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Vox Sentences: Texas’s answer to shootings: more guns

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Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Despite the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas is still on track to loosen firearm laws in September; Italy’s government veers toward collapse.


Texas set to loosen gun control laws in September


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • Despite the recent shooting at an El Paso Walmart that killed 22 people, Texas is on track to loosen firearm laws next month. [Texas Tribune / Riane Roldan, Texas Tribune, and Alain Stephens, the Trace]
  • A series of laws protecting gun owners’ right to carry arms will go into effect on September 1. These laws had originally passed the Texas legislature last session, which ended in June, and were signed by the governor shortly after. [USA Today / Joshua Bote]
  • Here are some of the key laws: Licensed gun owners can keep firearms in a locked car in a school parking lot; some foster homes are now allowed to keep firearms; landlords cannot prohibit occupants from owning a firearm; and handguns are allowed in places of worship. [CNN / Allen Kim and Faith Karimi]
  • A snapshot of gun ownership in Texas: During fiscal year 2018, the state’s Department of Public Safety issued 351,701 gun licenses, while only 2,043 were denied, and 4,761 were suspended or revoked during the same period. There are nearly 1.4 million holders of active firearm licenses in the state. [Rivard Report / Shari Biediger]
  • Some Texas Democrats are calling for the governor to convene a special session to address gun control laws following the El Paso shooting. Experts, however, think it’s unlikely that the legislature will reconvene until their next regular session in January 2021. [NYT / Mitch Smith and David Montgomery]
  • The reality is that Texas has a history of responding to mass shootings with looser gun laws. As an example, nearly two years after a mass shooting in a San Antonio church killed 26 people, a law that reaffirms the right to bring firearms into a place of worship will go into effect next month. [Guardian / Tom Dart]
  • The best hope for reining in gun laws in Texas is if a federal law is enacted. Yet even that seems unlikely since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said gun control laws won’t even be discussed until after Senate recess. [CBS News / Grace Segers]

Italy’s government is on the brink of collapse

  • Italy’s government is in limbo as Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini seeks to form a more right-wing administration. [BBC]
  • Salvini called for snap elections, saying that the coalition his anti-immigration, populist Lega Nord party (LN) formed with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) is now unworkable. [CNBC / Silvia Amaro]
  • The unconventional government was formed in 2018, when no political group won an outright majority. LN and M5S, which both have an anti-establishment background, banded together to form a coalition, but it’s been a bumpy road ever since. [France 24]
  • The latest disagreement was the final straw for Salvini: LN wants to build an 8.5-billion-euro high-speed rail link between Italy and France because it would create jobs. M5S bitterly opposes it for environmental and financial reasons. [NYT / Anna Momigliano]
  • In frustration, Salvini wants to take full control of the government and is calling for a new election. It’s expected that if he doesn’t win the majority, he will form a coalition with the Brothers of Italy, a party with neo-fascist roots that could help Salvini create a far-right government. [Guardian / Angela Giuffrida]
  • Salvini’s party currently polls at 38 percent while M5S lingers at 17 percent. It’s unsure if Salvini will get his way, though, because lawmakers are in summer recess and the prime minister is demanding a better reason to justify the snap election. [Deutsche Welle]
  • Still, Salvini’s move points to the political turmoil that is straining the country’s economy and stymying relief for Italians after the European financial crisis. The country’s debt remains at 2 trillion euros and the economy hasn’t expanded in a decade — and there is no sign of stability in the near future. [NYT / Peter S. Goodman]

Miscellaneous

  • The EPA has reauthorized the use of “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals. Environmentalists say that the method is inhumane and could harm humans in the process. [The Hill / Brooke Seipel]
  • A Cambodian man was trapped between two rocks for four days before being rescued. The process took 10 hours and involved 200 rescuers. [BBC]
  • An older couple from Washington state were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Police found several notes saying the couple did not have the resources to pay their medical bills. [NBC News / Ben Kesslen]
  • The Goliath frog, the world’s largest frog species, can grow up to 13 inches and weigh 6.6 pounds. New research shows that the frogs are also capable of moving rocks more than half their weight to build a home for their offspring. [CNN / Amy Woodyatt]
  • Would you dare to drink vodka from Chernobyl? Scientists say that “Atomik,” a vodka they created from grain and water gathered near the nuclear disaster site, is totally free of toxic radiation (though it was for experimental purposes; don’t expect to find it in stores anytime soon). [NYT / Palko Karasz]

Verbatim

“The only way that we can stop violence is to answer with greater violence. It’s not something that I like to say. I’m not saying it with a smile on my face.” [Jeff Sanford, a general manager of a Texan shooting range and gun shop, on firearms]


Watch this: Why so many suburbs look the same

So many suburbs have similar plans. Why? [YouTube / Phil Edwards]


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7 Hidden Messages in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” That Weren’t Meant for Kids

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Lewis Carroll’s tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland had an amazing influence on cinema, literature, and even psychology: movies and ballets were based on it, sequels and remakes were written. There is even a psychological disorder named after the main character: Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS). This seemingly innocent children’s story was the subject of heated discussions by scientists of the 20th century and even Freud talked about it. The point of the discussions was simple: was the tale written for children or for adults?

Bright Side has read the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded” and tried to figure out which parts of the story can only be understood by adults.

1. Alice’s shrinking and growing is a sign of puberty.

When Alice ate a cake or drank a certain mixture, Alice would shrink or grow, and she was scared that she would disappear completely. While there were no actual reasons for the changes in her body in the text, scientists have 3 versions of what could have been the hidden meaning behind that episode:

  • Alice’s body changes in a similar way to how it would change as a teenager during puberty. Many people think that Carroll showed the puberty of the character. But why this idea may also be wrong is because Alice is only 7 years old and it is too young to be a teenager.
  • Astronomers link the character with the expanding Universe. According to one of the theories, the amount of matter in the Universe is constantly decreasing which will ultimately lead to its disappearance. Obviously, this is why the character was worried about shrinking so much that she would vanish.
  • Other people see an indication of hallucinogenic substances, which make people completely disoriented, just like Alice.

2. The pig the character has is an English King.

It is believed that the tale is an allusion to the War of the Roses that took place in England in the 15th century. This time period was full of scheming, betrayal, and there were a lot of chopped heads — just like in the tale.

Assuming the guess is correct, then baby that turned into the pig is a member of the White Rose. And more specifically, it was Richard III who had a sigil with a white boar. Shakespeare even wrote a play about it where he presented Richard in a very bad light.

3. The smell of pepper in the house of the Duchess hides the smell of bad food.

The tale casually mentions that the house of the Duchess smells a lot like pepper because the scullery was adding pepper to the soup. But it may have been a hint at the problem that the food at the time was peppered a lot, to kill the smell of rotten ingredients.

4. Alice is Eve, who becomes a sinner.

The adventures of Alice starts in a quiet garden. It was an idyllic place, green and quiet, and that’s why it reminds many people the Garden of Eden. But Alice doesn’t take an apple, she goes down the rabbit hole and goes into a world that gives rise to incredible changes in her. This theory seems to be pretty logical: children are innocent but when Alice went into the hole (took the apple), she entered the world of puberty, adult life, and became a sinner.

5. Keys, doors, and caterpillars are Freudian symbols.

When Freudian theories became very popular around the world, the tale of Alice turned out to be full of gynecological symbols. The fans of Freud managed to see the symbols in the doors that were hidden behind the curtains, and keys that open these doors. Of course, they couldn’t have missed Absolem — the giant caterpillar that looks like a you know what.

Even though this theory has life, it is not very believable, because people can see these symbols everywhere if they really want to.

6. Walrus and Carpenter are actually Buddha and Jesus.

This is the name of the poem that the twin brothers Tweedledee and Tweedledum read to Alice. The poem tells the story about Walrus and Carpenter, that walk on the beach and call out for oysters to walk with them. The oysters go to the shore and Walrus and Carpenter eat them. Walrus then cries at the end.

There are several interpretations:

  • Walrus is a caricature of Buddha, and Carpenter is Jesus. For example, the character Loki from Dogma believes this. The logic is simple: Walrus is fat and happy, so he is Buddha or elephant Ganesha, and Carpenter is the direct reference to the profession of the father of Jesus.
  • J. Priestly is convinced that the poem is the story of England’s (Walrus) colonization of America (Carpenter).
  • There is a more violent interpretation. Some people believe that Walrus and Carpenter are politicians that kill the masses — the oysters.

7. The poem about the White Rabbit in chapter 12 uncovers the love mystery of Carroll himself.

Some researchers see the reference to the unusual connection between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell that was the prototype of the main character. Here are the lines we are talking about:

He sent them word I had not gone

(We know it to be true):

If she should push the matter on,

What would become of you?

This is one of the most sensitive moments in the interpretation of the tale. Some people think that when the girl was supposed to come of age, the writer was going to marry her, but for some reason he had an argument with Mrs. Liddell and he never saw the members of the family since.

Do you want to read the tale now that you have some new knowledge about it in order to find some new hidden meaning? If yes, you can read the original manuscript written by Carroll himself here.

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What 20 Celebs Looked Like at the Start of Their Career

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Celebrities are usually known for their biggest successful works, but most of them stepped into the entertainment world with smaller roles. A lot of them have been in the industry for so long that we’ve forgotten what they looked like when they first started. Taking a look at some of their earliest works is indeed a blast from the past.

Bright Side looks into some of the earliest works from certain actors and is amazed at how much they have grown within the industry.

1. George Clooney

2. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

3. Keanu Reeves

4. Brie Larson

5. Betty White

6. Leonardo DiCaprio

7. Drew Barrymore

8. Tom Hanks

9. Scarlett Johannson

10. Halle Berry

11. Harrison Ford

12. Denzel Washington

13. Reese Witherspoon

14. Angelina Jolie

15. Johnny Depp

16. Jennifer Garner

17. Robert Downey Jr.

18. Will Smith

19. Nicole Kidman

20. Sandra Bullock

Have you seen the early works of these celebrities before? Do you know what any other famous entertainers looked like when they first began their career?

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14 Examples of How Perfect Photos on Social Media Can Mislead Us

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Most Internet users tend to sugarcoat their lives, belongings, body shapes, etc. And Instagram is the perfect place to post these kinds of photos. It’s a world of successful, happy people who take colorful trips, make expensive purchases, and boast perfect bodies.

Bright Side found some “behind-the-scenes” photos of gorgeous shots from social media. Turns out, believing everything you see on the Internet is never a good idea.

1. A 3-minute smartphone photo session + 3 magic filters

2. The king of the road

3. It’s all about the right angle…

4. A popular festival on Instagram vs a popular festival in reality

5. Support is the real hero.

6. A dog can never spoil a shot.

7. Slightly added brightness

8. When summer starts, we see it on every other Instagram account.

9. The process of making up always finishes the same way.

10. Unicorns can be insidious.

11. Everyone wants a photo in a lavender field.

12. Bright cities in photos might not be as bright in real life.

13. Aboard a private jet

14. A fashionable breakfast

Do you edit your photos on social media to try to look better? We’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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