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Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Russia collusion scandal is closing in on America's commander-in-chief of fake news. read more


Mexico City lies far from the ocean, 2,250m above sea level in an upland volcanic basin. This did not stop the Aztecs, who built their capital, Tenochtitlan, there seven centuries ago, from venerating sea creatures and bringing thousands of them to offer in their Great Temple.

From only one kind of marine animal, the echinoderms, the Aztecs, or Mexica, imported starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars and sea biscuits, perhaps intrigued by their symmetry. Six species of starfish, four of sand dollars and two kinds of sea urchin have been identified from more than 50,000 elements in cached offerings. read more


Friday, November 03, 2017

Mike Konczal, The Nation: Many people wondered if Donald Trump's surprise win in 2016 might lead Republicans to overhaul their approach to economic issues. Trump sold voters on his promises to invest in massive public-infrastructure projects, take on bad trade deals, and generally fight for workers against the global elites. But what we see in his agenda isn't blue-collar nationalism; it's the beginning of a grifter economy. The administration's economic plans are filled with low-grade, penny-ante efforts to allow the scheming and powerful to swindle ordinary people. read more


Climbing on Australia's iconic Uluru landmark will be banned from October 2019, local authorities have confirmed. The board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to end the climb because of indigenous sensitivities. The giant red monolith in the Northern Territory is a sacred site for Aboriginal Australians. Local people have long asked visitors not to climb the outcrop, which was known for many years as Ayers Rock. Signs at the start of the climb ask people to abstain from going up in respect to the traditional law of the Anangu Aboriginal people, the custodians of the land. read more


Simon Jenkins, The Guardian: There was no mention of "extreme vetting" of gun owners, despite their posing a threat a thousand times greater to Americans than any terrorist. There was no hint that any change in the criminal law, or in the wider regulation of this particular pastime, was due. Las Vegas has passed into history as just one of those things that happen. Guns are a very American form of terror. Yet amid this toughness lurks a pathological wimpishness towards the outside world. The most powerful and secure nation on Earth, its territory last threatened with invasion by the British in 1815, quivers with fear before an imagined army of hostile forces massing across every border and beyond every sea. Its budget groans under the burden of "homeland defense." Its politics is dominated by "tough on terror." The reality is that by no stretch of geography is America's security, let alone its existence, under threat. read more


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