Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A six-year-old child deliberately shot a teacher at an elementary school in Virginia on Friday afternoon, according to police.

    Police said in a statement that they have arrested the boy accused of shooting a female teacher at Richneck elementary school in Newport News, Virginia, a city in the south-eastern part of the state. Police said they were notified about 2pm that the teacher had been shot inside the school during an altercation of some kind.

    “We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting,” Newport News police chief Drew told reporters. “We have a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired.” He added that the shooting was not an accident.

    The student has since been taken into custody, and the teacher, a woman in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries that were “believed to be life-threatening”, according to the police department. Drew told reporters the teacher’s condition had improved somewhat by late afternoon.

    I suppose I could say some of things I have said in the past, but why bother? It does no good and besides, you’ve already heard it all.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Self-healing’ Roman concrete could aid modern construction, study suggests

    Roman concrete was produced using lumps of volcanic rock and other aggregates held together with a mortar made with ingredients including a pozzolan (such as volcanic ash), a lime source (calcium oxide) and water. Among previous explanations for the strength of the material, researchers have revealed that concrete from Roman breakwaters and piers contain the minerals aluminous tobermorite and phillipsite that helped to reinforce to concrete.

    Now researchers say it appears techniques used to prepare Roman concrete might also help explain why it has stood the test of time.
    They examined a sample of Roman concrete from a wall in the ancient city of Privernum near Rome, revealing that the lime clasts within it contain different forms of calcium carbonate, some of which tend to arise in conditions where water is not freely available.

    The team found the clasts were porous with cracks, which also suggested they were formed in a high temperature, low water environment.

    The researchers say this suggests the quicklime was not mixed with water before it was added to the other ingredients. Instead, it is likely it was added to the ash and aggregates first, before water was added.

    This approach is known as “hot mixing” because of the heat produced. The team add that these high temperatures would not only have helped the mortar to set, but would have reduced the water content in and around the lime clasts, explaining their results.

    The team propose the resulting lime clasts could have helped the concrete “self heal”, as water seeping into cracks in the material would dissolve calcium carbonate as it passed through the lime clasts.

    The fracture in the concrete could then self-heal either by this calcium-rich fluid reacting with volcanic material, or by recrystallisation of the calcium carbonate. Indeed, the team note calcium carbonate filled cracks have recently been found in Roman concrete.

    Pretty F’n interesting. As Masic said,

    “Roman-inspired approaches, based for example on hot mixing, might be a cost-effective way to make our infrastructure last longer through the self-healing mechanisms we illustrate in this study,” he said.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “My father always told me, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” McCarthy continued, declaring, “Now, the hard work begins.”

    Hey bozo, it is nowhere near finished. Hard work? More like the impossible dream.

  4. JohnMc says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks for that little trivia. Albert Speer’s autobiography has a discussion of how Hitler wanted the ruins of the 3d Reich to age as well as the Roman ones. Now I know a little more about how that works.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jair Bolsonaro’s wrecking of the Amazon made him a global outcast – but his acts of desecration were not limited to the rainforest.

    A report by the Brazilian broadcaster GloboNews suggests that even the official presidential residence – a 1950s masterpiece by the architect Oscar Niemeyer – was defiled by the far-right politician during his four years in power.

    One of the network’s leading political correspondents, Natuza Nery, took a tour of the Palácio da Alvorada (Palace of Dawn) on Thursday with Brazil’s new first lady, Rosângela Lula da Silva, and was unimpressed with what she saw.

    “The overall state of the building, which is Brasília’s most iconic … is not good … and will require many repairs,” reported Nery, who was shown torn carpets and sofas, leaky ceilings, broken windows and jacaranda floorboards, and works of art damaged by the sun.

    Just like a 3 year old throwing a tantrum.

  6. Mikey says:


    Albert Speer’s autobiography has a discussion of how Hitler wanted the ruins of the 3d Reich to age as well as the Roman ones.

    Having lived in Nuremberg and visited the ruins of the Third Reich, I can tell you Hitler did not get his wish.

    For example, the Zeppelinfeld, where many huge party rallies were held, is crumbling. There is considerable discussion over what to do with it as it still attracts many visitors. Today the plan is to conserve it rather than restore it, so it is safe for people to walk on.

  7. liberal capitalist says:

    Trump’s bump stock laws have been struck down.

    So, more jobs are created by Democrats, more economic improvement happens unde3r democrats, and more gun freedom under democrats.

    The GOP platform is: less drag shows?

  8. Skookum says:

    Visited the Safeway in Bend where a shooting occurred last year for the first time since it occurred. Armed security guards at the entrances. What a futile approach to public safety.

    When will the worship of guns end in America? The time is fast upon us when younger people will never remember a time when the fear of being shot at school, a place of worship, the grocery store, Las Vegas, a dinner club was unthinkable.

  9. JohnSF says:

    This is something that caught my attention many years back, due to my interest in the survival of Roman construction in Medieval Europe.
    Rome around 1100 was still dominated by Roman buildings.
    Roman concrete is incredibly durable; and no-one seemed to know quite why.
    Sounds like someone has figured it out at last.
    It’s easy for moderns to forget, sometimes, our ancestors weren’t dimwits.

  10. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Self-healing materials is a big deal in materials science. Guess they need to spend as much time on history as on current research.