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Listen to Episode 61 of Slate?s The Gist:
It?s Time for Legalized Prostitution
Whom is it safe to hate? One of the reasons the cause of same-sex civil marriage has gained so much ground in recent years is that it is no longer socially acceptable to hold gay couples in contempt. Many if not most opponents of same-sex marriage harbor no ill will toward lesbians and gays, yet opposition to the expansion of civil rights for gay people has long profited from deep-seated prejudice against them. As this prejudice has grown less common and less intense, it isn?t terribly surprising that proponents of same-sex marriage have gained the upper hand. Similarly, opposition to cannabis legalization has long rested on the belief that stoners are losers who can and should be kept on the margins of society. Now that marijuana use is associated in the public mind with cancer-stricken grandmothers and foxy celebrities, there is no going back. The stigma against marijuana use is dying, and support for keeping marijuana illegal has been slowly dying with it.
Stuntman Jumps off of a Roof, Films It With a GoPro
As someone who gets a tad nervous while enjoying beverages too close to the edge of my apartment's rooftop, I could barely watch the video above. It features professional stuntman Ethan Swanson strapping pads to his arms and legs before climbing onto the roof a building, taking a few deep breaths, and jumping.
Listen to Our July Music Roundup
Slate?s Brow Beat team covers the latest pop music daily, from Robert Plant to John Legend to Weird Al. And Slate?s critics dig into the state of music: Carl Wilson?s album reviews; Chris Molanphy?s in-depth Billboard chart analysis on Brow Beat; Slate pop critic Jack Hamilton?s sharp Cultureboxes. And last month, former Slate music critic Jody Rosen penned a must-read about a forgotten 1909 hit that changed American pop music forever.
The Honorable Woman
Depending on whether you like your fictional television programs to resonate with real-world events or provide escape from them, The Honorable Woman either has very good or very bad timing. The extremely somber eight-episode miniseries starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, which begins airing on the Sundance Channel (in collaboration with the BBC) on Thursday, is an intricate, at times opaque drama, both mystery and spy thriller, about the incredible complexity, raw emotion, and intractability of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is not a break from the news, so much as an imaginative footnote.
12 Signs It?s Time to Get Out of Gaza
More than three weeks ago, responding to rocket fire from Gaza, Israel launched a campaign of airstrikes against Hamas. Two weeks ago, Israeli ground forces went in. The balance of military power is so lopsided that Israel can do whatever it wants. But that freedom makes it difficult for the winning side to recognize when it?s time to stop. Here are some clues that suggest that time is now:
Are We Already in a Mass Extinction Event?
A new analysis published in Science traces how ?defaunation??the decline of species like elephants and polar bears?is consistent with mass extinction events in the past.
Why Psychologists? Food Fight Matters
Psychologists are up in arms over, of all things, the editorial process that led to the recent publication of a special issue of the journal Social Psychology. This may seem like a classic case of ivory tower navel gazing, but its impact extends far beyond academia. The issue attempts to replicate 27 ?important findings in social psychology.? Replication?repeating an experiment as closely as possible to see whether you get the same results?is a cornerstone of the scientific method. Replication of experiments is vital not only because it can detect the rare cases of outright fraud, but also because it guards against uncritical acceptance of findings that were actually inadvertent false positives, helps researchers refine experimental techniques, and affirms the existence of new facts that scientific theories must be able to explain.
Could the U.S. Become a Tax Haven?
If tax dodging were an Olympic sport, corporate America would be a front-runner for the gold. The latest reminder comes thanks to the furor in Washington over ?inversions,? tricky maneuvers whereby U.S. companies reincorporate themselves overseas and flee the IRS by merging with a smaller foreign business. These deals aren?t new, but their pace has picked up?at the moment, the pharmacy chain Walgreens is considering making itself a Swiss citizen for tax purposes, and Mylan pharmaceuticals moved to change its corporate tax address from Pennsylvania to the Netherlands, inspiring a memorable Jon Stewart rant.
Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn?s Guardians of the Galaxy represents a new wing of subspecialization for Marvel Studios. Rather than deliver another update of a familiar superhero (Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk) or jam a bunch of familiar superheroes into a superteam (the Avengers), Guardians digs back into the Marvel archives, finds a handful of near-forgotten, less-than-heroic characters, and reimagines them as shambling comic takeoffs on the impervious do-gooders we?ve come to expect in our summer blockbusters. Guardians of the Galaxy (co-written by the director and Nicole Perlman) is a Marvel spoof created by Marvel?a provenance that should be enough to suggest you won?t find any Lenny Bruce?level social commentary here. This is a corporate-issued palate cleanser, meant to whet our once-sated appetites for the next course of ?serious? superhero fare.