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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Every night, Aaron Melocik, a software developer, follows a precise food routine. He blends together half a gallon of water, three and a half tablespoons of macadamia nut oil and a 16-ounce bag of powder called Schmoylent. Then he pours the beige beverage into jars and chills them before bringing the containers to work the next day at Metrodigi, an education technology start-up. At the office, Melocik stashes one Schmoylent jar in the refrigerator and takes the other to his desk. From 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., he sips from the first jar for breakfast, and the second for lunch. He consumes about 14 fluid ounces of Schmoylent each day so he can focus on coding instead of grabbing a bite to eat. "It just removes food completely from my morning equation up until about 7 p.m.," said Melocik, 34, who has been following his techie diet since February. read more


A homeschooling program promoted by the Duggar family on their reality TV series published material on how to handle sexual abuse that occurs in the home with some highly questionable advice. The material from Advanced Training Institute describes a scenario where an older brother molests his younger sisters, and has a section where the brother appears to partially blame his actions on a lack of "modesty" from his sisters. "It was not uncommon for my younger sibling to come out of their baths naked or with a towel," the abusing brother writes. "A different lifestyle, with more modesty, might have prevented what happened."


A hazardous new synthetic drug is being blamed for 18 recent deaths in a single South Florida county, as police grapple with a $5-a-dose narcotic that causes exaggerated strength and dangerous paranoid hallucinations. Alpha-PVP, known more commonly as flakka, mimics the khat plant grown in Africa. It is made from alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, which James N. Hall, an epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University, describes as "second-generation bath salts." "I have never seen such a rash of cases, all associated with the same substance. It's probably the worst I have seen since the peak of crack cocaine. Rather than a drug, it's really a poison," he said.


David Sehat, Salon: There was an emerging disagreement among conservatives, one that grew out of differing dispositions, if not principle. The Tea Party movement possessed an almost centrifugal force in which ideas gravitated from the center to the margins. On the anti-intellectual fringe, the narrative about the Founders was taken up by absolutists and paranoids who supported citizen militias and the like. Yet even those not on the fringe supported the radical rhetoric. It was, in some sense, built into the movement. The logic of their argument -- that conservatives were losing the country, that it had fatally departed from the Founders' intentions, that the republican experiment required periodic revolutions to renew old values -- suggested that extreme and uncompromising measures were necessary to restore the nation to the old ways. The Republican leadership, by contrast, was made up of realists. read more


Monday, May 25, 2015

A homecoming queen on her way home from from her prom was killed by floodwaters in Devine, Texas, about 35 miles southwest of San Antonio. Alyssa Ramirez, who was also a cheerleader who played tennis and volleyball, spent Saturday night at her prom and was driving home Sunday when floodwaters swept her car off the road, according to NBC affiliate WOAI and a funeral home. read more


Mark Sappenfield, Christian Science Monitor: No sooner had Ramadi fallen into the hands of the Islamic State than the drumbeat began. The Islamic State was on the doorstep of Baghdad. ... In the fight to rid the Middle East of the Islamic State, last week was undoubtedly a step backward, with the doomsday Muslim pseudo-state also taking the historic town of Palmyra from Syrian government forces. But a broader view suggests very little has changed. Indeed, at this point, the advance of the Islamic State appears to have less to do with the relentless expansion of a rigid and hateful ideology and more to do with the practical matter of tribal politics. read more


Three people have died and more than 500 people were pulled from the ocean along beaches in Brevard, Flagler and Volusia counties in 24 hours from Sunday afternoon to 6:30 p.m. on Memorial Day as rough surf and dangerous rip currents have been keeping lifeguards busy all weekend long. Red flags have been flying along the coast for much of the weekend, warning of a high rip current risk and keeping lifeguards busy. "Being in there, it was too scary," said Mary Pearsall of New Smyrna Beach. read more


A bus powered by cow manure has set a land speed record for a regular bus by driving at 77 mph. Reading Buses' Bus Hound was recorded doing that speed at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford, England. The vehicle runs on biomethane compressed natural gas. "we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow," said chief engineer John Bickerton.


Alexandra Petri, Washington Post: The revelation of Josh Duggar's molestation allegations is about more than hypocrisy. This is no occasion for glee. This is a reminder of how badly the cult of purity lets victims down. ... Elizabeth Smart has spoken eloquently about this. She, too, grew up "in a religious household where I was taught that sex only happened between a married man and a woman. After that rape, I felt so dirty ... can you imagine going back into a society where you are no longer of value? Where you are no longer as good as anybody else?" A teacher had likened women to chewed pieces of gum, and the image stuck with her. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.' And that's how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value."


A Sarasota, Florida, artist plans to burn 13 Confederate flags simultaneously across the U.S. on Memorial Day. John Sims said the conceptual art project is being undertaken to retire the flag's meaning as a "symbol of terror." He told Fox News he hopes it will inspire people to "reflect upon and critique the complex nature of the Confederate flag as a lasting symbol of terror." "This is not only terribly offensive, but astonishingly idiotic," said Ben Jones, a former Democratic congressman from Georgia who is now a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.


Just one year after graduating high school, eleven-year-old Tanishq Abraham earned three associate degrees. Abraham crossed the commencement stage at American River College on Wednesday to accept degrees in math, science and language studies. He'd like to become a medical researcher, doctor and president of the United States. He's hoping next to attend University of California-Davis Medical School. "I followed my passion," he told TV station KCRA.


Lauren Walker, Time: On Memorial Day, we honor those who died while serving their country. ... The Veterans History Project, created by Congress in 2000, currently holds 97,620 collections of veterans' stories -- audio interviews, pictures and documentsóranging from World War I to the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 57,000 of the accounts are from those who served in World War II, as Congress mandated that older veterans' stories be gathered first. One of those stories belongs to my grandfather, Eric L. Strauss, who passed away in March 2011. read more


For Democrats who had hoped to lure Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren into a presidential campaign, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders might be an intriguing candidate, writes AP reporter Ken Thomas. Sanders, who is opening his official presidential campaign Tuesday, aims to ignite a grassroots fire among left-leaning Democrats wary of Hillary Rodham Clinton. He is laying out an agenda in step with the party's liberal wing and compatible with Warren's platform -- reining in Wall Street banks, tackling college debt, and creating a government-financed infrastructure jobs program. "I think our views are parallel on many, many issues," Sanders said.


A New Orleans housing authority police officer was shot and killed while sitting in a marked patrol car Sunday morning. The 45-year-old Housing Authority of New Orleans officer was patrolling a construction site just blocks from the Saints' stadium when he was fatally shot, according to police. Police were called to the scene at 7:10 a.m., and found the officer in his marked patrol car, which had rolled forward and hit a curb. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting, and police had not identified any suspects, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Garry Flot said. read more


A black family living in a mostly white New York town was told in an anonymous letter to "find the town where there are more people like you,? because "you don't belong here." Ronica Copes posted the racist letter, which was left in her family's mailbox in Lindenhurst, on Facebook Thursday. The town is over 80% white, according to U.S. Census Data. "To the coward who committed a hate crime against an innocent family in Lindenhurst -- there is no place for intolerance in Suffolk County," County Executive Steve Bellone said.


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