Signs of the Times
One in five people is affected by a synaesthesia-like phenomenon in which visual movements or flashes of light are "heard" as faint sounds, according to scientists.
The findings suggest that far more people than initially thought experience some form of sensory cross-wiring - which could explain the appeal of flashing musical baby toys and strobed lighting at raves.
Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University and the study's lead author, said: "A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognise."
More florid forms of synaesthesia, in which disparate sensory experiences are blended, are found in only about 2 - 4% of the population. To a synaesthete, the number seven might appear red, or the name Wesley might "taste" like boiled cabbage, for instance.
The latest work - only the second published on the phenomenon - suggests that many more of us experience a less intrusive version of the condition in which visual movements or flashes are accompanied by an internal soundtrack of hums, buzzes or swooshes. Since movements are very frequently accompanied by sounds in everyday life, the effect is likely to be barely discernible.
More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign - or admit that the proof is lacking.
MEMORANDUM FOR: President Barack Obama
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A Key Issue That Still Needs to be Resolved
As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, a pall hangs over his upcoming presidency amid an unprecedentedly concerted campaign to delegitimize it. Unconfirmed accusations continue to swirl alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized "Russian hacking" that helped put Mr. Trump in the White House.
As President for a few more days, you have the power to demand concrete evidence of a link between the Russians and WikiLeaks, which published the bulk of the information in question. Lacking that evidence, the American people should be told that there is no fire under the smoke and mirrors of recent weeks.
We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, "we-assess" judgments by the intelligence agencies. Otherwise, we - as well as other skeptical Americans - will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those - like Mr. Trump - who wish to deal constructively with them.
The man accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding six others at a Florida airport has claimed his mind is controlled by the government and that he communicated with ISIS members through the dark web, according to new testimony.
Esteban Santiago, 26, initially blamed his actions on government mind control but later said he had been "on the dark web" communicating in "jihadi chat rooms," the FBI testified in court during a detention hearing on Tuesday, according to the Sun Sentinel, Florida.
Businessman Kevin O'Leary will enter the Conservative leadership race tomorrow, CBC News has learned.
The Montreal-born anglophone will launch his campaign in Toronto only hours after skipping the French-language debate, which will be held tonight in Quebec City, sources close to the candidate said.
The move comes a week after his campaign exploratory committee told the former CBC Television host there was a "clear path to victory" if he jumped into the crowded race to replace Stephen Harper as permanent leader of the Conservative Party.
The University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered a rare and powerful type of immune cell in the meninges around the brain, suggesting the cells may play a critical but previously unappreciated role in battling Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, meningitis and other neurological diseases, in addition to supporting our healthy mental functioning. By harnessing the cells' power, doctors may be able to develop new treatments for neurological diseases, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries - even migraines.
Further, the researchers suspect the cells may be the missing link connecting the brain and the microbiota in our guts, a relationship already shown important in the development of Parkinson's disease.
The cells, known as "type 2 innate lymphocytes," previously have been found in the gut, lungs and skin - the body's barriers to disease. Their discovery in the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain, comes as a surprise.
They were found as UVA researcher Jonathan Kipnis explored the implications of his lab's game-changing discovery last year that the brain and the immune system are directly connected via vessels long thought not to exist.
Donald Trump "has a point" when lashing out at the leak of the unverified dossier on his alleged ties with Moscow, US Republican Senator John McCain, has said, stressing the leak of the "damning" document is "totally wrong."
"The president-elect has a point," McCain said in an interview with Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends. "The fact that this un-validated, to say the least, document was leaked is somebody's responsibility. So the president-elect does have a point here."
The Republican lawmaker said he also received the dossier, but "made no judgment on it" and "handed it over to the FBI."
With less than 72 hours left in office, President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences for 209 people, including Chelsea Manning, and pardoned 64 people, including retired Gen. James Cartwright.
Cartwright, who pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with reporters relating to the Stuxnet program, a classified US hacking program that used viruses to attack Iran's nuclear program starting in 2009. Cartwright was due to be sentenced on Tuesday, but he will receive a pardon before that happens.
A Maryland school employee was fired last week after she jokingly corrected a student's spelling on Twitter.
Frederick County Public Schools' web experience coordinator Katie Nash thought she was doing what administrators wanted - engaging with students online - when she responded to a student Jan. 5 who wrote to the district's account: "@FCPSMaryland, close school tammarow PLEASE."
Nash shot back: "But then how would you learn to spell 'tomorrow?' :)"
"The students were tweeting back and forth, so it just sort of provided a natural opportunity to respond, in a fun, light-hearted way," Nash told WHAG.
"We had received feedback from some students in a focus group that our tweeting was a bit flat, they were looking for some more engagement," Nash said. "They were looking for us to tweet back at them and I really took that to heart because I know that I am a little bit older and maybe not as hip as some of the students are, so I took that to heart and I took that feedback in."
Many folks online thought the tweet was funny, and it was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times. It even spawned the hashtag #KatiefromFCPS.
But school officials apparently weren't laughing. Administrators told Nash to delete the tweet, the district's communication manager apologized to the student, and officials canceled her school social media privileges, The Frederick News-Post reports.
The credibility of a BBC documentary about US President-elect Donald Trump called 'Trump: The Kremlin Candidate?' has been questioned by ex-MP George Galloway. The former Labour and Respect politician likened the broadcast, and the whole furore over Russia's alleged influence on the US election and Trump, to an "Austin Powers film."
Speaking to RT, Galloway also questioned why the BBC would commission such a prominent show when there was no concrete evidence to back up any of the assertions.
The Panorama documentary was broadcast on Monday and saw journalist John Sweeney travel to Russia, Ukraine, and the US to investigate whether Moscow's cyber-warriors influenced the US election and whether it's true the Federal Security Service (Russian FSB) is blackmailing Trump with compromising material. The latter claim comes from a much-hyped dossier compiled by ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele.
President Obama rushed to fill nearly 100 federal government vacancies during a frenzy of appointments in his final few weeks in office.
Since the new year, Obama has named 72 people to federal job openings and nominated another 17 for positions requiring Senate confirmation, according to CBS reporter Mark Knoller.
On Monday night, Obama announced appointments for 27 officials to government positions and named two to jobs requiring Senate confirmation.
The wave of announcements includes several White House officials, who will serve well after Obama leaves office.
Most Americans have closets overflowing with clothing — some of which may rarely if ever be worn. Inexpensive clothing — so-called "fast fashion" — has become so common, it's not unusual for people to throw away clothes worn only once or twice.
In fact, Americans buy 500 percent more clothing today than we did in the 1980s. But the low price tag is deceptive. Upon further scrutiny, each item of clothing exacts a significant toll on the environment, and on human health across the globe.
Each year, Americans buy an astounding 22 billion items of clothing, and only 2 percent of these items are made in the U.S. Transportation alone, since each item has been shipped numerous times from country to country by the time it ends up in a retail store, creates an enormous amount of air pollution.
In an apparent reaction to decades of excess, recent years have seen a revival of "minimalism" and more environmentally-conscious fashion.
Bestselling books like Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" have led many to clear out their previously brimming closets. But what actually happens to all of the discarded clothing?
The outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has accused Russia of engaging in aggressive and destabilizing actions that she says are threatening the rules-based international order.
Samantha Power made the remarks on January 17 at the Washington-based Atlantic Council in her last major speech as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
She cited the illegal seizure by Russia of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and the Kremlin's intervention in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, support of the Syrian government in that country's war, and efforts to influence elections in Western democracies through computer hacking and misinformation campaigns designed to influence public opinion.
Power said: "Russia's actions are not standing up a new world order. They are tearing down the one that exists."
Comment: In certain respects, that statement is true. Russia has outsmarted and outmaneuvered the U.S. in its drive for a new world order, a global hegemony.
This is the third and last article in the investigative series in which I analyzed the 2016 press releases published on the official FSB website. In the previous two articles, I covered the FSB counterespionage and counter-terrorist operations during 2016. These operations were the subject of more than one third of the FSB press releases. This means that they consumed a great deal of attention, time, and resources of the Russian domestic law enforcement and counterintelligence community. It is safe to conclude that espionage and terrorism are considered the primary threats to Russia's national security.
However, there are several other types of illegal activity that were occasionally covered in the press releases and that can also be used as tools to undermine political stability and economic well-being in Russia. They involve cybercrime and cyberattacks (hacking), and arms and narcotics trafficking. In this article, I will discuss in detail the FSB press releases dealing with these types of law-breaking activities.
Cybercrime and Cyberattacks (Hacking)
The first 2016 press release concerning cybercrime activities, popularly known as hacking, was published by the FSB on June 1. It reported that during the massive law-enforcement operation taking place simultaneously in 15 regions of Russia, the FSB, in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Interior and the National Guard, arrested close to 50 people, suspected of being members of a hackers' group. The group allegedly stole more than 1 billion 700 million rubles ($27 million) from various Russian banks. The FSB recovered some of the stolen money, in addition to seizing a large number of false bank documents, credit cards, and computers.
Citing concerns that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) would be too "polarizing" for the campus to tolerate, Fordham University denied status to a group of students seeking to establish an SJP club. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote Fordham today to challenge the decision as a violation of free speech and civil rights. Fordham denied the club after delaying students' application for over one year, and after repeated questioning about their support for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and whether they would work with the Israel lobby group J Street. There is no appeal.
"My own university told me I can't share my culture and history like other students because I'm a Palestinian who believes in Palestinian freedom," said Ahmad Awad, whose family is originally from the West Bank, and who hoped to be president of SJP. "I just graduated last month, so I'll never have that chance."
Palestine Legal's letter explains that when Fordham censored SJP, it violated free speech and academic freedom guarantees. It also states:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by institutions that receive federal funding. A university may lose its federal funding if it treats a student differently because of his/her national origin, resulting in a denial of a student's educational activities.
In a letter to students denying the club status, Dean Keith Eldredge expressed concern that SJP's "sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group," that the group would lead to "polarization" and that "the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue."
A massive sinkhole has shut down a busy intersection in Pacifica, forcing drivers to take detour.
The pavement collapsed on Edgemar Avenue by Highway 1 after a recent round of storms.
The hole is 15-feet deep and 40-feet wide. It is close to a fire station and a church.
Another sinkhole opened up at the same intersection a few months ago but this one is three times bigger.
It is unclear when the repair work will begin.
In the Kuzbass Mountains it is possible to dip your head in the snow.
At the meteorological station "Central Mine" snow depth has reached 188 cm (6′-2″).
In the region of the Volga and Central Russia, average snow depth exceeds 40 cm (16 inches). In Nizhny Novgorod snow depth is 43 cm and in Tambov it is 44cm. In Samara and Kirov, snow depth has reached a half meter (19 inches)! For comparison, the normal amount of snow for this time of year is 25-35 cm (10-14 inches).
Due to frequent snowstorms in the Lipetsk region, the capital set a record in floodplain areas - 85 cm (33 inches)! Thirty-three inches. That's waist deep! Beyond the Urals there is even more snow. The region of Omsk recorded 75 cm (2½ ft) of snow (Tevriz), while the region of Tomsk reported 92 cm(3 ft) (Bakchar).
Traditionally, a large amount of snow is observed in Kamchatka and polar Yakutia. In the village Chokurdakh, the snow measures 166 cm (5′-5″). The absolute snowfall leader in Russia is the alpine weather station Sochi, with more than 220 cm (just over 7 ft).
The Nigerian air force has accidentally killed dozens of civilians in an airstrike against Islamist militant group Boko Haram, according to reports.
Regional military commander General Lucky Irabor said the strike took place on Tuesday morning in the Kala Balge area of Borno state in the northeast of the country, close to the border with Cameroon.
It remains unclear how many people died when an air force fighter jet mistakenly bombed an Internally Displaced Peoples camp. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said 120 have been injured and 50 were killed, according to Reuters, while an unnamed official told AP that more than 100 civilians lost their lives.
"Many civilians including personnel of International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were wounded," General Irabor told Reuters.
Lightning struck a church in Tsomo, killing four congregants and injuring four others including the head reverend, shortly after Sunday's sermon.
Among those killed were the church society steward and three women. The injured included the church minister, his daughter, and an evangelist.
The lightning struck the United Methodist Church of Southern Africa's Luzuko Society Church hall at KuNgceza village near Tsomo on Sund ay, killing church steward Justice Dlabane, 76, and congregants Nozuko Ntozini, 52, Noright Qhesa, 60, and Nophelo Mvikweni, 56.
The church's circuit secretary, Nomgcobo Ncoko, said: "It was a disaster and a miracle. I thought it was judgment day. I saw a strong and fearsome bolt of blue lightning and a ball of fire striking where the society church steward was sitting.
In series of bizarre firsts:
The cold wave sweeping across the country for the last several days has paralysed life. The countrymen, especially the poor people of the northern region, are suffering most due to lack of warm clothes.
According to met office sources, mild to moderate cold wave is sweeping over Rangpur, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions and the regions of Tangail, Faridpur, Madaripur, Gopalgonj, Barisal, Bhola and Srimongal.
Monday's minimum temperature at Dinajpur was 7.8 degrees Celsius while it was 9.4 degrees in Rangpur, 8.5 degrees in Syedpur, 7.2 degrees in Rajarhat (Kurigram), 7.2 degrees in Dimla (Nilphamari), 6.4 degrees in Tetulia (Panchagarh), 9.7 degrees in Bogra, 7.6 degrees in Rajshahi, 6.6 degrees in Chuadanga, 7.4 degrees in Jessore, 9.8 degrees in Khulna and 9.0 degrees in Barisal, Met office sources said.
On Friday, the minimum of 6.6 degrees Celsius temperature was recorded in Rangpur. The people of the region, mostly the poor and ultra-poor, are suffering immensely. It has been learnt from Rangpur district relief and rehabilitation office that 50 thousand blankets had been distributed among the poor in eight upazilas. More 20,000 blankets are still required for the needy.
A gang of up to 30 youths armed with axes, swords and baseball bats terrorised a southern Paris neighbourhood on Saturday night for "reasons that remain unclear," French police said.
Eleven youths aged between 17 and 22 were arrested over the attacks and taken into custody. Their alleged accomplices, however, got away and are yet to be identified by police.
The masked attackers - who are said to have arrived by bus - ran amok in a residential area in Juvisy-sur-Orge, a tranquil suburb south of Paris, at around 8pm on Saturday.
But it took more than one hour for police to arrive at the scene, by which time the youths had smashed and vandalised more than 20 cars and broken down the door of a nearby apartment block.