Friday, October 31, 2014

Middle East Relationships, Explained Through An Interactive Map

Middle East Relationships, Explained Through An Interactive Map: "By highlighting or clicking on any of the actors in the region, the reader can explore the actor's relevant connections. Clicking on Islamic State, for example, shows that the extremist group has a mutual hatred with just about everyone else, with the exception of Qatar. Despite having participated in international airstrikes against IS, the Gulf State has been accused of being a hotspot for terror funding.

While some of the connections may be up for debate, the chart is a great supplementary guide for an often incomprehensible topic. As with anything in the region, though, it will likely be subject to change as political bonds break and forge."



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Our World Is Mesmerizing On The Micro Level, And These Award-Winning Photos Are Proof

Our World Is Mesmerizing On The Micro Level, And These Award-Winning Photos Are Proof: "You've never seen a spider, a caterpillar, or even a DVD reader quite like this before.

The winning photos this year in Nikon's annual Small World Photomicrography Competition offer a very up-close look at these three things and many others--and they're absolutely beautiful.

The annual competition, which is celebrating its 40th year, showcases some of the best microphotography from around the world. This year, more than 1,200 entries from at least 79 countries were vying for top honors. The entries were judged by biologist Dr. Paul Maddox, Slate science editor Laura Helmuth, and Popular Science's online director Dave Mosher.

Which photo took first place? Panama resident Rogelio Moreno's image of a rotifer's open mouth. Rotifers are sometimes called microscopic "wheel" animals and are commonly found in freshwater."



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Mexico Is Looking For 43 Missing Students. What Has Been Found Is Truly Terrifying

Mexico Is Looking For 43 Missing Students. What Has Been Found Is Truly Terrifying: "After a student protest in Iguala, Mexico, last month, dozens of young men were seen being hauled off into police vans. Then, they vanished.

One month later, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers college are still missing and presumed dead. Instead of finding the students, authorities investigating the events of Sept. 26 have instead found other horrors: a string of mass graves, police working for drug cartels and government officials at the helm of a dark underworld.

The hunt for the students has laid bare the brutality and lawlessness in parts of Mexico still under the grip of the cartels, despite years of Mexico’s war on drugs."



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40 Photos From An Epic Road Trip Through North Korea

40 Photos From An Epic Road Trip Through North Korea: "When North Korea opens its doors, it does so for a reason. So it was when the authoritarian government granted permission for a road trip so extensive that few North Koreans — let alone a pair of American journalists — could imagine taking it.

We drove 2,150 kilometers (1,336 miles) in a country that has barely 25,000 kilometers of road, and only 724 kilometers of those paved. By the time we returned to the capital a week later, our Chinese-made Great Wall SUV had a few new scratches and one less hubcap.Our official destination was majestic Mount Paektu, with its jagged peaks surrounding a crystal-blue crater lake. North Korea is pursuing a plan to create dozens of special foreign investment and tourism zones, and this is one of the places it most wants to promote.

The easiest way to get there is to fly, but we had been granted permission to drive. This, we were told, would mean traveling through places that no foreign journalists had been allowed to see before."



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Violent Protests Topple Government in Burkina Faso - NYTimes.com

Violent Protests Topple Government in Burkina Faso - NYTimes.com: "OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — The government of Burkina Faso collapsed on Thursday as demonstrators protesting President Blaise Compaoré’s plans to stay in office after 27 years surged through the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital, overrunning state broadcasters, setting fire to Parliament and torching the homes of the president’s relatives.



 Authorities imposed martial law, according to a communiqué from the presidential palace.



 After several hours of increasingly violent protests, a government spokesman announced that a bill to extend the term of Mr. Compaoré had been dropped, or at least delayed. Yet the protests continued, and later in the day, Mr. Compaoré announced that the government had been dissolved and promised more talks with the opposition “to end the crisis,” according to a statement read on a local radio station.



If the protests do unseat Mr. Compaoré, it will mark the first time since the Arab Spring that a popular movement has succeeded in removing an autocrat in sub-Saharan Africa. "



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San Francisco scientists find autism linked to dozens of genetic mutations - San Jose Mercury News

San Francisco scientists find autism linked to dozens of genetic mutations - San Jose Mercury News: "Not all cases of autism have a gene-based beginning. Growing brains can also be influenced by environmental events.

In many cases, a combination of factors may be involved, he said.

While a rare few of the newly detected mutations are inherited from the parents' genomes, most families do not have a family history of the disorder.

Rather, these mutations arose during the creation of a father's sperm cell or mother's egg cell, they found.

The scientists tied mutations in more than 100 genes to autism. Sixty of these genes met a "high-confidence" threshold, indicating that there is a greater than 90 percent chance that mutations in those genes contribute to autism risk."



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Halloween Draws Muslim Ire in Malaysia as Tensions Simmer - WSJ - WSJ

Halloween Draws Muslim Ire in Malaysia as Tensions Simmer - WSJ - WSJ:



"KUALA LUMPUR—A Muslim religious edict denouncing Halloween parties in Malaysia might not seem like a significant move. Plenty of Christian groups also view the commerce and frivolity that accompany the celebration as vaguely pagan and a little bit off-color.



 But the role of Islam in public life is becoming a combustible issue here, driven on in part by the deepening conflict between government supporters and backers of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, whose trial on sodomy charges at the country’s highest court is gaining momentum.



 Muslim leaders recently criticized a dog-petting event in Kuala Lumpur, accusing the organizer, himself a Muslim, as spreading un-Islamic practices. Dogs are considered unclean in some interpretations of Islam. Oktoberfest beer celebrations, while aimed at Malaysia’s large ethnic-Chinese and Indian populations, have also been criticized. The edict, or fatwa, against Halloween, posted on the “e-fatwa” website of the religious affairs ministry, warned that the day “cannot be celebrated by Muslims.”"



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