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Scientists identify perfect place for moon base
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have identified a crater on the lunar surface that could shield humans from radiation and other natural threats.
Now we know how the EPA's Scott Pruitt will replace science advisors with industry
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt is about to take a major step toward reshaping the agency's scientific advisory committees. This action, to come in the form of a directive next week, will effectively replace scientists on scientific advisory committees with representatives of the industries the EPA regulates.  Apparently conflict of interest means different things to different people. Typically staffed by top experts, the EPA's scientific advisory committees are tasked with ensuring that the scientific information the agency uses in its rule-making is the best-available data on the topic.  SEE ALSO: EPA chief denies carbon dioxide is main cause of global warming and... wait, what!? This is especially important since the EPA gets sued constantly, so any rules or other actions the agency takes could be vulnerable in court if the science underpinning the decision turns out to be flawed or out of date.  Pruitt has already taken unprecedented steps to alter the composition of these committees, including  not renewing terms for existing panel members, or dismissing members outright.  The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Ga., June, 3, 2017.Image: AP/REX/ShutterstockOn Tuesday, in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, Pruitt announced the next step in his quest to bring more industry-friendly voices to the committees. He said he plans to issue a directive next week that would prohibit anyone from serving on an advisory committee who has received grant funding from the EPA.  While that might seem like a commonsense move toward greater independence, the fact is that the EPA is one of the largest funding sources of environmental health research. Therefore, this requirement will likely disqualify hundreds of potential committee members, and instead allow representatives of industries regulated by the EPA — such as the chemical and energy industries —  to gain more representation.  “The scientists that make up these bodies, and there are dozens and dozens of these folks, over the years as they’ve served on these committees, guess what’s also happened? They’ve received monies through grants, and sometimes substantial monies through grants," Pruitt said.  One agency watchdog, Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called Pruitt's move "gobsmackingly boneheaded."  The implicit message in Pruitt's statement is that money going to scientific research somehow biases scientists and the advice they would give. This is a common argument put forward by climate deniers who assail the government's grants for scientific research. (Perhaps it's not a surprise that Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming, then.) "And if we have individuals that are on those boards receiving money from the agency sometimes going back years and years to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars over time, that to me causes question on the independence and the veracity and the transparency of those recommendations that are coming our way," Pruitt said. Hinting at the upcoming actions, Pruitt said:  The UCS' Halpern wrote in a blog post that Pruitt's actions were grossly distorting the meaning of conflicts of interest.  "Getting science advice from the EPA Science Advisory Board is like getting basketball tips from 40 Steph Currys. It’s the best in the business, volunteering their time in service of the public good," Halpern, the deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy, wrote. "So let’s recap: according to some, scientists who receive money from oil and chemical companies are perfectly qualified to provide the EPA with independent science advice, while those who receive federal grants are not. It’s a fundamental misrepresentation of how conflicts of interest work." During the same Heritage Foundation appearance, which was broadcast via Facebook Live, Pruitt also addressed his desire for public debates on the fundamentals of climate science, which he says has never happened despite decades to centuries of open, peer-reviewed research. 2016 was the warmest year on record, beating the previous record set the year before.Image: bob al-greene/mashableSuch red team, blue team debates, currently slated to take place early in 2018, are widely seen among scientists as an attempt to confuse the public about the reliability of climate science findings.  Pruitt, clearly sees it differently.  “The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know about CO2," Pruitt said. "It’s never taken place.” Earlier this month, Pruitt announced the withdrawal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which covered greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.  For now, at least, the EPA isn't putting any replacement rules into effect, despite a Supreme Court-mandated requirement to do so.  It looks like we'll have to wait-and-see what the new advisory committees have to say about this. WATCH: Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts
Mother of Fallen Soldier Says President Trump Disrespected Him
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The mother of a fallen soldier said that President Trump disrespected her son during a condolence phone call.
Parts of unmanned Russian spaceship burn up over Dubai
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Parts of an unmanned Russian cargo spaceship burned across the night sky of the Arabian Peninsula, drawing gasps from Dubai to Riyadh before breaking up in the atmosphere and scattering in the ocean
Winning Amazon's New Headquarters Could Come With Hidden Costs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Cities are competing for the chance to host Amazon's second headquarters
Scientists spot stars crashing together in collision that shook the universe... and produced gold
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have spotted an almost unimaginably violent collision between two super-heavy neutron stars
'This Is a Person With No Conscience.' Manhunt Underway for Maryland Shooter
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Radee Labeeb Prince is believed to be involved in a shooting in Wilmington
A New Health Care Deal Is Already in Doubt After Trump Changed His Mind
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A bipartisan deal to curb premiums is reeling after Trump reversed course
Invasion of the hurricane snatchers
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It came from outer space. Deep beneath the surface of the ocean lies a alien base, dormant. Its mission is unclear, but it seems to continue to protect the inhabitants of the nearby Mexican city.
Sean Spicer Has Been Interviewed by Robert Mueller's Team in the Russia Probe, Report Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Investigators are also expected to meet with communications director Hope Hicks and White House lawyer Don McGahn
Mom Who Feared Being Deported Drowned Her Children in a Bathtub, Police Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's not clear why she was worried
Australia just ditched its Clean Energy Target for a new plan, and it's terrible for renewables
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Last week, a former Australian prime minister and climate change denier delightfully dubbed global warming "beneficial."  Now Australia's gone and dumped its Clean Energy Target for a so-called "plan" that removes subsidies for renewable energy and hands the mic to coal power. Great work, guys.  The country's government has announced a scheme to abandon the country's Clean Energy Target (CET) in favor of a new plan that's made some seriously question the country's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, which went into force in 2016. The agreement requires nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above the preindustrial average. SEE ALSO: Ex-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denies climate change, then praises it in confusing speech The government's decision to ditch the CET, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel, in favor of a National Energy Guarantee (NEG), is ostensibly aimed at improving the reliability of the country's electrical grid. The NEG requires energy retailers (primarily coal) to meet a "reliability guarantee," offering on-demand power when needed, to avoid crises like blackouts. This so-called reliability guarantee will be imposed by the government on providers to deliver on-demand energy from ready-to-use sources such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries needed in each state.  Each energy provider must also adhere to an "emissions guarantee," which will be set to meet Australia’s international commitments to reducing emissions.  The Turnbull government reckons they can lower prices for consumers by creating a power surplus, encouraging investment and, importantly, removing subsidies for renewable energy suppliers. "Unlike previous approaches, we are not picking winners, we are levelling the playing field," said the government's press release.  “These guarantees will ensure there is a place for all power sources in the nation’s future energy mix — solar, wind, coal, gas, batteries, pumped hydro,” Turnbull said in a video posted on Facebook. “Our plan has no subsidies, no certificates and no tax.” The government's new Energy Security Board estimates typical household bills would fall by an average of $110-$115 per year over the 2020-2030 period. The government insists it still will meet the national emissions reduction targets set in the Paris Agreement, by lowering Australia's greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. However, any plan that incentivizes the increased use of coal, which is the most greenhouse gas intensive electricity source, will make this more difficult. The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, was having none of it, accusing the prime minister of having “effectively pulled out of the Paris Agreement." Natale said the new plan amounts to "throwing coal a lifeline," and that he was "leading the most pro-coal, anti-renewables government in the nation's history." Malcolm Turnbull is showing a complete failure of leadership - leading the most pro-coal, anti-renewable government in Australian history. pic.twitter.com/Uk9lFzcbkg — Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) October 17, 2017 One member of Australian parliament was particularly happy — former prime minister and current MP Tony Abbott, a steadfast climate change denier who recently gave that bizarre, inaccurate speech on climate science. Others were divided. "This government appears to be hellbent on destroying renewable energy," Shadow Minister Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler told reporters. Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said the package would prevent Australia from becoming a "banana republic" — something Hastie thinks would happen if the country used more renewable energy. Turnbull or is it Abbott has ruled out a Clean Energy Target...Flies in the face of community, energy providers and chief scientist #auspol — Helen polley (@polley_helen) October 16, 2017 The government's new energy policy is a great step forward into the land of common sense. We must ensure the lights stay on — Matthew Canavan (@mattjcan) October 17, 2017 Malcolm Roberts, verbatim, on energy policy #auspol pic.twitter.com/Yjq5QHqqKe — Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) October 17, 2017 The government and the ESB now need to convince state governments to implement the National Energy Guarantee. WATCH: Ai Weiwei debuts 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors' in NYC in response to the refugee crisis
Trump says he has 'proof' on his call to soldier's wife, and the nation waits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
If the president's proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when — or if — it sees it.
White House slams lawmaker's 'disgusting' criticism of Trump's call to soldier's widow
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The back-and-forth dispute between the president and a Florida congressman over what Trump said to a soldier’s widow continued Wednesday afternoon. While not denying a remark that Rep. Frederica Wilson attributed to Trump, the White House criticized her for politicizing the issue.
'People power' for rule of law in the Philippines
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One gift to the world from the Philippines has been the term “people power,” or peaceful resistance in the streets against a leader’s arbitrary rule and violent suppression. Three decades later, Filipinos are at it again. This time they are quietly resisting President Rodrigo Duterte’s neglect of both the rule of law and the presumption of innocence in a violent crackdown on drug users and dealers.
Trump and the nuclear button: Does presidential authority need curbs?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It takes at least two people to launch a nuclear weapon at almost every point in the US chain of command. Missile silos, bombers, nuclear submarines – all require more than one officer to validate a “go” order. President Trump’s behavior in office has raised anew this old question.
'Casting couch' or 'crime scene'? How language promotes culture of sexual harassment
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Before “Harvey Weinstein: The Scandal” captured the national conversation, there were whispers. When The New York Times published a scathing report earlier this month accusing the Hollywood mogul of engaging in a decades-long pattern of sexual harassment, coercion, and abuse of young actresses, few were entirely surprised.
Ancient Greek Monument Discovered in Inexplicably Abandoned Settlement Baffles Archaeologists With 2,200
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Archaeologists working on the Greek island of Thirassia have uncovered what they believe to be an ancient monument of unknown origin, which may shed light on the earliest cultures to inhabit the area. Experts from the the Ionian University, the University of Crete and the Cycladic Antiquities Bureau made the discovery as they continued their excavations on the prehistoric settlement in Thirassia, one of the Santorini islands. In the area, they uncovered a series of different stone structures built on the mountainous island in terraces.
President Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricanes Drops 20% After Maria Hit Puerto Rico
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump has faced heavy criticism for his response to the damage in Puerto Rico
John McCain Slams 'Half
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The senator hit back against isolationism in a pointed speech while accepting the Liberty Medal
Read the Full Text of John McCain's Speech at the Liberty Medal Award Ceremony
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
McCain hailed the U.S. as "the land of the immigrant's dream"
Senate Candidate Roy Moore Says NFL Protesters Are Breaking the Law
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have?'
Trump says he has 'proof' on his call to soldier's wife, and the nation awaits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
If the president's proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when — or if — it sees it.
Sessions: U.S. not doing enough to stop future election interference
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Attorney General Jeff Sessions conceded Wednesday that the U.S. government is not doing enough to prevent future interference in elections by Russia and other foreign adversaries.
Some flowers create blue halo to say hello to foraging bees
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
NEW YORK (AP) — Some flowers have found a nifty way to get the blues.
Letter from Las Vegas: a first
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
My heart was pounding as I stood in front of one of Las Vegas’s many fantasy-themed gun ranges. In New York City, where I live, there are only a few gun ranges, including a single range open to the public in Manhattan.
We just got our first look at Lego's rad Women of NASA set
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Next month, you'll be able to buy a little bit of space history in Lego form.  Starting on Nov. 1, space fans of all ages will be able to buy Lego's Women of NASA set featuring four essential women who made space science history. SEE ALSO: Lego's next release screams girl power and we're totally here for it The new set plays homage to astronauts Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to fly to orbit.  Image: legoThe $24.99 set also features computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who helped write the software that eventually allowed the Apollo astronauts to land on the moon, and Nancy Grace Roman, who helped make the Hubble Space Telescope a reality. The four figures also come complete with three Lego builds. Image: lego"Role-play space exploration from planning to moon landing, beginning with the iconic scene from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 of Hamilton with software that she and her team programmed," Lego said in a statement.  "Build the posable Hubble Space Telescope and launch a LEGO version of the Space Shuttle Challenger with 3 removable rocket stages." The set is sure to make space nerds of all ages happy.  Image: legoWomen of NASA was originally designed by Maia Weinstock and submitted as part of Lego's Ideas program, which allows fans to develop their own ideas for what may become the next sets for the company. Weinstock's initial idea for the set also included Katherine Johnson, the space scientist instrumental in bringing the first Americans to orbit, but the company wasn't able to include her in the final set.  “In order for us to move forward with a partner we need to obtain approval from all key people, which was not possible in this case," a Lego spokesperson said. "We naturally fully respect this decision.” Image: legoWeinstock wanted to create this set to give the women of NASA their proper due.  "Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program ..." Weinstock wrote in a description of the set.  "Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." Now at least, these barrier-breaking women will get some of the recognition they deserve in Lego form. WATCH: This playhouse is a Lego fan's dream
The Moon Wants You To Spend This Week Under A Blanket
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
During this period, the moon is appropriately referred to as the "dark moon." As we mentioned last week, the moon has been waning ever since reaching fullness on October 6. At first, the dark moon has a similarly purifying energy.
The Victory Over the E.U. That Paved the Way for Sebastian Kurz to Lead Austria
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
“They thought they would follow the right path with the policy of open borders, and they now have to inform people that this was a mistake.”
Are Government
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Albanians are issued a hack-resistant, digital national ID card called the Letërnjoftimi. At the bottom of some drawer in my New York City apartment, I have a rotting white cardboard rectangle that shows my nine-digit Social Security number in a typeface that looks like it came from a Smith-Corona typewriter. The federal government and pretty much all of industry have known for decades that the Social Security number needs to be put out of our misery.
'Totally Fabricated.' Trump Denies Telling Widow of Slain Soldier That He 'Knew What He Signed Up for'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump has been under fire this week for his handling of the death of four American soldiers in Niger
Ed Gillespie's scaremongering TV ads may define his campaign
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Ed Gillespie, an architect of the GOP outreach to Hispanics, is running for governor of Virginia with commercials demonizing Hispanic immigrants as gang members. His turnaround is reminiscent of another Southern centrist who made coded appeals to conservative white rural voters to win office: Jimmy Carter.
Trump resumes Twitter attacks on Comey and 'Crooked Hillary'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
James Comey may have begun drafting a statement about the Clinton email investigation before it was finished, to judge from newly released documents. The president, jumping on this, criticized both Comey and Clinton in tweets Wednesday.
Trump says he has ‘proof’ on his call to soldier’s mother, and the nation awaits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump claims he has proof that a Democratic congresswoman is lying, but if his proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when—or if—it sees it.
The Recently Released Taliban Hostage Caitlan Boyle Has Been Rushed to Hospital
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Her husband Joshua did not give a reason for her admittance
Every U.S. President Faces a Major Crisis. What Will Trump's Be?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Here are 5 possibilities
Eating too much sugar may increase your risk of cancer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A nine-year study into how our bodies process sugar has shed new light on cancer development, and how sugar-heavy diets may wind up increasing the risk of tumor growth. By better understanding how cancer cells metabolize sugars we eat, scientists are a step closer to figuring out how those cells trigger the development of cancerous…
Xi Jinping's Party Congress Speech Leaves No Doubts Over His Leadership Role
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Chinese president's unrivaled primacy will continue for the next five years — and possibly beyond
Dow Jones Hits All
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Health care companies saw the biggest increases in value
Richard Branson: Elon Musk is 'absolutely fixated' on goi...
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, talks about space exploration and the future of space travel.
Lego unveils 'Women of NASA' set with astronauts, scientists
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Lego has unveiled a set of figures celebrating the women of NASA
Trump accuses congresswoman of fabricating what he said to dead soldier's widow
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s account of what the president said to a military widow on Tuesday was disputed by the president on Wednesday, but the congresswoman fired back.
Trump resumes Twitter attacks on Comey and ‘Crooked Hillary’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning in order to denounce former FBI Director James Comey and take an apparent swipe at his own Justice Department.
Sheriff's cadet uses dad's patrol car to pull over his ex
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Officials say the 22-year-old son of a Florida sheriff's lieutenant took his father's unmarked car and used it to pull over his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.
Newlyweds' pot
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
LEECHBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania borough has granted a second reprieve to a newly married couple fighting for the right to keep their pet pot-bellied pig.
Massacre fears spark race to save rare Australia parrot
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Critically endangered Swift Parrots are under threat from squirrel-like sugar gliders in a battle for space in Australia's ancient forests, scientists said Wednesday as they race to save the rare birds. Swift Parrots are migratory and only breed in the southern island state of Tasmania. The marsupials, which launch themselves from tree to tree and rarely descend to the ground, eat the nesting birds as well as their eggs and chicks, the Australian National University scientists said.
How to behave at a zoo – according to science
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The animals can see you as a threat, so make them feel at home.
The Story Behind That 2,000
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The photo of an ancient Thracian chariot alongside the bones of two horses and a dog has quickly risen to the top of Reddit today (Oct. 13), with more than 65,000 likes. A team of archaeologists led by Veselin Ignatov, of the Istoricheski muzej Nova Zagora, a museum in Bulgaria, discovered the 2,000-year-old wooden chariot in 2008. In 2009, Ignatov and his team also found a brick tomb, containing the remains of a man dressed in what appears to be armor, near the chariot.
Thunder and lightning: scientists pair gravitational waves, light
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
By Scott Malone CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States and Europe have for the first time paired the detection of gravitational waves, the ripples in space and time predicted by Albert Einstein, with light from the same cosmic event, according to research published on Monday. The waves, caused by the collision of two extremely dense neutron stars some 130 million years ago, were first detected in August by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories, known as LIGO, in Washington state and Louisiana as well as at a third detector, named Virgo, in Italy. Starting two seconds later, observatories across earth and in space detected a burst of light in the form of gamma rays from the same part of the southern sky, which analysis showed was likely from the same source.
In Virginia race, Gillespie throws immigrants under the bus
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Ed Gillespie, an architect of the GOP outreach to Hispanics, is running for governor of Virginia with commercials demonizing Hispanic immigrants as gang members. His turnaround is reminiscent of another Southern centrist who made coded appeals to conservative white rural voters to win office: Jimmy Carter.