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One of World’s Most Dangerous Supervolcanoes Is Rumbling

‘A long-quiet yet huge supervolcano that lies under 500,000 people in Italy may be waking up and approaching a “critical state,” scientists report this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Based on physical measurements and computer modeling, “we propose that magma could be approaching the CDP [critical degassing pressure] at Campi Flegrei, a volcano in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world, and where accelerating deformation and heating are currently being observed,” wrote the scientists—who are led by Giovanni Chiodini of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics in Rome…’

Source: National Geograpic

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Ebola Vaccine Gives 100 Percent Protection Against Common Strain of Virus

‘A new Ebola vaccine provides 100 percent protection against one of the two most common strains of the Ebola virus. The results of this trial were released in The Lancet on Thursday. Although the vaccine—known as rVSV-ZEBOV—has yet to be approved by regulators, the New York Times reports that scientists have already created an emergency supply of 300,000 doses, should another Ebola outbreak occur.’

Source: Gizmodo

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Can a Nuclear War Really Be Launched in Haste? And By Who?

‘With the transition from the exceptionally restrained Barack Obama to the mercurial Donald Trump, a lot of people have been thinking about the big red button at a president’s disposal. Is launching a nuclear war is as easy to do on impulse as sending out a 3 am tweet? No. And there is no big red button. It’s a matter of entering codes identifying the Commander in Chief — hey, that is kinda the 140 characters of a tweet — found in the nuclear “football,” a briefcase kept near the president at all times. But a president absolutely can make the decision all by himself, with no checks and balances, to launch a nuclear attack. And so—we think—can a handful of other people in the U.S. government…’

Source: Big Think

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Why Is the United States So Divided? Simple, It Was Never United at All.

‘North America is really comprised of 11 distinct cultural regions which battle for political and social supremacy constantly…’

Source: Why Is the United States So Divided? Simple, It Was Never United at All. | Big Think

While some might say that our strength has been in our diversity, I have been concerned for a long time that the size and heterogeneity of the US makes it ungovernable, suggesting that it was an accident waiting to happen. And the accident may now have happened.

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Intelligence on the wing

‘A few months ago, I might have called [Trump] voters bird brains, but lately I’ve been reading Jennifer Ackerman’s wonderful new book, The Genius of Birds, so I now understand that such an epithet would be an insult to birds. Birds may not be smart enough enough to run a cynical and disingenuous presidential campaign, but birds would never be so stupid as to act so recklessly against their own self-interest…’

Source: Boing Boing