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“All the weaker people have left. Now I’m the weakest one left.”

US Army Pvt. Danny Chen, 1992–2011
posted by zarq on Jan 7, 2012 - 105 comments

X-37B spaceplane spying on Chinese space station?

In March last year, the unmanned X-37B US military spaceplane launched from Cape Canaveral on mission USA-226, to "demonstrate various experiments", sensors and technology. Its original 270 day mission was extended in November "as circumstances allow" for "additional experimentation opportunities", but a dedicated group of optical tracking specialists in the US and Europe believe that the X-37B is in fact spying on the Chinese space station Tiangong-1. [more inside]
posted by adrianhon on Jan 5, 2012 - 59 comments

The Inconsequential Spy

The Big Russian Life of Anna Chapman
posted by vidur on Jan 4, 2012 - 10 comments

‘Technically, we’re in the United States’

The Americans who live on the "Mexican" side of the border fence in Texas face unusual hardships.
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2011 - 62 comments

Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted

The goal of the [education reform] program that Finland instituted was never excellence. It was equity. Excellence was merely a happy byproduct.
posted by DRMacIver on Dec 30, 2011 - 43 comments

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...and it might be a good idea to get used to it

"From extreme drought, heat waves and floods to unprecedented tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms, a record 12 weather and climate disasters in 2011 each caused $1 billion or more in damages". The US National Weather service has put together a great online exhibit of what was a whirlwind (*ahem*) year for extreme weather events. The exhibit has lots of videos and photographs of these events, such as satellite imagery of the Grounhog Day Blizzard from back in February and a picture of a car damaged by a tornado in Ft. Benning, GA.
posted by MattMangels on Dec 29, 2011 - 20 comments

Gingrich punk'd in perpetuity?

Shockingly, Newt Gingrich does not own newtgingrich.com. Instead, a group of pranksters called American Bridge 21st Century have used the domain to redirect visitors to various sites and stories that cast him in a negative light. For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat. [more inside]
posted by gman on Dec 22, 2011 - 53 comments

This Lowdown Bitchin Got My Poor Feet a Itchin.

Holiday blues? Cabin Fever? Simple solution. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Dec 22, 2011 - 5 comments

Mohammed el Gorani

Mohammed el Gorani, the youngest prisoner held at Guantánamo, has written a memoir of his time there, the lead up to his imprisonment, and subsequent release years later.
posted by gman on Dec 14, 2011 - 65 comments

How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts

After she retired, Lynn Zwerling decided to teach knitting to prisoners. The program has seen some success.
posted by reenum on Dec 7, 2011 - 19 comments

You can't stop Katy Perry

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
posted by furiousxgeorge on Dec 4, 2011 - 103 comments

The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah!

"This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time. Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true ‘death panel’ found in Obamacare—but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ratio will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry."
posted by the young rope-rider on Dec 3, 2011 - 147 comments

Trapped In China?

Anticipating a season long lockout, several NBA players signed contracts with teams in the Chinese Basketball Association. Now that a labor deal has been reached, leaving for the NBA won't be easy.
posted by reenum on Dec 2, 2011 - 25 comments

In Japan, they farm like this; in American, they farm like that.

Japan's youth, unable to find jobs in the city, look to life on the farm. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Dec 1, 2011 - 36 comments

2012=1968?

In 2008, Barack Obama lit a fire among young activists. Next year, Occupy Wall Street could consume him.
posted by moorooka on Dec 1, 2011 - 129 comments

Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews

The Netanyahu government has paid for US TV ads saying US Israelis will never understand what it means to be Israeli, and American Jews will lose their religion
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2011 - 189 comments

The Stealthy Wealthy

As the Occupy protests spread, the latest phenomenon to emerge is the Stealthy Wealthy. Sensitive to negative perceptions of extreme wealth inequality in hard times, and concerned about the possibility of history repeating itself, the super-rich have been swapping their limousines for nondescript-looking yet luxuriously outfitted cargo vans.
posted by acb on Nov 29, 2011 - 94 comments

Beattitudes

The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
posted by reenum on Nov 28, 2011 - 5 comments

Integrating Chinese Students into American Universities

American colleges find the Chinese-student boom a tricky fit [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 18, 2011 - 58 comments

Obama in Australia

US President Barack Obama is in Australia today. The main policy announcement is a new, permanent US Marine Corps presence on Australian soil. This is interpreted unambiguously as a 'containment strategy' for China and other Asian nations, with Australia playing the loyal deputy Sheriff. Most Australians don't think we should be forced to choose.
posted by wilful on Nov 16, 2011 - 130 comments

The durable Mike Malloy

In 1933, Anthony Marino, Joe Murphy, Frank Pasqua and Dan Kriesberg decided to make money by taking out life insurance on drunks and then letting the victims drink themselves to death. Then they encountered Mike Malloy...
posted by reenum on Nov 11, 2011 - 17 comments

Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?

Splitsider asks "Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?"
posted by reenum on Nov 10, 2011 - 163 comments

Scoops, Swoops, and Perry's "Oops."

Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 10, 2011 - 208 comments

America's First Suburb Turns 60

America's First Suburb Turns 60 Almost 60 years ago, a planned community embodied the hopes and prosperity of America. Now, it represents a more realistic picture of the American experience. The BBC investigates Levittown, Pennsylvania, as part of a year-long series. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 8, 2011 - 91 comments

Oops!

Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 8, 2011 - 93 comments

There's No Such Thing As Aliens

You asked, The White House answered: "The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race"
posted by The Whelk on Nov 6, 2011 - 105 comments

“We shall have a man in the White House who will feel as responsible for American civilization as he does for American power and prosperity.”

"It was no accident that arts funding was once again brought to national attention with the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Since the 80s, the enemies of the NEA have not been those with differences of opinion about what art should be supported or how. Instead they oppose any support at all for art of any kind." Hide/Seek, Culture Wars and the History of the NEA (NSFW, art)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 1, 2011 - 115 comments

Meet the natives of England and America

Not content to keep funding expeditions of Westerners to learn about Tanna, in 2007 the National Geographic funded an expedition of five men from Tanna's Prince Philip movement cargo cult to visit England, stay with families, and eventually meet Prince Philip himself whom they revere as the son of their God. Jimmy, who was a member of the expedition and the narrator for the film has posted the video on his youtube account. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In 2009 the Travel Channel aired Meet the Natives: USA, which brought five men from another group from Tanna to the United States. Their tribe within Tanna reveres Tom Navy, an American World War II sailor who generations ago had taught the inhabitants to live in peace. The Tanna ambassadors were taken across, visiting five states, and eventually meeting former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and verifying with him that the spirit of peace taught by Tom Navy lives on in the current U.S. President, Barack Obama. While visiting with a family on Fort Stewart, a US Army Major-General conferred a World War II Victory Medal and an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal upon the chief in representation of the contribution the people of Tanna in World War II. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Be sure to look for Jimmy's responses to questions in the mercifully uncharacteristic youtube comments [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2011 - 16 comments

Local Twitter Slang, And All That Jawn

The Awl takes a look at how Twitter has allowed local slang to go global, and the unhappiness this causes for some.
posted by reenum on Oct 28, 2011 - 34 comments

Did McDonalds cause the decline of violence in America?

Did McDonalds cause the decline of violence in America?
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Oct 26, 2011 - 49 comments

The NoDeficits club

How the Austerity Class Rules Washington. Tracing the origin of a political meme. (Via Paul Krugman.)
posted by Kevin Street on Oct 21, 2011 - 28 comments

Is That Cupcake Vegan or Just Butter- and Egg-Free?

Vegan bakeries are churning out increasingly tasty treats. Due to the negative connotations associated with veganism, many of these bakeries are forced to keep their vegan identities on the down low.
posted by reenum on Oct 20, 2011 - 111 comments

(That's 9% Income Tax, 9% Sales Tax, 9% Corporate VAT)

Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 20, 2011 - 283 comments

This Year’s Hot TV Trend Is Anatomically Correct

There has been a noticeable uptick in the use of the word "vagina" in network TV shows, reports the NY Times.
posted by reenum on Oct 19, 2011 - 131 comments

"Big Bang" in Belarus

Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more? There's always Belarus's unauthorized copy of the show, titled "The Theorists".
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2011 - 94 comments

"It begins with a knock at the door."

Final Salute. Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography, another for feature writing in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey (via.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 12, 2011 - 12 comments

Who Watches The Robots?

Wired Magazine: Mystery virus hits U.S drone fleet
posted by The Whelk on Oct 8, 2011 - 68 comments

Aberrican Me - Ross Capicchioni

Ross Capicchioni's story - Parts 1 and 2 - contains violent descriptions
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 6, 2011 - 26 comments

The Lost Yankee

Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
posted by reenum on Oct 5, 2011 - 33 comments

Top ten American columns in history

John Avlon, senior political columnist for Newsweek-The Daily Beast, created an informal poll listing 15 historically vital columns, basing the sample on research for his new book, Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns. He passed the list around the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and they and a public poll on their web site ranked the top 10. The winner was Ernie Pyle's The Death of Captain Waskow. All 15 columns are available for download in a PDF file.
posted by Harald74 on Oct 5, 2011 - 16 comments

"You are all individuals!" "I'm not!"

You need a permit (PDF) to use amplified sound in New York City. Which the #OccupyWallStreet protesters haven't got. So they've come up with a unique solution for transmitting their message - the human microphone.
posted by scalefree on Oct 4, 2011 - 111 comments

The Sadist State

Cruel America: It appears that no one is so unfortunate that he or she is exempt from spending cuts, while at the same time no one is so fortunate as to be ineligible for a tax cut.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 2, 2011 - 164 comments

The Growing American Fertility Divide

Knocked Up & Knocked Down Why America's Widening Fertility Class Divide is a Problem [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 27, 2011 - 89 comments

Cheap Internet for Low-Income American Familes

"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 20, 2011 - 108 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2011 - 432 comments

Baltimore Lead Study

An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Sep 19, 2011 - 51 comments

We Have Graphs

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
While the FBI's monitoring of Muslims and infiltration of mosques in the United States is nothing new, this is the first time I've seen any of documents they use to train some of their agents. [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 15, 2011 - 81 comments

Grauniad USA

A new US-oriented front page for the Guardian online, reflecting a 'new digital operation based in New York'. US visitors to the .co.uk front page will be redirected to .com, but you can choose which version to see at top left. [more inside]
posted by Segundus on Sep 15, 2011 - 36 comments

There's only one kind of airport in these parts.

'Wi-fi refugees' shelter in West Virginia mountains There are five billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide and advances in wireless technology make it increasingly difficult to escape the influence of mobile devices. But while most Americans seem to embrace continuous connectivity, some believe it's making them physically ill. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 13, 2011 - 113 comments

The bottom of the pyramid

U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) - An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch. That represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four. (related)
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2011 - 121 comments

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