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The Couchsurfing Culture Is Spreading Across the Planet

David Bollier
AlterNet

Venturesome travelers are using the web to create an international gift economy of hospitality.

The gift economy is alive and global among an improbable network of "Couchsurfers" who stay in strangers' homes when traveling. The idea got its start when Casey Fenton impulsively booked a flight to Iceland because of a cheap online airfare, and then realized that he didn't know anyone there and had no idea what to do the
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Spy system for airlines to tackle terrorism

David Millward
Telegraph

Airline passengers could have their conversations and movements monitored under a European Union project aimed at tackling terrorism.

Brussels is funding research at Reading University aimed at detecting suspicious behaviour on board aircraft.
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Want to lose weight? Try sex and shopping

Jo Payton
Independent

A hi-tech armband can help you count every calorie you eat – and those you burn. Jo Payton put the device to the test, and discovered that the most energy-intensive activities are not always the ones we expect

Information is a diet we thrive on. In the internet age, having the world at our fingertips feels as vital as food and water. But in our quest to know everything about anything, we've lost touch with something closer to home: our own bodies.
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Still Free, Barely Holding On

David Ker Thompson
Counterpunch

We’ve done family protests in Washington and London, amongst other places, and even mingled with some serious ruckus in Buenos Aires.

Never have we experienced anything as terrible as in Toronto today, Saturday, a mile from the G20 perimeter walls. The Canadians—if these police/soldiers are even Canadian—are far and away the most vicious of any military we’ve ever experienced.
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A Bruise on the First Amendment

New York Times

Forty-three years ago, when the nation lived in fear of Communist sympathizers and saboteurs, the Supreme Court said that even the need for national defense could not reduce the First Amendment rights of those associating with American Communists.

On Monday, in the first case since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to test free speech against the demands of national security in the age of terrorism, the ideals of an earlier time were eroded and free speech lost.
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Are We Making Bigger Hurricanes?

Kristian Beadle
MIller-McCune

Fresh from surveying the detritus of storms past, our Kiri blogger reviews the case for and against human action making tropical storms bigger and more destructive.

In the south of Baja and mainland Mexico, summertime means tropical storms and hurricanes. In Mulegé, an unprecedented three floods occurred in four years, caused by rain-heavy hurricanes. People are claiming it is “global warming.” But is it?
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BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling Some Call Risky

Ian Urbina
The New York Times

The future of BP’s offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium.

But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters.
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Is Petraeus McChrystal's Replacement or Obama's?

Paul Craig Roberts
Counterpunch

Our petulant president’s ego can’t handle a general letting off steam. Neither can any of the spoiled children who comprise “our” government in DC, the capital of the “superpower.”

Generals have to fight wars that civilians start, either from the incompetence of their diplomacy or the arrogance of their hubris.
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G20 may punt on fossil-fuel subsidies in Toronto

Jonathan Hiskes
Grist

Among the highlights of last fall's G20 summit in Pittsburgh was a joint pledge to phase out wasteful fossil-fuel subsidies (which amount to a dizzying $550 billion worldwide).

Now ClimateWire reports that change may not come as fast as greens would like:
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CIA Hires Private Security Firm Xe, Formerly Blackwater, In Afghanistan

Christopher Weber
Politics Daily

The CIA has hired the private security firm Xe Services to guard its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, it was reported Thursday.

An industry source tells The Washington Post the contract, worth about $100 million, is for "protective services... guard services, in multiple regions."

Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, won the deal over two other security contractors, Triple Canopy and DynCorp International, the source told the newspaper.
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Shift in Illicit Drug Use Bodes Ill for Developing World

Matthew O. Berger
Inter Press Service

While drug use has largely stabilised in industrial countries, there are signs that it may be on the rise in developing countries, says a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the impact of a rise in drug abuse could cause a lot more damage in developing countries than it has for their richer counterparts.

The report, titled "World Drug Report 2010" and released here Wednesday morning, found an overall shift in worldwide drug use to new drugs and new markets.
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'Teen repellent' buzzing devices may be switched off by law today

Tom Peck
Independent

Controversial devices which emit painful high-frequency sounds audible only to children and young adults may be banned in Britain today following a debate at the Council of Europe.

Around 5,000 of the Mosquito devices are believed to be in use throughout the UK – considerably more than anywhere else in Europe – and are aimed at discouraging young people from gathering in public areas such as around shops where they might intimidate others.
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100,000 Americans Die Each Year from Prescription Drugs, While Pharma Companies Get Rich

Daniela Perdomo
AlterNet

Prescription drugs taken as directed kill 100,000 Americans a year. That's one person every five minutes. How did we get here?

How many people do you know who regularly use a prescription medication? If your social group is like most Americans', the answer is most. Sixty-five percent of the country takes a prescription drug these days. In 2005 alone, we spent $250 billion on them.
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Survey suggests half of EU citizens believe scientists are 'dangerous'

Eoin Lettice
The Guardian

According to a Eurobarometer survey, a majority of people don't trust scientists. The only way to reverse this trend is for academics to step up their efforts to communicate with the public.

Despite World Cup and Wimbledon fever, a survey published this week suggests that more Europeans are interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments than are interested in sport.
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Discovery of babies' skeletons exposes the dark side of life in Roman Britain

David Keys
Independent

One of Roman Britain's darkest secrets is close to being laid bare by modern science. Experts from English Heritage are examining dozens of infant skeletons buried 17 centuries ago in a quiet valley just north of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire.

The remains were unearthed almost 100 years ago by a local archaeologist – and modern specialists in Roman history had assumed that the bones had been reburied.
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Biologist: Ocean pollution ‘threatening the human food supply’

The Associated Press

Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth's oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.

A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years.
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Adbusters G20 Jam

Adbusters
Kalle Lasn

A message to economics students all over the world.

We are a colony of maggots, feeding on nature’s bloated corpse while economic policy makers soothe our troubled minds with lies. Not to worry, they tell us,we’re pulling out of this recession, we’re making progress – the key is more liquidity, more stimulus, more credit, more consumption, more growth.

The time has come to call their bluff.
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Obama Internet kill switch plan approved by US Senate

Grant Gross
Techworld

President could get power to turn off Internet

A US Senate committee has approved a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that some critics have suggested would give the US president the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack.
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Raving Madness

Schnews

AS UK TEKNIVAL ‘RAVE SIX’ FACE COURT ACTION AFTER BUST...

Around 2,500 partygoers descended on Dale Aerodrome in Wales last May bank holiday for the 2010 UK Teknival, only to be met with a massive police response. Police broke up the party on the first day, arresting 17 people in the process. Four remain on police bail and six have been charged.

Automatic number plate recognition, a police photographer, hand-held camcorders, helicopters and even a plane were used by police in a sophisticated surveillance operation which resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of equipment and vehicles being seized (not to mention a similar amount spent on the police operation no doubt).
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Lung-on-a-chip could be used to predict the effects of toxins or drugs

Alok Jha
The Guardian

The lung-on-a-chip device mimics a human lung and allows living tissue to be studied without opening up people or animals

Scientists have grown lungs in the laboratory, a major first step towards growing tissue that could one day be used to replace diseased or damaged human lungs.
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Inferior Blood

William Saletan
Slate

If it's OK to reject blood from gay men, what about blacks?

From 1977 to the present, have you had sexual contact with another male, even once? You'll have to answer that question, word for word, on a donor form if you want to give blood in this country. The form, authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and reaffirmed 10 days ago by an FDA advisory panel, offers three possible answers: "yes," "no," or "I am female." If you check "yes," you're done. You're forbidden to donate blood.
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ATM hack promises teller machine jackpot

Physorg.com

Computer security researchers are heading to Las Vegas with a software hack that gets bank teller machines to spew out cash jackpots.

Barnaby Jack of IOActive is slated to give a "Jackpotting Automated Teller Machines" presentation at the Black Hat USA security conference in Sin City in late July.
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BP Gives Unlimited Behind-the-Scenes Access to One Woman, Who Says BP's Response is Fake: Clean-Up Equipment Taken Away as Soon as Officials Leave

Washington's Blog

BP has been given unlimited access to all BP operations and meetings to a Louisiana shrimper's wife named Kindra Arnesen.

As Yves Smith notes:

Arensen appears to have been invited in because she got media coverage earlier in June when CNN covered her efforts to organize wives of Gulf fisherman over concerns about the safety of working on oil cleanup.
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Iraq’s Ancient Ruins Face New Looting

Steven Lee Myers
International Herald Tribune

The looting of Iraq’s ancient ruins is thriving again. This time it is not a result of the “stuff happens” chaos that followed the American invasion in 2003, but rather the bureaucratic indifference of Iraq’s newly sovereign government.

Thousands of archaeological sites — containing some of the oldest treasures of civilization — have been left unprotected, allowing what officials of Iraq’s antiquities board say is a resumption of brazenly illegal excavations, especially here in southern Iraq.
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Ten years ago today, it was revealed that the human genome had been decoded. A medical revolution beckoned. So what happened next?

Steve Connor
Independent

The two scientists stood shoulder to shoulder with President Bill Clinton in the East Room of the White House, the same room where the American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark unfurled their map of the Northwest Territories for Thomas Jefferson.

Like Lewis and Clark 200 years before them, the scientists were explorers of a newly discovered landscape and they, too, had just completed their own draft map of an unknown world.
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Dazzling Solar Powered OR2 Tree Structure Pops Up in London

Ariel Schwartz
Inhabitat

Don’t be startled if you see a luminous pink tree sitting in London’s Belgrave Square this weekend — it’s just OR2, a combination shading device and solar-powered chandelier designed by London-based Orproject.

The structure’s purpose is twofold: it acts as a source of shade during the day, and it turns into a dazzling chandelier at night, dispersing light collected by photovoltaic cells hours before.
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Neuroscientist: iPhone 4's 'Retina display' not bullsh*t

Rik Myslewski
The Register

Battle of the boffins

Updated An America retinal neuroscientist has focused his boffinistic eye on the iPhone 4's much-touted high-res display, and has come to the conclusion that Apple's claim that the "Retina display's pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels" is true.
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Subscription Hulu: Beginning of the End for Cable, Satellite TV?

Eliot Van Buskirk
Wired

The stage is set for a showdown between television networks and cable/satellite TV services, thanks to the internet.

It won’t happen overnight, but your monthly cable or satellite bill could eventually be replaced by a monthly bill from Hulu, an online service that streams TV shows on demand.
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An Uprising of Bones

John Ross
Counterpunch

Under the martial cadence of muffled drums, the bones rolled solemnly up the elegant Paseo de Reforma atop a dozen military vehicles. Four skulls could be spotted in one large glass urn.

"Look Papi, there goes Hidalgo!" a small boy pointed excitedly - one of the skulls is purported to be that of Miguel Hidalgo, the country priest who rose in rebellion in 1810 to initiate Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain, an event whose bi-centennial is being celebrated this year.
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Europe Backs New EU-US Data Sharing Deal

Spiegel International

The European Parliament is on the brink of a controversial deal on sharing bank transfer information across the Atlantic, pushed for by the US to track terrorist finances. The data sharing compromise will put an end to months of disagreement between the EU and the US.

The European Council and European Parliament on Thursday gave the go-ahead to a new draft for the SWIFT data-sharing deal with the US. The long-disputed agreement, lobbied for by the US as way of tracking terrorist finances, is likely to pass through the European Parliament on July 7.
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The Yellow Light Conundrum

Elisabeth Best
Miller-McCune

To stop or to speed through? That is the question.

Even before attending a driver’s education class, most would-be drivers know how traffic signals work: green means go, red means stop and yellow means slow down.
Or does it?
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Gulf oil spill: A hole in the world

Naomi Klein
The Guardian

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not just an industrial accident – it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself. In this special report from the Gulf coast, a leading author and activist shows how it lays bare the hubris at the heart of capitalism

Everyone gathered for the town hall meeting had been repeatedly instructed to show civility to the gentlemen from BP and the federal government.
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Tensions Still High as More Ships Head for Gaza

Genevieve Long
Epoch Times

After weeks of political posturing in the wake of the Gaza flotilla disaster, relations between the two sides are no less tense. On the Israeli side, Jerusalem has been promising to ease restrictions on Gaza, while reiterating its right to self-defense.

On the side of the blockade-busters, a variety of international groups have been promising to send more humanitarian ships to Gaza.
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Giant China algae slick getting bigger: report

AFP

A floating expanse of green algae floating off China's eastern seaboard is growing and spreading further along the coast, state-run media has reported.

The algae bloom has expanded by about 50 percent since it was first reported by state media earlier in the week to 320 square kilometres (120 square miles), or about four times the size of Hong Kong island, Xinhua news agency said.
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Big Pharma-Backed Marijuana Spray As Medicine? Approved in United Kingdom

Paul Armentano
AlterNet

British health regulators have approved the sale and marketing of Sativex, an oral spray consisting of natural cannabis extracts (primarily the plant cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol aka CBD) as a treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis. (MS)

The spray, which has been legally available to patients in Canada since 2005, went on sale in Britain on Monday. The drug will be marketed in the United Kingdom by the Bayer Corporation which estimates that Sativex will cost the country’s state-run National Health Service roughly £11, or about $16, a day for each patient.
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Facebook killer? Amazon patents social network

Jon Brodkin
Network World US

US Patent and Trademark Office awards Amazon social networking patent

You better stop what you're doing right there, Mark Zuckerberg: Somebody else has patented the "social network."

The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday awarded a patent to Amazon for a "social networking system" that would seem to accomplish the exact same tasks already performed by the likes of Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.
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Nebraska town votes on plan for licences for immigrants

Chris McGreal
The Guardian

Fremont to vote in referendum that would mean Hispanic migrants would need to apply for a licence to live there

A Nebraska town, angry over a surge in the number of Hispanic residents, is voting today in a referendum on a new law that would require foreign nationals to get a licence to live in the town.
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Drugs, USAID Complicate Relations

Franz Chávez
Inter Press Servicce

Relations between Bolivia and the United States are still on a roller-coaster, two years after Bolivia expelled the U.S. ambassador, with Bolivian President Evo Morales now threatening to kick out the main U.S. government aid agency.

In early June, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca announced "99 percent progress" in negotiations to restore full diplomatic relations between Bolivia and the United States, including the exchange of ambassadors.

But Morales' allegations of U.S. meddling in Bolivia's affairs appear to run counter to the rapprochement.
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‘Reasonably high’ chance BP files for bankruptcy

Derek Thompson
Grist

There is a reasonably high chance that BP could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next few years, or even months, and the result would be an "absolute horror" for the government, according to a bankruptcy expert.

Peter S. Kaufman, the President of investment bank Gordian Group and head of the firm's Restructuring and Distressed M&A practice, told me that if he had BP's ear, "I'd advise them to explore the option of bankruptcy."
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Fighting talk: The new propaganda

Robert Fisk
Independent

Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It's Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror...
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Generation Monsanto

Ronnie Cummins
Counterpunch

Why We Need Labels on GM Foods

Gen-M, the first Monsanto Generation of humans force-fed genetically modified foods hasn't reached reproductive age yet (they were born in the late 1990s).

But, if a critical mass of animal feeding studies are any indication, the millennial generation, reared on Food Inc.'s unlabeled "Frankenfoods" can look forward to a long-term epidemic of cancer, food allergies, learning disabilities, sterility, and birth defects.
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Catholic headquarters in Belgium focus of police raids in sex abuse cases

Ian Traynor
The Guardian

Belgian police sources say church has been withholding information from its independent inquiry into sex abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic church was once again at the centre of a child abuse scandal today when police raided the headquarters of the church hierarchy in Belgium.

They carried away computers and hundreds of files, amid rumours that church leaders were continuing to cover up abuse cases despite a public plea for forgiveness last month.
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Autism and genetics: A breakthrough that sheds light on a medical mystery

Steve Connor
Independent

Scientists have discovered the first significant link between autism and DNA, in a study that could revolutionise understanding of this disturbing behavioural disorder which affects more than half-a-million Britons.

The researchers believe the changes they have found to the genetic make-up of autistic children play a significant role in causing the developmental illness.
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Venus home to lost cities left by long-dead aliens, says ESA

Lewis Page
The Register

Well, it was strongly implied

Venus could once have been a living world with watery surface oceans, according to the European Space Agency. The ESA says that data from its Venus Express probe in orbit above the second planet indicates that it "may even have begun its existence as a habitable planet similar to Earth".
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China calls for improvement in workers' conditions

New Statesman

The Chinese Communist Party has asked employers in the country to increase salaries and improve training, just days after premier Wen Jiabao called for better treatment of workers.

Coming just after a series of workers' strikes which shut down Chinese factories supplying parts to automakers Honda and Toyota, the Party warned of a significant change in the country's manufacturing model.
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BP oil leak setback: 'Top hat' removed, oil flow unhindered

Mark Seibel
McClatchy Newspapers

Workers removed the "top hat" device collecting crude oil from BP's gushing Deepwater Horizon well Wednesday morning in a major setback to efforts to contain the leak.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the BP oil leak, told reporters in his daily briefing that the long term impact of the decision was uncertain, but video from the leak showed crude gushing unhindered into the water for the first time since the "top hat" device, also referred to as the Lower Marine Riser Package, was set in place June 3.
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What Ankara Knows

Ramzy Baroud
Counterpunch

The Middle East is Changing

"Even despots, gangsters and pirates have specific sensitiveness, (and) follow some specific morals."

The claim was made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent speech, following the deadly commando raid on the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza on May 31. According to Erdogan, Israel doesn’t adhere to the code of conduct embraced even by the vilest of criminals.

The statement alone indicates the momentous political shift that’s currently underway in the Middle East. While the shift isn’t entirely new, one dares to claim it might now be a lasting one.
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Immigrants to face English language test

Chris Greenwood
Press Association

Immigrants coming to Britain to marry or join their partner will soon be asked to take an English language test first, the Government announced today.

All non-European migrants will have to demonstrate basic communication skills that enable them to deal with everyday life before receiving a visa.
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YouTube wins Viacom copyright case

Juan Carlos Perez
Techworld

Viacom's $1bn copyright infringement suit has been dismissed

Viacom's US$1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google's video-sharing site YouTube has been dismissed by the court, ending for now an acrimonious legal battle between the companies that has been going on for more than three years.
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Strawberries Can Give You Cancer? Poison Gases Being Used to Grow Crops

JIll Richardson
AlterNet

Mmm, fresh, red, plump, juicy strawberries. You know what tastes really great with them? It’s a secret I learned as a kid. Dip them in sour cream and then dip them in brown sugar. Delish. Or dip them in homemade whipped cream, or chocolate, or both.

Or, if they are fresh picked, just eat them plain. But you know what doesn’t taste good with strawberries? Cancer.
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CCTV cameras for police uniforms

BBC News

Cutting edge CCTV cameras are being fixed to police uniforms in Tayside to help in the fight against crime.

The force has become the first in Scotland to pin the lightweight devices, which will be used to gather evidence, to body armour or a jacket.
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Taking Another Look at Susan Boyle, One Year Later

Linda Pershing and Lauren Rains
t r u t h o u t

Given the way she surprised the world, it seems fitting that Susan Boyle was born on April Fools' Day (1961). Many of us watched the April 2009 YouTube clip of her stunning performance during "Britain's Got Talent's" semi-final competition, as well as the resulting media frenzy.

Reporters and pundits focused largely on her appearance and "ugly duckling" success story.
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The mystery of Caravaggio's death solved at last – painting killed him

Tom Kington
The Guardian

Remains found in Tuscany are likely to be the artist's, proving that lead poisoning was one cause of his death 400 years ago

He killed a man, brawled constantly, rowed with patrons and fled justice while revolutionising painting with his chiaroscuro style. Now, as if to underline how dramatic Caravaggio's short life was, researchers say he may have quite literally died for his art.
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Stronger Chinese yuan adds to PC price hike

Dan Nystedt
Techworld

Tech prices to surge due to shortages of components and rising labour costs

Desktop PC, laptop and gadget buyers will see prices continue to rise after a move by China's central bank to relax the exchange rate of its currency.
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Schrödinger's kit: Tools that are in two places at once

Michael Brooks
New Scientist

Quantum theory is our most successful theory of physics. There is not one shred of experimental evidence that doesn't fit with its predictions. So why, if it ain't broke, is a growing number of researchers expressing a desire to fix it?

"Everything depends on whether you believe quantum mechanics is going to go on describing the physical world perfectly to whatever level you push it," says Nobel laureate Anthony Leggett, who studies the quantum world at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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We all live in an oil slick now

Johann Hari
Independent

Step by step, US politicians on all sides become an oiligarchy that sees moving off petrol as irrational: turning off the spigot would turn off their election funds

Has our crude awakening begun, at last? It's not just the pelicans of Louisiana that are flapping and flailing in an oil slick – it's all of us.
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Late-night bars and pubs face levy to meet cost of policing binge drinkers

Mark Townsend
The Observer

'Law and order' fee to be charged in hardline stance on drink-related crime

Bars and pubs that stay open after 11pm will have to pay a "law and order" fee, following police concerns over the levels of drink-fuelled disorder.

Under plans to dismantle round-the-clock drinking, the government wants late-night bars to help pay for the cost of tackling antisocial behaviour and alcohol-related violence.
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Mozilla designer says Google Chrome uses speed tricks

Gregg Keizer
Computerworld US

Gimmicks make Chrome seem faster, says intern

An interface designer interning at Mozilla has suggested that the company mimic gimmicks in Google's Chrome to make users think Firefox starts up faster.
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It is not just the public sector 'fat cats' who will feel the pain of pay freeze

Sean O'Grady
independent

According to the Chancellor, the public sector has put the nation on "the road to ruin". The Prime Minister insists that it is "fair" that public workers on £18,000 should have their pay frozen when inflation is running at 5 per cent.

The Deputy Prime Minister argues that public sector pensions are "unfair and unaffordable".
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RoboCup: the future of football?

Robin McKie
The Observer

As a football competition for robots kicks off in Singapore, organisers predict they'll soon eclipse real players

At corners, they pose as much threat as a Hobbit would against a team of Orcs. Their passing and shooting are laughable while their ability to keep the ball from reaching the back of the net is only mariginally better than that of an English goalkeeper. Robot footballers have a long way to go, it would seem.
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Afghan opiate use has doubled in 5 years, UN says

Heidi Vogt
Associated Press

Drug addicts as young as a month old. Mothers who calm their children by blowing opium smoke in their faces. Whole communities hooked on heroin with few opportunities for treatment.

Use of opiates such as heroin and opium has doubled in Afghanistan in the last five years, the U.N. said Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Afghans turn to drugs to escape the misery of poverty and war.
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Death by Hamburger?

Kiera Butler
Mother Jones

Whether you're a burger lover or a strict vegetarian (I'm somewhere in the middle—more on this in the July/August 2010 issue of Mother Jones), you've probably heard that too much meat is definitely not a good thing.

Most recently, researchers have linked overconsumption of red meat with early puberty in girls: A University of Brighton study found this month that about half of UK girls who ate 12 or more servings of meat each week at age seven had started their periods by age twelve and a half, compared to about a third of those who ate fewer than four servings.
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Global War Racket Exposed: Trillions in Resources & Funding Our Enemies

David DeGraw
DavidDeGraw.org

Building on my Af-Pak War Racket report, a few recent news items help expose the true drivers of current wars around the world.

#1) Wherever there is a war, look for CIA/IMF/private military war profiteers covertly funding and supporting BOTH sides in order to keep the wars raging and the profits rolling in. As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.”
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Why chimpanzees attack and kill each other

Physorg.com

Bands of chimpanzees violently kill individuals from neighboring groups in order to expand their own territory, according to a 10-year study of a chimp community in Uganda that provides the first definitive evidence for this long-suspected function of this behavior.

University of Michigan primate behavioral ecologist John Mitani's findings are published in the June 22 issue of Current Biology.

During a decade of study, the researchers witnessed 18 fatal attacks and found signs of three others perpetrated by members of a large community of about 150 chimps at Ngogo, Kibale National Park.
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Woods Bagot Zero-E is a New Model for Sustainable Development

Bridgette Meinhold
Inhabitat

Architects Woods Bagot and Buro Happold are hoping to achieve a new level of sustainability with their striking new development model - Zero Emissions Design’ (ZERO-E).

This new program is, as you might suspect, zero energy and carbon neutral, but it goes beyond merely lessening a building’s impact and actually contributes to the healing of compromised human and ecological systems.
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Icelandic parliament backs 'free speech haven' plan

OUT-LAW

Iceland's parliament has accepted a proposal which could see the country pass the world's strongest freedom of expression and whistleblower protection laws. The proposal was created in conjunction with controversial leak site Wikileaks.

Wikileaks makes secretly-submitted documents and materials public and earlier this year published a video showing a US air strike in Baghdad in which two Reuters employees and a number of other people were killed.
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NASA: Civilization will end in 2013 (possibly)

Rik Myslewski
The Register

'Here comes the sun, doo-be-doo-do'

In 2013, the earth will be attacked from space, with one possible outcome being mind-bogglingly severe disruption to our tech-centric way of life.

"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years, we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," says Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division.
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'One of the Greatest Setbacks Since World War II'

Jonas Gahr Støre
Spiegel International

Norway Takes Aim at G-20

Norway's foreign minister has described the group of the 20 most important industrialized and developing nations, which will meet this weekend in Toronto, as the "greatest setback" for the international community since World War II.
In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Jonas Gahr Støre explains why the organization won't function in the long run.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Foreign Minister, this week the most important industrial and developing nations will meet at the G-20 summit in Toronto. You oppose the organization. Is that because Norway, which is one of Europe's richest countries, is not a part of it?
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Is Pakistan Unraveling?

Joshua Brollier and Kathy Kelly
Counterpunch

This is Moving Toward Chaos

"The military is the muscle that protects the ruling elite from the wrath of the people,” says Pakistani political analyst Dr. Mubashir Hassan. “Right now, people are out on the street; blocking roads, attacking railway stations, etc. If you read the papers, it seems as though a general uprising has started all over Pakistan.”
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Want to Have Sex With Your Favorite Porn Star? "Teledildonics" Could Make It Happen

KalCobalt
SeXis Magazine

Never underestimate the ingenuity of horny geeks; the same technology that powers your hands-free cellphone headset is indeed the next frontier for sexy tech.

USBs: They’re not just for external storage anymore. A quick glance through any catalogue of geekery online will reveal a plethora of crazy accessories, from coffee mug warmers to personal fans to little lamps to light your keyboard.
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Scientists Warn Gulf Of Mexico Sea Floor Fractured Beyond Repair

Sorcha Faal
Before It's News

A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

Most important to note about Sagalevich’s warning is that he and his fellow scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences are the only human beings to have actually been to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak site after their being called to the disaster scene by British oil giant BP shortly after the April 22nd sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform.
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At 25, alcohol had destroyed his liver. We couldn't save him'

Simon Reilly
Independent

The damage caused by drinking is more complex and serious than a few broken heads on a Saturday night.

In order to monitor the effects of alcohol on the nation's health, many emergency departments now have a little tick-box on the computer that politely asks "Alcohol-related?" when you discharge a patient from the system.
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange breaks cover but will avoid America

Ian Traynor
The Guardian

US desperate to ask hacker what he knows of classified messages about Iraq and Afghanistan wars

The elusive founder of WikiLeaks, who is at the centre of a potential US national security sensation, has surfaced from almost a month in hiding to tell the Guardian he does not fear for his safety but is on permanent alert.
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The Intellectual Situation

The Editors
n+1

We love a parade. Up and down Fifth Avenue, voices ring against the burnished buildings.

“WE WON! WE WON!”

Who won? Won what?

“Something to do with the internet,” says a kneeling mailman, reaching with his chained key to open an olive-green postbox on the curb.

“WI-FI! WI-FI!
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With Refuge Like This…

David Cronin
Inter Press Service

Habtom, a 30-year-old Eritrean, has all the grim qualifications needed to be a refugee. He was arrested for protesting a dictatorship, tortured in custody, and fears his life would be at risk if he returned home. Another part of his story is also typical: he suffered lengthy detention in a European Union nominally committed to the universal defence of human rights.

Four years ago Habtom (not his real name) fled to Malta. It would take 11 months before the island's officials interviewed him and became aware of how he had taken part in student demonstrations against his government in 2001 and how he had subsequently been jailed and beaten for daring to question his commanders while he was a military conscript.
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Tibetan Quake Victims Protest Land Seizure

Fang Xiao
Epoch Times

Homes destroyed by quake, residents lose land for sake of tourist attraction

While arduously attempting to recover from the effects of the earthquake that devastated much of Yushu’s Tibetan Autonomous Region on April 14, Tibetans are being faced with yet another challenge—defending their land against authorities who are attempting to confiscate it, in the name of rebuilding the disaster area.
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Obama, BP and the Gulf Oil Disaster

Max Ajl
t r u t h o u t

The most pathetic images I have seen in the aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizons deep-oil drilling rig were of pelicans drenched in oil, with brown glistening gunk matting down their plumage.

When pelicans become covered in oil, they can’t properly regulate their body temperature.
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Corporate welfare and California's budget deficit

Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times

The government handouts include tax breaks for businesses and incentives for some of the state's largest industries.

I believe we can all agree on the root cause of the state's $20-billion budget gap.

It's welfare: all those millions of taxpayer dollars going to recipients who line up for their government handouts instead of competing in the marketplace on a level playing field like the rest of us, who don't pay their fair share of taxes and who get protected by a politically powerful lobby.
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Google's Wi-Fi snoop nabbed passwords and emails

Cade Metz
The Register

French inspection

The Wi-Fi traffic collected by Google's world-roving Street View cars included passwords and email, according to a report citing a preliminary study from the French data protection authority.

IDG reports that the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) has examined part of the data, after it was turned over by Google.
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Google's Wi-Fi snoop nabbed passwords and emails

Cade Metz
The Register

French inspection

The Wi-Fi traffic collected by Google's world-roving Street View cars included passwords and email, according to a report citing a preliminary study from the French data protection authority.

IDG reports that the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) has examined part of the data, after it was turned over by Google.
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In desperate search for recruits, Israeli army targets foreigners

Catrina Stewart
Independent

It used to be the kibbutz and its images of fruit picking and communal living that attracted streams of Jewish volunteers to Israel.

Now many are looking for a different kind of service, one involving pre-dawn starts, a dose of boot camp and the very real possibility of some frontline action.
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Iceland Rewrites Law To Create Haven For Investigative Reporting

Josey Wales
Before It's News

Iceland has passed a sweeping reform of its media laws that supporters say will make the country an international haven for investigative journalism.

The new package of legislation was passed unanimously at 4am yesterday in one of the final sessions of the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, before its summer break.
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Internet plagiarism rising in schools

Rachel Williams
Independent

Half of university students also prepared to submit essays bought off internet, according to research

The number of schools using plagiarism-detecting computer software to catch A-level students cheating in their coursework has rocketed, amid warnings that children as young as 11 need to be taught not to copy and paste from the internet.
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Can we live without the magic airbrush?

Jonathan Owen
Independent

Debenhams has taken the brave step of launching a marketing campaign using photographs that aren't digitally enhanced

The game is up. It was bound to happen: a backlash against airbrushing and photo makeovers has seen a growing number of celebrities – from Madonna to Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears – exposed au naturel in recent publicity pictures.
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The obscure workings of the credit rating agency

Alex Preston
New Statesman

Alex Preston’s early days in the City were spent as a credit analyst in a Mayfair hedge fund –– on the frontier of a system that has been proved to be fundamentally flawed.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Um . . . well, I did for a while. If the particular custodes we're talking about are the credit rating agencies. My first job out of university was as a credit analyst at a hedge fund in Mayfair.
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Vast ocean once covered Mars, say scientists

James Meikle
The Guardian

Researchers believe their study of apparent marine deltas and valley networks suggest a third of Mars was once under water

Scientists have revived arguments over whether there was once an ocean on the surface of Mars by claiming that their analysis of existing data supports the hypothesis that water covered much of the red planet's northern hemisphere 3.5bn years ago.
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Ignored and Forgotten

Blake Sifton
Adbusters

Professional ethics in the War on Terror.

Though their actions invoke less dramatic imagery than the interrogators and prison guards who tortured and humiliated Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, equally guilty are the legions of professionals who facilitated the abuse.
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U.S. Testing Pain Ray in Afghanistan (Updated Again)

Noah Shachtman
Wired

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan centers around swaying locals to its side. And there’s no better persuasion tool than an invisible pain ray that makes people feel like they’re on fire.

OK, OK. Maybe that isn’t precisely the logic being employed by those segments of the American military who would like to deploy the Active Denial System to Afghanistan.
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Recipe for Green Tires: Plants, Not Petroleum

Steven Ashley
International Herald Tribune


With each new model introduction, automakers take pains to point out how much they have done to reduce their vehicles’ negative effects on the environment.

A rundown of the advances can involve almost every aspect of the car’s design and production: carbon dioxide output has been cut; paint application has changed to a water-based process; recycling and waste reduction at the factory has been improved to a point where nothing goes to a landfill.
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Renew your firearms licence via your iPhone

Robert Blincoe
The Register

There's an app for everything

Sussex Police plan to allow gun owners to renew their firearms licences using an iPhone app.

The app will be part of a suite allowing the public to access news, appeals and other services form their iPhone.
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Fears grow over global drug resistance

Sarah Boseley
The Guardian

Too little attention has been paid to the danger that drug resistance is spreading in the developing world, warns report.

Unprecedented efforts are being made to get medicines to people in poor countries to treat killer diseases such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. But too little attention is being paid to the real danger that these drugs will run out of impact.
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No iPhones please, we're British ministers

Jeremy Kirk
Techworld

Just Blackberries for UK government employees

UK government ministers are not allowed to use Apple's iPhone but Blackberries are fine, presumably for security reasons, according Health Secretary Simon Burns.

Burns was asked a question on Monday in Parliament by Tom Watson, a Labour member of Parliament active in technology issues.
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Laid bare, the lobbying campaign that won the food labelling battle

Martin Hickman
Independent

The lobbying carried out by food manufacturers to block a European-wide food labelling system backed by doctors is laid bare in a series of private emails published today by The Independent.

In a flurry of statements and position papers to MEPs in the run up to key votes, Kellogg's, Danone, Coca-Cola, Nestle and other manufacturers claimed that colour-coded traffic lights were incapable of informing shoppers about the right diet.
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The Red Bull Scam -- Why Are So Many People Buying Into Its Deceptive 'Energy-Giving' Marketing?

Scott Thill
AlterNet

Red Bull's claims that it improves performance, concentration, reaction time and emotional status are all BS.

"Red Bull gives you wings," Earth's most popular energy drink by market share promises in its commercials. Well, Icarus had kickass wings. Remember what happened to him? Crash and burn, baby.

What Red Bull does give you is crazy amounts of caffeine compressed into a tiny can of hope.
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Sea creatures flee oil spill, gather near shore

jay Reeves, John Flesher, Tamara Lush
Associated Press

Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water off Florida beaches, like forest animals fleeing a fire. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.

Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena.
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70% rise in number of black and Asian people stopped and searched

Alan Travis
The Guardian

Figures reveal that black people are seven times more likely to be stopped than white people

The number of black and Asian people stopped and searched by the police has increased by more than 70% over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures.
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New security for Internet's domain name system

Carolyn Duffy Marsan
Network World US

DNSSEC on the Internet's root zone to prevent online spoofing attacks

The dream of bolting security onto the Internet's Domain Name System takes one step closer to reality Wednesday as Internet policymakers host a ceremony in northern Virginia to generate and store the first cryptographic key that will be used to secure the Internet's root zone.
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Orang-utan language identified

John Sellers
Independent

Orang-utans communicate intelligently using gestures, researchers have found.

British scientists who spent nine months observing the great apes in three European zoos identified 40 frequently used body language signals.
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Finland considers legalising access of unsecured WiFi networks

Mikael Ricknäs
Techworld

Finnish Internet users may use open WiFi networks without permission

Finland should change its current law, and not make it punishable by law to access someone's unprotected Wi-Fi network, according to experts invited to comment on the matter by the Finnish Ministry of Justice.
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Scientists Develop First Underwater Robot Powered Entirely by Ocean’s Thermal Energy

Sarah Parsons
Inhabitat

Everyone loves a cool robot, and this new one blows others out of the water. A team of researchers recently developed Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC), the world’s first underwater robotic vehicle powered entirely by thermal energy, a completely renewable resource.

The robot is poised to revolutionize ocean monitoring: Because it is not limited by a depleting energy source, it can stay underwater for unprecedented amounts of time.
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Kyrgyzstan threatens to shut US base unless ex-president's son is extradited

Miriam Elder
The Guardian

Leadership steps up pressure on Britain to hand over Maxim Bakiyev, who is accused of organising violence against Uzbeks

Maxim Bakiyev was arrested at Farnborough airport on Sunday. Photograph: Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters
A senior Kyrgyz official today warned that the interim government would consider shutting a strategic US airbase if Britain refused to hand over the son of the country's ousted president.
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Calderon defends drug war, many Mexicans skeptical

Alexandra Olson
Associated Press

Gunmen slaughter 19 men at a rehab clinic. Sixteen bodies are dumped in a northern city. Twelve police officers die in an ambush. Soldiers kill 15 gunmen outside a tourist town.

All this in less than a week, yet President Felipe Calderon believes Mexico is getting a bad rap and wants to hire a public relations firm to improve its image.
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BP and the Perils of Corporate Citizenship

Robert Reich
Robert Reichs Blog

BP: It's Not a Contest Between the US and Britain; It's a Contest Between Citizenship Interests and Shareholder Interests

This from today's Wall Street Journal:

In a letter sent Sunday to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral James Watson, BP said it expects to have the capacity to capture between 40,000 and 53,000 barrels of oil a day by the end of June. That compares with 15,000 barrels a day now, out of a flow of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels scientists estimate are coming from the well.
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Crocodiles 'surf' the seas, study finds

John von Radowitz
Press Association

Crocodiles "surf" waves to cross many miles of ocean, scientists have learned.

The discovery explains how the estuarine crocodile - the world's largest living reptile - came to colonise numerous South Pacific islands separated by huge stretches of water.
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Oil Spill on Track to Reach Atlantic No Later Than October

Alexandra Witze
Wired

Oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico will reach the Atlantic Ocean within six months, says oceanographer Synte Peacock. Exactly when is all down to an eddy that broke off of the infamous Loop Current southwest of Florida on June 12.

Peacock, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, usually studies how the ocean’s water absorbs atmospheric gases.
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Death revives warnings about rogue stem-cell clinics

Andy Coghlan
New Scientist

The death of a woman after she was treated with stem cells at a private clinic in Thailand has reinforced warnings for desperate sick people to avoid "stem-cell tourism" – the gamble of undergoing untested stem-cell treatments in unlicensed private clinics abroad.

Post-mortem results reported this week reveal that the stem-cell treatment almost certainly killed the woman, who had been suffering from kidney disease.
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They made the critics scream, but now these films are classics

Geoffrey Macnab
Independent

Fifty years ago both Psycho and Peeping Tom – Michael Powell's masterpiece about a serial killer with a camera – were condemned. Geoffrey Macnab explores how we changed our minds about them, and others

It is 50 years now since the beatific-faced Carl Boehm played a duffel-coat wearing serial killer, trying to catch the moment of his female victims' death on camera, in Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960.)
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High on Progress

Derrick Jensen
Orion Magazine

What will be left when we finally come down?

Why we have come to assume that “progress” is always good? The Nazis’ treatment of Jews progressed toward their final solution. And many individual Jews followed a line of progress: get an ID card, move to a ghetto, get on a cattle car, arrive at a camp, work at the camp, go to a gas chamber, get put in an oven, rise as smoke, fall as ashes.
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"Somewhere a Dog Barked"

Rosecrans Baldwin
Slate

Pick up just about any novel and you'll find a throwaway reference to a dog, barking in the distance.

As a reader of novels and not much else, I keep a running list of authorial whims. Male writers of the Roth/Updike generation, for example, love the word cunt. Also, where novelists once adorned their prose with offhand French bon mots, Spanish now appears.
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The Nuclear Power Resurgence: How Safe Are the New Reactors?

Susan Q. Stranahan
e360

As utilities seek to build new nuclear power plants in the U.S. and around the world, the latest generation of reactors feature improvements over older technologies. But even as attention focuses on nuclear as an alternative to fossil fuels, questions remain about whether the newer reactors are sufficiently foolproof to be adopted on a large scale.

In 2007, the first application to build a new reactor in the United States in more than three decades was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). By the end of that year, four more applications had landed at the agency. In 2008, 12 additional applications arrived, with one more filed in 2009. Nuclear backers proclaimed a “renaissance” underway.
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iPads for animals? It's not as far fetched as you think…

Alok Jha
The Observer

Using Apple's latest gadget – and with the willing help of Merlin the dolphin – American researchers hope to unravel the secret of how dolphins communicate.

When Steve Jobs launched his latest must-have computer to the world, he might not have been thinking about the dolphin market. But, at the Dolphin Discovery swim facility in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, Apple's groundbreaking iPad is engaged in some remarkable groundbreaking inter-species research.
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No hands to the pump!

Oliver Tickell
NewStatesman

Among the hundreds of files piling up on Chris Huhne's desk is a nice fat one marked "Renewable Heat Incentive" (RHI). He could easily sign it off, but let's hope he doesn't. For lurking in there is a potential £35bn boondoggle that threatens to worsen energy supply problems and increase greenhouse-gas emissions.

Launched last winter by the then energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, the RHI is intended to encourage people to heat their houses and water using solar panels, woodchip boilers and . . . heat pumps.
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£1 buys 1000 litres of tap water. Or one bottle of the ionised variety

Martin Hickman
Independent

Martin Hickman reports on the latest and most daring attempt to turn humble H2O into a premium product

Diners are buying a new version of ordinary water for £1 a litre, 1,000 times more than it would cost if it came out of a tap.

Saf, a vegan restaurant in the Whole Foods department store in Kensington, London, uses a machine to turn ordinary mains supply into ionised water, which it serves in re-usable glass bottles.
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BP's 8 dumbest mistakes

The Week

The oil giant is being widely criticized for its handling of the massive Gulf spill, both before and after the blowout. Here's why

It is now clear that the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill was eminently preventable. And even since the April 20 rig fire, experts have cited many examples of how poor choices by BP have worsened an already dire situation.
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Sex, drugs and moral goals: Study of reproductive strategies and recreational drug use

Physorg.com

Why is there so much disagreement about whether using recreational drugs is morally wrong? A University of Pennsylvania psychology study shows that the debate about drugs might really be about sex.

The study compared two competing theories.

One theory -- the conventional wisdom in political science -- sees drug attitudes as primarily coming from people's political ideology, level of religious commitment, and personality, for example, openness to experience.
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Meat and potato diet 'reduces risk of lung cancer by half'

Jeremy Laurance
Independent

People with high levels of a vitamin found in meat, potatoes, fish and whole grains have half the risk of developing lung cancer, irrespective of whether they smoke.

The finding, from the largest study of the link between diet and cancer in the world, suggests that the risk of lung cancer might be dramatically affected by the food we eat.
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Eyewitness to the Israeli Assault on the Mavi Marmara

Dave Lindorff
Counterpunch

What Kevin Neish Saw

Kevin Neish of Victoria, British Columbia, didn’t know he was a celebrity until he was about to board a flight from Istanbul to Ottawa. “This Arab woman wearing a beautiful outfit suddenly ran up to me crying, ‘It’s you! From Arab TV!

You’re famous!’” he recalls with a laugh. “I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she told me, ‘I saw you flipping through the Israeli commando’s book! It’s being aired over and over!’”
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Sub Biosphere 2: A Self-Sustaining Underwater City

Bridgette Meinhold
Inhabitat

Biosphere 2 never lasted too long, but there were certainly many lessons to be learned about living self-sufficiently, and even sustainably.

UK-based designer Phil Pauley envisions another biosphere set in the ocean that would create a self-sustaining underwater habitat for aquanauts, tourists, and oceanographic life sciences.
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Brothers-In-Arms: capitalism and corporate journalism

David Edwards
The Comment Factory

An essential role of corporate journalism is to shore up public confidence in an unjust, crisis-riven financial and economic system. Although plenty of gloom and doom is permitted, especially in the face of obvious crisis, the legitimacy of the system is rarely questioned.

For example, a recent Sunday Times article cited approvingly the views of Jim O’Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs. In a note to clients, titled ‘Why the World is Better Than You Think’, O’Neill tried to allay fears that the collapse of financial markets had made the world seem a “scary place”. It is not so bad; indeed, “global recovery” was underway.
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We Are Scientists present … the rules of wine

The Guardian

Barely know your red wine from your yellow? No idea how to make a shiraz slushie? Then read on to find out all you need to know about brewski (er, that's wine)

Consider this a simple guide to achieving fluency in all things oenophilic. The world of wine is a complex and rewarding one. By taking account of a few simple precepts, you can become a "wino" – a charmed, bon mot-slinging sophisticate with entrée into society's most exclusive clubs and factions, for whom dullness is the only impossibility.
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Is Being Half There O.K.?

Froma Harrop
t r u t h o u t

You've seen the zombie parents on the streets and at the mall. Off in some cell-phone cloud, they pay no attention to what's in the stroller.

It could be a sack of potatoes. It could be a cocker spaniel. More often than not, it's a baby staring blankly ahead or crying to no avail.
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Government under pressure to open US skies to unmanned drones despite safety concerns

Joan Lowy
Associated Press

Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure's on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act.
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Coins database: Figures show government spent £1.8bn on consultants

Polly Curtis
The Guardian

Newly-published Treasury data shows Department of Health spent most, followed by Department for International Development and Home Office

The government spent £1.8bn on consultants last year, according to figures contained in the comprehensive database of the nation's finances released by the Treasury today.
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Four face court trial over Parliamentary expenses

Wesley Johnson
Press Association

Three former Labour MPs and a Tory peer will stand trial over fiddling their expenses and are not immune from prosecution, a judge ruled today.

Any appeal would be heard on June 29 before the Lord Chief Justice, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Communications Office said.
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"Lure People Into That Calm and Then Just Totally F--k 'Em": How All of Us Pay for the Derivatives Market

Zach Carter
AlterNet

Derivatives are a hotbed of abuses and bailouts. So why are taxpayers footing the bill?

For the Wall Street reform package currently making its way through Congress to work, it has to accomplish two broad goals: It must take a huge bite out of banking profits and end the too-big-to-fail oligopoly that encourages megabanks to take megarisks and stick taxpayers with the tab.
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Study Sheds Light on a Potential Cause of Insomnia

PhysOrg.com

In a study at Emory University, investigators have shed new light on a potential cause of insomnia, demonstrating that products of the immune system called cytokines may be the culprits.

In a study at Emory University, investigators have shed new light on a potential cause of insomnia, demonstrating that products of the immune system called cytokines may be the culprits. The study was published May 25, 2010 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Insomnia is a common sleep problem of unknown cause that occurs in about 10 percent of the population.
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Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks Mission for ‘Scientific Journalism’

Nick Meador
Refractor

WikiLeaks has been all over the world news headlines this past week after the Daily Beast reported that Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning released 260,000 classified documents to the controversial journalism network.

Wired.com has followed up on story with reports about Manning’s conscience and WikiLeaks’ intention to provide him with legal help
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Stealth Superpower: How Turkey Is Chasing China to Become the Next Big Thing

John Feffer
TomDispatch

The future is no longer in plastics, as the businessman in the 1967 film The Graduate insisted. Rather, the future is in China.

If a multinational corporation doesn’t shoehorn China into its business plan, it courts the ridicule of its peers and the outrage of its shareholders. The language of choice for ambitious undergraduates is Mandarin.
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The New Field of Neurodiversity: Why 'Disabilities' Are Essential to the Human Ecosystem

Thomas Armstrong
Ode

Differences among brains are as enriching -- and essential -- as differences among plants and animals. Welcome to the new field of neurodiversity.

Imagine for a moment that our society has been transformed into a culture of flowers. Now let’s say for the sake of argument that the psychiatrists are the roses.
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Online porn users take huge risks, study finds

John E Dunn
Techworld

Malware lurking everywhere

Online porn is one of the most hostile environments on the Internet but malware distribution itself appears to be only a profitable sideline for the adult industry, a new study has suggested.

Some of the findings [PDF] made by the academic team at the International Secure System Lab in Austria correspond to what most people think they already know about online porn as a business.
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My life on crack

Bill Clegg
The Guardian

'It's the best sex, the most delicious meal, the most engrossing book…' A former addict confesses all

I can't leave and there isn't enough. Mark is squawking about a crack dealer he used to buy from, but I'm not paying attention. All that matters to me is that we've reached the end of our bag. The clear plastic mini zip-lock that once bulged with chunks of crack is now empty. It's daybreak and the dealers have turned off their phones.
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Let's Wage Cyber Warfare

Gabriel Shoenfeld
Weekly Standard.com

Can we use technology to pry open closed and semi-closed societies?

Over in the New Republic, Jack Goldsmith has an essay that cuts through the fog surrounding the subject of cyber warfare. The piece's occasion is a new book on the subject by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake that sounds the alarm about the danger we might face one day from a concerted attack on the computer systems that underpin our economic and military infrastructure.
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Queensland police win new powers to fine for public nuisance offences

Anna Caldwell
The Courier-Mail

Thousands of people could be slapped with fines for offences that would never have attracted police attention in the past under sweeping reforms to police powers.

Experts fear swearing in public, with a fine of $100, will be a major money spinner and could become the weapon of choice for frustrated officers on the beat.
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The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

Chris Hedges
Truthdig

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on "biblical law," and shutting out all those they define as the enemy.

This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America.
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Survey highlights a life sitting on the sofa

Dave Higgens
Press Association

More than four out of ten people in the UK have never ridden a horse or swum in natural water, according to a new survey about Britain's outdoor activities.

The research showed 59% of those questioned had never tried even the most basic activities due to "never having been given the chance" and 33% "have been too scared to try".
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Corruption Leads to More Corruption

Elisabeth Best
Miller-McCune

A legacy of corruption leads the citizenry more toward resignation and connivance than to activism, a new study looking at Mexico reports.

Once upon a time, there was a monarchy. Like many governments, it required a number of people — dukes, knights, lords, etc. — to function. These people were chosen based on their proximity or loyalty to the royal family, which was itself royal because it had more money and land than other families.
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The rise and fall of BP

Andrew Simms
The Guardian

In its 100-year history, BP has been dogged by appalling accidents and an absence of diplomacy. Can it ever reinvent itself?

As names go, the First Exploitation Company sounds like an inspired slight dreamed up by an angry anti-oil campaigner. In fact, it was the original title, coined in 1903, of the troubled company we now know as BP. But then, public relations have never been its strong point.
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WikiLeaks Founder Has Massacre Video

Philip Shenon
The Daily Beast

Julian Assange, who the Feds fear may release State Dept. secrets, denies having them—but he’s readying video of a deadly U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan.

After several days underground, the founder of the secretive website WikiLeaks has gone public to disclose that he is preparing to release a classified Pentagon video of a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan last year that left as many as 140 civilians dead, most of them children and teenagers.
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Matador arrested and fined for running away

AP

A matador was fined after running away from a bull and leaping over the arena wall.

Christian Hernandez was arrested after Sunday's botched bullfight at the Plaza Mexico in Mexico City, apparently for breach of contract, local media reported.
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How Oil Spills Affect the Food Chain

Vanessa Barrington
EcoSalon

The reason disasters like this happen is due to a lack of understanding that, though we may be at the top of the food chain, we are not separate from it.

While we become sick to our stomachs watching the spreading plumes of oil in the gulf, viewing photos of oil slicked birds, and footage of oil covered beaches in Florida and Alabama, let’s take a step back and think about the cycle of life.
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Debt-ridden Greece gets vote of confidence from China

Helena Smith
The Guardian

Greece's debt-ridden economy has received unexpected endorsement from China as the two countries announced multibillion euro accords to boost cooperation in fields as diverse as shipping, tourism and telecommunications.

The deals, which will see Greek olive oil being exported to China, were a welcome relief for a government smarting over Moody's move hours earlier to downgrade the nation's credit rating to junk.
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Why Celebrity Ads Make You Want to Buy Stuff

Tom Jacobs
Miller-McCune.com

Brain-scan research suggests celebrity faces evoke specific happy memories, and those positive feelings rub off on the products they endorse.

For some of us, the increasingly popular practice of celebrity product endorsements is puzzling. What difference does it make if Brad Pitt recommends a particular pen, or Sally Field a certain cereal? Unless the famous spokesperson has a specific area of expertise — say, Tiger Woods endorsing a set of golf clubs — why would anyone care?
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Groups Around the US Joined Haitian Farmers in Protesting "Donation" of Monsanto Seeds

Beverly Bell
t r u t h o u t

"We're for seeds that have never been touched by multinationals. In our advocacy, we say that seeds are the patrimony of humanity. No one can control them," said Doudou Pierre, national coordinating committee member of the National Haitian Network for Food Sovereignty and Food Security (RENHASSA), in a recent interview.

"We reject Monsanto and their GMOs. GMOs would be the extermination of our people."
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Hospitals make £1.8m each in parking fees

Jane Kirby
Independent

NHS hospitals are making up to £1.85m a year each in profit from charging patients and their families to use their car parks, and from clamping and issuing fines, a report has found.

In England, each hospital decides how much it wants to charge for parking, and the total raised is more than £100m a year.
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Section 44 – Your Rights

Leah Borromeo
The Comment Factory

Thousands of people across Britain have been stopped and searched illegally by police using Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Office has revealed.

One of the most flagrant of these illegal uses was in London in April 2004, involving 840 people.
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The Pentagon’s Afghan Mineral Hype

Unsilent Generation

This morning’s New York Times includes a story headlined, ”US Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan.’’ In fact the country’s mineral wealth has been known for centuries. Records of it date back to the time of Marco Polo. Mineral stories were mapped by the Soviets during their occupation of the country, and more recently by other mining experts.

While it’s possible that the team of Pentagon officials and American geologists credited with the “discovery” may have added some detail to existing knowledge on the subject, it’s hardly the revelation their reports–and the article–suggest.
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Time to get tough with BP on dispersants 1

Tom Philpott
Grist

As of June 9, BP had applied at least 1.1 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants to address its ongoing oil leak in the Gulf.

That's the most that has been used in one place since 1979, when the Mexican government dropped between 1 million and 2.5 million gallons on a leak off the coast of Vera Cruz, the EPA reports.
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Why drug lords are popular: ‘Dudas’ Coke, Pablo Escobar, and the logic of protection

Nick MacWilliam
The Comment Factory

The pictures on television may have shown the soldiers to be Jamaican, but the recent violence on the streets of Kingston was orchestrated by the United States. Applying intense political pressure on their much smaller neighbour, the US demand for the extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, led to carnage.

Dudus is a suspected drug-trafficker and alleged leader of The Shower Posse, thought to have been responsible for up to 1,000 murders in the US and Caribbean since the 1980s.
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11 Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients You Must Avoid

Sarah Irani
Ecosalon

The greener we become, the more we have to scrutinize. I for one have cleaned up my home, my diet, my cleaning products and ““ of utmost importance ““ the products I put on my skin.

I’m an avid ingredient reader and do the research ““ after all, my skin is the largest organ in my body! Here’s a list of some common skin and hair care chemicals we all need to avoid.
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Humanity evolved to cope with 30°C+ heat, says prof

Lewis Page
The Register

Scorchio conditions made us hairless, upright, sweaty

Many of humanity's distinctive features - walking upright, hairlessness, the ability to sweat copiously - arose due to the fact that the place where we evolved has been scorchingly hot for millions of years, according to noted boffins.
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Guy Deutscher: Language alters how we think

Robert McCrum
The Observer

The linguist argues that in our haste to explain language in terms of genetics we've underestimated the power of culture

Guy Deutscher is that rare beast, an academic who talks good sense about linguistics, his chosen field. In his new book, Through the Language Glass (Heinemann), he fearlessly contradicts the fashionable consensus, espoused by the likes of Steven Pinker, that language is wholly a product of nature, that it does not take colour and value from culture and society.
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BP Is Destroying Evidence and Censoring Journalists

Riki Ott
AlterNet

BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability and is actually disappearing oiled wildlife.

While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP's spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP -- not our president -- controls the response. In fact, people on the ground say things are out of control in the gulf.
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Banksters, Corrupt Politicians Face Prosecution - in Iceland

Sam Knight
t r u t h o u t

Calls for constitutional reform follow investigation into financial collapse; bankers, former government ministers face possibility of jail time.

Last month, the publication of an Icelandic Parliamentary report commissioned "to investigate and analyze the processes leading to the collapse of the three main banks in Iceland" shook the old guard on the island, leaving many of the country's rich and powerful facing the possibility of incarceration.
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How the agrochemical industry turns failure into market opportunity

Tom Philpott
Grist

Monsanto rolled out seeds genetically engineered to withstand its Roundup herbicide back in the mid-1990s. Today, Roundup Ready crops blanket U.S. farmland.

According to USDA figures, 90 percent of soybeans and 60 percent of corn and cotton planted in the United States contain the Roundup-resistant gene.
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Gazans pin hopes on Egypt border

Harriet Sherwood
The Giardian

Since Egypt opened the Rafah crossing, many people from Gaza have rushed south, including some in need of urgent medical treatment. Harriet Sherwood spoke to those waiting

Thousands of Gazans have rushed to the southern border in past week since Egypt said it would open the Rafah crossing daily following international pressure to relax the blockade of the tiny Palestinian territory.
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The other side of the Gaza blockade

Catrina Stewart
Independent

Taysir Al Burai is severely disabled. He requires round-the-clock medical care. If he were allowed to leave Gaza, he could make a full recovery. But Israel won't let him

Ramzi al Burai knows better than most what it means to be imprisoned. This week's botched commando raid on the flotilla of pro-Palestinian aid activists trying to reach Gaza has swung the global spotlight on the Israeli-imposed blockade as never before, but the Al Burai family have been living that reality for the past three years.
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McKinnon charges exaggerated by government

Mark Ballard
Computer Weekly

The British government may have exaggerated the charges against Gary McKinnon and distorted a High Court judgment, making it appear the hacker's extradition was irrefutable when it was not, according to evidence presented to courts as part of his extradition process.

Alan Johnson, the former home secretary, made the accusations against Gary McKinnon, a British citizen, on 1 December. Alan Johnson told Parliament he would not stop McKinnon being extradited to appear before a US court.
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The Microbe Factor and Its Role in Our Climate Future

Carl Zimmer
e360

Within the planet’s oceans and soils are trillions of bacteria that store and release far more carbon dioxide than all of the Earth’s trees and plants. Now, scientists are attempting to understand how the world’s bacteria will influence — and be influenced by — a warming climate.

When new reports about global warming come out, they typically include a picture of the land and sky, with arrows marking the movement of carbon dioxide around the planet.
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Field of Dreams: The CIA and Me and Other Adventures in American Sports

Lewis Lapham
Lapham's Quarterly

"The space of play and the space of thought are the two theaters of freedom." Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

Rosenstock-Huessy was a German army officer in World War I, afterward a professor of medieval law in Breslau until the Nazis acquired the franchise in 1933.

Signed for the next year's season by Harvard University to teach undergraduates the rudiments of Western civilization, he soon noticed that few of them grasped what he was trying to say, couldn't square the lines of thought with the circle of their emotions.
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New prototype US spy satellite rushed into active use

Lewis Page
The Register

'Hyperspectral cube' eye can spot buried bombs, tunnels

An experimental "hyperspectral" spy sat which is able to detect buried roadside bombs and concealed cave or tunnel entrances has been handed over to the US forces for operational use in the Wars on Stuff.
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Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move

Paul Lewis
The Guardian

About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund

Counterterrorism police have targeted hundreds of surveillance cameras on two Muslim areas of Birmingham, enabling them to track the precise movements of people entering and leaving the neighbourhoods.
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Human Experimentation at the Heart of Bush Administration's Torture Program

Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t

High-value detainees captured during the Bush administration's "war on terror," who were subjected to brutal torture techniques, were used as "guinea pigs" to gauge the effectiveness of various torture techniques, a practice that has raised troubling comparisons to Nazi-era human experimentation. according to a disturbing new report released by Physicians for Human Rights, an international doctors' organization.
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Hacker justifies turning in Wikileaks informer

John E. Dunn
Techworld

US soldier arrested for 2007 Iraqi death video

Former hacker Adrian Lamo has claimed to be the source who informed on a US soldier accused of sending the Wikileaks whistleblowing site video footage of a helicopter shooting unarmed Iraqi civilians.
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What's wrong with the sun?

Stuart Clark
New Scientist

Sunspots come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to fade away again after a few days, weeks or months.

Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.
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Don't sleep longer – sleep smarter

Rob Sharp
Independent

Worried that you don't get the fabled eight hours? That's your first mistake, says Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, who thinks it's quality, rather than quantity, that counts. She shares her tips for a better night's rest with Rob Sharp

Sleeping is no mean art," said Friedrich Nietzsche. "For its sake one must stay awake all day." Indeed, maximising slumber duration can be a complex process.
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Apple patents solar power for iPhone

James Mulroy
PC World

Green energy may be coming to mobile devices

Apple may be planning to develop solar powered iPhones, suggested in patent filings that describe putting solar cells on portable devices and on iPods.

This isn't the first attempt to bring solar power to iPhones.
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China’s exports surge 48.5%

New Statesman

Exports from China to Europe grew 49 per cent.

China's exports surged 48.5 per cent in May on a year-on-year basis but raised concerns about the debt problem in Europe and the fixed value of the yuan.

Exports from China to Europe - its largest export market - grew 49 per cent y-o-y compared to 28 per cent in April. Some economists say this export rise would be temporary as the continent is facing tough issues of debt.
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Cybercrime police's budget slashed by 30%

Chris Williams
The Register

'Not a lot of money' becomes even less

Exclusive The national police unit responsible for fighting cybercrime faces a deep cut to its already stretched budget, counter to pre-election talk of an increased focus on the UK's digital security.

According to senior Westminster sources, the coalition government has quietly and drastically trimmed the £3.5m that the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) receives annually from the Home Office.
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Radiation-soaking metamaterial puts black in the shade

Jeff Hecht
New Scientist

Fashionistas take note: this material really does deserve to be labelled the new black - it absorbs virtually all the light that hits it.

This "blacker than black" stuff is an example of a class of substances known as metamaterials, which exhibit optical properties not normally found in nature.
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The Crude Truth

Alexander Cockburn
Counterpunch

The British learn every few years that their much vaunted “special relationship” with the United States is actually, in terms of relationships, rather more normal than they suppose – being a zig-zagging affair fraught with hypocrisy, deception and self interest, with underlying patterns of dominance and submission as fetchingly described by Sade and Sacher-Masoch.

The BP disaster is giving them yet another refresher course in who wields the whip.
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Jury acquits G20 protester accused of being ringleader in clashes

Paul Lewis
The Guardian

Crown court clears Harvie Brown of violent disorder in case that challenged police version of events

His bloodied face became the symbol of violent G20 demonstrators seemingly intent on attacking police. But the man whose angry remonstrations with police at the protests in April last year were relayed live on television news, and later emblazoned across newspaper front pages, was not the rioter he was depicted as.
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Special relationship on the rocks? It's not us, it's them

Rupert Cornwell
independent

Sport, the pop psychologists tell us, is the modern substitute for war. If so, today'sWorld Cup clash between England and the United States ought to be a pretty violent affair.

To judge by some comments in Britain, the US has all but declared war over the BP oil spill. The "special relationship" – so recently resurrected, rhetorically at least, by President Obama – is dead, suffocated by American spite, and an ever-spreading blanket of stinking gunk that no one knows how to staunch.
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The website that names and shames rogue solicitors

Tom Peck
Independent

A man from Essex is giving people a chance to get their own back on the legal profession – for free.

Five years ago, self-employed graphic designer Rick Kordowski instructed a solicitor to intervene on his behalf over a dispute with a local council who owed him money.
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Reports: Foxconn to close factories in China

Siobhan Chapman
Techworld

Apple device manufacturer ends suicide payments

Foxconn – the electronics manufacturer whose clients include Apple, Dell and HP – is on the verge of closing its mainland China operations in a massive restructuring effort that could see 800,000 workers lose their jobs.
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How an Amazonian Tribe Is Mastering the Modern World

Juliane von Mittelstaedt
Spiegel International

Using the Internet to Save the Rainforest

The Surui people from the Brazilian rainforest are fighting to stop the destruction of their homeland. But instead of bows and arrows, they are using the Internet, GPS and Google Earth. Next they plan to start carbon emissions trading.

Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui spins the globe in front of him past Copenhagen, Bristol, and Washington. He loves playing on Google Earth, and hopping from one continent to another.
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BP grabs 'oil spill' keywords on Google

Cade Metz
The Register

Ads serve lovely Gulf of Mexico pics

BP is purchasing search keywords such as "oil spill" on Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! in an effort to spin the ongoing clusterf**k in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Let's be honest about placebo

Ed Halliwell
The Guardian

Rather than dismissing treatments that use placebo as hocus pocus, we should learn what we can from this powerful effect

Though it's rarely treated as a religious issue, the alternative medicine debate has a lot in common with the God versus science wrangle.
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Don't sleep longer – sleep smarter

Rob Sharp
Independent

Worried that you don't get the fabled eight hours? That's your first mistake, says Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, who thinks it's quality, rather than quantity, that counts. She shares her tips for a better night's rest with Rob Sharp

Sleeping is no mean art," said Friedrich Nietzsche. "For its sake one must stay awake all day." Indeed, maximising slumber duration can be a complex process.
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U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe

Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter
Wired

Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks, Wired.com has learned.

SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged.
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Apple iPhone manufacturer plans pay rises to stop suicides

Dan Nystedt
Techworld

Foxconn gives China workers pay rise

Foxconn plans to raise pay again for workers in Shenzhen, China, to put a stop to a string of suicides at its main factory there, a campus of over 300,000 workers.

The company has become the focus of media scrutiny because at least 13 people have attempted suicide at its factories in China, mainly at the massive Shenzhen facility.
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Banks Profit From Near-Zero Interest Rates: Another Reason for States to Own Their Own Banks

Ellen Brown
t r u t h o u t

While individuals, businesses and governments suffer from a credit crisis created on Wall Street, the banks responsible for the crisis are tapping into nearly-interest-free credit lines and using the money to speculate or to make commercial loans at much higher rates.

By forming their own banks, states too can tap into very low interest rates, and can buffer themselves from another Lehman-style credit collapse.
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Why Did God Create Atheists?

Greta Christina
Alternet

Why did God create atheists?

This is a question I always want to ask religious believers. (One of many questions, actually. "What evidence do you have that God is real?" and "Why are religious beliefs so different and so contradictory?" are also high on the list.)
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The mission to Mars that will never leave Earth

Shaun Walker
Independent

On Friday, six men were locked into a spaceship simulator and will not be released for 17 months. Their challenge? To test the viability of a return trip to the Red Planet

Amid much pomp and ceremony in Moscow yesterday, six carefully selected would-be astronauts began a 520-day mission to boldly go absolutely nowhere at all.
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Children of lesbian parents do better than their peers

Jim Giles
New Scientist

The children of lesbian parents outscore their peers on academic and social tests, according to results from the longest-running study of same-sex families.

The researchers behind the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study say the results should change attitudes to adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples, which is prohibited in some parts of the US.
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The Really Creepy People Behind the Libertarian-Inspired Billionaire Sea Castles

Mark Ames
AlterNet

The stinking rich are planning billion-dollar luxury liners that keep the land-based Americans they've plundered at a safe distance.

What happens when Americans plunder America and leave it broken, destitute and seething mad? Where do these fabulously wealthy Americans go with their loot, if America isn't a safe, secure, or even desirable place to spend their riches?
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Bilderberg 2010: Why the protesters are your very best friends

Charlie Skelton
The Guardian

The people who are being detained, searched and questioned are not playing some game. They are deadly serious, and they are worried to death

Ivan was alone on the roundabout. He had been left in charge of the banners while everyone else ate breakfast.
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U.S. 'secret war' expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role

Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe
Washington Post

Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups, according to senior military and administration officials.

Special Operations forces have grown both in number and budget, and are deployed in 75 countries, compared with about 60 at the beginning of last year.
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Marijuana Legalization: California Tax and Regulate Has Eight-Point Lead in Latest Poll, But Still Under 50%

Phillip Smith
Stop The Drug War

According to a Los Angeles Times/USC poll released Tuesday, the California Tax and Regulate Cannabis initiative has the support of 49% of voters, while 41% are opposed, and 10% are undecided. The figures are in line with other recent polls.

Two weeks ago, an internal campaign poll had support at 51% and another public opinion poll had it at 49%.
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The Black Art of "Master Illusions"

John Pilger
t r u t h o u t

How do wars begin? With a "master illusion," according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA's pioneers in "black propaganda," known today as "news management." In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an "incident" that became the "conclusive proof of North Vietnam's aggression."

This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked an American warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.
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This is Ecocide

Adbusters

The Solution

Proposal for ecocide to be a 5th international Crime Against Peace

The International Criminal Court was formed in 2002 to prosecute individuals for breaches of 4 Crimes Against Peace. They are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. A 5th crime against peace is proposed:

Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

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Every picture tells a story, but it's even better if it inspires a toy

Guy Adams
Independent

Spin-off toys from successful films are now crucial to movie industry profits.

In a very large building, in the shadow of a Californian mountain range, several hundred toy designers are quietly going about the business of trying to relieve the world's parents of their hard-earned money.
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Children’s books about saving rainforests actually destroy them

Ashley Braun
Grist

OK, parents. We know it's tough raising kids, but as you read Junior a touching tale about sloths in the Amazon, you may be doing more razing than you think.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN), an environmental activist group, perused the pages of children's books and found that 60 percent of the sample's fibers was inked to paper cuts in Indonesian rainforests.
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Facebook apps verification wont stop malware

Gregg Keizer
Computerworld US

Security experts mock weak rogue apps controls

Security researchers today said Facebook's new requirement that developers link legitimate accounts to their software won't stop rogue applications from infecting its users with adware. Facebook announced that it will now demand that developers verify a Facebook account to create new apps on the service.
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The changing face of human rights

Afua Hirsch
The Guardian

A bill of rights that included people's socioeconomic needs could challenge government policy decisions

Tackling poverty and building a culture of respect for human rights were twin peaks of the last government's agenda for social justice. It failed to achieve either; from 2004, many key indicators of social exclusion began sliding backwards and the Human Rights Act – New Labour's flagship piece of "fairness" legislation – is facing repeal.
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Obama approves new drilling in the Gulf

Europe
EU Times


The Obama administration ran afoul of environmentalists Wednesday by approving a new oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, even as millions of gallons of oil continue to gush from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig and the British oil giant struggled with its latest effort to cap the well.

The new drilling permit, awarded to Bandon Oil and Gas, is the first granted by the Minerals Management Service since the BP rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people.
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Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range

Robert Booth
The Guardian

Exclusive: Nine Turkish men on board Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times, autopsy results reveal

Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.
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Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill

John Byrne
The Raw Story

Firm's stock sale nearly twice as large as any other institution; Represented 44 percent of total BP investment

The brokerage firm that's faced the most scrutiny from regulators in the past year over the shorting of mortgage related securities seems to have had good timing when it came to something else: the stock of British oil giant BP.
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Banksy makes his mark across America

Arifa Akbar
Independent

His inimitable stencil graffiti has been spotted on urban landmarks, street corners, housing estates and municipal buildings across the world, from the Palestinian territories to Los Angeles, Australia and his home town of Bristol.
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Advanced Robotic Arm Controlled by Monkey’s Thoughts (w/ Video)

John Messina
PhysOrg.com

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated a monkey controlling an advanced robotic arm by using its thoughts.

The experiments were led by Dr. Andrew Schwartz, a professor of neurobiology and involved a high degree of complexity in the robotic arm, the level of control, and the intricacy of the manipulations.
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The Mental Environment

Bill McKibben
Adbusters

Where our fate as humans will be decided.

Your mind, a clear mountain stream running burbling through the rocks. Until Pepsi stands up, unzips its billion-dollar ad budget, and takes a leak, staining it forever brown. Your brain, a verdant old-growth forest, until it dies the death of a thousand swooshes. Your soul, filled with the crystal fresh air of early morning, until Philip Morris blows in a cloud of its seductive smoke.
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Mummy, can we meditate now? How relaxation exercises can help your child to sleep

Michelle Teasdale
Independent

Like most parents of small children, I was having major problems at bedtime.

Things had gone from bad to worse: each night, my four-year-old refused to go to bed, and once she got there, was repeatedly getting up. The whole process could last as long as two hours, leaving us both frustrated and exhausted.
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Mars mission in a Moscow hangar is no joke, say astronauts

Luke Harding
The Guardian

The 520-day simulated journey will provide invaluable data for a real trip, European Space Agency announces

Its critics have suggested it amounts to little more than sitting inside a giant tin can in a Moscow hangar with no sun, no fresh water, no alcohol and (one assumes) no sex for 520 interminable days.
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Israel fakes weapons pictures from Gaza flotilla

Ibn Kafka
Comments Factory

On the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs’ Flickr page, the pictures of the so-called weapons seized on the ships taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla provide ample evidence of the deviousness of those darned anti-semitic terrorists.

Be forewarned: the following pictures are not for the faint-hearted.
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BP Oil Spill: A Slippery Slope to FEMA Detention Camps?

Stephanie Mencimer
Mother Jones

A government plot to round up citizens by force, "alien hybrids" on the move, and other conspiracy theories inspired by the Gulf tragedy.

Is there a covert government plan to forcibly evacuate up to 50 million people from the Gulf Coast and move them into FEMA trailers somewhere in Missouri and elsewhere because of the oil spill? Some of the nation's survivalists are convinced that the Obama administration is plotting just such an operation.
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“Deforestation and pollution, high-risk subjects”

Reporters without Borders

On the eve of World Environment Day (5 June) , Reporters Without Borders is today releasing a report entitled “Deforestation and pollution, high-risk subjects.”

Attacks on journalists and bloggers who try to cover any kind of environmental damage are growing steadily all over the world but those who investigate industrial pollution or the destruction of forests are particularly exposed.
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Kazaa, Skype Founders Launch Twitter-Like Music Service Rdio

Eliot Van Buskirk
Wired

Janus Friis with Niklas Zennström, who disrupted music distribution with the Kazaa file sharing service and phone companies with Skype, unveiled their Twitter-like version of a digital music service at the crack of midnight Thursday morning.

Rdio offers instant access to more than 5 million tracks from all the major labels and several indies to listeners in the United States and Canada through a web browser, downloadable software or mobile app. It’s available for free for three days and then for fees of $5 (web only) or $10 (web plus mobile).
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Consumers bamboozled by retail pricing, finds OFT research

OUT-LAW

Complicated pricing, such as three-for-two offers or low prices with surcharges added later, encourage consumers to buy more at more expensive prices, research commissioned by consumer regulator the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has found.

The OFT is investigating pricing methods, many of which are heavily used in online shopping, in a bid to find out if it should more closely regulate them. It reported last week on behavioural advertising, and will issue a full report on pricing in autumn.
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Pacific islands growing not shrinking, says old study

Andrew Orlowski
The Register

This time, somebody's noticed

Huge compensation claims filed by Pacific states including Tuvalu have been hit by a three-year old study, dramatically "rediscovered" by New Scientist magazine today. The study concluded that many Micronesian islands are growing, not shrinking.
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Fake mourner attended up to four funerals a week to enjoy free food

Reuters

'Grim eater' even filled containers with food to take home

A New Zealand funeral home has stepped in to stop a fake mourner who was attending up to four funerals a week to stock up on food, even filling containers and taking them home, according to media reports.
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Skype iPhone app to make calls over 3G

Mikael Ricknäs
Techworld

Skype users can call each other over mobile networks for free

Skype has launched a new version of its client for Apple's iPhone that can make calls to other Skype users over a 3G network, it said on Sunday. Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi will remain free, but Skype will begin charging for Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G after the end of 2010, the company said.
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Flint findings in Kent reveal new era of prehistory

David Keys
Independent

Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown epoch in British pre-history when Stone Age hunters re-entered Britain after an absence of up to 90,000 years – because of climatically induced sea-level changes which turned the English Channel into dry land.

Until last month, no proof had ever been found for human occupation in Britain between 200,000 and 65,000 years ago – but now new evidence has revealed a human presence here in the middle of that period.
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Activists on the Ship 'Rachel Corrie' Challenge Israel's Unjust Gaza Blockade and Zionist Myths

Ira Chernus
AlterNet

Another ship is steaming across the Mediterranean toward Gaza,loaded with humanitarian supplies, posing another impossible dilemma for the government of Israel.

The MV Rachel Corrie is steaming across the Mediterranean toward Gaza, flying the flag of Ireland, loaded with humanitarian supplies, and posing another impossible dilemma for the government of Israel.
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Rubber balls used in Mesoamerican game 3,500 years ago

Sean Williams
Independent

Stable rubber may have taken until the 19th century to reach the Old World, but ancient Mesoamericans had been playing ball with the stuff since 1,600 BC.

And new research suggests not only were they the world's first polymer scientists, but they could also mix and match rubber compounds for different uses.
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Bangladesh blocks Facebook, as Pakistan relents

John Ribeiro
Techworld

Controversial group blocked in muslim nations

The Lahore High Court in Pakistan ordered Facebook to be unblocked in the country, after the government said that the website had promised to make material considered derogatory inaccessible to users in Pakistan.
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The Flip Side of China's Economic Miracle

Wieland Wagner
Spiegel International

Shanghaied

German businessman Mohammad-Reza Mouazzen wanted to expand his heavy equipment company into China. But it didn't take long before he realized that the country's economic miracle has a dark underbelly.

Expo 2010 is underway in Shanghai, and the luxury bars along the Huangpu River are filled with the delegations of Western companies drinking toasts to the new partnerships they have just formed with Chinese companies.
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US space dirty-tricks spysat spying sat is go for July

Lewis Page
The Register

Crafty Antipodean orbit shifts now harder to manage

Delayed US military plans to deploy a special spysat-spying sat which will monitor other nations' spysats and watch out for attempts to nobble America's ordinary spysats are to move forward this summer.
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Overpopulation fears nonsense, says author Fred Pearce

Patrick Barkham
The Guardian

Global fertility patterns suggest population crash more likely than the much-anticipated explosion, claims environmental writer

Enviromental writer Fred Pearce. Photograph: Sutton-Hibbert /Rex Features
Sir David Attenborough, Jonathon Porritt, Jeremy Irons and other "doomsters" are talking "dangerous nonsense" about the threat of overpopulation, according to the environmental writer Fred Pearce.
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Children who eat a Mediterranean diet are less prone to asthma

Jeremy Laurance
Independent

Children who eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish have a lower risk of asthma and wheezing, but eating three or more burgers a week can increase the risk, scientists have concluded.

Researchers from Germany, Spain and London examined data from 50,000 children aged eight to 12, from 20 different countries, collected between 1995 and 2005.
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Google mapped every wireless network in UK

Carrie-Ann Skinner
PC Advisor

Google Street View cars face more criticism over WiFi privacy

Google's Street View Cars have logged every wireless network in the UK, it has been revealed.

Earlier this month the search engine company admitted it has been mistakenly collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks for three years.
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Notch Up Another Disaster for Israel's Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine

Patrick Cockburn
Counterpunch

Mad-Dog of the Planet

An old Israeli saying describing various less-than-esteemed military leaders says: "He was so stupid that even the other generals noticed." The same derisive remark could be applied almost without exception to the present generation of Israeli politicians.
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Anatomist Gunther von Hagens sells off dead bodies a slice at a time

Kate Connolly
The Guardian

Mail order business based in Germany will supply human or animal body parts

For sale: a smoker's lung, a slice of human head, a piece of hand.

A mail-order service has been set up by a controversial German anatomist offering these and many more human and animal body parts, including preserved slivers of duck and cross-sections of giraffe neck and crocodile jaw.
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10 ways cities and towns can kick the offshore-oil habit 6

Jonathan Hiskes
Grist

With the Gulf oil spill continuing unabated, powering a 21st century economy on a 19th century fossil fuel looks less and less smart by the day.

Luckily, we've got other options. I described the most promising steps the federal government could take toward reducing oil use in transportation systems last week. But local governments don't have to wait for federal action. Through smart land use, cities, towns, and many rural areas can give residents the option of driving less -- a direct way to stem the demand for offshore (and foreign) oil.
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Out of the shadows: our unknown immune system

Linda Geddes
New Scientist

Delibrate infection with a blood-sucking worm seems an odd way to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Yet more surprising is what this experiment may tell us about a "shadow" branch of our immune system. Completely unknown until recently, this is pointing to new ways of treating a host of complex diseases.

A couple of recent studies suggest that parasitic infection dampens inflammation and reduces relapse rates in people with MS, in which the body's own cells are attacked by the immune system as if they were "foreign".
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U.S. opens criminal probe of oil spill

Josh Gerstein
Politico

The Justice Department has opened civil and criminal investigations into the events that led to the continuing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

“The first and foremost goal of the entire government is stopping the leak, containing and cleaning up the oil, and helping the people in this region get back on their feet and return to their normal lives,” Holder told a news conference in New Orleans, according to a text of his prepared remarks.
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UK illegal downloaders must be logged by ISPs

PC Advisor

Ofcom releases draft code of Digital Economy Act

Ofcom has launched a consultation on a code of practice designed to reduce online copyright infringement.

The draft aims to outline measures to to tackle internet piracy following the passing of the Digital Economy Act, before the General Election.
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US Navy Veterans Continue to Seek Justice for Israeli Attack

Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t

The Israeli military has attacked a flotilla of international peace activists, killing as many as 19 innocent civilians while they were carrying ten tons of aid to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. This is not the first time the Israeli military has attacked a nonthreatening entity in international waters.
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To Hull and back – by electric car

Terri Judd
Independent

Yorkshire consortium hopes to lead Britain with network of charging points

It is the second most polluting area in Europe, with its power stations and heavy industry making it responsible for 13 per cent of carbon emissions in Britain. But Yorkshire is attempting to redress the balance by promoting a greener way of travel up hill and down dale.
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Google ditching Microsoft Windows over security concerns

Leo King
Computerworld UK

May opt for Linux or Mac OS over Google Chrome OS

Google is moving its employees off the Microsoft Windows operating system as part of efforts to improve security, it has been reported.
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The BP oil gusher is just the latest in a long line of assaults on the Gulf of Mexico 4

Diane Wilson
Grist

I'm a fourth-generation fisherwoman from the Texas Gulf Coast, on a boat since I was eight. Over the last two decades, I've become a self-appointed watchdog of the chemical, oil, and gas corporations that are decimating the Gulf.

I hate to say it, but what I'm seeing now in the Gulf ain't nothing new. The toxic releases, the lies, the cover-ups, the skimping on safety, the nonexistent documents, the "swinging door" with regulators, the deaths. Same ole same ole.
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Why teenagers can't concentrate: too much grey matter

Amelia Hill
The Guardian

UK research into teenagers' brains shows their mental processes are like those of younger children

Parents who despair over their teenagers' lack of concentration in class, inability to sit still long enough to finish homework or plan ahead, should take solace. Their children are not being lazy or careless – they are hapless victims of neurobiology.
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Corporations Profit From Permanent War: Memorial Day 2010

Bill Quigley
t r u t h o u t

US law officially proclaims Memorial Day "as a day of prayer for permanent peace."

However, the US is much closer to permanent war than permanent peace. Corporations are profiting from wars and lobbying politicians for more. The US and the rest of the world cannot afford the rising personal and financial costs of permanent war.
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Ordinary Workers Would Be Fired in a Second If They Screwed Up Anywhere Nearly as Bad as the Bankers Have

Dean Baker
AlterNet

There has been little change in personnel and no acknowledgment of error at the central banks whose incompetence was responsible for the crisis.

The world is suffering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The crisis has left tens of millions unemployed in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. The huge baby boomer generation in the United States, now on the edge of retirement, has seen much of its wealth destroyed with the collapse of the housing bubble.
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BP clashes with scientists over deep sea oil pollution

Chris McGreal
The Guardian

Obama team 'incensed at being kept in the dark' as company denies existence of underwater oil clouds

BP has challenged widespread scientific claims that vast plumes of oil are spreading underwater from its blown-out rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The denial comes as the oil giant prepares for a new operation to put an end to the worst oil spill in US history – which could see the leak get worse before it gets better.
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Black Water Rising

Evan Thomas and Daniel Stone
Newsweek

As the oil continues to flow, the political and environmental fallout is just getting started.

The blowout preventer looks like a five-story fire hydrant. It weighs 325 tons and costs $18 million. At the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, it sits on the ocean floor, a mile deep, reachable only by robotic submarines in the murky and freezing currents.
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Oil spill's scope threatens Gulf's endangered marine life

Renee Schoof
McClatchy Newspapers

As the magnitude of BP's oil spill becomes clearer, scientists fear that the volume of oil, the depth of the leak and the chemical dispersants the company is using will combine to threaten a vast array of undersea life for years.

At risk are such endangered species as Kemp's ridley sea turtles and the Atlantic bluefin tuna, as well as the Gulf of Mexico's 8,300 other creatures from plankton to birds.
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America's Complicity in Evil

Paul Craig Roberts
Counterpunch

Barbarism on the High Seas

As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House.

Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel’s barbaric war crimes.
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Bank notes, fraud and butterfly wings

Lewis Smith
Independent

Bank notes and credit cards could be made harder to counterfeit after scientists copied the iridescence of a butterfly's wings.

Iridescent colour is produced by way light bounces off a structure rather than through the use of pigments and has long fascinated physicists and biologists.
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