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With only days to go before the election in Afghanistan, it looks like the fix is in. That’s what most Afghans have been saying all along. The danger now is not that the election might be tainted by backroom deals or fraud. That’s old news. Even international bodies charged with facilitating the process have given up the goal of “free and fair” elections. They aim instead for “credible” elections–which means results that look pretty good, even when they’re not. No, the real danger is that those international bodies, led by the United States, will validate the crooked election as “credible” even when it doesn’t look good at all. Yet the hopes of the US-led international community ride on a credible outcome to provide evidence of Afghanistan’s conversion to “democracy.” Not to mention their vested interests–including an estimated $500 million to stage this extravaganza. If they were going to fess up to fraud, they should have done so long ago. –“Ballots and Bullets for Afghanistan,” Ann Jones, The Nation
“The ugliness of the Armadillo is what makes it unique,” says Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police. “A police car is not a particular stigma, but if people see that thing in front of your house, they know something bad is going on in there.” –“‘Armadillo’ Plays Well in Peoria But Is Panned by Drug Dealers,” Carrie Porter, the Wall Street Journal
A new study has found that downloading music is substantially better from an emissions perspective than buying compact discs. The study, which was financed by both Microsoft and Intel and written by two academics at Carnegie Mellon University and a third affiliated with Stanford University, found that buying an album digitally reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 80 percent relative to a best-case scenario for purchasing a CD…. Even in a situation in which a consumer downloads the music — and then burns it onto a CD and puts it in a CD case— the carbon differential is 40 percent in favor of the download, the study found. If the downloaded music is not burned onto a CD, the differential rises to 80 percent. –“The Carbon Case for Downloading Music,” Kate Galbraith, The New York Times
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”