“One of the Most Destructive Tornadoes in History” Hits Oklahoma City Suburbs on May 20
- May 21, 2013
Emergency crews and National Guard troops in Oklahoma picked through neighborhoods without recognizable streets Tuesday in a grim, house-by-house search of the blasted-out husk of a city left behind by a ferocious tornado.
(Edit.: Let all our prayers be with them.)
Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform
- May 10, 2013
The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system. Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Russia Sends at Least 12 Warships to Syria
- May 17, 2013
(The Times of Israel)
In a move considered aggressive by US and European officials, Russia has sent at least 12 warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Tartous, Syria. The deployment appears to be a warning to Israeli and Western officials against military intervention in Syria’s bloody civil war, which has now claimed the lives of over 80,000 people.
After Exchange, Israel Warns Against Golan Attacks, Says Syria Will “Bear Consequences”
- May 21, 2013
(The Washington Post)
Israeli and Syrian troops exchanged fire across their tense cease-fire line in the Golan Heights on Tuesday, prompting an Israeli threat that Syria’s leader will “bear the consequences” of further escalation and raising new concerns that the civil war there could explode into a region-wide conflict. The incident marked the first time the Syrian army has acknowledged firing intentionally at Israeli troops since the civil war erupted more than two years ago.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon Discovered 300 Miles Away In Nineveh
- May 06, 2013
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon have long been regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although not without controversy. It seems that the Gardens have also been regarded as purely legendary, with no evidence that this ancient site ever existed in Babylon.
Warp Speed, Scotty? It May Actually Be Possible…
- May 14, 2013
In the “Star Trek” TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise’s warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, “highly illogical.” However, there’s a loophole in Einstein’s general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It’s not the starship that’s moving—it’s the space around it.
Vermont to Allow Physician-Assisted Suicide
- May 14, 2013
Vermont is poised to become the fourth state to allow doctors to help terminally ill patients die. A bill approved Monday night by the state House would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication. The Senate has already approved the bill. It goes to Gov. Peter Shumlin, a strong supporter.
Libya Wants to Sell Oil. Is Anyone Listening?
- May 13, 2013
Libyan Oil Minister Abdel Bari Ali al-Arousi said his country was ready to recover from civil war and take its rightful place as the powerhouse of North African energy producers. In its monthly report for May, OPEC said that Libya’s economic recovery, despite lingering violence, was “exceptionally strong” with an 80 percent increase in gross domestic product year-on-year.
UN Urges People to Eat Insects to Fight World Hunger
- May 14, 2013
The report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that eating insects could help boost nutrition and reduce pollution, BBC News reports. It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.
Tiny Robot Flies Like A Fly
- May 02, 2013
A robot as small as a housefly has managed the delicate task of flying and hovering the way the actual insects do. “This is a major engineering breakthrough, 15 years in the making,” says electrical engineer Ronald Fearing, who works on robotic flies at the University of California, Berkeley. The device uses layers of ultrathin materials that can make its wings flap 120 times a second, which is on a par with a housefly’s flapping rate. This “required tremendous innovation in design and fabrication techniques,” he adds.
Scientists Create Hybrid Flu That Can Go Airborne
- May 02, 2013
As the world is transfixed by a new H7N9 bird flu virus spreading through China, a study reminds us that a different avian influenza—H5N1—still poses a pandemic threat. A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published in Science1.
Underwear That Senses Cigarette Smoke
- May 07, 2013
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $400,000 to a research project involving underwear that can detect when a person smokes cigarettes. The University of Alabama has received two grants totaling $402,721 for the project, which so far has produced a “very early prototype” of the monitoring system, which -- in its current state -- fits like a vest. The goal of the three-year study is to “develop a wearable sensor system comprised of a breathing sensor integrated into conventional underwear.”
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