This Year, Every Vote Is a Vote for or Against Climate Change

‘YESTERDAY, THE 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia aired a five and a half minute video about climate change. Directed by James Cameron and narrated by Sigourney Weaver, it featured Don Cheadle, Jack Black, America Ferrera, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other celebs. Instead of scientists and hockey sticks, it had forest fires, Hurricane Sandy survivors, and a summer blockbuster soundtrack. The gist: Climate change is causing awful things in America and abroad. If you care to stop it, vote for Hillary Clinton.

None of that is as remarkable as the context in which it was shown. In the decades since scientists first warned a US president that greenhouse gas emissions would doom us all, no political party has ever presented itself as taking the issue seriously during a presidential election. This year is different. And not because the Republican candidate calls climate change a hoax. What’s new is Democrats are going on the offense. Speaker after speaker at the convention has laid into Donald Trump and his party’s denialism. Climate action is a prominent plank in the Democratic Party platform. They’ve made the stakes clear: A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for planet Earth…’

Source: WIRED


Trump Asks Russia to Dig Up Hillary’s Emails in Unprecedented Remarks

‘DONALD TRUMP’S SCHADENFREUDE in the DNC’s embarrassing email leak is standard practice in America’s messy electoral politics. Today, though, his casual request that Russian hackers dig up Hillary Clinton’s emails—sent while she was U.S. Secretary of State—for his own political gain has sparked a new level of outrage among cybersecurity experts…’

Source: WIRED


(I know I promised not to feature the angry groundhog’s mug as much, but I couldn’t resist sharing this photo.)


Why Isn’t the Global Rate of HIV Infection Declining?

‘The rate of new HIV infections peaked globally in 1997 with 3.3 million cases. From there, a steady decrease was seen until 2005, when the average number of new infections had decreased to 2.6 million per year. This rate has remained more or less constant since then, according to a new study published in the Lancet HIV, with the result being a steady growth of total HIV cases to approximately 38.8 million in 2015.

These are discouraging results; one should expect that, given increasing public awareness, infections would consistently continue to decline.

The same study notes, however, that HIV mortality is falling globally. In 2005, 1.8 million people died from the illness, while that number fell to 1.2 million in 2015. The decrease here can be primarily attributed to two things: The scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which can keep the virus at bay almost indefinitely in infected patients, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission…’

Source: Motherboard


Roundest Country in the World?

‘Gonzalo Ciruelos set out to discover which country was the roundest in shape:

We can define roundness in many ways. For example, as you may know, the circle is the shape that given a fixed perimeter maximizes the area. This definition has many problems. One of the problems is that countries generally have chaotic perimeters (also known as borders), so they tend to be much longer than they seem to be.For that reason, we have to define roundness some other way. We represent countries as a plane region, i.e., a compact set C⊂R2C⊂R2. I will define its roundness as…

That’s about where I tune out! Turns out the answer is Sierra Leone. Click through to see lots of mathy thingies on the screen, the runners-up, the least round countries, and the source code.’

Source: Boing Boing


John Hinckley Wins His Freedom

‘John Hinckley Jr., 35-years after he tried to kill a president, has won his freedom.A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he’s resided for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Va.

The release could happen as early as next week, the judge ruled. Under the terms of the order, Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. Hinckley also will not be permitted to “knowingly travel” to areas where the current president or members of Congress are present. The judge said Hinckley could be allowed to live on his own or in a group home after one year…’

Source: NPR