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+ - Peter Kuran:Visual Effects Artist and Atomic Bomb Archivist->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Great interview with Peter Kuran, an animator of the original Star Wars and legendary visual effects artist. If you saw the recent remake of Godzilla, you saw stock footage from Atom Central, known on YouTube as “the atomic bomb channel.” Atom Central is the brainchild of Kuran, who among his many talents is an expert on archival films of the atmospheric testing era of 1945 to 1963. Combining his film restoration and photography expertise with his interest in nuclear history, he has also produced and directed five documentaries. He is currently working with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories to preserve and catalog images from the bomb-testing era, and to produce a technical handbook that will help people understand these images and the techniques used to create them. Awesome slideshow accompanies the article"
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+ - Female Staff Sue ASDA Walmart Over Pay Inequality->

Submitted by MPBoulton
MPBoulton (3865641) writes "From the BBC:

"Asda, the UK's second largest retailer, is facing a mass legal action by women who work in their stores.

The women claim they are not paid the same as male workers in the distribution warehouses — despite their jobs being of "equivalent value".

The case will test how retailers decide what they pay their staff in different parts of their business.

And if the women are successful it could have serious ramifications for the whole sector."

As a former employee I experienced both store and warehouse work, and can attest to the superior working conditions in the store. Shouldn't that be enough to justify different pay?"

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+ - Ocean could turn acidic->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "The oceans absorb about a third of the CO2 that’s being produced by industrial society, and this is changing the chemistry of seawater. CO2 reacts with the sea water to form carbonic acid. UK's chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport warns that the acidity of the oceans has increased by about 25% since the industrial revolution, mainly thanks to manmade emissions

The consequences of acidification are likely to be made worse by the warming of the ocean expected with climate change, a process which is also driven by CO2. Until now studies have identified species with calcium-based shells as most in danger from changing chemistry. But researchers in Exeter have found that other creatures will also be affected because as acidity increases it creates conditions for animals to take up more coastal pollutants like copper

The angler’s favourite bait – the humble lugworm – suffers DNA damage as a result of the extra copper. The pollutant harms their sperm, and their offspring don’t develop properly. “It’s a bit of a shock, frankly,” said biologist Ceri Lewis from Exeter University, one of the report’s authors. “It means the effects of ocean acidification may be even more serious than we previously thought. We need to look with new eyes at things which we thought were not vulnerable”

The lugworm study was published in Environmental Science and Technology. Another study from Dr Lewis not yet peer-reviewed suggests that sea urchins are also harmed by uptake of copper. This adds to the damage they will suffer from increasing acidity as it takes them more and more energy to calcify their shells and spines. This is significant because sea urchins, which can live up to 100 years, are a keystone species — grazing algae off rocks that would otherwise be covered in green slime

“Our work means we are under-estimating effects of acidification for coastal invertebrates. We are now realizing there are many indirect impacts of ocean acidification on other processes. It could be that we are facing a lot more surprises ahead”"

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+ - Incapacitating Chemical Agents: Coming Soon to Local Law Enforcement?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "To this day, Russian authorities refuse to disclose the incapacitating chemical agent (ICA) they employed in their attempt, 12 years ago, to save 900 hostages held in a theater by Chechen fighters. Malcom Dando elaborates on a new report that Russia, China, Israel, and a slew of other countries are continuing research into ICAs, and the apparent indifference of the international community into such research. Proponenets of ICAs have long promoted their use in a variety of scenarios, including that of law enforcement, because in theory these chemicals incapacitate without permanent disability. Critics, however, point out that these weapons rely on exact dosage to prevent fatality, and that the ability to 'deliver the right agent to the right people in the right dose without exposing the wrong people, or delivering the wrong dose' is a near-impossible expectation. ICAs represent the further misuse and militarization of the life sciences and a weakening of the taboo against the weaponization of toxic substances, and the idea that they could be used in law enforcement situations is a disturbing one."
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+ - How the Big Bang's alternatives died

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "It’s such a part of our cosmic and scientific history, that it’s difficult to remember that it’s only been for the past 50 years that the Big Bang has been the leading theory-and-model that describes our Universe. Ever since the 1920s, when Edwin Hubble discovered the apparent expansion of our Universe, we’ve recognized that it’s a much bigger place than simply what’s in the Milky Way. But the Big Bang was hardly the only game in town. Yet the discovery of not only the Cosmic Microwave Background, but the detailed measurement of its temperature and spectrum, was able to rule out every single alternative as a non-viable model."

+ - Ebola does not require an "Ebola Czar," nor calling up the National Guard->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "David Ropeik explores risk-perception psychology and Ebola in the US. 'But officials are up against the inherently emotional and instinctive nature of risk-perception psychology. Pioneering research on this subject by Paul Slovic, Baruch Fischhoff, and others, vast research on human cognition by Daniel Kahnemanand colleagues, and research on the brain’s fear response by neuroscientists Joseph LeDoux, Elizabeth Phelps, and others, all make abundantly clear that the perception of risk is not simply a matter of the facts, but more a matter of how those facts feel. (Melissa Finucane, Slovic, and others have called this the “affect heuristic.”)'"
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+ - The tiny islands that China wants in the South China Sea->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "It's always the natural resources, isn't it? China is claiming tiny islands known as the Spratlys and Paracels chains, respectively, and is even going so far as to dump millions of tons of rock and sand to extend landmass, due to suspected reserves of oil and natural gas surrounding them. This would also give China 'what would effectively be an unsinkable aircraft carrier and a new set of facts on the ground.' The Spratlys are made up of about 750 little bits of land that lie due south of China and southeast of Vietnam. (The Paracels have fewer islands, but with more landmass.) Both China and Vietnam fervently claim the island chains as their own, as do the governments of the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.' As this article points out, this area of the South China Sea has been a flashpoint for decades."
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+ - The very small Islamic State WMD threat->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "With ISIS running amok over such a large swathe of territory, it’s no surprise that rampant fears of the group obtaining Weapons of Mass Destruction are growing. 'But it is important to be realistic about the threat. It remains unlikely that the group will be able to acquire and effectively use chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.' Terrific read by two proliferation experts."
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+ - Who's in charge during the Ebola crisis?-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Epidemics test the leadership skills of politicians and medical infrastructures, which is clear as this article goes through the different ways West African countries have dealt with the Ebola crisis. Now that fears are spreading about a US outbreak (highly unlikely, as this article points out), it may be time to look at the US medical infrastructure, which, of course, in many ways is far superior to those West African countries where the virus has spread. But there is an interesting twist to how disease outbreaks are handled in the US: 'The US Constitution—written approximately 100 years before the germ theory of disease was proven by French chemist Louis Pasteur and German physician Robert Koch—places responsibility for public health squarely on the shoulders of local and state political leaders...one could argue that the United States is hobbled by an outdated constitution in responding to epidemics. State and local jurisdictions vary tremendously in their public health capabilities.'"
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+ - Pentagon unveils plan for military's response to climate change

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Rising sea levels and other effects of climate change will create major problems for America's military, including more and worse natural disasters and food and water shortages that could fuel disputes around the world, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. From the article: "The Pentagon’s '2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap' describes how global warming will bring new demands on the military. Among the report's conclusions: Coastal military installations that are vulnerable to flooding will need to be altered; humanitarian assistance missions will be more frequent in the face of more intense natural disasters; weapons and other critical military equipment will need to work under more severe weather conditions. 'This road map shows how we are identifying — with tangible and specific metrics, and using the best available science — the effects of climate change on the department’s missions and responsibilities,' Hagel said. 'Drawing on these assessments, we will integrate climate change considerations into our planning, operations, and training.'”"

+ - Ahmet Uzumcu: Getting rid of chemical weapons in Syria and beyond->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Terrific interview with Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, which won last year's Nobel Peace Prize. 'The mission committed to getting rid of Syria’s arsenal in less than 10 months. It didn’t know if it would have enough funding, and Syria was in the midst of a raging civil war. Despite these impediments, the mission managed to destroy 97 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons within one year. Along the way, Uzumcu accepted the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his organization.'"
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+ - New anti-nuclear movement should push for an old idea: a comprehensive test ban->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes ""This call for a new push on ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty includes a terrific (short) animated video of how nuclear test monitoring actually works, and details why the new "humanitarian impact" movement could help get the CTBT ratified by those countries that haven't yet done so (guess who?). Interesting piece.""
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+ - Why a new anti-nuclear movement should push for an old idea: a comprehensive tes->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This call for a new push on ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty includes a terrific (short) animated video of how nuclear test monitoring actually works, and details why the new "humanitarian impact" movement could help get the CTBT ratified by those countries that haven't yet done so (guess who?). Interesting piece."
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+ - Swing Theory: Local Dancers Reject Traditional Gender Roles ->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Interesting piece about West Coast Swing dancers challenging the traditional gender roles of "leading" and "following." As more competitions in the field open up to "degendered" dance roles, will the organizations that award points begin to recognize winners even if they have switched gender roles? The times, they are a changing."
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+ - What You Might Not Know About 'Getting Roofied'->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Although based on anecdotal evidence, this article describes the rise in the number of people who report having been "roofied"--that is, having had a drug slipped into their drinks by bartenders, acquaintances, etc. Men are reporting the experience at increasing rates, and the drug of choice isn't necessarily rohypnol: Reported drugs include '...GHB (or “liquid Ecstasy”), Zolpidem (also known as Ambien), scopolamine, and a few lesser-known benzodiazepines, like temazepam or midazolam. It is probably no longer accurate to say “She was roofied” — but then “She was midazolamed” lacks a certain something.' Although sexual assault doesn't seem always to be the intent, it's a pretty appalling phenomenon."
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