieval superstitions. We see all around us, most obviously in places such as Syria and more subtly in American anti-intellectualism and materialism, the consequences of this clash between evidence-based conclusions and traditional beliefs. Continue reading...

Commentary: Recent Developments In Human Evolution

Subscriber onlyThanks to modern science, we're gradually learning one of the greatest stories ever told: how humans evolved. Continue reading...

The Tragedy Of Religious Fundamentalism

Subscriber onlyThe Mideast (including North Africa) has been the world’s hotspot for more than two decades. There’s been great suff ering in many, perhaps most, of these nations. Although it’s too early to declare failure, the Arab Spring has been a tragedy in some nations and has not yet succeeded anywhere. Furthermore, the region threatens the entire world with everything from terrorism to energy insecurity to nuclear war. Continue reading...

Geological Time Scale A Worthy Project

MORE SCHOOLS SHOULD TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT EARTH’S INSPIRING 4.6 BILLION-YEAR HISTORY

Subscriber onlyUpon opening my newspaper one morning last month, I found a front-page photograph that put a big smile on my face. Science students at Springdale’s Lakeside Junior High were shown chalking 460 meters of sidewalk with figures representing 4.6 billion years of Earth’s history, with each meter symbolizing 10 million years. It’s hard to think of any project better geared than this one to fi ll a yawning gap in American education. Scientists know a lot about Earth’s long history, but we don’t teach this vital and inspiring information in many history and science courses. We need to know our roots. Continue reading...

Mideast Needs A Nuclear-Free Zone

OBAMA, KERRY EXACTLY RIGHT IN PUSHING FOR AN ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN SETTLEMENT

Subscriber onlyLike many physicists, I’m concerned about nuclear weapons issues. It’s a tradition that began with the physicists who built the fi rst nuclear weapons. Continue reading...

U.S. Health Worst Among Peer Nations

Subscriber onlyAmid discussions of health care, it needs to be noted that America’s health is the worst among comparable nations around the world. Furthermore, it’s the most expensive. And we’re not just last, we’re last by a mile. Americans need to know this, and to talk about it. Something needs to change. If you’ve been playing a losing hand all night, you look for a new strategy. It’s surely not a good idea to maintain the current failed health system. Continue reading...

COMMENTARY: The Case For Transit-Oriented Development

Subscriber only If you live in New York City’s Harlem, you can get to the southern tip of Manhattan by walking a few blocks and taking either the No. 1, 2 or 3 subway. The 8-mile ride takes 18 minutes. Continue reading...

Global Warming: Look At Lessons From The Past

Subscriber onlyIn 2005, following the release of Al Gore’s climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” the single most-common criticism of the film focused on the animation showing ocean water fl owing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Continue reading...

Ideology And The Human Condition

STRONGEST FORCE FOR IGNORANCE IS FUNDAMENTALIST RELIGION

Subscriber onlyThe world appears to be under attack by irrational fanatics. Most are religious fundamentalists, but some, such as Saddam Hussein, have been fanatical about power rather than religion. Most are in the Middle East, but some, such as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, are not. Continue reading...

COMMENTARY: Climate Change Criticism Falls Flat

KRAUTHAMMER CHERRY-PICKS DATA IN OPINION PIECE

Subscriber onlyAward-winning conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer writes a weekly Washington Post column that also appears in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Because I enjoy reading intelligent material with which I disagree, I usually read his articles. He’s interestingly unpredictable and often embraces good science. For example, he dismisses creationism as pseudoscience, opposes the death penalty, supports legalized abortion, and advocates radically higher energy taxes to induce conservation. Continue reading...

Our Planet Passes A Climate Benchmark

Subscriber onlyOn May 9, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii measured for the first time a daily average carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration surpassing 400 parts per million. In other words, out of every million air molecules, an average of 400 were CO2. The last time CO2 concentrations were this high was probably during the Pliocene geological epoch, during 5 to 2.5 million years ago. CO2, of course, warms the planet. Continue reading...

COMMENTARY: Concerning Chemical Weapons In Syria

THEIR USE MUST BE PREVENTED, BUT US MUST BE CAREFUL WITH MILITARY ACTION

Subscriber onlyIt now appears that sarin, a chemical weapon, was used in Syria’s civil war. Continue reading...

COMMENTARY: America Heads Toward Brighter Days

RAPIDLY CHANGING CULTURE AFFECTS POLITICS OF GAY MARRIAGE, GUN SAFETY, WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT

Subscriber onlyAmerican culture is changing, affecting our politics and pointing toward a brighter future, but it creates significant dark spots. Continue reading...

COMMENTARY: Nuclear Weapons: Pressure Tactics Aren’t Working

Subscriber onlyIn dealing with dangerous nations such as Iran and North Korea, an attitude of wary toughness is appropriate but all too obvious in America’s foreign policy. Respect and understanding are also essential if we really want to solve these problems rather than just thump our own chests. Continue reading...

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