Ungrounded Lightning writes: According to The New York Times, the US death rate has risen for the first time in more than a decade (or several decades if particular. The rise is across the whole population, though whites, especially the less educated among them, were recently (and separately) documented to be particularly hard hit.
The article speculates about drug abuse (prescription as well as illiegal), suicides, and Alzheimer's, though it notes that heart disease — which had been consistently dropping — has also risen.
No mention was made of whether the cutover to Obamacare, with its disruption of established doctor-patient relationships, retirement of doctors, rises in health-care costs, reduction in healthcare options, and delays in filling or rejections of prescriptions for lifesaving drugs, might have had some effect.
The ageing of the population was mentioned — though the rise is present even within particular age groups.
Ungrounded Lightning writes: Just noticed that the Navy has started the contracting process to fund EMC2's construction of a polywell fusion research device. So it looks like the work on Busard's design is proceeding.
This implies that the last round went well enough that the Navy thinks there's potential for a practical power generation device and is willing to fund the engineering work to get to it.
From the wording it appears to be a testbed for an ion injector. Seems to me that if they're trying to get the ions into the bottle they're confident that the reaction works and are going for continuous, rather than pulsed, operation.
Let's hope this is also either a full-sized prototype or at least a version scaled up enough to test the scaling laws.