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Friday, November 27, 2015

An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light. Read more

At the turn of the previous century, a group of French artists were asked to imagine the year 2000 by illustrating what kinds of scientific and everyday design inventions progress might bring the world 100 years into the future.

The result is a series of charmingly retrofuturistic illustrations called En L'An 2000 (literally, In the Year 2000, though sometimes loosely translated as Life in the 21st Century). First produced for Paris' World Exhibition in 1900, they were printed as cigar box inserts, then as postcards between 1899 and 1910. Read more

You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world's biggest suppliers of "rare earth" minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world's supply of these elements, and it's estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world's reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost? Read more

Owen Jones, The Guardian, 115 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Great Britain during the seven days after the Paris atrocity – a threefold increase. The victims tended to be women, singled out because they were wearing hijabs. In Fife, a man and a woman were violently assaulted by more than a dozen people outside their takeaway shop, their assailants berating them over the Paris atrocities. In a more heartening incident, passengers turned on a bigot yelling abuse at a 23-year-old Muslim woman on a train in Newcastle. Those responsible are not just bigots, but recruiting sergeants for Islamic State. When Isis executes its attacks, it has a script. It knows that Muslims will be blamed en masse in the aftermath. One of its key aims, after all, is to separate western societies and their Muslim communities: if Muslims are left feeling rejected, besieged and hated, Isis believes, then the recruitment potential will only multiply. Read more

Space exploration comes with many risks and challenges. But what if you become seriously ill or injured?

Well, basically, you're f#cked. Read more

After weeks of criticism from patients, doctors and other drugmakers for hiking a life-saving medicine's price more than fifty-fold, Turing Pharmaceuticals is reneging on its pledge to cut the $750-per-pill price. Read more

Keith Fons showed up for work Nov. 9 at the Subway he manages in downtown Portland, expecting a normal Monday morning rush.

A day earlier, The Oregonian's front page featured a story about Fons and the everyday challenges that low-wage workers face. The 35-year-old father worked as many as 80 hours every week at two Subway shops to provide for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis, and their three young children.

The fam­­­ily's story of making it work on $11.50 an hour struck a chord with readers and dozens offered to help. One befriended Fons on Facebook and sent money. Another donated a box of Christmas presents for the kids.

Fons was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from strangers.

Read more

seriously? you are fighting over Chinese crap! lol. my oh my, how far we have fallen...

I am confused. Yes, I am clear the group is upset. But what do they want specifically? Tearing up landmarks and Christmas trees and acting out on Black Friday is not going to help but hurt their cause. They deserve to be heard, but in a civil fashion. Otherwise, their point gets convoluted. So, for us dummies out there, why ya mad?

MIAMI -- The crowd that lined up around a megachurch here last week -- largely Hispanic and mostly poor -- came for the Saturday services, but also for the free flu shots that were being offered in the church, and for the Thanksgiving turkeys being given away just outside.

But before they received their turkeys, those in line were asked to answer a few questions: Were they more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the 2016 presidential election? And did they feel that the government should increase or decrease federal spending in order to improve the economy? Read more

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A new technology, known as Li-Fi, could one day offer internet speeds one hundred times faster than the Wi-Fi we use today. Scientists have achieved speeds in the lab of up to 224 GB per second. That's the equivalent of downloading 18 movies in the blink of an eye. Li-Fi, or light fidelity, is now moving to trials in the real world, with office tests in Tallin, Estonia achieving speeds of 1 GB per second, 100 times the speed of traditional Wi-Fi. Read more

The head of the Republican party in Minnesota is apologizing after one of the GOP's district branches tweeted about a "negro problem."

The tweet, sent out by the state's 7th Congressional District GOP on Sunday, was a response to the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party's call to make joblessness and poverty in the black community part of a proposed legislative special session, the Star Tribune reported.

"MN #DFL now propose a 'special session' to deal with their self-created '#negroproblem,'" the tweet said.

It has since been deleted, but images of the tweet are still being circulated on social media.

The DFL -- the state's affiliate of the Democratic Party -- immediately condemned the remarks.

"You don't have to look far to find ignorant hate speech masquerading as acceptable party messaging," DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement.

And no one is suprised.

It's the time of year when Americans remember a gritty story of conquest and death by decking their houses in warm fall colors and loading their plates with fattening food. Noting that Thanksgiving myths paper over the violent invasion of the continent is hardly news; few contemporary Americans are unaware of the triumphalism stuffed in their turkeys.

Even retailers seem a little squeamish about the holiday's dark origins, as Thanksgiving-themed packaging now tends to favor harvest imagery rather than pilgrims and American Indians. Read more

While 97 percent of scientists may agree mankind is driving global warming, 97 percent of Americans don't seem to care about the issue when stacked up against other concerns such as terrorism or the economy, according to a recent Fox News poll.

A November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters found that only 3 percent listed "climate change" as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Americans were much more worried about terrorism, the economy and immigration than global warming.

Read more

The examples of the GOP's reflexive opposition to President Obama's agenda are many but this may be the best one yet: by a 27 point margin Republicans say they disapprove of the President's executive order last year pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys (Macaroni and Cheese) instead of the customary one. Only 11% of Republicans support the President's executive order last year to 38% who are opposed- that's a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama's name on something GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what.

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