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+ - Japan's Missing Plutonium: How dangerous material falls through the cracks-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Japan's missing plutonium has been found, but the larger point of this article remains: 'Most people would agree that keeping track of dangerous material is generally a good idea. So it may come as a surprise to some that the arrangements that are supposed to account for weapon-grade fissile materials—plutonium and highly enriched uranium—are sketchy at best. The most recent example involves several hundreds kilograms of plutonium that appear to have fallen through the cracks in various reporting arrangements.'"
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+ - President of UT Austin declines chancellor's request to resign-> 2

Submitted by lfp98
lfp98 (740073) writes "President Bill Powers has long been in conflict with Governor Rick Perry over the direction and goals of the University of Texas' flagship Austin campus. This week, news leaked that the Chancellor requested Powers' resignation before this Thursday's meeting of the Regents (who are all Perry appointees), under threat of being fired at that meeting if he did not resign. So far Powers has refused, while expressing an openness to leaving after the end of the current academic year [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/bill-powers-ut-resign_n_5562317.html]. Powers is highly regarded by UT students, faculty, alumni [http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/texas-longhorns/20140706-alumni-letter-calls-university-of-texas-president-s-forced-resignation-a-travesty.ece] and the larger academic community, but has been criticized by Perry and other conservatives for not being sufficiently focused on providing educational services at the lowest possible cost. Powers' supporters view the forced dismissal as brazen political interference with University governance, primarily for the purpose of allowing Perry to influence the choice of a new president before he leaves office in December [http://chronicle.com/article/As-Fight-Over-U-of-Texas/147535/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en]."
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+ - Thousands of leaked KGB files are now open to the public->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Over 20 years after being smuggled out of Russia, a trove of KGB documents are being opened up to the public for the first time. The leaked documents include thousands of files and represent what the FBI is said to view as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." The documents include KGB information on secret Russian weapons caches, Russian spies, and KGB information on the activities of Pope John Paul II. Known as the Mitrokhin Archive, the files are all available as of today at Churchill College's Archives Centre."
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+ - Ramadan has started; what does that mean for MERS?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Maurizio Barbeschi leads the World Health Organization's Preparedness, Mass Gatherings and Deliberate Events Group, which provides strategic guidance on dealing with high-visibility and high-consequence events like Ramadan and the World Cup. In this interview he talks about disease outbreaks that have occurred at these types of mass gatherings, and the strategies Saudi Arabia is using this month to prevent a MERS outbreak during Ramadan."
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+ - Elizabeth Kolbert: We're already geoengineering the climate->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "A fascinating interview with Elizabeth Kolbert about her work reporting on the environment and climate change for the New Yorker, and her latest book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. The interview explores the denialist phenomenon, field research, charismatic megafauna, saving wildlife, and her expectations for the future of the planet. One of the most interesting discussions here is about how truly right-wing the US has become when compared to the conservative politics in other countries: 'What we consider to be left-wing politics, the Europeans consider to be centrist politics. I mean, look at our tax policies, look at everything, and look at the kind of know-nothing right we have. Don’t get me wrong; the know-nothing right exists in Europe, I don’t want to claim it doesn’t. But it’s not very powerful, compared to here'"
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+ - The War Between Centralization and Decentralization->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Many believe the most significant battle of our era is between the forces of Decentralization vs. Centralization. Niall Furguson takes that battle and looks at it from a historical perspective, describing it as Networks vs. Hierarchies, and warns we "need networks, for no political hierarchy, no matter how powerful, can plan all the clever things that networks spontaneously generate. But if the hierarchy comes to control the networks so much as to compromise their benign self-organizing capacities, then innovation is bound to wane.""
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+ - SCOTUS decision on recess appointments: Pragmatism triumphs over formalism->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes ""The SCOTUS blog, as always, has a great analysis of yesterday's Supreme Court decision that struck down a handful of President Obama's recess appointments. Although first reported as a complete blow to recess appointments, in actuality, the Court refused to strip presidents of nearly all power to make such appointments (as the four dissenters would have done); the majority set some limits but still kept that authority mostly intact.""
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+ - Did Climate Deniers Just Admit They Don't Know What They're Talking About?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Dawn Stover skewers the latest phrasing from ever-evolving argument from the climate-denying world: the "I'm not a scientist." tactic. 'Just when it seemed that climate deniers might finally be coming to their senses, several leading voices began backpedaling. But instead of asserting that global warming isn’t occurring or isn’t human-caused, they came up with a sly new way to suggest that the scientific jury is still out: total ignorance.'"
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+ - ISIS: The unsurprising surprise that is sweeping Iraq->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Terrorism expert Charles Blair explores the history of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) and their recent, terrifying blitz through Iraq and Syria. It turns out that ISIS is a multi-tiered organization that 'displays a robust command and control system, and, Lewis correctly notes, it enjoys “unconstrained communication among teams as well as unconstrained access to human capacity and materiel."' ISIS controls enough electricity in parts of Syria that it is actually selling power back to the Syrian government, and has also taken control of grains and cotton production in the eastern regions of Syria. ISIS fighters earn up to 3 times that of other rebel groups, so they are motivated beyond an ideological level. Although it was reported that the Iraqi military collapsed during the ISIS onslaught, it could just be that they were merely out-strategized. Because the ISIS military commander in Iraq was trained by the United States, it's highly likely he knew what the Iraqi strategy would be."
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+ - The EPA carbon plan: Coal loses, but but who wins?-> 3

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Mark Cooper with one of the best explanations of some of the most pressing details on the new EPA rule change: 'The claims and counterclaims about EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards have filled the air: It will boost nuclear. It will expand renewables. It promotes energy efficiency. It will kill coal. It changes everything. It accomplishes almost nothing.' Cooper notes that although it's clear that coal is the big loser in the rule change, the rule itself doesn't really pick winners in terms of offering sweet deals for any particular technology; however, it seems that nuclear is also a loser in this formulation, because 'Assuming that states generally adhere to the prime directive of public utility resource acquisition—choosing the lowest-cost approach—the proposed rule will not alter the dismal prospects of nuclear power...' Nuclear power does seem to be struggling with economic burdens and a reluctance from taxpayers to pay continuing subsides in areas such as storage and cleanup. It seems that nuclear is another loser in the new EPA rule change."
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+ - Why China is worried about Japan's plutonium stocks->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "A fascinating account of why China is so worried about Japan's excessive plutonium stocks: combined with its highly sophisticated missile program, 'Chinese nuclear-weapons specialists emphasize that Japan has everything technically needed to make nuclear weapons.' It turns out that Japan has under-reported a sizable amount of plutonium, and there have been increasing signs that the country might be moving toward re-militarization. This is a particularly worrying read about nuclear tensions in Asia."
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+ - The Scapegoating of General Shinseki: who resigns and who does not in D.C.?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Anthropologist Hugh Gusterson has a blistering column examining the Veterans Affairs scandal and resignation of VA secretary General Eric Shinseki. In Gusterson's view, Shinseki was forced to take the fall for what at its core is a Congressional failure--the failure to fund Veterans Affairs to a level that is even close to sufficient, given the VA's mission: 'Meanwhile, at the same time that the VA struggled to deal with an onslaught of 650,000 soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, its facilities were already staggering under the escalating demands of Vietnam veterans. As the Harvard health economist Linda Bilmes points out, veterans’ health care needs typically peak 30 to 40 years after a war ends; the demands of Vietnam veterans were just reaching their peak as an influx of new veterans with amputations, traumatic brain injuries and PTSD stretched resources to the breaking point.' Given the statistics Gusterson cites in this article, it's clear this scandal is just the tip of the iceberg."
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+ - West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is being melted by geothermal heat from below->

Submitted by bricko
bricko (1052210) writes "Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts."

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+ - The threat of right-wing acts of terrorism is real->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Charles Blair explores the controversy and subsequent squashing of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Environment Threat Analysis, which documented the rising threat of US far-right extremism and terror attacks, and the possibility that returning veterans would be recruited by these extremist groups for weapons and planning expertise. Now considered "prophetic," the document created such an outcry from conservatives that the DHS repressed the report. 'The report’s demise was an unfortunate loss for all levels of law enforcement. Since its release, credible plots and attacks by violent extremists have surged. As the report forewarned, responsibility for the vast majority of these events lies with far-right individual extremists and extreme groups.' Blair states that despite a wave of plots since the muzzling of the report, DHS remains reluctant to address the growing threat."
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+ - Meeting Iran's nuclear fuel supply needs is the only way to a deal->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "A clear exploration of the main sticking point in the Iranian nuclear negotiations that just resumed in Vienna. Iran wants an indigenous fuel supply, which the P5+1 is resisting. The US says that Iran doesn't need an indigenous supply because Russia will meet their enriched uranium needs; obviously, trusting Russia not to manipulate energy supplies for political ends is a questionable strategy: 'Does Iran really need to be self-sufficient in nuclear fuel? Its insistence on having an indigenous enrichment program has often been dismissed in the West as an issue of national pride. It’s important not to discount pride as an element of any agreement— after all, Iran’s negotiators will need to take home a deal they can stand behind. But Tehran’s concerns extend beyond just nationalism. Reliance on other countries for energy is a dicey strategic prospect, as the United States knows only too well. And Iran has been cheated a number of times.' Good technical info on what exactly Iran will need makes it clear they'll have to get fuel from someone for a number of years. But in the long run, it seems that they'll have to be allowed to generate their own enriched uranium."
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