Rebecca MacKinnon: We can fight terror without sacrificing our rights – Filmed June 2016 at TEDSummit

Can we fight terror without destroying democracy? Internet freedom activist Rebecca MacKinnon thinks that we’ll lose the battle against extremism and demagoguery if we censor the internet and press. In this critical talk, she calls for a doubling-down on strong encryption and appeals to governments to better protect, not silence, the journalists and activists fighting against extremists.



Gordon’s homer tops Marlins’ tribute to Fernandez – Jerry Crasnick James Walker 8:38 PM PT


After beating the Mets 7-3 on Monday, the entire Marlins team circles the mound and leaves their hats as the crowd cheers “Jose.” (0:34)

MIAMI — Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon had been choked up with emotion all afternoon during batting practice and warmups, so much so that he wore shades much of the time to hide the tears following the death of teammate Jose Fernandez.

But when Gordon went to the plate for his first at-bat Monday against the New York Mets, all of his emotion came to a peak when he smashed a lead-off home run into right field off right-hander Bartolo Colon.

Gordon, who normally bats left-handed, initially walked to the plate right-handed and wore a helmet on which he said he had written Fernandez’s No. 16. After taking the first pitch, he stepped out of the batter’s box and switched out his helmet, then switched stances to lefty and hit his first home run of the season.

The hit ignited the Marlins, who scored seven runs in the first three innings and went on to win 7-3.

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Trump, Clinton debate fact-checks (a running collection) – By  Linda Qiu on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at 1:46 a.m.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tangled Monday night over trade, taxes and how to bring good-paying jobs back to the United States as they opened their first face-to-face presidential debate. (Sept. 26)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the first presidential debate tonight, hitting familiar notes on the economy, national security and each other’s records.

The two candidates traded attacks that were largely accurate, but they had some trouble with facts when it came to their own records.

Trump repeated false claims that he opposed the war in Iraq and that Clinton’s 2008 campaign started the birther movement. Clinton overstated when she said Trump doesn’t pay federal income tax and understated her own position on trade deals.

Here are 33 claims from Clinton and Trump, fact-checked.

Trump: “They’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China.”

Earlier this year, Trump claimed that “we’ve rebuilt China.” This is an overly simplistic description of the economic relationship between the two countries.

Experts told us China’s rapid economic growth can be largely attributed to its in-house reforms and inclusion in global trade. The United States can take some, but certainly not all, of the credit for the latter. We rated Trump’s claim Half True.

Clinton: Trump’s tax plan would deliver “the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country.”

This was accurate for Trump’s old tax plan. The top 0.1 percent — those making more than $3.6 million per year — would receive 18 percent of the tax cuts under Trump’s proposal, while the bottom 60 percent will enjoy only 16.4 percent of the cuts.

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Africa’s Theater of War – By Edward Wilson-Lee September 2016

Shakespeare and Nation Building on the Continent

A young woman lies on the ground, dressed as a boy to keep her safe in a time of war. Standing above her are soldiers in khaki uniforms and warriors wearing the beads of the Dinka and Nuer peoples, bark-cloth skirts made by the Bari tribe, and Lotuka battle helmets fashioned out of spent bullet cartridges. Their homeland has been ravaged by 50 years of civil war, and rape is commonly used as a weapon. The woman’s fate is uncertain; the tension unbearable. Then, one of the warriors recognizes her as his long-lost wife and lifts her in an embrace. The tension is broken, and the onlookers remember they are not watching events in battle-scarred South Sudan but a play at the Globe Theatre in London, the final scene in a production of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

This event, held at the Globe in 2012, was not an average theatrical performance. The actors, members of the South Sudan Theatre Company, were representing their country at its first international event after it had declared independence from Sudan, less than a year before. The company was set up by translator Joseph Abuk and director Derik Alfred with the ambition of presenting a play for the Globe to Globe festival, part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad that accompanied the London Olympics. As well as being an international debut for the country, the play was something more—a kind of genesis story for the new nation and a way of working through the age-old rivalries that had threatened to destroy South Sudan before it found its feet.

The play, Cymbeline, isn’t exactly Hamlet or King Lear; it might have seemed disappointingly obscure to many companies. But it was full of resonance for the fledgling nation. The play tells the story of a Roman invasion of Britain prompted by the island’s refusal to pay tribute, and the parallel attempt of an Italian courtier, Iachimo, to corrupt the innocent love between two Britons, Imogen and Posthumus. Both the British army and the loyal lovers triumph, but the play ends with reconciliation and a return to the Roman fold. Britain emerges victorious, but not defined by opposition to the continent.

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Grading the Presidential Candidates on Science – By Christine Gorman, Ryan F. Mandelbaum on September 26, 2016

Scientific American evaluates responses from Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Stein to 20 questions

Credit: MARK MAKELA Getty Images (Hillary Clinton); ALEX WONG Getty Images (Donald TrumpGary Johnson); WIN McNAMEE Getty Images (Jill Stein)  

Two weeks ago, Scientific American asked for your help in grading the presidential candidates on their answers to 20 questions about various aspects of scientific endeavor. The questions were refined by a group of scientific institutions representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers, with nonprofit organization as the facilitator.

We received nearly two dozen responses from readers, most of whom not only evaluated the candidates’ responses but provided detailed explanations for their ratings. Overall, Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton scored highest in our readers’ estimation, as well as our own, followed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Republican Party candidate Donald Trump came in last on all counts. One Ph.D. in biology wrote, “Trump’s answers demonstrate an almost complete ignorance of science or the importance of these imposing problems facing us in maintaining a livable world for everyone.” A clinical microbiologist with 25 years of experience added, “[Trump’s] answers show how uninformed he is on the issues.”  Although Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson’s responses arrived too late for reader evaluations, we have included our assessment of his responses below.

One researcher performed a “qualitative analysis” of the answers, saying that Clinton always starts “with a synthetic review of present data” and builds from there—whereas “Trump never does.” A food policy analyst failed Clinton on the food question for being too narrow in her responses, failed Trump for “partisan rhetoric,” and gave Stein a grade “between pass and fail” for being “clearer on issues pertaining to negative externalities of food production,” but failing “to mention issues of food equity and proper resource management.” A few readers found some of the questions too vague (particularly number 1 on innovation and number 13 on the global economy), and thus too easy to answer with generalities.

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The DEA Is About to Make Life Even More Dangerous for Heroin Users – By Maia Szalavitz September 26, 2016

As opioid overdoses continue to skyrocket across America, many chronic pain patients and people with addiction are seeking safer ways to cope. Too bad the feds—with a broken system for scheduling drugs of all kinds—are standing in the way.

In this photo illustration, capsules of the herbal supplement Kratom are seen on May 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In this photo illustration, capsules of the herbal supplement Kratom are seen on May 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As opioid overdoses continue to skyrocket across America, many chronic pain patients and people with addiction are seeking safer ways to cope. Too bad the feds—with a broken system for scheduling drugs of all kinds—are standing in the way.

In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration refused to move marijuana out of its most restricted category of drugs, Schedule I. And at the tail-end of that month, the agency announced plans to add Kratom—a South Asian herbal remedy that is frequently used to treat both chronic pain and addiction—to the same list. The ban could start as early as September 30, and is expected to last at least two years.

Substances included in Schedule I are said to have both a high potential for abuse and “no currently accepted medical use,” and sales and possession are illegal. While some medical research can still be conducted, the bureaucratic process involved is both expensive and time-consuming, creating a catch-22 that makes “no currently accepted medical use” a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“I don’t know of any instance of them reversing themselves, “Jag Davies, director of communications strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance, told me of the government and scheduling decisions. Forty-five members of Congress have written the DEA and federal officials asking them to delay the move.

Meanwhile, data favoring both marijuana and Kratom as pain-relieving alternatives to drugs like Oxycontin and heroin continues to build. First, weed: The most recent study, published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, found a 50 percent reduction in the number of drivers aged 21 through 40 involved in fatal car accidents who tested positive for opioids in medical marijuana states. A 2014 study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found a 25 percent reduction in the opioid overdose death rate in states that legalized medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010, a reduction that grew over the years after the state legalized. A Rand Corporation study bolstered the apparent link between greater marijuana access and reduced opioid-related deaths, while a study of Medicare claims found that spending on pain medication fell by $165.2 million in medical marijuana states.

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