background preloader


Facebook Twitter

The people who challenged my atheism most weren't priests, but homeless addicts and prostitutes | Chris Arnade | World news. They prayed whenever they could find 15 minutes. "Preacher Man", as we called him, would read from the Bible with his tiny round glasses. It was the only book he had ever read. A dozen or so others would listen, silently praying while stroking rosaries, sitting on bare mattresses, crammed into a half-painted dorm room. I was the outsider, a 16-year-old working on a summer custodial crew for a local college, saving money to pay for my escape from my hometown. The other employees, close to three dozen, were working to feed themselves, to feed their kids, to pay child support, to pay for the basics of life.

Preacher Man tried to get me to join the prayer meetings, asking me almost daily. Preacher Man would question me, "What do you believe in? " I am an atheist. Preacher Man's eyes narrowed. Three years later I did escape my town, eventually receiving a PhD in physics, and then working on Wall Street for 20 years. None of them are. The first addict I met was Takeesha.

We are all sinners. Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. Zach Hambrick has always been fascinated by exceptional performance, or what he calls “the extremes of human capabilities.” Growing up, he’d devour Guinness World Records, noting the feats it described and picturing himself proudly posing in its pages. By the time he reached college, though, he’d moved on to a new obsession: becoming a golf pro.

“I was very serious about it,” he told me. “I practiced religiously. This was Hambrick’s introduction to an age-old debate: nature versus nurture, genetics versus effort. After finishing college, Hambrick began graduate work in psychology at Georgia Tech, with Timothy Salthouse, looking at aging and expertise in older adults. It’s a provocative argument, and one that Ericsson still espouses over two decades later, having made a single modification to his list of exceptions: body size joined height as one of only two areas with any possible genetic influence.

But Hambrick obviously didn’t become a golf pro. Hambrick blames something else. Kentucky's Unprecedented Success In School Funding Is On The Line : NPR Ed. A social studies class at Campton Elementary School in Wolfe County, Ky. Elissa Nadworny/NPR hide caption toggle caption Elissa Nadworny/NPR A social studies class at Campton Elementary School in Wolfe County, Ky. Elissa Nadworny/NPR The way Daphne Patton remembers it, it was more money than she'd ever seen. It was 1990, and the Kentucky Supreme Court had declared the state's school funding system unconstitutional. Within a year, a lot more money started flowing to the poorest school districts, a 50 to 60 percent increase in their budgets. Patton, an elementary school teacher from Wolfe County in eastern Kentucky, says schools had an abundance of resources, "everything we needed. " The ruling forced lawmakers to re-imagine how Kentucky would pay for its schools by mandating that they reduce disparities between rich and poor districts.

"The best of the best things happened for our kids," Patton recalls. Patton says parents also want to know how they can help. Beneath An Ugly Outside, Marred Fruit May Pack More Nutrition. Ugly apples Daniela White Images/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Daniela White Images/Getty Images Ugly apples Daniela White Images/Getty Images When orchardist Eliza Greenman walks through a field of apple trees and gazes upon a pocked array of blemished and buckled fruits — scarred from fighting fungus, heat, and pests — she feels a little thrill of joy.

"I'm absolutely infatuated with the idea of stress in an orchard," says Greenman, who custom grafts and grows pesticide-free hard cider apples in Hamilton, Va. In an unofficial experiment, Greenman tested scabbed and unscabbed Parma apples, a high-sugar variety native to southwestern Virginia, and found the scarred apples had a 2 to 5 percent higher sugar content than unmarred apples from the same tree.

But she loves these ugly apples for another reason: They may be more nutritious, and have a higher antioxidant content. We already suspect this is the case with organic fruits and vegetables. She may be right. 'Dentist Of Horror' Gets 8 Years For Harming Patients In France. Victims wait the start of the trial of Dutch dentist Jacobus Van Nierop on March 8 at the Nevers courthouse in central France. Van Nierop has since been sentenced to eight years behind bars. Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images A Dutch dentist has been sentenced to eight years behind bars for harming patients in a rural French town.

Jacobus Van Nierop, 51, isn't allowed to practice dentistry anymore, and he has to pay about $11,900, according to the BBC. Dentist Jacobus Van Nierop, pictured in his office in Chateau-Chinon, France, in 2009, has now been banned from practicing. Toggle caption Christophe Masson/AP Dentist Jacobus Van Nierop, pictured in his office in Chateau-Chinon, France, in 2009, has now been banned from practicing. Christophe Masson/AP As the Two-Way has reported, patients accused him of mutilating their mouths — pulling out healthy teeth and performing operations that caused abscesses.

A Criminal Ring In China Allegedly Sold Improperly Stored Vaccines And Parents Are Angry : Goats and Soda. Dong Xiaoxin carries her daughter Yin Jiayue as she protests outside government health authority offices in Beijing. The child was stricken by polio even though her parents say she received a government-administered polio vaccine. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption toggle caption Anthony Kuhn/NPR Dong Xiaoxin carries her daughter Yin Jiayue as she protests outside government health authority offices in Beijing.

The child was stricken by polio even though her parents say she received a government-administered polio vaccine. Anthony Kuhn/NPR For more than a generation, health experts have hailed China's vaccination program as a success in eliminating preventable diseases like polio and tetanus. But since last month, a nationwide scandal involving the illegal resale of vaccines has dented public confidence in the program, ignited public anger at the government and added fuel to ongoing small-scale street protests by parents who believed vaccines have injured or sickened their children. Dr. Dr. Why a Tibetan couple’s wedding photos captivated the world. When a Tibetan couple tied the knot last year, they were not only newlyweds — they were newly famous.

Gerong Phuntsok, the co-founder of an ad agency, and his wife, Dawa Drolma, an anthropologist from China’s Northwestern Minorities University, shared their engagement photos on social media before their wedding, and the collection immediately went viral. The photos, so glamorous they could have been ripped from the pages of Vogue, caught the world’s attention because they defied common Chinese stereotypes portraying Tibetans as nomads or farmers from a bygone era.

The couple was photographed in a Lamborghini, walking away from a helicopter, and strolling down an urban street. But the handsome pair was also pictured doing nomadic chores in the grasslands, wearing traditional Tibetan clothing and posing in front of the most sacred temple for Tibetans, the Jokhang, in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. “I want to start a discussion. His wife feels the same conflict. Larry Wilmore's Correspondents' Dinner Jokes and What They Meant. Georgia McDowell was born the daughter of farmers and teachers in North Carolina in 1902. She was my great-grandmother, and she taught me to read, despite the dementia that clouded her mind and the dyslexia that interrupted mine. I loved Miss Georgia, though she kept as many hard lines in her home as she had in her classrooms. One of the hardest lines was common to many black households: The word “nigger” and all of its derivatives were strict taboos in person, on television, and on radio from any source, black or otherwise, so long as she lived and breathed.

She’d kept the taboo through decades of teaching black students and raising black children. For most of my childhood, the taboo was absolute. Miss Georgia certainly would not have enjoyed the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, where comedian Larry Wilmore ended his performance by blowing past her taboo in the most public of places to the most revered of people. This level of candor is certainly unprecedented. Charity opens apartment for homeless students at USF | Tampa Bay Times. TAMPA — A handful of salt and pepper packets, a small painting of a mountain, and a cot piled high with clothing and drawstring backpacks are among the few signs that someone is living in a small, sparse apartment about a 15 minute walk away from the University of South Florida.

They belong to a graduate student who became homeless while enrolled at the university and found shelter with the nonprofit Homeless Helping Homeless. The apartment, which can accommodate up to four people at a time, is the first emergency housing shelter in the area and one of few nationwide dedicated to college students who become homeless. "Right now, all the area shelters are busy setting up the cogs, and there's a cogwheel for pregnant women, and veterans and women with children, but there's no cogwheel for students," said Bryan Booth, spokesman for Homeless Helping Homeless. "There's also more awareness," Duffield said. "It's an ever-evolving, ever- changing number," Schiemann said.

Your gut bacteria are more than what you eat | Science | AAAS. Like it or not, the microbes in and on our bodies play a big role in human health and disease. Yet we still don’t know what determines the exact makeup of these invisible communities and how they vary within populations. Now, two large-scale studies show that factors once thought to be critical, such as natural versus cesarean birth, breastfeeding, or body mass index, don't matter as much as researchers had thought.

Instead, medication—including heartburn medicine, antibiotics, and statins—breathing efficiency, stool consistency, and age all correlated better with microbiome composition, the two groups report today in Science. Even chocolate consumption has an effect. Chinese Woman’s Mundane Query Turns Into Surreal Court Scuffle. BEIJING — Months of bureaucratic surrealism culminated last week with Ye Jinghuan, 63, a retired manager at a major Chinese company, sprawled on the floor in a Beijing court building and served with a 15-day detention order, together with four of her friends.

The episode at a branch of the Xicheng District Court has deepened a sense among Ms. Ye’s friends and some lawyers that ’s police and justice systems are seriously broken, despite the promises of President Xi Jinping and other officials to “rule the country by law.” It began with a small and easily avoidable injustice. “She went to the police early last year to ask for a document proving that her elder sister was her sister,” said Zheng Wei, 61, a friend who accompanied Ms. Ye last week. The “document proving a relative’s connection” is a common feature in legal or administrative cases. Ms. Photo The police refused to issue the document, Ms. Frustrated, in early March this year, Ms. Unable to get an answer from several officials, Ms. Radiohead Thinks the Internet Is Turning Us All Into Creeps. On Sunday, Radiohead bleached its Internet presence—its Web site faded to white; its Twitter and Facebook pages were scrubbed of content—a move so blatantly counterintuitive that acolytes knew to recognize it as a portent.

The week prior, inscrutable paper leaflets had been stamped and shipped to some fans, embossed with the band’s toothy-bear logo and the words “Sing a song of sixpence that goes / Burn the Witch / We know where you live.” A new album: it is surely nigh. Plucking an enigmatic postcard with the phrase “We know where you live” from the dark recesses of your home mailbox might alarm anyone unfamiliar with Radiohead’s elaborate, vaguely playful approach to the album rollout. Since the mid-two-thousands, the band has reconfigured record promotion as a kind of a oddball scavenger hunt, embedding unlikely clues in unlikely places, a method that’s been adopted by younger bands like Arcade Fire.

Donald Trump, Nate Silver, and the Value of Data Journalism. On Thursday, the Times’ media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, took journalists to task for underestimating Donald Trump’s prospects of winning the Republican nomination. “Wrong, wrong, wrong—to the very end, we got it wrong,” Rutenberg wrote. He singled out data journalists, particularly Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight, who for a long time was down on Trump’s prospects. Admonishing the profession to return to J-school basics in the months ahead, Rutenberg concluded that “a good place to start would be to get a good night’s sleep, and then talk to some voters.”

It is certainly true that many commentators were too quick to dismiss Trump’s chances. (Last summer, I was one of them.) And since, in the past, Silver has been scathing about the value of traditional newspaper and television commentary, it wouldn’t be surprising if, now that he has come a cropper, some old-school journalists were taking pleasure in his misfortune. Data journalism has its limits, then. That sounds about right. Breaking Down The Science Of Picky Eating. Tim Lee/The News & Observer/MCT Graphics via Getty Images Pork shoulder, cauliflower and cheese curds are all trending in 2016, according to Google's tracking of food-related searches. That list might either nauseate you or make your mouth water. Our food preferences are intensely personal, but scientists have tried to figure out why some people are so picky about the things they eat.

Jane Kauer is anthropologist who has studied this topic at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Monell Chemical Sciences Center. She's also a board member of the youth nutrition company Rebel Ventures. For the things that people just don't like, why don't they like them? One of the things [our research] was striving to do was get at that, so we were asking broader questions: Is it texture? The people we found who were on the more picky end of the spectrum, some of these things I mentioned tend to push them much further away from wanting to eat that kind of food. We all don't like things.

Vaccine against stress and anxiety made using dead gut microbes of yore. Cleanliness may be next to godliness. But, it turns out, being a deity is pretty nerve-wracking. Growing up in meticulously sanitized conditions, devoid of the “old friends” germs and parasites that have coevolved with us and help train our immune systems, leaves us more prone to a host of health issues. These include inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disorders, scientists have found. Prevalence of these health issues has soared in the squeaky-clean developed world. The same inflammation and haywire immune responses that may be explained by the hygiene hypothesis have also been linked to depression, anxiety, and stress disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Immune signals—including errant ones—can alter brain signals, the brain’s release of hormones, and the neural circuitry for mood, researchers have found.

For now, it’s too early to extrapolate the specific findings to human health. Meet the young Republicans trying to bring inclusion to their party. For Ono, the time to speak about mental health is now. Depression: The Word That Must Not Be Named - Meet the closest relatives to the first humans. My 'Oriental' Father: On The Words We Use To Describe Ourselves : Code Switch. Month9Books reverts rights to over 50 authors; attributed to health, business issues - YA Interrobang.

Why Young People Are Right About Hillary Clinton. Eddie Huang’s Spiky Chronicles of Asian-American Experience. NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. The New Yorker. When Does Equality Flourish? Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews -

Popular Science | New Technology, Science News, The Future Now. Apple. The PA Report. Destructoid: For Gamers. By Gamers. * GOOD Home Page. Ars Technica. Skype calls to feature ads big enough to interrupt any conversation. Engineering mosquitos to reject malaria. A dark spot on Titan’s surface may be a tropical oasis. Mystery galaxy is older and more aggressive than expected. How Africa is embracing “the cloud” on its own terms. “Imagine” a society that fosters creativity. The technologist’s guide to troubleshooting hardware. Researchers complete the genome of our promiscuous cousins. Yahoo! The Escapist.

ResetPlug is a $60 device to keep you trapped in crappy Wi-Fi hell.