The need for speed This article contrasts two very different timeframes in the 'social life' of the plant stimulant miraa--known elsewhere as khat--in Kenya and beyond.
One, the heritage and cultural associations around the age of the trees themselves and the other, the impact of the perishability of the product even as demand for it grows on continents halfway around the world, thus the "need for speed". (Previously
is the name of a newly-identified malware program
which utilizes a previously unknown MD5 collision attack
to successfully spoof Microsoft Terminal Services, and install itself as a trusted program using Windows Update, Microsoft has confirmed.
The program appears to have targeted computers in the Middle East, and specifically Iran
; analysts have alleged it is likely created by the same entity
that designed Stuxnet. Flame has been live and actively spying since 2010
, but went undetected until recently, due to sophisticated anti-detection measures. [more inside]
Kansas passes Tax Act meaning that business owners are not taxed at all on income derived from business profits.
"Who will still be paying Kansas income tax? Only three groups: 1) employees, 2) some retirees and 3) individuals whose investments are so modest that they cannot afford to create a trust or partnership to shelter their investment income." The $3.7bn pa cost of the tax cuts is said to create the risk of a $2.5bn pa deficit by 2018
According to the U.S. census bureau, from July 2010 to July 2011
, more than half of all babies born
were members of minority groups, a first for the United States. [more inside]
The nuclear-disarmament group Global Zero
a report proposing a ten-year plan for the United States and Russia to reduce their arsenals below 900 warheads each, well below the New START
treaty limits of 1,550 deployed
warheads each by 2018. Implementation is unlikely
in an election year. [more inside]
Consumer Reports May 2012: What to reject when you're expecting
(10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy; 10 things you should do during your pregnancy; 5 things you should do before you become pregnant
). Mentioned in particular is the conclusion found in a federal study: Babies Take Longer To Come Out Than They Did In Grandma's Day
."One big implication: Today's obstetricians may be rushing to do cesarean sections too soon because they're using an out-of-date yardstick for how long a 'normal; labor should take... The definition of a 'normal' labor — the range of times when a woman in labor reaches certain milestones — was laid down in the 1950s. Contemporary obstetricians still use that 'labor curve.'"
"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets."
After an extensive
, months-long debate
, one of two controversial
papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published
today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research
" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed.
's special report
has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
Because of President Obama's desire
to remake the community college system
into a vanguard of job retraining
and the general willingness
of community colleges to take up that mantle, there is currently some soul searching about the role of the community college system. The American Association of Community Colleges, in a report
titled, "Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation's Future
", lays out a plan for a future community college system much different than what exists today
"Now, there's a focus on accountability," says Walter Bumphus, president of the AACC. "We were founded on the premise of being open-access institutions, but recently there's been a pivot to focus more on student success. There's a focus not just on having them transfer [to four-year schools, but on getting them into the workforce."(US News and World Report
) [more inside]
The New Yorker: Battleground America; One nation, under the gun
. Most Americans do not, however, own guns, because three-quarters of people with guns own two or more.
Gary Younge in the Guardian reports on the country's deadly attachment to firearms
Student loan debt is now extending to K-12 private educations
, fueled by parents who believe getting their children into the "right" primary school is essential to future success.
is a small uninhabited Caribbean island
74 km off the coast of Haiti. Both the US and Haiti claim sovereignty
over the island, though Haiti claims it in it's constitution
. Discovered in 1498 and explored in 1504 as part of Columbus's expedition when he became stranded on Jamaica and sent a canoe to Hispaniola
; the canoes ran into the island on the way and two Spaniards and several Indians who arrived on the island drank contaminated water killing most of the group
. The island was avoided until 1857 when it was claimed by the US as part of the Guano Islands Act
despite an earlier Haitian claim. Working conditions were very harsh on the island, manually moving over a ton guano from mines via rail cars to the landing point at Lulu Bay
which sacked the guano for transport on the S.S. Romance
. In 1889 the workers started a rebellion that killed several supervisors
and lead to a series of court cases
that affirmed the constitutionality
of the Guano Act. The island was abandoned in 1898 during the Spanish-American war forced the operator, Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore to file for bankruptcy
. In 1917 a lighthouse
was built since the island posed a hazard for ships entering the newly built Panama Canal. The island has remained uninhabited, save a few Haitian fishermen
that camp now and again, though it is highly coveted by amateur radio operators
seeking a DX
call-sign of KP1
. The island has been bounced around several federal
agencies until 1999
when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
cataloged it as a National Wildlife Refuge
. In 2009 NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science launched an expedition
to catalog the flora
and fauna of the reefs of the island, including a few feral cats roaming
on the island.
How America Is Making the Whole World Fat and Unhealthy It is hardly news that the United States faces epidemic health problems linked to poor diets. Nearly two out of every five Americans are obese. But according to a press release from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, "The West is now exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets. By 2030, more than 5 million people will die each year before the age of 60 from non-communicable diseases linked to diets."
De Schutter, whose work usually focuses on ending hunger, just published a new report saying, "The right to food cannot be reduced to a right not to starve. It is an inclusive right to an adequate diet providing all the nutritional elements an individual requires to live a healthy and active life, and the means to access them."
"Crazy Clown Time"
is the new music video by filmmaker and musician David Lynch. It's kinda not safe for work, or life.
The Republican Brain
is Chris Mooney
's second book investigating the reasons for the beliefs of conservative Americans, following 2005's The Republican War on Science
. He asks why
identified Republicans reject the scientific consensus on important issues, seemingly against their education achievement
, finding an answer
- Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider
) has investigated News Corporation
for PBS Frontline [transcript]
. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered
" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air
But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK
. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings
in what's likely the most momentous
Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore
: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law
. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate
, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate
that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision
before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice
could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible
. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning
by swing justice Anthony Kennedy
and his fellow conservatives [transcript
], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble
, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck"
for the administration. But it's far from a done deal
, with a third day
of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women.
Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
"It’s been nearly 6 years since the series finale of The West Wing, and more than 12 since the one-hour drama, which [Aaron] Sorkin created and largely wrote, first walked and talked its way through NBC’s Wednesday-night lineup; and yet you might think the series never ended, given the currency it still seems to enjoy in Washington, the frequency with which it comes up in D.C. conversations and is quoted or referenced on political blogs. In part this is because the smart, nerdy—they might prefer “precocious”—kids who grew up in the early part of the last decade worshipping the cool, technocratic charm of Sorkin’s characters have today matured into the young policy prodigies and press operatives who advise, brief, and excuse the behavior of the most powerful people in the country.
14 Year Old Buys House in Florida
Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord. [more inside]
Just in time for International Womens Day
, it's Narrow the Gap
, a look at the unbalanced payrolls of American workers based on US Department of Labor statistics from a variety of industries.
The Library of Congress has posted a series of colour photos from the 1930s and 1940s
online. [more inside]
In 1976, American students put their Tricentennial imaginings
to paper. Some larger versions of the drawings are available over at Buzzfeed
"Canada exists for no natural reason.
... [This] is not to say that no significant differences exist between Canadians and Americans — just that our shared national border, unlike those of Europe, was not shaped by linguistic and ethnic variations. The War of 1812 made all the difference here. A complicated and unpleasant struggle, mostly forgotten, sundered our two countries. And that struggle is now 200 years old, which makes this as good a time as any to start remembering."
Marriage is a luxury good [NYT] After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. [more inside]
"First Kill is a war documentary
that explores the dark side of man and the psychology of soldiers at war. Vietnam veterans are interviewed about their experiences and what war does to the human mind and soul."
We're All State Capitalists Now
'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
There are several groups
trying to pass bills in different states to ban the application of foreign laws
in a US court
, especially Sharia law. These groups are almost all
using model legislation
drafted by anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi
How the Glock Became America's Weapon of Choice
The Glock was created in 1982 by a curtain rod manufacturer named Gaston Glock. Glock didn't like the handguns available on the market and decided to manufacture a new gun from scratch. [more inside]
In a unanimous decision [PDF]
, the Supreme Court has ruled
on United States v. Jones
and found that placement of a GPS tracker on a car by police is a violation of the fourth amendment
—but is the ruling as clear-cut as it seems
? [more inside]