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This Explains Everything – John Brockman


This Explains Everything

150 Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

John Brockman

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: January 22, 2013

Publisher: Harper Perennial


Drawn from the cutting-edge frontiers of science, This Explains Everything will revolutionize your understanding of the world. What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the world's most influential minds. Flowing from the horizons of physics, economics, psychology, neuroscience, and more, This Explains Everything presents 150 of the most surprising and brilliant theories of the way of our minds, societies, and universe work. Jared Diamond on biological electricity • Nassim Nicholas Taleb on positive stress • Steven Pinker on the deep genetic roots of human conflict • Richard Dawkins on pattern recognition • Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on simplicity • Lisa Randall on the Higgs mechanism • BRIAN Eno on the limits of intuition • Richard Thaler on the power of commitment • V. S. Ramachandran on the "neural code" of consciousness • Nobel Prize winner ERIC KANDEL on the power of psychotherapy • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on "Lord Acton's Dictum" • Lawrence M. Krauss on the unification of electricity and magnetism • plus contributions by Martin J. Rees • Kevin Kelly • Clay Shirky • Daniel C. Dennett • Sherry Turkle • Philip Zimbardo • Lee Smolin • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein • Seth Lloyd • Stewart Brand • George Dyson • Matt Ridley


This Explains Everything – John Brockman

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Leaked DHS Doc Says Trump’s Seven Countries Aren’t Very Dangerous

Mother Jones

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Remember those seven countries that President Trump singled out for a travel ban? He asked the Department of Homeland Security to check them out and explain why they deserved to be on a no-entry list. Here’s what he got:

Oops. “Rarely implicated” means a grand total of six people out of 82. That’s one per year since 2011. And not one terrorist plot per year, either. One “terrorism related offense” per year. In many of these cases, it’s probably a material support charge for sending a hundred bucks to some warlord back home.

This comes via the AP, which got this comment:

Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen on Friday did not dispute the report’s authenticity, but said it was not a final comprehensive review of the government’s intelligence.

“While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you’re referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing,” Christensen said. “The … report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete.”

I have a feeling that once the “interagency sourcing” is finished, there might be a different spin on these numbers. This is very definitely not what the boss wants to hear.

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Leaked DHS Doc Says Trump’s Seven Countries Aren’t Very Dangerous

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Pop Goes The Digital Media Bubble

Mother Jones

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You don’t always hear the bubble burst. Often, it’s more a gradual escaping of air, signaled by nothing more than the occasional queasy feeling you bat away: One house for sale on the block, oh well. Two, three—maybe just a robust market? Five, six, seven—and suddenly everyone’s underwater and the sheriff is at your door.

That’s kind of how it’s feeling in the digital media business. For a few years now, investors have been pouring money into online news with the kind of fervor that once fueled the minimansion boom. But in the past year, the boarded-up windows have started showing up: The Guardian, which bet heavily on expanding its digital presence in the United States, announced it needed to cut costs by 20 percent. The tech news site Gigaom shut down suddenly, with its founder warning that “it is a very dangerous time” to be in digital media. Mobile-first Circa put itself on “indefinite hiatus.” Al Jazeera America, once hailed as the hottest thing in bringing together cable news and digital publishing, shut down and laid off hundreds of journalists.


And it’s been getting worse. As the New York Times’ John Herrman put it, “in recent weeks, what had been a simmering worry among publishers has turned into borderline panic.” Mashable, which had made a big investment in news and current affairs, laid off dozens of journalists and pivoted to a new, video-heavy strategy. Investor darling BuzzFeed fought reports that it had slashed earnings projections by nearly 50 percent. Salon laid off a string of veteran staffers. Yahoo put its core business, including its news and search features, up for sale.

Pop. Pop.

Here’s the thing: It was not hard to see this coming. For years now, smooth-talking guys (yes, mostly guys) with PowerPoint decks have offered up one magic formula after another to save the business of news. Citizen journalism—all the reporting done by users, for free, with newsrooms simply curating it all. “Brand You”—each journo out there on her own, drawing legions of followers to her personal output. (Even Andrew Sullivan couldn’t make that work.) Viral headlines—every news shop Upworthy-ing its way into the Facebook swarm. Aggregation, curation, explainer journalism, explainer video, branded content, text bots, video, branded video, branded virtual reality video…each fueling the hope that here, at last, was the way to make news profitable again. A whole class of future-of-news pundits made a living pontificating about how “legacy media” were getting their lunch eaten by digital-native startups.

And the investor money kept coming. BuzzFeed, Vox, Vice, Fusion, Mic (not to mention their 1stGen cousins Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, and Gawker)—for a while they all were too fast to fail, hiring Twitter-famous names out of established newsrooms, rolling out sexy technology systems, and exploding watermelons on live video. As Josh Topolsky, a veteran of digital media (most recently at Bloomberg) wrote the other day, “I can tell you from personal experience over the last several months, having met with countless investors and leaders of media companies and editors and writers and technologists in the media world that there is a desperate belief that The Problem can be solved with the New Thing. And goddammit someone must have it in their pitch deck.”

But while a ton of great work has come (and continues to come) out of all the New Things, none of them have answered the burning question of how to pay for journalism—especially the public-interest, watchdog, feet-to-the-fire kind that democracy needs to function. For one thing, all the big new digital shops today employ, between them, a few thousand journalists—compared with the ten-thousand-plus laid off in the great retrenchment of 2007 to 2010. For another, like virtually every other hot property across the internet, digital media startups are better at growing than at showing a profit. And since a profit is what the people supplying those giant piles of cash are ultimately looking for…

Pop. Pop. Pop.

Mother Jones is a nonprofit—precisely to avoid this fate. Tax-deductible donations from readers give us stability.

Remember when Chris Hughes put The New Republic up for sale earlier this year? His letter to TNR staff subtly blamed the very same people it was addressed to: “I will be the first to admit that when I took on this challenge nearly four years ago, I underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate.”

Bullshit. “Transitioning” was not The New Republic‘s main challenge. Refusing to work on, with, and for the internet was once a pervasive problem in news organizations, but while vestiges of that still linger, it is no longer what keeps publications from succeeding financially.

What keeps them from making money now is that online advertising pays pennies. (Actually, a penny per reader is pretty good these days—CPM, or “cost per thousand” ads, is often far less than half that.) And there are a ton of people competing for those fractions of a penny—including Google and Facebook, which collectively pulled in a whopping 85 percent of new ad spending in the first quarter of this year. The only way to make ends meet in that environment is to turn up the fire hose of fast and cheap content or rent your pages out to native advertising (sorry, branded content).

Look at it this way: A reporter doing even modestly original work might produce five stories a week (and that’s not allowing for anything more than a few phone calls and a couple of rounds of editing per piece). If each of those stories gets, on average, 50,000 readers, and each of those page views generates 0.01 cents (again, a very generous rate), you’ll end up grossing $2,500 a week, or $130,000 a year, with which you’ll have to pay the reporter and her editor, their benefits, web tech, sales and ops staff, taxes, insurance, electricity, rent, laptops, phones…

And this calculus assumes a brutal pace of hour-by-hour filing and publishing, with journalists constantly looking over their shoulder at the traffic numbers. (When a New York Daily News editor was fired last week for dropping attributions from columnist Shaun King’s stories, he noted that he was expected to process 20 stories from five reporters each day.) And the kind of digging that an investigative story requires—months of research and reporting, plus fact-checking, editing, and maybe multimedia production—forget it. The math just doesn’t work.

So what does? At MoJo, the answer is: You.

From the very beginning, 40 years ago this year, our newsroom has been built on the belief that journalism needs to be untethered from corporate interests or deep-pocketed funders—that the only way a free press can be paid for is by its readers. This can take a few different forms: subscriptions, donations, micropayments, all of which we’re experimenting with. It can be something the audience is forced to do (via the paywalls you’ll find at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal) or something they choose to do, as in public radio.

At Mother Jones, we’ve gone the latter route: Our mission is to make our journalism accessible to as many people as possible. Instead of requiring you to pay, we bet on trust: We trust you’ll recognize the value of the reporting and pitch in what you can. And you trust us to put that money to work—by going out there and kicking ass.

Because of your trust, we can choose which stories we go after, rather than chasing the spin du jour. We can look where others in the media do not. We can, as our colleague David Corn puts it, get off the spinning hamster wheel and dig deep.

And we can do it without fearing that some corporate overlord will pull the plug. Remember what happened when casino magnate and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson bought Nevada’s largest daily newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal: as the sale was being negotiated, reporters were mysteriously tasked with digging up dirt on a judge who’d antagonized Adelson. Then the newsroom was told to back off covering the biggest story in town—their boss. This was a paper where a columnist had already been hounded into bankruptcy by Adelson over a few words. (We faced a similar attack recently from another billionaire upset about our critical coverage of his past.) Your support is what keeps Mother Jones‘ journalists from having to fear that kind of intimidation and control.

If you’re a regular reader of Mother Jones, you’ll have noticed that we’ve been in the equivalent of a pledge drive this month: We need to bring in $175,000 by Saturday to stay on track. This is something we do three times a year, and it’s the most important way we raise money to pay for everything we do.

But we’re not crazy about these monthlong fundraisers, and maybe you aren’t either. So we’re looking at ways to make it easier (“frictionless,” as they say in the tech world) for you to support the journalism you believe in. One of our big initiatives is an online sustainer program, where readers agree to give us a bit of money every month. That could make a big difference for our stability: Just 1,200 more readers who value our reporting enough to pitch in $20 a month would get our “sustaining” revenue up to $50,000 a month, or $600,000 every year. If that’s an option for you, it would be a big help.

Become a monthly donor.

Make a one-time gift.

Meanwhile, that $175,000 by the end of the month? It’s not some arbitrary goal, but the cold, hard number required in our budget to keep our reporters on the beat. In the first 26 days of this month we’ve raised about 75 percent of that, so we need $45,000 in the next four days. But that’s how these campaigns typically work: Everyone waits until the last minute to pitch in.

If that’s you, remember that ultimately this is about something bigger than MoJo. If we’re going to have a functioning democracy, we’ll need a press that can turn over rocks, and the days of that being financed by deep-pocketed media companies are drawing to a close. The new moguls are in the technology business, not the journalism business. And while some of them say wonderful things about journalism, money talks—and right now, the money is saying “pop.”

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Pop Goes The Digital Media Bubble

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The Latest Cruz-Rubio Spat Is Very Strange

Mother Jones

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Ted Cruz has fired his communications director, Rick Tyler, for spreading a lie about Marco Rubio. Jeff Stein suggests this means there might be hope for us after all:

For months, the top Republican candidates have been engaged in a brutal knockout battle of negativity. Personal insults, lies about each other’s records, schoolyard taunts — nothing has been deemed out of bounds. The good news is that, so far as we can tell, this attack really has backfired….It may be comforting to know that even in this Lord of the Flies–style campaign cycle, some of the basic conventions just might retain a bit of power.

Anything is possible, but I’ll stick with the cynicism my heard-earned age allows me on this score. Still, there really are a couple of odd things about this episode:

The whole thing started when the Daily Pennsylvanian got hold of a video that shows Rubio walking by a Bible-reading Cruz staffer and allegedly remarking, “Got a good book there….Not many answers in it.” But this makes no sense. Did Tyler seriously believe that Rubio walked up to a Cruz staffer and casually denigrated the Bible? Even in the Donald Trump era, no one would believe that. It’s insane. Tyler is an experienced guy, and it’s inexplicable that he’d fall for this.
Tyler took down the video and apologized after he learned Rubio’s remarks had been transcribed incorrectly. Rubio actually said “all the answers are in there.” Normally that’s the end of things. But this time Cruz decided to fire him. What’s that all about?

It sure seems like there’s something goofy going on here. I’m just not sure what.

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The Latest Cruz-Rubio Spat Is Very Strange

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Ted Cruz Trumpets Endorsement From a Man Who Thinks God Sent Hitler to Hunt the Jews

Mother Jones

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Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas proudly announced the latest endorsement of his presidential bid. It came from Mike Bickle, the founder and director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. Bickle is a controversial pastor who has attacked same-sex marriage as a sign of the End Times and seemingly blamed the Jews for the Holocaust.

Here’s Bickle on how the legalization of gay marriage would tear the United States apart:

He’s more explicit in this sermon, in which he calls gay marriage “a unique signal of the End Times”:

Cruz’s new backer had some unique observations about celebrity talk show host and billionaire Oprah Winfrey. Bickle said Oprah is charming, kind, and reasonable but, unfortunately, also a forerunner of the Antichrist:

In a 2011 speech, Bickle suggested that millions of Jews were killed during the Holocaust because they didn’t accept God’s gift of Jesus. At this event, he read from Jeremiah 16:16 and used this passage from the Bible to explain why Hitler executed millions:

The Lord says, “I’m going to give all 20 million of them the chance to respond to the fishermen. And I give them grace.” And he says, “And if they don’t respond to grace, I’m going to raise up the hunters.” And the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler.

Cruz publicly thanked Bickle for his endorsement. “Through prayer, the Lord has changed my life and altered my family’s story,” Cruz said in a statement on his website. “I am grateful for Mike’s dedication to call a generation of young people to prayer and spiritual commitment. Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support. With the support of Mike and many other people of faith, we will fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.”


Ted Cruz Trumpets Endorsement From a Man Who Thinks God Sent Hitler to Hunt the Jews

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Ted Cruz vs. Donald Trump: Who Is the Least Charitable?

Mother Jones

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McKay Coppins tells us that Ted Cruz is “facing questions” about his lack of entirely Christ-like generosity:

In a series of interviews this week, political opponents and pastors alike suggested Cruz — an avowed Baptist who is aggressively courting evangelical voters — has flouted the Biblical commandment of tithing in his personal life….According to personal tax returns released during his 2012 Senate bid, Cruz contributed less than 1% of his income to charity between 2006 and 2010 — a far cry from the 10% most evangelical leaders believe the Bible demands.

Well, Ted had all those loans from Goldman Sachs to pay off, so he probably didn’t have much to spare for tithing. Anyway, those loans were used for the greatest possible gift to the Lord: Ted Cruz’s ascension to the Senate.

Of course, Cruz is Mother Theresa compared to his competition:

Tax filings of the Donald J. Trump foundation show Trump has made no charitable contributions to his own namesake nonprofit since 2008. Without an endowment, the fund has continued to give grants only as a result of contributions from others.

….Pressed by the AP on the details of his contributions, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks provided a partial list of donations that appeared to correspond with the foundation’s gifts — indicating that Trump may be counting other people’s charitable giving as his own.

“I give to hundreds of charities and people in need of help,” Trump said in an emailed response to questions from the AP about how he tallied his own philanthropy. “It is one of the things I most like doing and one of the great reasons to have made a lot of money.” The Trump campaign did not respond to a request that it identify donations that Trump himself gave.

More here. Obviously Trump is lying about this, but that’s hardly even noteworthy anymore. As near as I can tell, he’s congenitally unable to tell the truth about anything related to his finances. I mean, this is a guy who’s using other people’s money for his supposedly self-funded campaign and who claims to this day that he did great with his Atlantic City casinos.

But he’s somehow invulnerable anyway. As best I can figure it, Trump (a) never goes to church, (b) has never read the Bible, (c) is unusually stingy, and (d) lives a personal life of serial affairs with younger women followed by serial divorces. But somehow lots of evangelicals think he’s a Godly man anyway.

Cruz, on the other hand, is the son of a guy who runs the Purifying Fire International ministry—a preacher so evangelical he seems ready to explode at times. Cruz went to a Baptist high school; he talks about religion interminably; and he attends church regularly. But somehow lots of evangelicals have abandoned him for Trump.

Strange times.

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Ted Cruz vs. Donald Trump: Who Is the Least Charitable?

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Media Feeding Frenzy As Reporters Stampede Into San Bernardino Suspsects’ Apartment

Mother Jones

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On Friday afternoon, cable news networks CNN and MSNBC, along with other photographers and reporters, gained access to the home of the couple suspected of carrying out the deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people and injured 21. The rampage, which occurred only two days prior, has since been the subject of an FBI investigation for possible terrorism.

It’s still unknown exactly how the journalists gained entry into the apartment (there remains some dispute around the role of the landlord on scene). Reporters could be seen going through children’s belongings, and even holding up a driver’s license that appeared to belong to a family member of one of the suspects. The scene became an instant breaking news item, of blockbuster proportions:

One of CNN’s own security analysts, Harry Houck, appeared appalled by what he was watching live on air, even as CNN continued to show more footage from inside the house. “I’m having chills down my spine what I’m seeing here. This apartment is clearly full of evidence.” Watch his reaction below:

CNN even chose to lead with a photo of what appears to be a crib from inside the house on the network’s homepage with this banner headline:

FBI sources tell CBS LA the site of the investigation at the house concluded yesterday.

Nonetheless, outrage was swift on social media:

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Media Feeding Frenzy As Reporters Stampede Into San Bernardino Suspsects’ Apartment

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Ben Carson on Americans: "Many of Them Are Stupid."

Mother Jones

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When retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the current GOP 2016 front-runner, campaigns, he routinely pitches “common sense solutions from We the People.” But it seems the candidate who celebrates a cheerful and straightforward populism has a fair bit of disdain for many of his fellow citizens, for at a videotaped event last year, while discussing the American people, he declared, “Many of them are stupid.”

Carson made this observation while speaking at the Richard Nixon library on October 19, 2014, as part of a book tour. After a fifteen-minute talk—prior to a book-signing—Carson was asked if he might run for president as an independent. He vowed not to do so, noting this would fracture the Republican vote. He then pivoted to another topic: unnamed political foes—presumably liberals, progressives, secularists, Marxists, or whatever—penetrating key elements of American society to gain control of the nation:

They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don’t understand—and they miscalculated. They were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems. In terms of infiltrating the media. All of this—they’ve done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I’m talking about overall.

The crowd laughed when Carson made that crack about dumb Americans, and Carson let out a loud guffaw.

In answering the same question, Carson also noted that he could escape the corruptions of conventional politics by deftly using social media, and, with no apparent sense of hyperbole, he suggested that Fox News was preventing America from becoming a totalitarian state:

Even if all the media tries to shut you down—which they have tried very much to do with me. But they can’t because the good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News. We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.

This was another applause line for the crowd of Carson fans, who had greeted Carson’s arrival with shouts of “run, Ben, run.” According to the financial disclosure form Carson filed in June that covered the preceding 12 months, he made $492,115 as a Fox News commentator and $137,148 as a columnist for the Washington Times.

Carson’s remarks about stupid Americans and the insidious plotting of unidentified elements to sneakily seize key American institutions were in sync with previous statements from this political novice who recently vaulted to the front of the Republican pack. Carson has long noted that he’s a fan of W. Cleon Skousen, who in 1958 wrote a book called The Naked Communist, a dark and paranoid screed that maintained that commies had “penetrated every echelon of American society”—from PTAs, art salons, media entities, social program offices, and entertainment companies to the “highest offices of the United States Government.” Skousen believed that the civil rights movement, acceptance of homosexuality, the rise of abstract art and modernism, and the advent of Medicare and Social Security were all part of a clandestine scheme mounted by communists and others to destroy the United States. Twelve years later, Skousen expanded his conspiracy theorizing to claim that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world from behind the scenes.

Carson has repeatedly—including last year on Fox News—cited Skousen, who died in 2006, as the key to understanding what has happened in the United States over the past half-century. The most recent edition of Skousen’s book trumpets Carson’s endorsement on the front cover: “The Naked Communist lays out the whole progressive plan. It is unbelievable how fast it has been achieved.” In 2007, the conservative National Review called Skousen an “all-around nutjob.”

Asked if Carson thinks that many Americans are stupid, a Carson spokesman said, “Sounds like he forgot to insert his usual ‘in Washington.'”

Carson does seemingly believe that for decades the American public has been slyly manipulated by an enemy from within. And he often decries political elites for adopting a condescending approach toward the citizenry and imposing their own views and positions upon the rest of the nation. On the campaign trail, he dismisses political experience as a qualification for office and contends that a candidate who demonstrates faith, honesty, and character can effectively govern by relying upon the wisdom of the American people. Yet at the Nixon library, Carson indicated he holds a significant number of voters in low regard. Presumably, they don’t count in his We the People.

Here’s Carson’s full talk at the Nixon library.

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Ben Carson on Americans: "Many of Them Are Stupid."

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A Mexican Drug Lord Escaped From Prison, So Now Donald Trump Wants an Apology

Mother Jones

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America, Donald Trump would like an apology.

Following Sunday’s news that Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman had tunneled out of prison, the GOP candidate unleashed a Tweetstorm in which he claimed the kingpin’s escape vindicated his controversial comments that Mexico sends criminals and rapists to America.

Trump also took a shot at Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, suggesting that they would meekly negotiate with the drug lord, whereas he would try a mano a mano approach.

The real estate mogul mused that US government would offer citizenship to the on-the-run drug lord.

And Trump seems unfamiliar with the workings of a vacuum cleaner.

Trump said the timing of El Chapo’s escape was almost too good.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s solution to securing the border—building a wall—would do little to deter a drug lord like El Chapo, whose tunneling skills are legendary.

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A Mexican Drug Lord Escaped From Prison, So Now Donald Trump Wants an Apology

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Beau Biden, the Vice President’s Son, Has Died

Mother Jones

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Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III, the son of Vice President Biden and former state attorney general of Delaware, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for several years.

Biden, 46, the oldest son of the vice president and the rising star of a family dynasty, had been admitted recently to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington as he fought the cancer, a battle that his father largely kept private in the last weeks as his son clung to his life.

So sad.

Here’s the Vice President’s statement:

It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.

The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.

Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.

More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.

In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.

And the statement from the President:

Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.

Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware’s Attorney General. Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched – and he lives on in their hearts.

But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.

Just like his dad.

Joe is one of the strongest men we’ve ever known. He’s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It’s one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill – to who they are – that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.

The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than forty years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight – for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau’s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.

“I have believed the best of every man,” wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, “And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.”

Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.

Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.

And this old tweet from Beau is heartbreaking:

Originally from:

Beau Biden, the Vice President’s Son, Has Died

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