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Bill Martel, an international-security expert at the Fletcher School, at Tufts University, told me that Holder, having been impervious to the shifting public mood, had been sucked into “a political riptide.” The Christmas Day bombing attempt, he noted, had come only a month after Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who had exchanged e-mails with radical Islamists, massacred thirteen people at Fort Hood, Texas. Both incidents had revived public concern about America’s vulnerability to terrorism. Holder’s decisions, Martel warned, had “the makings of a sustained and self-inflicted political hemorrhage.” He added, “I think they’re going to have to give up on civilian trials. And Eric Holder is in for some pretty brutal days.” Indeed, on January 31st, Senator Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, declared on Fox News that Holder should “step down,” for his inability to make “a distinction” between “terrorists who are flying into Detroit, blowing up planes, and American citizens who are committing a crime.” –“The Trial: Eric Holder and the battle over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” Jane Mayer, The New Yorker
Examining one particular part of the limbic system– the ventral striatum– was especially revealing, as its level of activity corresponded with the perceived funniness of a joke. “It’s the same region that is involved in many different types of reward, from drugs, to sex and our favourite music,” says Mobbs, now at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK. “Humour thus taps into basic rewards systems that are important to our survival.” –“The Comedy Circuit: When your brain gets the joke,” Daniel Elkan, NewScientist
Unfunny joke only thing holding friendship together;
interview with Gallagher, prop comic;
also extinct: dinosaurs, which scientists now believe to be colorful;
the “primordial soup” theory is so over
Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration. While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas. –The U.S. Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review Report, as quoted in “Pentagon Considers Climate Change a National Security Threat,” Matthew Cordell, UN Dispatch
New Orleans also elected a new mayor over the weekend;
why do the Chinese save so much? (it’s because there are more men than women);
related: photo-collection of Asian “pretty boys”
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”