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"Captains Courageous"

'While they never met, they had some things in common. Both were Army captains, engaged in important work for the nation, their costly educations paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Ian Morrison, 26, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, last December after nine months flying 70 combat missions over Iraq. Dr. Michael McCaddon, 37, was an ob-gyn resident at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center. The pilot and the doctor shared one other thing: they found themselves in a darkening, soul-sucking funnel that has trapped some 2,500 military personnel since 9/11. Like them, each died, at his own hand, on March 21, nearly 4,000 miles apart.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 16, 2012 - 27 comments

"a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy."

Following claims that Ecuador would accept Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's asylum application, Britain has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
posted by dunkadunc on Aug 15, 2012 - 1649 comments

Using Broad Strokes to Draw Attention to the Fine Details.

The World in 2 Minutes is a series of videos showing the eccentricities, both good and bad, of different countries as told by their youtube videos. [more inside]
posted by quin on Aug 14, 2012 - 19 comments

The Physics of physicality

WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 13, 2012 - 16 comments

Paul Ryan as Romney's running-mate

Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 11, 2012 - 1550 comments

"The FDA recalled more than 60,000 tissue-derived products between 1994 and mid-2007."

"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 20, 2012 - 32 comments

A black Harvard student, running at night to catch a bus, hears, ‘What did you steal this time?’

Is America a post-racial society? Not yet, says Kenny Wiley. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Jul 17, 2012 - 102 comments

Baked salmon, oyster rolls, codfish cakes, Baptist cakes, cream of corn soup, green turtle soup, scootin-long-the-shore, Plymouth succotash, Indian pudding, beggar’s pudding, flummery, syllabubs...

All the Presidents' menus
posted by gaspode on Jul 8, 2012 - 73 comments

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there

Last night at the Big Bay Boom Firework Show in San Diego, a technical glitch caused 18 minutes of choreographed fireworks to go off in about 15 seconds (and 5 minutes premature). The results were impressive. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jul 5, 2012 - 67 comments

FAIL

The unaired pilot for the US version of The IT Crowd (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 5, 2012 - 164 comments

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”

A quarter-century of responses to the Pew Research Center's American Values survey statements show some surprising trends when graphed over time. A sampling: Data is also broken down by religious and political affiliation, gender, age, race, education and income.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 4, 2012 - 86 comments

"During the proceedings, the prosecutor took the time to mention that no other printer in the world could do what Kuhl had done."

Hans-Jurgen Kuhl was able to create "shockingly perfect" copies of the American $100 bill by using his artistic talents to conquer the various security features present in the bill.
posted by reenum on Jul 4, 2012 - 28 comments

I get older, they stay the same age.

Sixty-nine photos of US politicians in high school with a few others mixed in.
posted by gman on Jul 2, 2012 - 74 comments

Tie game. Bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Two outs. Three balls. Two strikes. And the pitch...

In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions. The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state. But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 28, 2012 - 1173 comments

Faster and Furiouser

"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
posted by andoatnp on Jun 27, 2012 - 63 comments

East Meets West

Japanese beatboxer Hikakin collaborates with American dancer Nonstop. [Previously]
posted by gman on Jun 27, 2012 - 6 comments

But they are our bastards

Why Is the U.S. Selling Billions in Weapons to Autocrats?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Jun 23, 2012 - 54 comments

Americana

These Americans is an historical photo narrative with such gems as "Photobooth", "Last Prisoners Leave Alcatraz", Dorothea Lange:"Internment", and the very sexy "Tally Ho". *Nudity and other possibly offensive photos for some*
posted by gman on Jun 22, 2012 - 34 comments

Rio+20; US demurs on equity.

As hopes for the future of multilateral action on the environment are fading, the draft negotiating text of "The future we want", the Rio+20 declaration was leaked, showing where the US delegation was seeking to remove any and all references to equity.
posted by wilful on Jun 20, 2012 - 29 comments

Welcome to AMERCIA!

"What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America? In the episode "True Urban Legends" [originally aired 4.23.2010] of This American Life, Mary Wiltenburg asks refugees to share the rumors they'd heard about America but didn't think were true, only to discover on arrival that they were. Examples include homelessness and Christmas lights." Quora members weigh in. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jun 20, 2012 - 472 comments

The view from over here.

Der Spiegel has two interesting recent articles about America. The President of Disappointments - How Obama Has Failed to Deliver (single page)
Barack Obama entered the White House as a savior. But he hasn't delivered. The ideological chasms in the US are as deep as they have ever been, with Republicans blocking the president at every turn. Who is responsible for his failure?
'Our Political System Is Basically Dysfunctional' an interview with David Gergen who was Ronald Reagan's PR Director
posted by adamvasco on Jun 15, 2012 - 117 comments

"Niggas" in Practice

"Niggas" in Practice Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, and when white people can say the word. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jun 12, 2012 - 297 comments

Nixon's Five Wars

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2012 - 72 comments

Its downhill all the way

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) (Previously)
posted by infini on Jun 9, 2012 - 6 comments

An unauthorized certificate could be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks. This issue affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows.

"Flame" 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]
posted by mek on Jun 8, 2012 - 53 comments

Realpolitik in Action

The United States sees the world as Vietnam does: threatened by growing Chinese power. [more inside]
posted by Renoroc on Jun 1, 2012 - 18 comments

Living on Minimum Wage

How many hours per week does a person have to work in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at minimum wage? Following a report (PDF) by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a rather striking infographic has been making the rounds (NYT) on the web. The bottom line: nowhere in the USA is it possible to afford a two-bedroom apartment on forty hours per week of minimum wage work.
posted by Scientist on May 30, 2012 - 190 comments

A modest tax proposal.

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.
posted by jaduncan on May 27, 2012 - 114 comments

Teach them well and let them lead the way

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]
posted by cashman on May 16, 2012 - 59 comments

Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Strategy, Force Structure and Posture

The nuclear-disarmament group Global Zero just released 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]
posted by haltingproblemsolved on May 16, 2012 - 17 comments

it's a big cold world out there but warm & cozy in here

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.'"
posted by flex on May 11, 2012 - 66 comments

The Avian Flu: Transparency vs. Public Safety

"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 in Nature 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. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
posted by zarq on May 3, 2012 - 37 comments

#liberalmediabias

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots (ft. President Obama) - Stafford Loan Interest Slow Jam
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 25, 2012 - 57 comments

Competitive Ecology

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]
posted by dave78981 on Apr 24, 2012 - 53 comments

You must've heard of a few

The Most Powerful Women You've Never Heard Of [more inside]
posted by vidur on Apr 22, 2012 - 41 comments

Bang, Bang, it's a free country

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.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 17, 2012 - 133 comments

Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten

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.
posted by reenum on Apr 7, 2012 - 113 comments

NEW ENGLAND BOILED DINNER

From the How To Be A Retronaut archives: U.S SENATE DINING MENU, Thursday August 27th, 1964
posted by The Whelk on Apr 6, 2012 - 74 comments

Navassa Island

Navassa Island 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.
posted by wcfields on Apr 5, 2012 - 21 comments

Worst Company in America 2012

Just beating Bank of America, Consumerist readers have voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America
posted by Artw on Apr 4, 2012 - 96 comments

Once upon a time, consumption meant you were thin and sick

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."
posted by infini on Apr 4, 2012 - 59 comments

David Lynch's All-American Spring Break.

"Crazy Clown Time" is the new music video by filmmaker and musician David Lynch. It's kinda not safe for work, or life.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 2, 2012 - 124 comments

republicanism: nature or nurture?

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 in brain structures.
posted by wilful on Apr 1, 2012 - 98 comments

The News Corporation scandals

Murdoch's Scandal - 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 [transcript]. 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 and Australia. 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]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 28, 2012 - 58 comments

United States v. Health Care Reform

This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged 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 - audio], 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.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 27, 2012 - 373 comments

Stag Party

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.
posted by Artw on Mar 27, 2012 - 160 comments

The Conservative Teen

Presenting for your perusal: "The Conservative Teen", a new magazine designed to instill the right values in today's youth.
posted by reenum on Mar 26, 2012 - 164 comments

"Where's Adolf?"

4x5 Kodachromes from the American war effort in 1942.
posted by Sticherbeast on Mar 20, 2012 - 33 comments

States of American Corruption

You'll never guess which State is least corrupt in the USA!
posted by Renoroc on Mar 19, 2012 - 113 comments

You Betcha!

A comparison of Sarah Palin's media appearances versus Julianne Moore's reenactment of them in the movie Game Change.
posted by gman on Mar 14, 2012 - 143 comments

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