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DEMOCRACY, A NOVEL

With more and more evidence that the Trump administration was actively planning a coup, how are Republicans planning to continue his assault on democracy? Do Americans actually care that their vaunted democracy is under existential threat? A new book details the extraordinary decline of democratic India and the emergence of a racist state. What do we need to know about how to defeat fascism before it takes over?

And here’s a thought experiment — if Trump and his enablers had succeeded in suspending the electoral college or thwarting its will while invoking a state of emergency, what would Scott Morrison’s response have been? After all, he refused to condemn Trump’s refusal to concede and antics following his loss.

GRAVITY, SPERM AND PIGEONS

I still don’t follow the logic of this (and the Boggle analogy doesn’t help), but gravity waves will permanently distort space-time. Our detection equipment is orders of magnitude insufficient to spot the distortion, but given gravity waves themselves were theoretical until a few years ago and are now routine, that’s not likely to be a problem for long. The new telescope that will create a new heat map of the cosmos — once it’s shoved into the right spot far away from earth and has a giant umbrella erected behind it. A dark — or, depending on your perspective, quite cheering — take on the decline of human sperm quality and the coming collapse in population. And just for a change of pace: how birds perceive time.