World News
IN SHORT
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Channels
frontpage
world
entertainment
odd news
politics
science
technology
health
sports
business

Latest
Overview
world
entertainment
odd news
politics
science
technology
health
sports
business
AD
Activists sue to force Canada to protect caribou
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A wildlife group filed a lawsuit against Canada's environment ministry on Thursday over its alleged failure to protect critical caribou habitats. In it, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) says Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has not met her legal obligation to regularly report on steps taken to protect the endangered animal's range across nine provinces and territories. The population of the boreal woodland caribou -- a North American reindeer -- has steadily declined due to encroaching industry, to the point that Canada listed it as an endangered species in 2002.
North Koreans have been spotted playing volleyball at its nuclear test site
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
North Korea's military has been spotted seemingly playing a game of volleyball at the main Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Satellite images of the site appear to show two six-player teams facing each other, with a net between them. Joseph Bermudez, an analyst for non-profit 38 North, which first noticed the pictures, said multiple games were going on at the facility — at the administrative area, the support area, the command centre, and at the guard barracks. A possible volleyball net seen in the command center areaImage: DigitalGlobe/Getty Images A probable volleyball game seen at the guard barracks at Punggye-riImage: DigitalGlobe/Getty ImagesThe people appear to be standing in formations consistent with volleyball games, he added. But if you thought the North Koreans were taking a break, it's more likely that the games were staged knowing the outside world is looking. PUNGGYE-RI NUCLEAR TEST SITE, NORTH KOREA - APRIL 16, 2017. Figure 4. Probable volleyball game seen at the command center support area. (Photo DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images)Image: DigitalGlobe/Getty ImagesAnalysts told the New York Times that the games were probably intended to send a message, as North Korea knows that the Punggye-ri test site is under intense scrutiny. The games could be North Korea's way of indicating that it's pausing its controversial nuclear missile testing activity — or that it's making it seem like it has. Both China and the U.S. have raised condemnation of the hermit country's nuclear tests in recent weeks, as Trump places pressure on the North to halt its missile activity. "While strongly suggestive of the completion of preparations for a sixth nuclear test, the imagery alone does not provide any definitive evidence of the installation of a nuclear device or indication of the specific timing for such an event," Bermudez told Mashable. Volleyball games are a normal occurrence at Punggye-ri, according to Melissa Hanham, an analyst at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. The game is a popular sport in North Korea.  "It doesn't mean anything other than people are there and [that] they are bored," Hanham said in an email to Mashable.  Both Hanham and Bermudez agreed that the site could still be ready for a nuclear test.  38 North described the site as "primed and ready" on April 12, and a UN representative of the reclusive dictatorship confirmed that a new nuclear test was under preparation.  Analysts speculated that the reclusive dictatorship could trigger a nuclear test to mark the 105th birth anniversary of the country's founding leader, Kim Il-Sung, which occurred last Saturday. Kim Il-Sung's grandson, Kim Jong-un, is North Korea's current leader. "The ultimate choice as to whether to test, or not to test, rests solely in the hands of Kim Jong-un," Bermudez said. WATCH: Scientists discovered a rare giant black worm monster in the Philippines
How the US is gearing up as fear of a space war mounts
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The US Air Force and Pentagon are contracting with start-ups to get a leading edge on A.I. and nano satellite technology in case of a space conflict.
‘Judge sitting on an island’: Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii court’s travel ban ruling
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The attorney general’s seeming disdain for the 50th state in a Tuesday interview earned him a reproof from Hawaii’s senators.
Trump says Iran not living up to ‘spirit’ of nuclear deal
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump said Iran is not living up to “the spirit” of the nuclear deal. But the State Department recently said Iran is complying with it.
Coin toss decides winner of small Illinois village election
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
MARION, Ill. (AP) — The flip of a coin has decided the next leader of a tiny town in southern Illinois after an election earlier this month ended in a tie.
After 'Facebook killing,' social media confronts its dark side
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Can civility survive on an unfiltered internet? In the span of less than about a minute, a gunman whom police identified as Steve Stephens held up his smartphone camera to Mr. Godwin, and filmed his murder on a Cleveland street. Recommended: Are you savvy about social networks?
How to make natural calamities ‘dull’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
If you follow natural disasters in the news, such as giant earthquakes or massive storms, the current drought in Somalia fits the script. Images of extreme hunger have hit the media. The United Nations has asked for $825 million in donations.
Is anyone mightier than Le Pen?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When Marine Le Pen was a child growing up in Paris, her friends never slept over – their parents wouldn’t allow it. Ms. Le Pen describes in her autobiography, “A Contre Flots,” or “Against the Current,” a childhood that was full of insults, suffering, and injustice – all simply because of her family name. Recommended: More than Bastille, Bonaparte, and brie: Test your knowledge of France with our quiz!
The next O'Reilly: Why young conservatives may not want a Papa Bear
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Papa Bear is gone from the airwaves. “Papa Bear” is Bill O’Reilly, of course – the 8:00 p.m. star who helped make Fox News the right-leaning network of choice. Comedian Stephen Colbert gave Mr. O’Reilly the nickname while shaping his old “Colbert Report” into a satire of and homage to the newscaster’s blustery approach.
The Health Benefits of Tea
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
Research suggests that the benefits of tea for your health—the most frequently sipped beverage worldwide after water—include a lower risk of cognitive decline, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 d...
This Is What It's Like to Photograph Stillborn Babies for Grieving Families
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry after every session."
I Was An MMA Fighter — And a Victim of Domestic Abuse
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
In a martial arts cage, Joanna, was fearless. But when her ex got abusive, fighting back required a different kind of strength.
Katherine Heigl Had a Really Tough Time Coming Up With a Name for Her Son
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
She and her husband eventually decided on a very un-Hollywood, normal name.
Whitney Port Weighs In On Whether All the Simultaneous 'The Hills' Pregnancies Are Part of Some Big Conspiracy
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
Don't hold your breath for any The Hills: Next Generation spin-offs anytime soon.
Large asteroid to pass close to Earth on Wednesday: NASA
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
An asteroid more than a quarter mile (400 meters) wide will pass close to Earth on Wednesday, zooming by at a distance of just over a million miles (1.8 million km), but with no chance of impact, according to NASA scientists. Smaller asteroids routinely make closer passes to Earth, but 2014 J025, discovered in May 2014, will be the largest asteroid to come this near to the planet since 2004, flying by at only about 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km). "We know the time that the object is going to be closest within seconds, and the distance is known within hundreds of kilometers (miles)," Davide Farnocchia, a mathematician at NASA's Near-Earth Object program, said by telephone on Tuesday.
Ancient Animals Come Alive in New Sir David Attenborough Virtual Reality Experience
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For years, people all across the globe have tuned into Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries and TV shows to learn more about living things on Earth, whether ancient or currently roaming about. Now fans of the Planet Earth narrator will soon be able to have an up close and personal journey of their own with the renowned naturalist via a hologram of Attenborough that will guide users through a virtual reality experience at the Natural History Museum in London.
Apple’s new Earth Day videos are the least Apple thing ever
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
I’m laughing. While watching an Apple video. That’s not normal. A typical Apple promotional video has a type: Clean, dispassionate, slightly British (thanks Jony Ive) and self-congratulatory. It’s not quirky, whimsical, or funny. But each of the four short animated stories detailing Apple’s efforts to become a 100 percent renewable company and released just a few days before Earth Day, are unlike anything Apple has produced before. What’s more interesting is that the audio is 100 percent true and, taken by itself, not particularly funny. But when combined with the hand-drawn animation from illustrator James Blagden the stories become whimsical and even a little odd. SEE ALSO: Your iPhone's camera could one day scan a room to pick out faces The standout is a roughly minute-long spot called “Why Does Apple Make its Own Sweat?” In it Apple’s Environmental Technologies Group lead Rob Guzzo explains how and why Apple chose to stop buying artificial sweat and started creating its own. Guzzo, who is depicted in the cartoon, offers a pretty straight forward account of the decisions, but Blagden’s animation embellishes with images of armpits and even one of an Apple lab tech tasting the artificial sweat. Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy & Social Initiatives, helps install solar panels.Image: James Blagden/apple“We knew from the start that we wanted this to be engaging in a different way to tell the stories,” said Apple VP of Environment, Policy & Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson. Jackson told me that simply explaining what Apple’s doing in the environmental space doesn’t really convey the work or the people behind it. The goal of the animations is to boil it down and make the complex work of environmentalism more tangible and digestible and to highlight the “unsung” people doing the work. However, it’s the unusual blend of unscripted Apple employees’ voices, including Jackson’s, and the whimsical visuals that really transforms the spots. “When it’s unscripted and in their own voice, people tend to pay attention and just get it,” she said. Bladgen, who is probably best known for his Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No short on how a Major League Baseball pitcher threw a no-hitter while on LSD, still sounded surprised at some of the places Apple let him take the visuals. “I didn’t think the bit where he tastes the sweat, I didn’t think they were going to go for it,” laughed Blagden, who told me he prefers drier material like the Apple environmental story and then finding the humor in it. For the story of Apple’s solution for accommodating solar panels and grazing yaks in China, Bladgen perfectly illustrated Apple’s solution: putting the solar panels higher so the light could reach them and the ground below. However, he also put a yak at a dinner table, eating grass with a fork. When Jackson, who narrates the spot (an animated version of her appears in it), mentions the need for creative solutions, Blagden illustrated her and the yak painting portraits of each other. “One of the coolest things that will ever happen to me: hip artist James Blagden rendering how I will look in his world,” said Jackson. It's a cartoon, but the schematic detail showing how Apple keeps the new campus cool with fresh air is real.Image: James Blagden/appleThere’s even a “Where’s Waldo” element to the four spots, with an animated Apple CEO Tim Cook popping up in each video. In one, he’s inside the new and soon-to-be-opened Apple Park, which relies on cooled water and air circulated from the outside for air conditioning, breathing in the office's fresh air. Blagden, who spent four months working on the animations, couldn’t recall whose idea it was for all the Cook cameos, but he does recall that when Apple execs had to present the unusual collection of videos to Cook. “I know there was a big meeting with him where he signed off, it was a pretty big deal. Everyone was really nervous,” he said. Perhaps Cook signed off because he, knew that now is the time for something different. Jackson, who served as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013, an agency that is being gutted by President Donald Trump's administration (there are proposals to cut its budget by at least 31%), wouldn’t address President Trump directly. But there’s a recognition that the stakes are higher this year and a new, more in-your-face approach to environmental story-telling is necessary. Apple's spaceship-style Apple Park looks just as good in cartoon form.Image: james bladgen/apple“What we knew we wanted this year more than ever, in this time, to connect people to environmental story,” said Jackson. Apple and businesses like it have a huge role to play in leadership, she said. “We’re not walking away from that.” While the videos focus on some of the smaller stories in Apple’s environmental efforts, its goals remain, for lack of a better word, huge. Jackson said the company is focused on tackling climate change, and not just through its own efforts. “If we zeroed out our carbon footprint ... that would not solve the problem. We need businesses and people running on clean energy… The only way to tackle climate change, it has to be bigger than what we can do,” said Jackson. With so much progress made on the renewable energy side, Apple is now attacking the much trickier carbon footprint of its supply chain.  In one video entitled “Can We Produce Zero Waste,” John Reynolds who works in Apple’s iPhone Product Operations, finds that Apple’s factories are discarding towers of pallets. His initial solution is to recycle them. In the video, Reynolds recounts how he got his wrist slapped by Apple execs for not going far enough. Apple wants to eliminate waste in the production of its popular products. The video ends, though, without a resolution. “Their solution is that there actually are many of our final assembly facilities, in China, U.S., Cork, Ireland, all certified by UL as zero waste,” said Jackson. Apple wants to be a zero waste company. One of the cartoons tells the true tale of their efforts.Image: james bladgen/appleThe company has also made an effort to reclaim materials from used iPhones. Last year, Apple unvield LIAM, the 29-armed recycling robot that dismantles used iPhone 6 devices. The job of finding smart, safe ways to test and manufacturer Apple’s new products falls, in part, on Rob Guzzo. His Environmental Technologies Group, which is part of Apple’s Hardware Engineering Division, is responsible for supporting environmental initiatives on Apple’s products. Guzzo defines his group’s responsibilities as mitigating the impact of climate change, reducing dependency on finite resources and using safer materials. Apple needs artificial sweat, Guzzo explained, because, “One of the most important elements of products, from safety perspective, are those that are contact with skin for a long time.” Apple Pencil, AirPods and Apple Watch top that list. Testing with sweat is a great way to simulate human wear, but collecting real human sweat was deemed impractical and “gross.” For a time, the company purchased frozen artificial sweat, but they soon realized it made more sense to create it in house. The mixture is purified water, salt, lactic acid and urea. Each day, a lab tech produces a half gallon.  The road to  being a 100% renewable company isn;t easy, but apparently it can be funny.Image: James blagden/appleGuzzo said having their own “sweat supply” and in-house toxicologists to analyze the effect of the solution on product materials (usually they test on pre-production models) means that the results can be used to influence final designs and materials. It’s a fascinating story, but depicted in more entertaining fashion in the video where the guy who makes the sweat wears a “Sweat Guy” hat and holds up an Eeu de Sweat perfume bottle – all Blagden touches.  “I never would have imagined that the creative minds at Apple would have been able to come up with a video like that to tell the story about making sweat,” Guzzo told me. Jackson hopes that Apple’s weird videos engage a new audience. “We prefer to say unique, not weird, but we’ll take weird as long as funny is included. You never know when you’re going to spark the imagination and intelligence of next environmentalist.”  Jackson believes Apple can set an environmental example for others even as the EPA relinquishes its leadership role. “There’s a parade going on to cleaner and low carbon economy. Apple is in the parade, as are businesses, states, cities, activists. Having worked at EPA for more than two decades, it would be great if EPA assumed its normal spot at head of parade, but parade is moving on either way.” WATCH: iPhone 8 rumors include a 'Smart Connector' for AR headset
The best showcase of nanotechnology so far may be this race of tiny cars
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The racers have snazzy names: Green Buggy, Swiss Nano Dragster, Windmill, Dipolar Racer, Ohio Bobcat Nano Wagon, and Nims-Mana Car. Each car will spend some 36 hours speeding around a challenging French racetrack. There will be drama, twists, and lots of turns. But what makes this race unusual is that the cars don’t have wheels,…
Hypnosis may still be veiled in mystery – but we are starting to uncover its scientific basis
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A review of studies in psychology and neuroscience shows we are well on the way to understanding what goes on in our brains when we are hypnotised.
A 'conveyor belt' of plastic is polluting the Arctic Ocean
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Our plastic waste doesn't just stay put when it hits the oceans. Currents sweep it into the deep blue abyss, spreading the garbage far and wide. And much of that debris apparently winds up in the Arctic Ocean, a new study found. Plastics are "abundant and widespread" in the seas east of Greenland and north of Scandinavia — areas that tend to have more polar bears and seals than people. Scientists encountered the pools of plastic during a 2013 expedition around the Arctic Polar Circle. SEE ALSO: Arctic Meltdown: NASA photos capture region in rapid transition Led by Spanish biologist Andrés Cózar, the team hadn't expected to find such large accumulations of shopping bags, fishing lines, microbeads, and other plastic fragments, given how far the polar latitudes are from pollution-creating populations. A seal lies on an iceberg in front of the research vessel Tara, in 2013.Image: Anna Deniaud / Tara Expeditions FoundationTheir study reveals how far plastic can travel if not disposed of properly, "because once it enters the ocean, its destination can be unpredictable," the scientists wrote in the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.  "There is continuous transport of floating litter from the North Atlantic, and the Greenland and the Barents Seas act as a dead-end for this poleward conveyor belt of plastic," Cózar said in a news release. Scientists from two global research efforts collaborated for the study, including the 2009-2014 Tara Oceans expedition team, based in France, and the 2010 Malaspina expedition team from Spain. Locations and plastic concentrations of the sites sampled in 2013.Image: andres cozarAround the world, humans dump an estimated 19.4 billion pounds of plastic waste into the ocean each year, according to a separate 2015 study. Those bottles, jugs, threads, and scraps are visible in giant swirling "garbage patches" in the middle of the ocean, and even in trenches along the seafloor. The Mariana Trench — the deepest spot on the planet, at 36,000 feet deep — is lined with plastic bags and soda cans, videos from Japan's marine science agency show. Plastic waste isn't just unsightly. Birds, fish, and other wildlife can eat it and choke. Fish also gobble up fragments of deteriorated plastic, which contain harmful chemicals that spread throughout the food chain. Different categories of microplastics found in the Arctic Ocean.Image: Andres CozarDuring the 2013 circumpolar expedition, Cózar and his colleagues used nets to collect floating plastic debris. They found that most of the ice-free surface waters in the Arctic Polar Circle were only slightly polluted. But far more plastic debris had accumulated in the Greenland and Barents Sea. They estimated hundreds of tons of plastic fragments bobbing in the surface waters there, with even more plastic likely piling up on the seafloor below. Using 17,000 satellite buoys, the team followed a "pathway of plastic" in the North Atlantic Ocean. Data-transmitting devices confirmed the pollution is flowing toward the pole via the "thermohaline circulation," a current that's known as the global ocean conveyer belt. Scientists said the plastic likely originated from far away, including the coasts of northwest Europe, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. East Coast. Some plastic was also likely brought there by local shipping activity. Scientists onboard Tara lower nets into the water to collect plankton and microplastics.Image: Anna Deniaud / Tara Expeditions Foundation"The sea has no boundaries," Maria-Luiza Pedrotti of Sorbonne Universités-CNRS in France, said in the news release. "Plastic trash generated in one place can pollute other, even remote areas and have devastating effects on a virgin ecosystem such as the Arctic." Floating Arctic plastic accounts for only about 3 percent of the global total, according to the study. Yet more plastic is likely to pile up in the polar region as pollution from lower latitudes continuously flows upward. The scientists said they are particularly worried about how these pollution flows could affect the Arctic's fragile ecosystems, which are already feeling the effects of global warming. So, in case you needed another reminder to reduce, reuse, and recycle, think of the polar bears. They might be eating your garbage. WATCH: Creepy doll lurking in this deep-sea trash heap just wants to say hi to you. That's all. She promises.
Was the U.S. responsible for North Korea's missile failure?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Tech Take: TrustedSec's Alex Hamerstone on what may have led North Korea's most recent missile test to fail
Giant icebergs are a big tourist draw in Newfoundland, and a warning sign
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A record warm Arctic winter has spawned a tourism boom in a tiny Canadian town. Sightseers and selfie-snappers are flocking to Ferryland, Newfoundland, to watch enormous icebergs drift off the Southern Shore.  The town of 500 residents has seen bumper-to-bumper traffic in recent days. Its two lone restaurants would theoretically be packed — that is, if they opened before late May, when the tourism season normally begins, CBC reported. NEW | People flocking to Ferryland to see the massive iceberghttps://t.co/XN0UIxYvYI#nlwx pic.twitter.com/ylRZpwpwhK — CBC NL (@CBCNL) April 18, 2017 Nearly 650 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic as of this week, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol. That's about triple the number of icebergs this region sees during this period. SEE ALSO: A 'conveyor belt' of plastic is polluting the Arctic Ocean The unusually large swarm is blocking shipping lanes, forcing vessels to slow down or take long detours. Coast Guard commander Gabrielle McGrath, who leads the ice patrol, told the Associated Press she has never seen such a drastic increase in such a short time. Most of the icebergs bobbing in the North Atlantic broke off the Greenland ice sheet. Experts have attributed the influx of ice to a combination of uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds, which are drawing icebergs south, and, to some extent, global warming, which is melting land and sea ice across the Arctic. Ferryland, Newfoundland Canada #explorenl #ExploreCanada @ryansnoddon @ExperienceNL @EddieSheerr pic.twitter.com/JNSlXQd9qF — Ray Mackey Photo (@RayMackeyNL) April 13, 2017 Awesome iceberg grounded in Ferryland much of this week (Photo: April 14). #ExploreNL pic.twitter.com/EYYTbV6DH7 — Jared Clarke (@birdtherock) April 15, 2017 The Arctic has experienced a strange winter. March 2017 became the sixth month in a row to set a record for the lowest sea ice extent, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported. And, for the third year in a row, Arctic sea ice peaked at a record low level during the winter season. Image: national oceanic and atmospheric administrationIn Ferryland, the relatively warm winter and shifting winds have resulted in some pretty spectacular sights. An enormous iceberg is now towering over the small town. The Canadian Ice Service has classified it as "large," meaning it spans between 401 and 670 feet long and rises between 151 and 240 feet high. The giant ice block drew the most attention over Easter weekend. Tourists and news crews came out with cameras, drones, and even helicopters to catch a glimpse of the majestic frozen 'berg. WATCH: NASA timelapse shows just how quickly our Arctic sea ice is disappearing
Newfound super
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It’s not the closest potentially habitable planet, but astronomers say a world 40 percent wider than Earth could be one of the best places to target in the search for life beyond our solar system. “This is the most exciting exoplanet I’ve seen in the past decade. We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science – searching for evidence of life beyond Earth,” Jason Dittmann, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said today in a news release. Dittmann is the lead author of a paper published by the journal Nature describing… Read More
Former Clinton staffers share happy photos to push back against infighting claims
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Former Clinton campaign workers are countering a new book’s depiction of discord with social media images of cohesion and fun.
Government shutdown deadline looms as Republicans return to Washington
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Republicans return to work after a two-week recess Monday with just five days to whip their fractious caucus in line and avoid a government shutdown.
Bus ad promoting US city festival shows images from Europe
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A bus ad promoting a Concord, New Hampshire, arts festival takes a detour through Europe.
Man in bunny suit who blew air horn at police pleads guilty
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
SPARTA, N.J. (AP) — A man who wore a bunny costume and repeatedly blew an air horn inside a New Jersey police station has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Coin toss set to decide who is leader of Illinois village
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
MARION, Ill. (AP) — A coin toss will decide who will be the next leader of a tiny town in southern Illinois.
Google Earth’s new update will take you anywhere in the world
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
Google Earth’s new update will take you anywhere in the world
'13 Reasons Why' proves that good intentions aren't enough when it comes to portraying suicide
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
If you listen to the actors, producers, and consultants involved in Netflix's newest hit, the intense high school drama 13 Reasons Why, it's clear none of them meant harm.  In a behind-the-scenes episode that follows the series finale, they use words like "truth," "honest," and "tribute." They talk about helping people, raising awareness, and taking seriously the responsibility of portraying sexual assault and suicide.  SEE ALSO: Mental health org and 'Stranger Things' star send warnings about '13 Reasons Why' They see the Selena Gomez-produced series as a kind of noble crusade, and they're right about the vital importance of shedding light on adolescent emotional trauma. But experts say they got something terribly wrong in their graphic depiction of the main character's suicide. Convinced that only a drawn out, gory scene could deter young viewers from contemplating or attempting suicide, the show's creators immortalized a dangerous representation of self-harm that may do more damage than good.  From @SAVEvoicesofedu and @jedfoundation: what viewers of #13ReasonsWhy need to know. pic.twitter.com/5AbPxJEluQ — Crisis Text Line (@CrisisTextLine) April 3, 2017 The controversy is a painful reminder that even the best intentions can fail us when dealing with a subject like suicide. It also raises a larger question about what happens next. This scene, which experts say may actually prompt viewers to consider or attempt suicide, can be accessed by countless adolescents and teens for as long as the series lives on Netflix. In response, mental health organizations have issued warnings about the show, and the suicide-prevention groups SAVE and The Jed Foundation published a list of tips for viewing and discussing the series.  The fallout means that Hollywood and its creatives need to rethink how they present suicide, and why. The debate also begs us to elevate the voices of people who have survived a suicide attempt or loss and can provide a variety of sensitive narratives about what those experiences are like. Instead of treating suicide first as a plot device that packs a devastating emotional punch, we could focus on accounts where people survive and ultimately lead happy lives, or where family members learn how to navigate grief and guilt.  These kinds of complexities have been on filmmaker Lisa Klein's mind for years. Her brother and father died by suicide, events that shaped her forthcoming documentary The S Word. When she began cutting the early footage for her film, she included attempt survivors talking about the method they used. But then a mental health advocate and attempt survivor asked Klein, "What are you going to get out of that?"  "I sat down and looked at the footage and thought about it," says Klein, "and realized [it would bring] absolutely nothing except distress." Klein deleted those scenes from her trailer, and has worked closely with a number of suicide prevention experts on ensuring that the film omits any triggering material.  There's a good reason for that approach. Research shows that suicide can have what's known as a "contagion effect." Both news reports and dramatizations of suicide have been linked to a temporary spike in suicides, and public health officials recommend against providing detailed descriptions of the suicide and the method used.  Those recommendations, however, aren't universally followed by media outlets. It doesn't always seem feasible to leave out the cause of death in big news stories, such as the recent suicide deaths of former Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez and Cleveland homicide suspect Steve Stephens. Yet, it's possible to find a balance between trying to inform the public and publishing gratuitous portrayals of suicide.  The producers of 13 Reasons Why perhaps weren't familiar with this research, or maybe thought their artistic license trumped it. The book from which the series was adapted didn't originally end with the main character dying of suicide. But the novel's author, Jay Asher, said his editors wanted a death instead.  The actress Kate Walsh, who discovers her fictional daughter after she's died by suicide, hinted at the profound disconnect between art and reality in her comments about the scene.  "We wanted to make that moment, particularly, as realistic as it could be without ever having experienced that," she says in the behind-the-scenes episode. "That's the moment, the pinnacle of the series where you talk about wanting to do honor to the people who've actually had to go through this in their lives. Like you want to pay tribute to them and make it real and authentic."  Klein watched the series with her 15-year-old daughter. They both turned away during the scene.  "It was very important for them to really make the viewer uncomfortable," she says. "My own opinion is that I find it irresponsible that they showed the suicide."  One alternative, she says, would have been to show just the horror on the mother's face upon discovering her daughter. "When you're talking about loss ... that's the power," she says. "You've lost somebody you love. How they did it and all of that is so irrelevant."  The show's creators also seemed to think that viewers needed to experience pain in order to reject suicide as an acceptable option, but they may have underestimated their audience. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.  Julie Cerel, a clinical psychologist and president-elect of the American Association of Suicidology, says there's nationally representative data showing that more than half of Americans know someone who has died by suicide. Many of the young people watching the series probably have encountered or heard about the suicide of a loved one, and don't need to relive it to understand its tragedy.  Cerel is critical of the idea that artistic impulses should override high-stakes public health concerns, pointing to widespread agreement that it's harmful to glamorize smoking in films made for young viewers.   "I don't care if it's more artful — we're influencing kids," she says. "This [show] is aimed at kids and young adults, and the last thing I want them to do is glorify the idea that suicide will [end] all of their problems." Dr. @JohnAckerman78's eye-opening post on why 13 Reasons Why is problematic: https://t.co/HCxB48sYnI #suicide #13reasonswhy — Dese'Rae L. Stage (@deseraestage) April 13, 2017 Though 13 Reasons Why sought the feedback of mental health professionals, one of those experts seemed to support the depiction. Perhaps others were overruled. Whatever happened, Cerel says that while psychologists and psychiatrists may treat suicidal patients, not all of them have studied suicidal behavior closely or have received specialized training. Surprisingly, that isn't a common feature of graduate programs in the field.   Klein is worried that only the behind-the-scenes episode prompts viewers to reach out for help by pointing them to a website with crisis information. She believes each installment should begin and end with that message. Better yet, she says, Netflix could update the series with cast member-led conversations about its themes, and include practical information about how to reach out for help and how to talk to people about suicidal feelings.  "There's got to be support around it," she says. "The genie is out of the bottle. Now it really is about containing it." If the creators, cast, and consultants who brought 13 Reasons Why to Netflix are truly dedicated to preventing suicide, they'll work hard to minimize the series' damage, and shine a light on voices and experiences that go far beyond the vision of suicide in their show.  If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line  at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list  of international resources.  WATCH: Lady Gaga FaceTimed with Prince William to discuss a very important issue
Space Is the Final Frontier — of Skincare
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For skincare companies, finding new places to harvest rare and exotic ingredients is like a beauty version of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? It's not uncommon for beauty brands to look to far-flung locales for inspiration, but the latest trend in sourcing is about as out of the way as you can get: space. The study focused on just one astronaut, but scientists were able to track notable decreases in the skin’s hydration, elasticity, and barrier function.
Sessions’s Assault on Forensic Science Will Lead to More Unsafe Convictions
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the dismantling of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS)—a body dedicated to improving accuracy and reliability in forensic evidence used in criminal cases. Not only is this short-sighted but it short-circuits efforts to address issues involving forensic errors, wrongful convictions and crime lab misconduct. The practical effect of this action is not that states are going to pick up the mantle and bear the burden of creating forensic science standards.
Lawsuit claims Bose headphones are spying on users
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Cheryl Casone reports on how you can protect your privacy
APNewsBreak: Baby orca! Last killer whale born at SeaWorld
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
MIAMI (AP) — The last orca has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, just over a year after the theme park decided to stop breeding orcas following animal rights protests and declining ticket sales.
You can now 3D print a tiny pretzel made of glass
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists in Germany have 3D printed very intricate tiny objects using glass. In the future, the technique could be used to 3D print more useful things, like complex lenses, filters, and even ornaments that generally need highly skilled artisans to make. The researchers used a type of “liquid glass” to make complex shapes that are smooth, transparent, and have a very high resolution, according to a study published today in Nature.
Evrim Provides Update on Ermitano Project
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / April 19, 2017 / Evrim Resources Corp. (TSXV: EVM) ("Evrim" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on recent activity at its Ermitaño gold-silver ...
Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock visit Trump at the White House
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The White House was enlivened Wednesday evening by a visit from some special guests, both political and musical.
Trump pummels NYT over tweet on Patriots visit to White House
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The NYTimes' questionable tweet comparing the New England Patriots visit to the White House this year with the team’s trip in 2015 puts Pres. Trump on offense.
Rep. Chaffetz floats the idea he may resign before term ends
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz told multiple Salt Lake City media outlets Thursday that he might not finish out his term. “When I contemplate another 200 nights away from home, it is just too much,” Chaffetz told Fox 13 News Anchor Bob Evans. Chaffetz also texted KSL Radio host Doug Wright on Thursday morning that it was possible he would not finish his term.
Old Clinton staffers share happy photos to push back against infighting claims
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
As a new book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” gains attention for its dysfunctional depiction of the Hillary Clinton campaign, former staffers are pushing back against claims of friction and infighting.
Iraqis struggle to survive after being freed from ISIS
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Rain in the northern part of the country flooded the river and Iraqi soldiers were forced to disassemble at least two temporary bridges on the road to Mosul. Many of bridges in northern Iraq had been destroyed since the rise of ISIS, which still holds at least 25 percent of Mosul.
O’Reilly scandal leaves women wondering: when will it stop?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Former Fox News contributor Wendy Walsh, who has accused former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly (right) of harassment. The news that Bill O’Reilly had been fired brought back memories–not just to those women who had actually worked with the man, but to those who had never even met him. Women who have had a version of a Bill O’Reilly in their lives – a man in power, who used that power over women with less.
Cockfighting in Cuba: clandestine venues, state arenas
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
By Sarah Marsh and Alexandre Meneghini CIEGO DE AVILA (Reuters) - Cuban farmer Pascual Ferrel says his favorite fighting cock's prowess was "off the charts," so after it died of illness he had the black and red rooster preserved and displays it on his mantelpiece beside a television. "He fought six times and was invincible," the 64-year old recalled fondly, talking over the crowing of 60 birds in his farmyard in the central Cuban region of Ciego de Avila. Last year, Ciego de Avila opened its first official cockfighting arena with 1,000 seats, the largest in Cuba, to the dismay of animal rights activists who see it as a step backward.
Starbucks barista has meltdown over Unicorn Frappuccino
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
SEATTLE (AP) — A Starbucks barista has taken to social media hoping to make orders for the coffee chain's much buzzed about Unicorn Frappuccino disappear.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Flying car to go on sale
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
It may not be quite like the Jetsons, but for over a million dollars you too can soon fly around in a car. A Slovakian company called AeroMobil unveiled on Thursday its version of a flying car, a light-framed ...
The latest sanctuary city? Mexico City.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On a recent Tuesday morning, scores of passengers disembarked from an unmarked plane and entered a back corner of Mexico City’s international airport through frosted glass doors. Since January, airplanes carrying between 130 and 135 Mexican deportees from the United States have arrived here three times a week. It’s an increase over the two flights a week that arrived starting in 2013, under former President Barack Obama, who some nicknamed “Deporter in Chief” for the record number of deportations that took place under his administration. Deportations from the US to Mexico fell during the first few months of President Trump's term, compared to 2016.
We're about to try to hack the Earth's climate. What could go wrong?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
With the U.S. backsliding on climate progress under President Donald Trump, and scientists issuing increasingly dire warnings about the quickening pace and sweeping impacts of global warming, the possibility that we can somehow engineer our way out of the climate crisis is becoming a more attractive option.  Geoengineering, which refers to taking steps to deliberately alter the planet's climate, is the most controversial of all climate solutions. In fact, it's not even a solution, since it doesn't actually solve the problem so much as mask it, like a fever reducer that fails to defeat the underlying infection.  SEE ALSO: Arctic Meltdown: NASA photos capture region in rapid transition Pursuing geoengineering research, let alone deploying field tests, has been met with a mix of hand-wringing and panic, with even proponents noting the ethical, moral, physical, and monetary perils involved with such plans. While such concerns still exist, scientists are now forging ahead with the largest-ever geoengineering research program. We're now entering a new era of geoengineering experimentation, driven in large part by the pace and extent of human-caused global warming. Last year was the warmest year on record for the globe, beating out 2015, which in turn beat a record set the year before that.  On April 15, the largest mainstream geoengineering program to date officially kicked off at Harvard University. The program has raised over $7 million so far, aiming for $20 million over 7 years. It will include a field test phase in which scientists will spray tiny, highly reflective particles at altitudes of greater than 7 miles above the Arizona desert, in order to test the efficacy of one of the most widely-known geoengineering methods, called solar radiation management.  If the particles can prevent some solar radiation from entering Earth's atmosphere, they could help cool the climate. This will be the first-ever real-world test of such a scheme, with researchers so far confined to their labs and computer models to make projections.  "Solar radiation management" sounds as if a James Bond villain had a baby with a  McKinsey associate: It's sci-fi, or rather, cli-fi, while also exceedingly mundane.  But it's not even a modern invention. Volcanoes, for example, have done the same thing for thousands of years by spewing huge amounts of gases and particles into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun and dampening global temperatures for years after a major eruption. The most recent example of this was when Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, cooling the globe in 1992. Now, however, it's humans that are considering imitating volcanoes, with all the risks and ethical quandaries that come with it. Who is in charge? In addition to the field tests, Harvard's program, which counts Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates among its funders, will also tackle important ethical and governance issues related to geoengineering projects. For example, consider this: If one country pursues geoengineering and inadvertently alters weather patterns in another nation, causing a drought or even a famine, should the first country be liable for damages?  Gernot Wagner, the executive director of the Harvard program and an economist by training, says solar geoengineering should be thought of as one element in a broader portfolio of climate solutions.  “I get many environmentalists' hesitation when they first hear solar geoengineering," Wagner said.  “I don’t like the fact that I’m sitting here talking about geoengineering. It terrifies me, but unmitigated global warming terrifies me even more,” he said.  The StartEx team fills a high altitude balloon to take Alan Eustace to the stratosphere in 2014. Eustace is a backer of the Harvard geoengineering project.Image: Dev. Corp./REX/ShutterstockClimate projections show that even with stringent cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, the world will still see global average temperatures shoot past the agreed upon temperature target of 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels by 2100. Solar geoengineering, Wagner says, could limit the amount and duration of any "temperature overshoot."  During such a period, climate thresholds could be exceeded, pushing the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets into a faster melting phase, shutting down vital ocean currents or triggering massive, long-lasting droughts.  In an interview, Wagner said the fears about geoengineering, including the worry about its "moral hazard," are understandable.  "It's healthy to be afraid of this technology," he said. One fear is that policy makers will see geoengineering as a technical, and cheaper, fix compared to reengineering the entire economy to move decisively away from fossil fuels, and that they will choose to pursue it while still continuing to emit huge quantities of global warming pollutants.  That would just be a band-aid approach, and not a long-term solution, Wagner says.  "Unmitigated climate change is bad, the things we know about it are bad and the things we don’t know about it point in one and only one direction," Wagner said, noting that uncertainties skew toward more climate risks, not fewer. “Climate risk and climate uncertainty is extremely costly.” Image: Ed HawkinsA standard cost-benefit analysis would likely favor geoengineering when compared to emissions cuts, but that would perpetuate the global warming problem. It would also allow one of global warming's other major impacts, the increasing acidity of the oceans, to continue unabated, potentially wiping out entire marine species.  The Harvard program aims in part to uncover the risks of solar geoengineering, so policy makers understand what they're getting into if they choose to pursue it.  Janos Pasztor, the executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative and a former U.N. diplomat who worked on climate issues, says geoengineering is in urgent need of a governing structure to help prevent a project from getting out of hand and having unintended, harmful consequences. “We cannot simply throw away these new technologies… as possible contributions to managing climate risk,” he said of geoengineering. “What is really crucial is their governance.” Given that the atmosphere is a global commons, the governance structures to control geoengineering experiments such as Harvard's cannot simply apply to one nation, but need to be international in scope, Pasztor said. “Since this is the first one of its kind it has potentially, it could be a model for how to do things in terms of governance... or it could be a model for how not to do things if things are not prepared properly," Pasztor said of the Harvard project. He said the ultimate solution to climate change won't be just geoengineering or adapting to impacts such as sea level rise.  "When you look at the totality of the climate risk that is out there now, based on our emissions we will have to, whether we like it or not, we will have to reduce our emissions to zero whatever we do,” he said. This means slashing emissions, adapting to the impacts already occurring, and possibly using geoengineering approaches.  “It’s not one or the other, it’s probably all of the above.” The diversity of the funders for the Harvard project points to the growing willingness of some in the climate community to take a deeper look at geoengineering.  For example, the Hewlett Foundation, which spent $119 million on climate change programs in 2015, is investing $250,000 in the project, and the Sloan Foundation is another funder.  According to Matt Baker, a program officer at the Hewlett Foundation, the grant is aimed at helping Hewlett arrive at an informed position on geoengineering.  "This grant is a learning grant for the Hewlett Foundation — by that I mean this is a topic with a great deal of passion but not always informed by facts," he said in an email.  "Our program wants to be able to develop an informed position on solar radiation management."  When asked to explain the need for geoengineering research, Baker fast-forwarded to the year 2030, with temperatures reaching such highs on the Indian subcontinent that the rice crop would have trouble growing.  "In response India decides to spend a billion dollars to pump aerosols into the atmosphere to cool the planet," Baker said.   "Shouldn't we at least have some idea what would happen and have international rules in place governing whether solar radiation management should happen and if so, how it would happen?" Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Harvard project has already raised $15 million. The actual figure is over $7 million. WATCH: Serene underwater footage shows whale's-eye view of Antarctica