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SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Authorities called to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio overnight found eight people dead and 20 others in dire condition in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer, in what police are calling a horrific case of immigrant smuggling....
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Posted by Kendra Pierre-Louis

This is not an excuse for second breakfast.

Household chemicals found in dust may trigger cells to store fat, contributing to weight gain. Here's what you need to know.
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Posted by Marykate Jasper

The second Thor: Ragnarok trailer has landed, and it’s got me even more excited than the first one. Mostly because we get to see more of Cate Blanchett’s Hela, and she is…a masterpiece. When Blanchett warned us, “All shall love me and despair,” as Galadriel, this is the look she was foretelling.

“I am not a queen,” she declares, “or a monster. I’m the Goddess of Death. What were you the god of again?”


Say, “Oh, my.”

Say, “Yessss.”

And bow.

The trailer also features Thor and Hulk trash-talking after their fight, Valkyrie giving a battle-grin worthy of her name, Loki bein’ Loki, some signature Taiki Waititi humor, Fenris Wolf (and/or Fenrir, pick your universe), and our first glimpse of Surtur. All in all, I cannot wait for November 3, 2017 – but Asgard has always been my favorite corner of the Marvel comics universe, so Thor movies are forever my jam. Bring this one on.

(Via Nerdist; images via screengrab)

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The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

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Posted by Zeon Santos

Some people think their cat meows at them all day because it wants their attention or because it "likes to talk". But really their cat is meowing at them because they can't speak human but want their human to know something is up.

This something could be boredom, physical pain or simply to get their owners to praise them for their great meowing skills.

However, you shouldn't disregard your cat's meowing until you know for sure there's nothing wrong with them, especially if the cat suddenly becomes way more talkative than before.

I once had a cat who kept meowing her head off until she was hoarse, and we thought she was just after our attention- turns out she had a tooth that needed to be pulled and an abcess in her gums, and had we waited any longer to take her in to the vet she might have died. Listen to your kitties, folks!

Read 7 Reasons Your Cat Won't Stop Meowing here

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Turkey's president waded into the diplomatic crisis gripping Qatar and four other Arab nations on Sunday, traveling to Saudi Arabia at the start of a three-country Gulf tour aimed at helping break the impasse....
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LONDON (AP) -- Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats....
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MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, a prominent figure in the controversy over Russia's possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has ended his assignment in Washington....
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- There are many reasons why the Senate will probably reject Republicans' crowning bill razing much of former President Barack Obama's health care law. There are fewer why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might revive it and avert a GOP humiliation....
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Posted by Andrea Thompson

Arctic sea ice has been melting at a steady clip this summer as it heads toward its annual low point. But a new chart shows that with nearly two months still left in the melt season, sea ice area is already below what would have been a yearly low in the 1980s.

The comparison shows the clear long-term decline of Arctic sea ice fueled by the global rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The dramatic shrinkage of sea ice over the past few decades is driving major changes, from the loss of crucial Arctic habitat to the potential influence of weather patterns around the world.

Zack Labe / JAXA

The graph, put together by Zack Labe, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Irvine, shows the area of the Arctic covered by sea ice right now and compares it to the averages throughout the melt seasons of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It is clear that with about 50 days of the melt season still to go, sea ice area is already below the point where it would have bottomed out for any year in the 1980s.

“It really shows that we’re in a very different Arctic,” Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said.

Arctic sea ice reflects incoming solar rays back to space, helping to regulate the planet’s temperature. But as human activities have released more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the ensuing warming has caused ice to melt. That melt means more of the ocean is open and absorbs solar energy, raising temperatures more and driving more melt in a vicious cycle.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at twice the rate of the planet as a whole, and the accompanying ice loss means that walruses and polar bears are losing critical habitat, more of the fragile local ecosystem is being opened up to shipping, and waves from storms can more easily batter coastal settlements. The reduced amount of sea ice may also be causing heat to be released into the atmosphere that is altering wind patterns and weather over the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Those impacts will only become starker as warming and melt continues in Arctic.

The long-term decline that is evident in the graph can easily be lost in the week-to-week horserace comparisons of sea ice area to recent years, particularly the record low reached in 2012. Labe has noticed that those comparisons have led to false assertions that sea ice is recovering.

Years like 2012, when a storm ushered in exceptional August melt, are actually the outliers. This year and last year, which started the melt season with record lows thanks to winter warmth, are following the steady downward spiral of sea ice.

The chart Labe tweeted is helpful in “reminding people that we’re not going to set a record every year,” but that current sea ice levels are still remarkable, Meier said.

Absent any weather that could drive rapid melt in the coming weeks, this year is unlikely to set a record low when it reaches its minimum in September. But it is still likely to be among the top 10 lowest years, all of which have happened in the past 10 years.

In a few weeks, sea ice area will have dropped below the average annual low of the 1990s, which is noticeably below that of the ’80s. As warming continues, sea ice will reach those milestones earlier and earlier in the year, until the Arctic potentially reaches the point where it is effectively ice free in the summer.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline See how today’s Arctic melting compares to the ’80s on Jul 23, 2017.

Missile Control

Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:03 am
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Posted by Miss Cellania

This picture was taken at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota. This is an example of the kind of gallows humor that must have gone along with the assignment to man the ICBM launch facility. Tony Gatlin painted this door in 1989. As he tells the story, the Domino's Pizza theme was selected because of the colors of paint they had available.

At the time, Domino’s Pizza was famous for its “thirty-minute” guarantee – your pizza in 30 minutes or less, or your next one was free. Perfect. I decided to appropriate the slogan for our artwork and came up with my first draft, “Rapid City to Moscow in 30 minutes or less,” but Rob pointed out that was probably a little too, um, blunt, so we changed it to “world-wide delivery” to be a little less specific.

Note there is no handle on the door. The facility was manned 24 hours a day during the Cold War, and someone had to let you in from the inside. -via reddit

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Posted by David Nield

Social media

How to preempt and combat abuse online.

You want your various social media feeds to be positive and uplifting. If that's not the case, you can take steps to fix them. Read more.
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ISTANBUL (AP) -- Turkey's president has condemned Israeli security precautions at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site saying the Islamic world would not remain silent....
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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- An exiled Palestinian politician who quietly negotiated a power-sharing deal for Gaza with former arch foe Hamas discussed the details for the first time in an interview, saying he expects it to lead to a swift opening of the blockaded territory's border with Egypt and an easing of crippling power outages....
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Some relatives of Nelson Mandela say a new book by a military doctor that documents the South African leader's medical treatments before his 2013 death violates doctor-patient confidentiality....
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- A new book by a former South African military doctor that documents Nelson Mandela's medical treatments before his 2013 death violates doctor-patient confidentiality, according to some relatives of the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel laureate....

My tweets

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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Posted by Michelle Cottle

The health-care clusterfudge continues. Senator John McCain has brain cancer. President Trump throws another public tantrum. Russia, Russia, Russia.

That about covers the Big Political Headlines of the week. Now for something really sexy: the creeping assault on the Freedom of Information Act.

Stop right there! No clicking over to that Tucker Carlson YouTube rant. This is another one of those ticky-tacky, below-the-radar issues that may sound like a nonprescription substitute for Ambien but is, practically speaking, super important—especially in the Age of Trump.

FOIA is what enables regular people to pester powerful federal agencies into handing over information about what they’ve been up to. FOIA’s website calls it “the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.” Though a tad grandiose, that characterization is pretty much accurate. And never has such a tool been quite so vital as with the current White House, which has adopted a policy of unabashedly lying about pretty much everything.

It’s hardly surprising then that government accountability groups balked when, in early April, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling directed multiple agencies under his committee’s jurisdiction to start classifying all communications with the committee as official “congressional records” not subject to FOIA.

Probably best to back up a tick: FOIA applies only to executive agency records. Congressional records are a different creature entirely (as are presidential records), enjoying greater privacy protections. But not every document that has been created by or sent to Congress qualifies as a congressional record.

“There has to be an expression of intent by Congress to treat a particular record or group of records as something that is a congressional record—that it belongs to Congress and is only being given to an agency for a specific purpose,” explained Lee Steven, assistant vice president with Cause of Action Institute, a pro-transparency, anti-big government nonprofit. “What the courts have in the past said is that you can’t put a blanket, before-the-fact designation” on such a broad category. As such, Steven told me, Hensarling’s directive is an egregious, possibly illegal case of overreach.

Hensarling’s letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wound up in the press for all to peruse. The chairman indeed appears intent on sweeping all agency communications with his committee out of the public eye. (I reached out to multiple Republican Finance staffers about this. No one responded.) This would include not just memos to or from the committee or documents generated by an agency in response to a committee request. Hensarling also wants to reclassify pre-existing agency records that are compiled and sent over to the Hill for any reason.  

Basically, if anyone at an agency is interacting with the finance committee in any way, Hensarling wants to make sure that you can’t find out any details about it.

You can see how this might not be great in terms of promoting government accountability.

In early May, 21 good-government groups sent an open letter to Hensarling, asking him to rescind his directive. CoAI took it a step farther, issuing a FOIA request to the Department of Justice—which oversees FOIA compliance for all agencies—for any interaction the department may have had with the Finance Committee on this issue. The Department of Justice has so far ignored that request, prompting CoAI to file a lawsuit aimed at goosing it to comply.

To clarify: CoAI is not some lefty resistance group looking to make life hard for a Republican administration or Congress. It is generally considered a conservative organization. (The liberal Media Matters huffed in 2015 when CoAI was annoying the Obama White House: “The group has received funding from the Koch brothers' financial network, and its [now former] executive director worked for Charles Koch and for the House Oversight Committee under Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.”)

So to review: What you have here is a conservative group suing a conservative Justice Department for ignoring a FOIA request concerning a conservative House chairman’s efforts to kneecap FOIA.  

Even my head hurts at this point.

Steven clarifies that CoAI’s suit against the Justice Department, for which oral arguments begin next month, may not have an initial impact on Hensarling’s directive. (Where the case ultimately goes will depend on whether DoJ hands over the requested communications—or maybe cites Hensarling’s directive as an excuse not to; what those communications say; whether the White House was involved; and so on.) “This is sort of a first step,” said Steven.

But make no mistake: The ultimate goal is to stop lawmakers from undercutting one of the key tools the public has for keeping an eye on its government.

“We’re not saying that the idea of congressional records is completely off base. Not at all,” stressed Steven. “But this directive, as written, is way too broad.”

This is in no way to suggest Hensarling is the only lawmaker looking for a little extra cover. CoAI has a near identical suit already making its way through the courts, stemming from a squabble it got into with the Obama-era IRS’s dealings with Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. “The JCT basically did the same thing as what Hensarling is doing here, with respect to the IRS,” said Steven. The ruling on that case, he noted, should provide a good indication of how this one will fare.

It’s as inevitable as Trump’s next Twit-fit: Those in power dislike the public nosing around in their business and are forever looking to shield themselves from scrutiny. But when that happens, the public needs to push back. Hard. No matter which team is in charge. And no matter how unsexy the details of the battle may be.

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Authorities called to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio overnight found eight people dead and 20 others in dire condition in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer, in what police are calling a horrific case of immigrant smuggling....
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LONDON (AP) -- Some of the BBC's most prominent female journalists and TV presenters are banding together to demand that the broadcaster fix its wide gender pay gap immediately rather than in several years as management has proposed....

Lesbian Duplex 130: An Open Thread

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:00 am
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Posted by Libby Anne

It’s time for another Lesbian Duplex thread! If you have a link or article or interesting thought that’s not relevant to an ongoing thread, you can share it here. If a conversation on another post has turned entirely off topic, you can bring it here also. Every so often, as the number of comments on a given Lesbian Duplex post becomes unmanageable, I put up a fresh post.Click through to read more!
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Posted by Zeon Santos

Cacodemon by daletheskater

There is no creature more metal than the Cacodemon, because it looks like every dark fantasy dream you've ever had and blends perfectly in to the cover art of every heavy metal album you own. And to top it all off the Cacodemon is a creature from a Hell dimesion, so nothing says "metal rules!" like the doom and ultimate destruction of mankind at the hands, or should I say mouths, of demonic creatures like the Cacodemon!

Dress for the horror of the real world by wearing this Cacodemon t-shirt by daletheskater, it's the utterly terrifying way to keep your geeky wardrobe totally metal while making your gamer buddies grin like, well, like Cacodemons!

Visit daletheskater's Facebook fan page, Twitter, Tumblr and official website, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more dark and geeky designs:

Beast Enchanted Forest The Booze Brothers

Clown With Balloon

View more designs by daletheskater | More Video Game T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!

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Posted by Miss Cellania

Any list of the 100 best in their field can start an argument, but when a list of the greatest American cooks started out with J. Kenji López-Alt, I knew it was legit. I discovered López-Alt because he has the answers to kitchen questions I search the 'net for, even after decades of cooking. I've learned a lot about food science from his easy-to-read posts at Serious Eats. Many of the cooks on the list have a full article about them linked, which could keep you busy for some time. For example, I discovered the story of Zephyr Wright, who cooked for Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson for decades.

Wright's influence extended beyond the White House kitchen. Back when LBJ was in Congress, the Johnsons would drive back-and-forth from Washington, D.C. to central Texas during legislative recesses. Wright suffered so many indignities on those trips due to segregation customs and laws that she ultimately refused to travel by car and stayed in D.C. year-round. While LBJ built support in Congress for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he used Wright's Jim Crow experiences to shame reluctant legislators into supporting the landmark legislation. After signing the landmark legislation, LBJ gave Wright one of the signing pens. “You deserve this more than anyone else,” he said.

Which just goes to show that being one of the greatest American cooks does not always focus on just one's cooking. Read the entire unranked list at Epicurious. -via Metafilter

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- An exiled Palestinian politician has detailed his Gaza power-sharing deal with former foe Hamas for the first time. He says the understandings reached in quiet negotiations could lead to a better future for the long-suffering territory....


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