U.S. Pledges More Aid To Philippines Typhoon Recovery


Originally posted on World:

The United States promised $10 million in additional aid to the storm-stricken Philippines Monday, bringing the total U.S. contributions since Typhoon Haiyan to $37 million.

About 50 U.S. ships and aircraft carriers have been mobilized in the disaster zone, and 14 helicopters are air-dropping food and supplies to survivors, Reuters reports. The nuclear-powered USS George Washington led the American relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines on Nov. 8.

The Philippines has strategic importance to the U.S. as part of the Obama administration’s plans to counterbalance China’s rising military influence with strong American allies in the region. The U.S. and the Philippines are in the middle of negotiating an increased American military presence in the country.

[Reuters]

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You Stay Classy, Emerson: College to Establish Ron Burgundy School of Communication


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

On Dec. 4th for one day only, Emerson College in Boston will name its School of Communication after Ron Burgundy, San Diego’s most memorable fake reporter, in honor of Anchorman star Will Ferrell, who is expected to introduce a special screening of Anchorman 2 at the school, before it premieres in theaters on Dec. 20.

A tongue-in-cheek press release from the college quotes “Ron Burgundy” as saying, “I can’t wait to inspire students with my story of how I got to the top…the very top. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s a lot of work, especially if you don’t have good hair.” Interim Dean of the School of Communication Phillip Glenn said the haphazard broadcaster inspires everyone to live out life “in full color and matching polyester.”

We can only hope the “Ron Burgundy School of Communication” will stock its vending machines with scotch, the character’s favorite drink, for this momentous occasion.

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China’s Great Firewall Won’t Be Touched by Beijing’s New Reforms


Originally posted on World:

China boasts a Web-censorship system that would be the envy of any autocrat. The state blocks Facebook, Twitter and a growing list of foreign news sites. It polices blogs and pulls political content. After riots hit the restive far-western region of Xinjiang in 2009, Beijing managed to shut down the Internet there for months.

All this, it seems, is not enough. The ruling Chinese Communist Party on Friday released more details from last week’s meeting of top leaders in Beijing. Organized around the theme of “comprehensively deepening reform,” the 20,000-odd-character communiqué outlines what could be a major economic overhaul, as well as some positive, if limited, promises on rights and rule of law. But on matters of free expression, China’s top leaders doubled down, harping on the need to maintain social stability and control.

Judging by the statement, Beijing is pretty worried its censors can’t keep up. “As…

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SVU IRL: Man Accused of Serial Sexual Assault Allowed to Blame His Twin in Court


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

It wasn’t me, it was my evil twin.

That alibi could arguably be the most famous, overused and least believed response to an accusation in history. But for possibly the first time it will be admissible in court, a judge ruled on Friday.

Aaron Lucas, 32, a Fort Collins, Colo., army officer accused in several sexual assaults on female children will be able to point the finger at his twin brother, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. In his ruling, Judge David Shakes said it would be “inappropriate” to hinder Lucas’ attorneys from opening the idea of his twin, Brian Lucas, as the culprit in court because they both share the same DNA.

“Whether it’s persuasive or not – that’s not my role,” Shakes said at a Friday hearing. “It’s the role of the jury.”

In cases where a crime suspect has a twin, DNA evidence can be strongly questioned and…

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FDA Ruins Everything by Saying Super Crispy French Fries Could Cause Cancer


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

Were you having a good day? No longer!

The FDA announced that the crispy french fries you love so much could contain acrylamide, a carcinogen that’s known to cause cancer in animals. While the limp, pale fries no one wants are in the clear, well-done fries are reportedly to be avoided.

Although browned fries aren’t about to get banned à la trans fats, the FDA did release a report encouraging food makers to err on the side of pale:

Cook cut potato products such as frozen french fries to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.

The same goes for toast and coffee.

But don’t get too worried.

Dr. and chef John LaPuma told the WSJ that the “amount of acrylamide you need to cause cancer in people is astronomical.”

We’re going to go stress eat half-frozen reject fries…

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And Oxford’s Word of the Year Is…


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

A good “word of the year” will sum up our culture as it was during that particular orbit around the sun. Given that more and more tools are created every day that encourage us to focus on ourselves—to publicly share our opinions, our whereabouts, our calorie intakes, our playlists and our dogs’ mistakes—Oxford Dictionaries’ choice certainly seems to capture the zeitgeist: 2013 was a selfie year.

For those 9% of Americans who still don’t have a cell phone, this is how Oxford defines selfie:

(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. 

Explaining why that word won the crown, Oxford editors note that usage of selfie has gone up 17,000% since this time last year. That’s according to their new word monitor, which scans web content and collects 150 million words each month. A dedicated…

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The 40-Year Slump and Other Fascinating News on the Web


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

  1. The Slump

    Between 1947 and 1974, American workers brought home most of the wealth they produced. Some businesses upheld the goal of making sure their employees made a enough money to afford the products they were making. Then suddenly, those values vanished faster than a Snapchat selfie. In American Prospect, Harold Meyerson describes the forty-year slump that followed that era: “The middle has fallen out of the American economy — precipitously since 2008, but it’s been falling out slowly and cumulatively for the past 40 years. Far from a statistical oddity, 1974 marked an epochal turn. The age of economic security ended. The age of anxiety began.”

    + It’s bad time to be a worker, but it’s a good time to be an investor. The Dow briefly broke 16000 for the first time.

  2. The Problem with Statins

    Several leading cardiologists are questioning new guidelines (and an online “calculator”)…

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George Zimmerman Charged With Aggravated Assault


Originally posted on U.S.:

Updated: Nov. 18, 2013, 9:18 p.m. E.T.

George Zimmerman, who was acquitted earlier this year of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief on Monday following a domestic dispute at his girlfriend’s home in Florida.

Chief deputy Dennis Lemma of the Seminole County Police Department in Florida said at a press conference on Monday that Zimmerman pulled a shotgun on his girlfriend. Zimmerman reportedly offered no resistance during his arrest. His girlfriend has not been identified by the police.

There were no known injuries at the time of the press conference.

Though Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in July, he was questioned in September following an incident involving his estranged wife. No charges were filed in that case.

In the 911 tape, Zimmerman’s girlfriend tells dispatchers that the former neighborhood-watch captain was breaking things in her house because she asked him to leave…

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Rob Ford Gives Councilwoman a Fat Lip as Toronto Strips Him of Power


Originally posted on World:

Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford, of crack-smoking, drunk-driving, profanity-using, red-faced fame, issued yet another apology on Monday for knocking over a city councilwoman.

The city-council chambers were in an uproar on Monday afternoon, as Ford spoke in his defense and then the council continued with a series of votes to systematically strip the mayor of all governing authority, National Post reports.

“It’s a coup d’état, that’s all this is,” Ford said upon arriving at city hall.

“You have just invaded Kuwait,” Ford told the council, in an apparent reference to Saddam Hussein’s ill-fated invasion that sparked the Gulf War.

As the voting began, Ford’s brother, one of his few defenders in public, exchanged words with a member of the audience. Ford then charged toward the spectators, in the process bowling over city councilor Pam McConnell, a grandmother.

“I apologize to anyone I accidentally hit when my brother was in an altercation…

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