The Titanic vs. Modern Cruise Ship

Looks like size does matter.

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Controversial study finds cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers

By HoundDog, Daily Kos –  A controversial new study reported on by Rachael Rettner finds that cat people are smarter than dog people. This is not the only difference in characteristics scientific studies have found between cat and dog owners. People who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively — meaning they were more energetic and outgoing — and also tended to follow rules closely. Cat lovers, on the other hand, were more introverted, more open-minded and more sensitive than dog lovers. Cat people also tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be expedient rather than follow the rules. And in a finding that’s sure to spark rivalries among pet owners, cat lovers scored higher on intelligence than dog lovers. Part of the reason for the personality differences may be related to the types of environments cat or...

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And it’s What Kind of Tornado?

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Fox News Suffers Worst Ratings In Thirteen Years – And That’s Not Their Big Problem

by News Corpse – Fox News has fallen and it can’t get up. Ratings for the month of May 2014, have just been published, and the numbers are devastating for Fox News. While still occupying the top slot among the cable news networks, Fox saw about a quarter of its audience dissolve across every demographic group and time period. Every Fox program in primetime dropped by double-digits, with Bill O’Reilly taking the deepest dive. Sean Hannity posted some of his lowest numbers ever in his new 10:00 pm time slot. And Megyn Kelly’s new, and highly anticipated, primetime show failed to improve on the ratings performance of her predecessor. To be sure, Fox was not the only network to see declines. In fact, CNN had an even larger dip. The news was much better for MSNBC who was down the least of all the cable news networks. They lost a...

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#Bungle-ghazi: Issa declines Kerry’s acceptance of subpoena

by Jed Lewison – OP-ED World-class clown artist and House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has reversed course and withdrawn his subpoena demanding Secretary of State John Kerry appear before his committee to discuss the #Benghazi attack, an attack which took place while Kerry was still a U.S. Senator. Issa’s full statement is here, but these are the highlights: Seeing Secretary Kerry and others, who have worked to obstruct critical oversight of Congress’ investigations into Benghazi, attempt to use the upcoming June 12 hearing as a shield against the Select Committee tells me it’s time to reassess.   While Speaker Boehner and I had both originally concluded that Secretary Kerry needed to promptly testify and explain why his Department had withheld subpoenaed documents, neither of us immediately recognized how opponents of congressional oversight would use this as an opportunity to distract from the Select Committee’s effort. I am...

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‘The Cause Is Us’: World on Verge of Sixth Extinction

Species loss soaring at ‘pace not seen in tens of millions of years’ Andrea Germanos, staff writer – A new study showing that the human activity has driven current rates of species extinction to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate is “alarming” and “should be a clarion call” to work towards greater conservation efforts, an environmental group charges. The study, published Thursday by the journal Science and led by conservation expert Stuart Pimm, also warns that without drastic action, the sixth mass extinction could be imminent. From habitat loss to invasive species to climate change to overfishing, humans are contributing to the plummet in biodiversity. “This important study confirms that species are going extinct at a pace not seen in tens of millions of years, and unlike past extinction events, the cause is us,” stated Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, who was...

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Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland . . .

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The Best Reporting on Guns in America

In the wake of last week’s shooting, we’ve laid out the most revealing reporting about guns by Blair Hickman, Hanqing Chen, Cora Currier, Lois Beckett and Suevon Lee, ProPublica – Update: With last weekend’s shootings in Santa Barbara, this collection, first published July 24, 2012, unfortunately, seems relevant again. We’ve re-organized our roundup and added new reporting about guns and gun violence in America—looking at mass shootings and mental health, as well as other kinds of gun violence. Are Mass Shootings Increasing? Depends on How You Count Them Criminologists have made the same point again and again: the number of mass shootings in America is not increasing. Experts told the Los Angeles Times that mass shootings represent only a small fraction of the annual deaths due to gun violence, and that police data indicate that the overall count of mass shootings per year has not shown any significant increase over...

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East Texas restaurant to gay couple: “We just don’t like fags.”

by Chrislove – If you caught ericlewis0‘s diary last night, you know that Houston’s City Council voted yesterday to approve an Equal Rights Ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people (among other categories of people) in public accommodations, city contracting, and private employment. Although over 200 miles north of Houston and well out of the ordinance’s jurisdiction, an incident in the East Texas city of Pittsburg shows just why these kinds of laws are needed. Because yes, contrary to what right-wingers often claim lie through their teeth about, there are businesses that will refuse service to LGBT people if they are allowed to do so. And plenty of them. Case in point: Big Earl’s, a Pittsburg restaurant and bait shop that actually has an official policy on how men and women are supposed to “act”: An East Texas gay couple, Collin Dewberry and Kelley Williams, saw that policy in action earlier this...

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Elon Musk unveils Dragon V2 manned spacecraft

Can accommodate up to seven astronauts for several days in orbit By David Szondy, Gizmag – Having teased the public by showing off the SuperDraco engine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has taken the wraps off the Dragon V2 manned spacecraft that it’s designed to propel. At a brief media event at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, Musk introduced the larger, more powerful version of the reusable Dragon capsule, which will one day carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and return to Earth to land under its own power. The first unmanned version of the SpaceX Dragon will already be familiar to the space-conscious segment of the public. Developed in part under a NASA initiative to find a privately owned and operated replacement for the retired Space Shuttle, the Dragon recently completed its third cargo mission to the ISS and has another scheduled in a few months time. Though the spacecraft has enjoyed considerable success, SpaceX...

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E.U. Election Results: A Handy Guide to Europe’s Political Factions

by Tom Clougherty – For those of us who are more used to two-party democracy, last week’s elections to the European Parliament could easily be a source of confusion. By my estimate, the European Parliament’s 751 seats will soon be divided between representatives of 198 different national parties, themselves organized into seven (or possibly eight) official groups—with each of those representing a political faction that draws support from at least 25 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who must, between them, represent no fewer than seven of the E.U.’s 28 member states. Got it? If you want to know more, read on for a guide to Europe’s main political factions, how they did in last week’s elections, and what it means for the future of the European Union. The Center A majority of seats (62 percent) went to representatives of Europe’s three main groups: the European People’s Party (EPP), the...

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New Orleans Nearly Finished Killing Off Its Public Schools

City now home to first all-charter school district in country Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams – New Orleans is now home to the first and only school district in the United States that is all-charter. The Recovery School District on Wednesday shuttered its last remaining traditional public school, meaning that almost all New Orleans schools are now privatized. The shutdowns moved forward despite opposition from local communities. “The right to public education is fundamental human right,” said Monique Harden of the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in an interview with Common Dreams. “Profit motive drives insane, reckless, unsafe decisions that are not in the best interests of children.” Benjamin Banneker Elementary, which closed Wednesday, is one of the five remaining traditional public schools in the Recovery School District that will not re-open this fall, according to the Washington Post. This leaves only five remaining public schools...

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Daughter of Sandy Hook principal responds to Joe the Plumber

by Christian Dem in NC – You may remember that Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had the gall to tell the victims of the Santa Barbara shooting that “your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”  When Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, saw this, she felt that she had to respond.  And she did, with an op-ed in The Daily Beast. It’s actually refreshing to see his comments so unvarnished, so closely removed from this poor kid’s murder. And I wouldn’t have dignified his disgusting comments with a response if it didn’t follow such a disturbing pattern among gun extremists in this country.In fact, his comments quite clearly encapsulate the id of the small faction of extremists who are influencing our country’s gun laws. Your loss doesn’t matter if it inconveniences me one bit. Gun violence may be real—and it may be 20 times worse...

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Bush/Blair Iraq War Plotting to Remain Hidden From Public: UK

‘Neutered’ Iraq War inquiry to censor full content of conversations in lead-up to 2003 invasion Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams – Critics are charging that a UK inquiry into the country’s role in the Iraq War has “neutered” its own investigation by censoring critical conversations between George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion. Headed by Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry was convened in 2009 by the UK government and tasked with establishing “what happened” in Iraq and identifying “the lessons that can be learned.” The report’s released is years behind schedule, in part due to debate over the release of 25 letters and 130 recordings of conversations between Blair and Bush. The U.S. has heavily pressured the UK government to block the release of these conversations, which the U.S. says are classified. The UK government has also fiercely lobbied against the full...

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Police Say Drones Continue To Appear At Crime Scenes

Use by journalists raises new ethics issues By PBSpot Admin – Police have been reporting that drones are showing up more and more at crime scenes. The trend began earlier this year, but police say that far from slowing down, it has gotten much worse. This highlights the problem of rampant drone ownership and the potential abuses of the devices. Furthermore, it is serving as a wake-up call to many regarding the inherent abuse-prone nature of drones. But the drone proliferation is far from something police are just complaining about, they are also actively participating in the drone race. Departments all over the country have been purchasing the devices to monitor towns and often the inner city. But when the drones are being used by others – presumably reporters, more often than not – the police seem to suddenly shift gears about the growing popularity of the devices. “Here was a...

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John “Man Up” Kerry Faces Firestorm for Snowden Remarks

From “misogynistic” to “obnoxious,” Secretary of State slammed for comments about whistleblower Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams –   U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is facing widespread criticism for his comment that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—increasingly seen by the American public as a heroic figure for exposing government surveillance—should “man up” by returning home to face criminal charges. “This is a man who has betrayed his country,” Kerry told CBS News on Wednesday, just hours before the airing of highly anticipated interview between Snowden and NBC News’ Brian Williams. “He should man up and come back to the US.” Seen widely as an attempt by Kerry and the Obama administration to turn public opinion against the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor, for many it had the opposite effect: making the Secretary look both petty and misogynistic—not to mention “wrong”—by characterizing Snowden as “less than a man” for his...

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Arkansas Covers 75% of Eligible People in Private-Option Medicaid

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos – Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, its “private option,” has been a rousing success, having signed up 75 percent of the state’s eligible population so far, and still going strong. The state’s Department of Human Services said more than 170,000 people have applied and were determined eligible for Arkansas’s “private option” program, which is about 14,500 more than how many people had signed up last month. Department officials say around 225,000 Arkansans qualify for the program, which uses federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for the poor. After a legislative hearing, the director of Arkansas’s Medicaid program Andy Allison said the May numbers were meeting expectations quicker than different health care programs established before it. “What I would say is that we’re reaching the predicted levels of participation far quicker than previous expansions,” he said. “Not sure we should...

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Pentagon Says Uncovering Truth about Military Sexual Violence Is Too Burdensome

Volume of records is simply a sign of the appalling rates of violence within the military By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project  It’s often said that people should be judged by their actions, not merely their words. The same is true of institutions, even the Department of Defense (DoD). Facing intense criticism for how it responds to sexual violence within the military, the Pentagon has said: “Sexual Assault is a crime that is not tolerated, condoned, or ignored in the DoD. It is one of the most serious challenges facing our military.” Yet, in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation that has now been pending for three years, the Pentagon argues that releasing its records regarding military sexual violence is too “burdensome,” because it involves a large number of documents. But that raises more questions than it answers: Doesn’t the volume of documents only confirm the magnitude...

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The Sagging State of America’s Middle Class

Many still struggle with modest job growth, slow income growth By Christian E. Weller and Jackie Odum, Center for American Progress – Many middle-class families struggle with modest job growth, slow income growth, high poverty, and a lack of employer-sponsored benefits, while corporate profits remain high. The United States needs to take action and adopt policies that create economic opportunities for all to become financially secure. Progressive policies such as a higher minimum wage, extended unemployment insurance benefits, and affordable health insurance can contribute to stronger economic and job growth and lead to more and better economic opportunities for millions of middle-class Americans. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is just one example of good policy that promotes financial growth and security for both middle-class families and our nation’s economy. Since its enactment, the ACA has lowered projected budget deficits and provided Americans with the financial security they need by expanding coverage, providing...

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Visiobike might just be the world’s techiest e-bike

By Ben Coxworth, Gizmag – As the recent Charged Up e-bike event showed us, the new generation of electric bikes is apparently here to stay. While many of them simply feature a motor that augments the rider’s pedaling power, some really take the whole “electronics” thing and run (or roll) with it. The upcoming Visiobike is just such a machine. With a little help from the user’s smartphone, it not only provides a power boost but also lets them navigate, deter thieves, see what’s behind them via a video feed, and avoid having to shift gears. The 21-kg (46-lb) Visiobike was created by a team led by Croatian designer Marko Matenda. It features a monocoque carbon fiber frame that internally incorporates a 14.5-Ah Panasonic lithium-ion battery and a bottom bracket-located MDF Drive 5.1 electric motor. That motor will be available in 250-watt and 500-watt versions, boosting the rider’s pedal strokes to take...

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