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Diamond planet discovered by astronomers   →

A diamond-crystal planet five times the size of Earth and with more mass than Jupiter has been discovered in our own Milky Way galaxy.  

An international team of astronomers led by Swinburne University of Technology in Australia spotted the exotic planet racing around a tiny star 4,000 light years away and published their findings Thursday in the journal Science.

The “cosmic bling,” as Wired called it, is far denser than any other known planet, consisting mostly of carbon. It is because of this density that the carbon must be crystalline, making a large part of the planet diamond. 

kateoplis:

Meet the Leaders of the Libyan Rebellion

The Libyan rebels fighting to topple Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi are led by longtime opponents of the Qaddafi government as well as officials who defected once the rebellion began. The Benghazi-based National Transitional Council came together in late February as the official opposition body. Below are some of the main figures in the council leadership.

Mahmoud Jibril: Head of government

He has spent most of his time during the rebellion abroad, meeting with international leaders and persuading them to recognize the National Transitional Council. He worked in the Qaddafi government as head of the National Economic Development Board before defecting at the beginning of the rebellion.

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil: Chairman of the National Transitional Council

He has been the leader of the rebels’ interim council since it was formed at the end of February. He was Minister of Justice in the Qaddafi government until he resigned after violence was used against protesters.

Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga: Vice Chairman of the National Council

He has been a leader and spokesman for the rebels’ transitional council since it was formed. Previously, he was a prominent Benghazi lawyer who was involved in representing families of the prisoners killed at Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison in 1996.

(via theatlantic)

Wall Street Retro: The Two Question Interview   →

Birute Regine

IronButterflies.com (via The Huffington Post)

Posted: 8/17/11 12:39 PM ET

After several interviews, she finally landed a phone interview with the top honcho of the Wall Street firm. “He said, ‘I have two questions for you.”” My friend said to me, “Can you guess what they were?” When she told me, my jaw dropped open.

"He said, ‘First question. Do you have a boyfriend?’" The roommate said no.

"The second question. ‘Do you want to have children?’" Again she said no. They hired her.

Buzz Kill: Marijuana Genome Sequenced For Health, Not Highs   →

Stoners and scientists alike may be stoked to learn that a startup biotech company has completed the DNA sequence of Cannabis sativa, or marijuana. But here’s something that could ruin a high: The company hopes the data will help scientists breed pot plants without much THC, the mind-altering chemical in the plant. The goal is instead to maximize other compounds that may have therapeutic benefits.

Kevin McKernan, founder and chief executive officer of the company, called Medicinal Genomics, says Cannabis sativa has 84 other compounds that could fight pain or possibly even shrink tumors

thenewrepublic:

Guantanamo Bay isn’t the only secret rendition site that the United States maintains. Dozens of sites across the globe are owned and operated by the American government, primarily in countries where the laws against “enhanced interrogation” aren’t so focused on civil rights.

thenewrepublic:

Guantanamo Bay isn’t the only secret rendition site that the United States maintains. Dozens of sites across the globe are owned and operated by the American government, primarily in countries where the laws against “enhanced interrogation” aren’t so focused on civil rights.

(via ilovecharts)

Asia's Lonely Hearts: The Decline of Asian Marriage   →

"…marriage is changing fast in East, South-East and South Asia, even though each region has different traditions. The changes are different from those that took place in the West in the second half of the 20th century. Divorce, though rising in some countries, remains comparatively rare. What’s happening in Asia is a flight from marriage."

The Prettiest Boy in the World   →

By Alex Morris

Published Aug. 14, 2011

As a man

As a woman

"For even a moderately vain female, spending time with Pejic is like losing a race to someone who’s not even running: If he were not a man, he would be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in the flesh—which, in his case, is flawless and poreless and has an English-rose luster. His mussed blond locks and the rounded width of his cheekbones bring to mind a young Brigitte Bardot. At 19 years old, he is six-foot-one, thin as the stroke of a paintbrush, and wears a women’s size 11 shoe, which he says is hard to find in couture but is sometimes carried at DSW. He is fey but not flamboyant. His only apparent physical imperfection is a pair of moles that hover gracefully over his lip on the right side of his slightly feline face. They are sometimes, albeit rarely, Photoshopped out."

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich   →

By WARREN E. BUFFETT

 Published: August 14, 2011

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.

More than 9 in 10 Americans believe in God   →

Results of a Gallup poll released over the weekend reveal that more than nine in 10 Americans believe in God. Ninety-two percent of Gallup’s 1,018 respondents (hailing from all 50 states) answered “yes” when asked whether they believed in God.

nationaljournal:

Money is important, but it isn’t everything.  The Organization for  Economic Cooperation and Development created the Your Better Life Index  to compare the quality of life as well as economic prowess of its 34  member countries. The index measures each country using 11 different  lines, including income, employment, health, education, environmental  quality, and its citizens’ opinions about life satisfaction, work-life  balance, and a sense of community.  Because people have different  priorities, the OECD index allows them to rank countries according to  their own values. The United States remains at the top for income and  wealth, but it lags behind as a place to live a long and happy life.

nationaljournal:

Money is important, but it isn’t everything. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development created the Your Better Life Index to compare the quality of life as well as economic prowess of its 34 member countries. The index measures each country using 11 different lines, including income, employment, health, education, environmental quality, and its citizens’ opinions about life satisfaction, work-life balance, and a sense of community. Because people have different priorities, the OECD index allows them to rank countries according to their own values. The United States remains at the top for income and wealth, but it lags behind as a place to live a long and happy life.

(via theatlantic)

First man ‘functionally cured’ of HIV   →

Since HIV was discovered 30 years ago this week, 30 million people have died from the disease, and it continues to spread at the rate of 7,000 people per day globally, the UN says.

There’s not much good news when it comes to this devastating virus. But that is perhaps why the story of the man scientists call the “Berlin patient” is so remarkable and has generated so much excitement among the HIV advocacy community.

Live and Learn   →

The authors decided that, despite a lot of rhetoric about accountability in higher education, no one seemed eager to carry out an assessment, so they did their own. They used a test known as the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or C.L.A. The test has three parts, though they use data from just one part, the “performance task.” Students are, for example, assigned to advise “an employer about the desirability of purchasing a type of airplane that has recently crashed,” and are shown documents, such as news articles, an F.A.A. accident report, charts, and so on, and asked to write memos. The memos are graded for “critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and writing.”

The test was given to a group of more than two thousand freshmen in the fall of 2005, and again, to the same group, in the spring of 2007. Arum and Roksa say that forty-five per cent of the students showed no significant improvement, and they conclude that “American higher education is characterized by limited or no learning for a large proportion of students.”

The study design raises a lot of questions, from the reasonableness of assessing learning growth after only three full semesters of college to the reliability of the C.L.A. itself. The obvious initial inference to make about a test that does not pick up a difference where you expect one is that it is not a very good test. And, even if the test does measure some skills accurately, the results say nothing about whether students have acquired any knowledge, or socially desirable attitudes, that they didn’t have before they entered college.

There are other reasons for skepticism. It’s generally thought (by their professors, anyway) that students make a developmental leap after sophomore year—although Arum and Roksa, in a follow-up study completed after their book was finished, determined that, after four years, thirty-six per cent of students still did not show significant improvement on the C.L.A. But what counts as significant in a statistical analysis is a function of where you set the bar. Alexander Astin, the dean of modern higher-education research, who is now an emeritus professor at U.C.L.A., published a sharp attack on Arum and Roksa’s methodology in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and, in particular, on the statistical basis for the claim that forty-five per cent of college students do not improve.

First of all, students who are better prepared academically for college not only do better when they get to college; they improve more markedly while they’re there. And students who take courses requiring them to write more than twenty pages a semester and to read more than forty pages a week show greater improvement.

"We were being guarded by two — really, they looked like teenagers. Eighteen, 20 years old. And they’d be cleaning the gun, or taking the clip out and sticking it back in, just making these gun noises to keep us on edge. And it worked,” she said. “I was certainly worried about getting raped. It didn’t happen. Once we got to Surte, the danger zone for that had largely passed. I was very worried about it. I know the guys were too. They had their hands tied behind their backs. They wouldn’t be able to do anything."

Clare Morgana Gillis recounts her six-week detention in Libya to Max Fisher. Read the entire interview at The Atlantic. (via theatlantic)

thedailywhat:

Before And After of the Day: Missourian Aaron Fuhrman — a self-taught landscape photographer — has been traveling around Joplin, photographing heartrending panoramic shots of the devastation left in the aftermath of Sunday’s tornado.
Fuhrman lined up one of these panoramic photos with a Google Street View screencap of the same intersection to illustrate the comprehension-challenging extent of damage caused by the twister.
[buzzfeed.]

thedailywhat:

Before And After of the Day: Missourian Aaron Fuhrman — a self-taught landscape photographer — has been traveling around Joplin, photographing heartrending panoramic shots of the devastation left in the aftermath of Sunday’s tornado.

Fuhrman lined up one of these panoramic photos with a Google Street View screencap of the same intersection to illustrate the comprehension-challenging extent of damage caused by the twister.

[buzzfeed.]

(Source: thedailywhat, via dailybunch)