Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
John F. Kennedy
Bahrain rejects jailed opposition activists' appeal

Bahrain's highest appeal court has upheld the sentences of 13 activists for their part in anti-government protests in 2011.

This was their last possible chance of getting their convictions overturned, the men's defence lawyers said.

Some of the activists received life sentences after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the state.

Chinese Official Says Labor Camps to be Scrapped this Year

Chinese state media have quoted a senior official as saying Beijing has decided to scrap its decades-old system of detaining people in forced labor camps - a practice long criticized by rights groups.

In a brief report Monday, television network CCTV's microblog quoted Politburo member Meng Jianzhu as saying China will stop using the "re-education through labor" system this year, after the nation's rubber-stamp parliament approves the decision. It said Meng made the comment earlier in the day at a meeting of the political and legal department that he heads.

US drone attacks 'counter-productive', former Obama security adviser claims

The United States' use of drones is counter-productive, less effective than the White House claims, and is "encouraging a new arms race that will empower current and future rivals and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent", according to a study by one of President Obama's former security advisers.

Michael Boyle, who was on Obama's counter-terrorism group in the run-up to his election in 2008, said the US administration's growing reliance on drone technology was having "adverse strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the tactical gains associated with killing terrorists".

Civilian casualties were likely to be far higher than had been acknowledged, he said.

Lottery Winner's Cyanide Death Being Investigated

Urooj Khan had returned to Chicago from the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia inspired to lead a better life and had sworn off buying lottery tickets — except just this once.

To his astonishment, the scratch-off ticket was a $1 million winner. But just as he was about to collect his money, Khan died suddenly. There were no signs of trauma and nothing suspicious, and the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said he died July 20 of natural causes.

Now, authorities have determined that Khan, 46, ingested a lethal dose of cyanide. The finding, spurred by a relative's pleas for an expanded screening, has triggered a homicide investigation, the Chicago Police Department said Monday.

Jobs fit for a psychopath?

You might think someone you work with has psychopathic tendencies, but the chances are you're wrong.

The prevalence of psychopaths in the general public is around 1 percent, making it unlikely that you are working with one or a group of psychopaths.

But certain professions are more likely to attract psychopaths than others because of the nature and skills required to do the job successfully, according to an AOL story.

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband launched a political action committee aimed at curbing gun violence on Tuesday, the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting that killed six people and left her critically injured.

Giffords and Mark Kelly wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today that their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative would help raise money to support greater gun control efforts.

"Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources," they wrote in the column.

The kilogram has gained weight

The kilogram may need to go on a diet. The international standard, a cylinder-shaped hunk of metal that defines the fundamental unit of mass, has gained tens of micrograms in weight from surface contamination, according to a new study.

As a result, each country that has one of these standard masses has a slightly different definition of the kilogram, which could throw off science experiments that require very precise weight measurements or international trade in highly restricted items that are restricted by weight, such as radioactive materials.

But ozone and ultraviolet light could be used to clean the kilograms without damaging them, the research suggests.

Link between concussions, dementia is complex: study

In a new study of National Football League (NFL) veterans, former players with thinking and memory problems also had more lesions in their brains than healthy players and non-athletes in a comparison group.

But cognitive difficulties weren't directly related to the number of concussions a player had suffered in his career - complicating the controversy over long-term effects of head injuries.

"Not everyone gets this problem," said Dr. John Hart, Jr. from the University of Texas at Dallas, who worked on the study. "It's a more complex issue than has just sort of been thrown out there."

Magical run for Irish ends in 42-14 loss to Alabama

On a flawless South Florida night, Notre Dame players saw a legend emerge in present time. To their bone-deep disbelief, it was not them.

The eruption of streamers and confetti and joy surrounded them, and their shock and desolation filled the spaces in between. A program lost for a quarter-century might not be directionless, but the top looked far away from here.

A moment the Irish believed they were meant to have ended in a quiet walk out of sight and into another year of what might be. Alabama is the national champion, again, the SEC's marauding run extended to a seventh straight year with a 42-14 humiliation of Notre Dame in the BCS title game Monday, the Irish's first loss also their most excruciating.

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Good morning. Thanks for all these interestering

Glinda's picture

stories.  I have to post and run, but am looking foward to clicking the links later this evening.

Just from this paragraph, though:

Michael Boyle, who was on Obama's counter-terrorism group in the run-up to his election in 2008, said the US administration's growing reliance on drone technology was having "adverse strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the tactical gains associated with killing terrorists".

Civilian casualties were likely to be far higher than had been acknowledged, he said.

No one could have predicted this:  Adverse strategic effects.

Or actually everyone could have and did predict that, yet...

 

 

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