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Art Hobson: Kim Jong Un's rationale

North Korean leader’s key concern is staying in power

Subscriber onlyAlthough global warming poses the planet's greatest long-term danger, nuclear weapons are the major short-term threat. North Korea's recent acquisition of nuclear weapons is perilous and deplorable, but it's not Kim Jong Un's fault alone. It's an inevitable consequence of the failure of the nuclear powers, including us, to work toward a nuclear-weapons-free world. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: The USA is in trouble

Despite nation’s wealth, country has a lot of ailments

Subscriber onlyRecently my extended family got together near the beach in Venice, Calif. Like other U.S. cities, it bears the scars of our national dysfunction. By day, the boardwalk, bikeway and adjoining businesses are packed with thousands of people. But when the sun dips, the tone darkens as homeless people, some mentally ill and some on drugs, begin to dominate. Restaurants and bars won't accept new customers after 8 p.m., and tourists vanish, fearing for their safety. The daily financial turnover along the boardwalk must be an enormous boon for this city of 41,000, but it all stops when evening falls and homelessness, poverty, mental illness and drugs take charge of Venice's crown jewel. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: And all that jazz

America’s music delivers lifetime of memories

Subscriber onlyToday, let's stroll down my own lane of memories of America's greatest invention. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: Our overpopulated planet

Rate of births exceeding Earth’s capacities

Subscriber onlyHenderson Island, an uninhabited South Pacific atoll, is so isolated as to be practically untouched, ever, by human presence. Yet according to scientists who studied it in 2015, this island is the final resting place for 38 million pieces of mostly plastic trash, with 3,500 pieces washing up daily. The garbage comes from China, South America, Europe, USA --from the world. Ocean plastic entangles marine mammals and fish, is ingested by birds, never degrades and floats for decades. Humans dispose of 8 million tons of plastic in the oceans every year. That's 200,000 large interstate truck loads per year -- and only a tiny fraction of humankind's total trash load on the planet. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: Car trouble in Northwest Arkansas

Region’s reliance on automobiles harmful, not sustainable

Subscriber onlyHow to capture the sorry state of our transportation? There are many good books, with solutions -- James Kunstler's classic "The Geography of Nowhere"; Jane Holtz Kay's "Asphalt Nation"; Katie Alvord's "Divorce Your Car!"; and Alex Marshall's "How Cities Work." Our bad transportation habits have become so embedded in infrastructure and culture that it's difficult to imagine extricating ourselves, but try we must. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: Syrian attack hazy

Trump’s response to use of gas premature, uninformed

Subscriber onlyPresident Trump jumped prematurely to the conclusion that Bashar Assad's air force attacked the town of Khan Sheikhoun using nerve gas weapons. U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, as well as former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter have raised serious doubts about this conclusion. Most importantly, a detailed assessment by weapons expert Theodore Postol, professor of science, technology and national security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concludes that sarin gas was indeed released but probably not by Assad's forces. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: Nature is an incomparable artist

Modern science keeps asking what world is made of

Subscriber onlyMy driving professional passion is general scientific literacy for all people. The American Association for the Advancement of Science justifies this task in stark terms: "Without a scientifically literate population, the outlook for a better world is not promising." Continue reading...

Art Hobson: A godless existence

Life isn’t about meaning, but about experience

Subscriber only"Are you good without God? Millions are." Continue reading...

Art Hobson: On course to crash

Study firms up serious concerns for planet Earth

Subscriber onlyThere's already a mountain of evidence for the reality and seriousness of global warming. But a recent article in the journal Science, "Regional and global sea-surface temperatures during the last interglaciation," by Jeremy S. Hoffman and others is the best evidence yet. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: Praying Trump into office

Pastors make incredible claims about president

Subscriber onlyMost presidents have chosen just one or two clergy to "pray them into office" -- a strange phrase that's normal usage in many newspapers. Although one preacher seems sufficient, President Trump chose six: A Catholic archbishop, a Jewish rabbi, and four Christian "evangelicals" or biblical literalists who seek to convert others. White evangelicals, who voted 80 to 16 percent for Trump, were crucial to his victory. Trump surrounded himself from the start with evangelicals such as Mike Pence, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee. Given Trump's iconoclasm, it's not surprising none of his six choices belong to the dominant U.S. faith tradition, namely mainline Protestant, and that three of the evangelicals are, as we shall see, controversial. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: The greatest president since FDR

Obama achieved much in face of relentless opposition

Subscriber onlyAlthough a case can be made for Ronald Reagan as our most consequential, and therefore greatest, president of recent times, I disagree too strongly with Reagan's economic consequences to be able to go along with this opinion. My vote goes to Barack Obama as our greatest president since Franklin Roosevelt. FDR was, in turn, surely both our greatest and most consequential president since Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: The folly of Syria's civil war

Conflict demonstrates that war is not the answer

Subscriber onlyHow to capture the folly of Syria's civil war, and the tragedy? Continue reading...

Art Hobson: The fog of America's wars

Nation’s ease of involvement came with a serious cost

Subscriber onlyThe Vietnam veteran had never talked about it, but three weeks ago in a "StoryCorps" National Public Radio interview with his wife, the story finally emerged. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: The power of pedaling

Goal should be making all comfortable with cycling

Subscriber onlyNovelist and futurist H. G. Wells once said "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." It's a notion we might well adopt for Northwest Arkansas cities. Imagine what it would mean if, say, 50 percent of our commuters got out of their cars and bicycled to work. This is not pie in the sky. In the much larger city of Copenhagen, population 500,000 -- three Little Rocks -- where one might think bicycling is more difficult than in smaller towns, 56 percent of those who work or study in the city commute by bike every day. Many European cities achieve similar figures. Continue reading...

Art Hobson: A possibly revolutionary election

How big Clinton wins matters to nation’s culture

Subscriber onlyI seldom devote a column to elections because culture, not politics, is the real driver of human events. But 2016 is different. By changing the direction of our politics, this election could change our culture. Continue reading...

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