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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ferguson Curfew Extended As Justice Department Calls for Extra Autopsy

Ferguson Curfew Extended As Justice Department Calls for Extra Autopsy


Ferguson Curfew Extended As Justice Department Calls for Extra Autopsy

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 10:07 AM PDT

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET

A curfew will continue in Ferguson, Mo., after Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Saturday following protestors’ clashes with police over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Al Nothum said the midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew had been extended a second night, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. One man was shot and seven people were arrested the first night.

On Sunday the Justice Department also announced it would be conducting its own autopsy of Brown.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

The attorney of the family of the 18-year-old, who was shot and killed by police, told TIME Saturday that lawyers for the family had hired a independent forensic pathologist to conduct an independent autopsy. The office of the St. Louis County Medical Examiner said the teen died of gunshot wounds in its original examination but had not specified how many times Brown had been shot. Fallon said the results of the state-performed autopsy would be taken into account by the DOJ.

Brown was killed Aug. 9 after an encounter with a police officer, recently identified as Darren Wilson, who police say was responding to a “strong-arm robbery.” Local authorities have said that Brown was shot in a struggle for the officer’s gun and had matched a description of a suspect who allegedly stole $50 worth of cigars from a convenience store.

But at least one witness disputes that account; CNN reports that some witnesses say Brown was in a surrender position when he was shot, which has led many Ferguson residents claim the killing was yet another instance of racial profiling and police brutality.

Nixon, appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, said Sunday that police tried to “besmirch” Brown by releasing documents and video footage alleging his participation in the robbery before his death.

“I mean, when you release picture and you clearly are attempting to besmirch a victim of a shooting, shot down in his own street, a young man and at the same time you're releasing information to try to make it, to tarnish him, then properly, there was a lot of folks that were concerned about that, and I do think it flamed it back up and has caused us to have to deal with some of that,” Nixon said, Politico reports.

CNN reported Saturday that the video was released over the objections of the Department of Justice, which worried it might enflame racial tensions.

Black Holes? I’ll Take a Medium, Please

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 10:00 AM PDT

In one sense, black holes are just ridiculously exotic. Their surface gravity is so powerful that even something as fast as light can’t escape (that’s why they’re black). And what’s actually inside a black hole isn’t just strange: it’s literally indescribable by any known law of physics.

But while they’re among the strangest things in the universe, they aren’t especially uncommon. Astronomers now know that black holes with the mass of millions or even billions of stars lurk at the cores of most galaxies, including the Milky Way, while much smaller black holes, containing just a few tens of stars’ worth of matter, are scattered all over the known universe.

In theory, there’s no reason intermediate-size black holes shouldn’t exist as well, with masses of a few hundred or a few thousand stars. But so far, despite some tantalizing hints, nobody has definitively found one. That may just have changed, however: a new report in Nature has flagged just such an object in the nearby galaxy Messier 82, which lies about 12 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the Big Dipper.

The black hole in question weighs about 400 times as much as the Sun, and is “just amazing” in the words of co-discoverer Richard Mushotzky, of the University of Maryland. That’s true for several reasons; the first is that this object, known as M82 X-1, has been known about for years because it shines brightly in the X-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum. That marked it from the start as a candidate black hole, since these voracious cosmic vacuum cleaners suck in gas at such a prodigious rate that the infalling matter heats to the kinds of temperatures that generate X-rays.

Astronomers also knew from the brightness of those rays that M82 X-1 was most plausibly a black hole of intermediate mass–somewhere above 100 but less than a thousand solar masses. The problem: while astronomers know how a small black hole forms (it’s created when a massive star dies in a supernova explosion), it’s not clear how a black hole of more than 50 or so solar masses comes to be.

That put a premium on making sure they truly had the mass right, and lead author Dheeraj Pasham, a Maryland grad student, used a novel technique to figure out what that mass must be. Astronomers have noted that the X-rays from small black holes in the Milky Way pulsate with a characteristic rhythm that is a consequence of general relativity. “It’s kind of complicated,” Mushotzky says. “You don’t really want to know.”

The rate of the pulsations depends on the mass of the black hole, and by carefully analyzing observations from NASA’s Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer satellite, Pasham was able to do that calculation with unprecedented precision. “It took a lot of work,” says Mushotzky. “It was not easy to do.”

But they did it, and Mushotzky says the resulting mass—428 times the mass of the sun, if you’re counting—is a reasonably precise figure. “I wouldn’t bet my house on it,” he says. “But I might bet my car.”

If that answer holds up, it could help solve a longstanding mystery of astrophysics. There’s no way a multi-million- or billion-solar-mass black hole could form directly. The giants that lie at the cores of galaxies must have built up over time, from small seeds. But if the seeds were only a few tens of Suns in mass, it’s hard to see how they could have grown quickly enough to reach full size by just a billion years after the Big Bang–which they nevertheless did.

A black hole like M82 X-1 would have given those giants a head start, however. So it’s tantalizing to wonder if this and other objects like it may be leftovers from the earliest days of the cosmos—the potential seeds of giant black holes that somehow failed to sprout, and which are still hanging around in their original form.

If so, they’re like living fossils from the earliest period of cosmic history. It’s an idea Mushotzky calls “highly speculative at this point.” But it’s also highly intriguing.

Holder Asks For Federal Autopsy on Missouri Teen

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 09:31 AM PDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has asked for the Justice Department to arrange an autopsy on the body of Michael Brown by a federal medical examiner.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a news release on Sunday that Holder asked for the additional autopsy because of the “extraordinary circumstances involved in this case” Holder Asks For Federal Autopsy on Missouri Teen and at the request of Brown’s family.

The 18-year-old Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer on Aug. 9. Brown was black and unarmed. Officer Darren Wilson is white.

Fallon says the autopsy will take place as soon as possible.

He also said the Justice Department will still take the state’s autopsy into account during the investigation.

Terrifying Genius Cat Figures Out How to Open Doors

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 09:08 AM PDT

Meet Mulder. Mulder is cute. Mulder also has a secret power: He can open doors. He can even do it when there’s a tub of water in the way. Now if he can only figure out how to flush the toilet, he’d be the perfect house cat.

5 Ways to Tell if Someone Is Lying

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 09:00 AM PDT

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com

A Person's Demeanor or Voice Radically Changes

As an investigator, I first try to assess how someone normally speaks. To do that, I begin an interview by asking questions that I know the answers to, like "What's your full name?" or "Where do you live?" Some folks are naturally animated and talk fast; others are more subdued. Once I know which type of talker a person is, I start asking him questions that I don't know the answer to. If his manner shifts abruptly—going from calm to agitated or lively to mellow—chances are he's not telling the truth.

Gregg McCrary is a retired FBI criminal profiler and a crime analyst in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

A Person Avoids Saying “I”

In my research, I've discovered that when people fib about themselves, they tend to use I and me less often than people who are being truthful. Instead, they'll speak about themselves in the third person ("This is a girl who loves to ski") or even truncate their language ("Really into listening to jazz")—anything to give themselves psychological distance from the lie.

Jeffrey Hancock is an associate professor of communication at Cornell University who studies online lying.

(MORE FROM REAL SIMPLE: 50 Great Books That Will Change Your Life)

A Person Has an Answer for Everything

Ask most people what they were doing last week and they'll have to pause and think about it. That's even more true of teenagers, who generally don't have the capacity to tell an elaborate story on the fly. So when I call a child into my office and he seems totally rehearsed—there's zero hesitation before he answers a question—well, that's a dead giveaway.

Julia Chung has been an educator for 16 years, first as a high school teacher in Los Angeles and now as an assistant principal in Westchester County, New York.

A Person Fidgets and Fusses for No Reason

If someone keeps performing a random physical action that seems unnecessary—cleaning her glasses excessively, retying her shoelaces, or dusting off the (clean) table in front of her—she may be lying. The guilt and anxiety make her restless. That can be particularly true if she is lying to somebody she loves. When a person fibs to a traffic cop, she won't necessarily fidget a lot. But if she is deceiving her husband, she won't be able to sit still.

Barbara Mitchell has been a relationship therapist in New York City for 34 years.

(MORE FROM REAL SIMPLE: 10 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person)

A Person Proclaims His Honesty Repeatedly

To sell us on the integrity of their answers, liars often use phrases emphasizing the validity of their statements, like "to tell the truth" and "to be perfectly honest." These verbal tip-offs frequently invoke religion. Think of expressions like "I swear on a stack of Bibles" and "as God is my witness." Most truthful people don't need to go that far.

Joseph Buckley is the president of John E. Reid and Associates, in Chicago, which trains law-enforcement investigators.

 

WATCH: Here’s What the Sun is Actually Doing to Your Skin

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Nearly every living thing on the Earth depends on the Sun—directly or indirectly—for its survival. But for humans, exposure to the sun can also exact a cost: Stay outside too long (or beneath the rays of a tanning bed, as the case may be), and you run the very real risk of developing wrinkles, liver spots, and even skin cancer.

Damage is caused by ultraviolet rays, which lie outside of our visual spectrum; some creatures—as different as bees, reindeer, and salmon—can perceive them, meaning that they see the world much differently than we do. We do, however, have the technology to see the world in UV, and one inventive videographer took to the streets to show ordinary people what their skin really looked like.

“We showed people what they looked like in ultraviolet, & wondered aloud if they wanted to put on some damn sunscreen already,” Thomas Leveritt wrote on his Twitter feed. It’s amazing to see, really, and is a timely summer reminder that we only get one set of skin. Take care of yours!

Looting of Ebola Clinic in Liberia Sparks Fresh Infection Fears

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 08:27 AM PDT

Liberian health officials are worried the deadly Ebola virus will spread after mattresses and sheets with suspected patients’ blood stains were stolen from a quarantine center late Saturday.

Residents from the West Point slum in the capital city of Monrovia raided a local facility Saturday night, assistant health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said, the Associated Press reports. Residents were upset that patients from other parts of Monrovia were taken to the center.

At least 20 Ebola patients were missing after the looting, the BBC reports, with officials warning that the stolen items pose a serious infection risk.

More than 400 people have already died of Ebola in the country, according to the World Health Organization. The “looting spree,” as one police official described it, has raised concerns about the country’s ability to contain the virus.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, Kenya has barred the entry of passengers traveling from certain countries in West Africa, where the virus has had a recent outbreak. The ban, effective Tuesday at midnight, applies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Kenya Airways previously announced it would suspend flights to some of those countries.

[AP]

Orange Is the New Black Locks Up 3 Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 08:02 AM PDT

The main Emmy Awards are a little more than a week away, but Netflix upstart Orange Is the New Black has already stolen a march on its big-name competitors.

At the 2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmys — a precursor to the main event that mainly focuses on the technical, behind-the-scenes work of television production — the comedy drama set behind the bars of a women’s prison took home three big awards.

Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, claimed the award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series on Saturday, while the show’s casting director, Jennifer Euston, won for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

“I don't know how to say how incredibly impressed I am to be a part of this show day in, day out,” Aduba said while accepting her award, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show also won an editing award.

Among the other winners were HBO’s Game of Thrones, which took home 4 awards, and Saturday Night Live, which won 5.

Aduba’s co-stars Laverne Cox — the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy — and Natasha Lyonne were also nominated for the same guest-star category. The show is up for several more awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, during the main awards due to take place on Aug. 25.

U.S. Must Forge New Ties With Iraq to Tackle ISIS Threat

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 07:52 AM PDT

President Obama and Secretary Kerry played their cards right not to undertake a broad scale air campaign against the advancing forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) so long as Nouri al-Maliki held on as Prime Minister. Maliki had governed in such an overtly anti-Sunni fashion that the Sunni tribes in the north had come to hate him more than they feared ISIS. Regardless of what we had claimed, those American bombs would not have read “ISIS." They would have read “Sunni” — strengthening the extremists. Withholding a broader air campaign gave leverage to those in Baghdad, including us, who were pushing for Maliki to step down.

Maliki's reluctant departure and the appointment of Haider al-Abadi as Prime Minister must be a pivot point — for the leaders of Iraq, the region and the United States. Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani is no doubt right when he says it's the last chance for Iraq.

The Obama Administration and our military acted swiftly and decisively to save the Yazidis who fled to a mountaintop to avoid slaughter by ISIS. But that human drama powerfully displays the brutality and fanaticism of ISIS. It is building a self-described Islamic state in the heart of the Middle East, spanning Syria and Iraq with broader designs in the region. It is a base for thousands of Western jihadi recruits, some of whom will return home with destructive intent and deadly new skills. In the view of intelligence officials, ISIL sees conflict with the United States as inevitable.

ISIS came out of nowhere for most Americans: another group of fanatics in a dizzying array of warring factions unleashed by the Arab uprisings. But it's essential that we understand this force more clearly because ISIS’s future will affect ours.

ISIS, born under the banner of Al-Qaeda, was chased out of Iraq by Sunni groups which did not want its brand of fanaticism controlling their lives or defining their Islamism. It retreated to Syria, and deepened the civil war there. Seeing the anger among Iraqi Sunnis due to Maliki's overtly sectarian rule in Iraq, ISIS saw an opportunity. It moved deep into northern Iraq — but this time with the support of many of those same Sunnis tribes.

President Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS under narrowly defined circumstances: in support of the humanitarian mission and to prevent ISIS from overrunning Baghdad and Erbil — based on the fact that there are many Americans in these cities to protect. We are also providing assistance to both the Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi forces.

But the President has not authorized broader strikes. As long as Maliki was Prime Minister, Iraqi Sunnis would have seen American strikes as Maliki's bombs, driving them further into the arms of ISIS. But the President told Tom Friedman of the New York Times that we do have a strategic interest in pushing back ISIS. He told Friedman, "We're not going to let them create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq, but we can only do that if we know that we've got partners on the ground who are capable of filling the void."

Maliki is now gone. The opportunity now exists to have partners on the ground. The path ahead will not be easy, but it is discernable. There are some things we must do:

  • Help Abadi form a strong, inclusive government, with meaningful outreach to Sunnis and Kurds.
  • Work with Abadi to begin the reforms that will convince others that inclusion is real, not just rhetorical — for example, appointing someone with strong support in the Sunni tribes as defense or interior minister
  • Support reform of the Iraqi Security Forces, depoliticizing them and restoring professionalism.
  • Reach out energetically to our regional partners. This is as decisive an opportunity for Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and the UAE as it is for us. The Saudis have close ties to Iraq's Sunni tribes, but have been unwilling to call upon those relationships as long as Maliki was at the helm in Baghdad.
  • Work with the new Iraqi government and our regional partners to regain the support of Sunni groups in the north. They know the perils of life under ISIS all too well. Sunnis will best expel poisonous Sunnis. That will require both a political and a military strategy. It will happen only if they feel safe and believe they are legitimately part of Iraq's future.
  • American air power will not defeat ISIS alone. There will need to be motivated Iraqi forces on the ground that will confront the extremists, but they will need to be backed up by vigorous American air and other support over a sustained period.

All of this does not need to be done by tomorrow, or next week or next month. For now, ISIS is focused on establishing its safe haven in the center of the Middle East; it will turn to its more distant enemies a bit later. What does need to be done by the President — very soon — is to explain this gathering threat to the American people. Today, public support for our means — an ongoing campaign of airstrikes — cannot be sustained by our stated ends, protecting our civil servants in Erbil and Baghdad. While some conservatives will attack the President for not doing enough, the greater danger is that the American people and Members of Congress will question why we're engaged at all in another Iraq military adventure. The President needs to alert Americans to the threat ISIS poses to our friends in the region and to us.

This also means that Iraq cannot be separated from the vexing problem of Syria. When pressed in Iraq, ISIS will fall back to the safe zone they have there. But our natural allies in Syria — those who oppose both ISIS and Assad — are weaker now than ever. A strategy to blunt ISIS compels us to accelerate and strengthen support for groups in Syria who oppose both, including some whose ideology is uncomfortable to us but not threatening.

This is all a dense and difficult thicket for us to traverse. But a door has opened with Maliki's involuntary departure. If we don't barrel through that door, bringing the American people and our partners with common interests along, it will slam shut and the future will be more dangerous for us.

Samuel R. Berger is chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group. He was national security adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001.

Game of Thrones Takes Crown for Online Piracy

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 07:09 AM PDT

Game of Thrones rules over all challengers when it comes to online piracy.

Just a few months after setting online downloading records with its season premiere, the hit HBO show has been named the most pirated form of entertainment, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Semetric, a company that monitors online media consumption, says that episodes of Game of Thrones at the height of their popularity make up more than half of all television-related downloads on file-sharing service BitTorrent — that’s more than the total of all its music downloads.

While the rise of streaming services has somewhat supplanted music piracy, Game of Thrones is still in high demand. The show ended its fourth season in June — when fans downloaded the finale 2 million times within 24 hours — but there are still approximately 300,000 downloads of the series each day.

[WSJ]

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