Browsing articles from "August, 2015"

The Glimmering Sheen Of A Wide World Seen From Inside A Bubble

Aug 31, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The Glimmering Sheen Of A Wide World Seen From Inside A Bubble


Everything, Everything

Teenagers often feel bound by their parents’ rules, and many young people feel isolated at some point, separated from the rest of the world.

But what would life be like for a young woman who was literally isolated — and bound by rules designed to save her life?

It’s a question that author Nicola Yoon explores in her new novel for young adults, Everything, Everything. For 18 years, her lead character, Madeleine, has been kept inside a sterile house, interacting only with her mother and her nurse.

“She’s not sure exactly what she’s allergic to — so they take no risks,” Yoon tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “They basically live in a bubble.”

All of Madeleine’s teenage angst, desire and rebellion must eddy within those limits. Her story is told through prose, diary entries, text messages, online chats and even illustrations — and all the while, the reader is inside Maddy’s head.

“There are all these boundaries that she wants to push against,” Yoon says. “She’s a normal teenager in an extraordinary situation.”

Interview Highlights

On the way Madeleine relates to the wider world outside

Madeleine is in her house, and she sort of daydreams out the window sometimes. And one day a moving truck comes by, and a new family moves in. This supercute boy comes out. He’s dressed in black. He does parkour, so he’s very physical in a way that Madeleine is not. You know, he’s very a part of his body, whereas her body sort of traps her — so she immediately notices him across the street. …

Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything is her first novel. It has already been optioned to be made into a film.i

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything is her first novel. It has already been optioned to be made into a film.

Sonya Sones/Courtesy of Delacorte Press


hide caption

itoggle caption

Sonya Sones/Courtesy of Delacorte Press

Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything is her first novel. It has already been optioned to be made into a film.

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything is her first novel. It has already been optioned to be made into a film.

Sonya Sones/Courtesy of Delacorte Press

In the book there are a lot of text messages and IMs, lists and charts, and they eventually get in touch via email and then IM. And then they started to fall in love.

On Maddy’s attitude toward her condition

I thought it was important to make her a person that has accepted her life as it is. Because it would be hard for her to be angry and rail against this disease for 18 years, right? I mean, it’s the only way for her to cope. So, I mean, I think a lot of teenagers will relate to trying to push against your parents’ boundaries. Madeleine has an extreme situation, but I feel like teenagers all go through this.

On the awkward early moments of Maddy’s budding relationship

Those were the most fun parts to write, I have to tell you. I’m totally in love with my husband; I’m, like, crazy about him. So writing about falling in love, and remembering the awkwardness of when I first met him, that was pretty fun and pretty easy to write.

On incorporating illustrations drawn by her husband, David

I write from 4 to 6 a.m. in the morning. When I first started writing, [my daughter] was 4 months old, and that was the time I had to write.

And I had this idea that Maddy would draw her world as a way to understand it. And I cannot draw. So I drew this terrible rendition of the Hawaiian state fish, which is called the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa.

I went to my bedroom and David was still asleep, and I woke him up and it was 4 a.m. and I was like, “Honey, will you please, please draw this fish for me?”

And he got up! He made coffee, he gave me a kiss and he drew the fish. And that is the fish that is in the book to this day. That’s what started sort of those nontraditional elements in the book.

The very fish itself: the humuhumunukunukuāpua'a that Yoon's husband, David Yoon, drew for her in the wee hours.i

The very fish itself: the humuhumunukunukuāpua’a that Yoon’s husband, David Yoon, drew for her in the wee hours.

David Yoon/Courtesy of Delacorte Press


hide caption

itoggle caption

David Yoon/Courtesy of Delacorte Press

The very fish itself: the humuhumunukunukuāpua'a that Yoon's husband, David Yoon, drew for her in the wee hours.

The very fish itself: the humuhumunukunukuāpua’a that Yoon’s husband, David Yoon, drew for her in the wee hours.

David Yoon/Courtesy of Delacorte Press

On Maddy’s multicultural background

In 2014, BookCon responded to the We Need Diverse Books campaign by inviting it to form its own panel. Pictured here (from left): I.W. Gregorio, Mike Jung, Matt de la Pena, Grace Lin and Jacqueline Woodson.

I think we live in a very diverse world, and we need to represent that world that we live it. There are a lot of beautiful people in the world, and they need to get counted. They need to be the heroes in stories, as well.

I’ll say, for me, it’s very personal. I’m African-American, my husband’s Korean-American, our daughter’s mixed. When I grew up, I didn’t really see myself in stories, and it was important for me, for my daughter to be able to see herself in stories, as well.

Wes Craven, Master Horror Movie Director, Dies At 76

Aug 31, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Wes Craven, Master Horror Movie Director, Dies At 76

Wes Craven, the legendary horror film director, has died at the age of 76. Here, he's shown at the premiere of Scream 4 in 2011.i

Wes Craven, the legendary horror film director, has died at the age of 76. Here, he’s shown at the premiere of Scream 4 in 2011.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images


hide caption

itoggle caption

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Wes Craven, the legendary horror film director, has died at the age of 76. Here, he's shown at the premiere of Scream 4 in 2011.

Wes Craven, the legendary horror film director, has died at the age of 76. Here, he’s shown at the premiere of Scream 4 in 2011.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Wes Craven, the legendary horror director behind the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, has died at 76.

His verified Twitter account posted about his death Sunday evening. The Associated Press reports that he had brain cancer and died in his Los Angeles home, according to a statement from his family.

Craven’s early life didn’t presage a career in horror films. He was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist household, and went to a Christian college — one where, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010, “you would be expelled if you were caught in a movie theater.”

Before his career as a horror movie maestro, Craven had a life in academia — he earned a master’s degree in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins University, and worked as an English professor. He also directed pornography before making his mark on the slasher genre.

In the ’70s and early ’80s, Craven directed Last House on the Left, which quickly established his horror bona fides, followed by films including The Hills Have Eyes and Swamp Thing.

Then, in 1984, he released A Nightmare On Elm Street — starring a 21-year-old unknown named Johnny Depp.

With the release, the AP notes, Craven “was credited with reinventing the teen horror genre” — not to mention starting an enormously successful series.

The famously prolific director went on to launch the popular Scream franchise in the ’90s. Like much of his work, the Scream movies mixed slasher gore with wry humor. He departed from the horror genre to direct Music of the Heart, a drama starring Meryl Streep, which was nominated for two Oscars.

Most recently, he served as executive producer for The Girl in the Photographs, which is debuting at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

WATCH: Octopuses Appear To Take Up Arms As Submarine Warfare Escalates

Aug 31, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on WATCH: Octopuses Appear To Take Up Arms As Submarine Warfare Escalates

Two octopuses going at it — or, as marine biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith might put it, engaging in a bit of ornery behavior.i

Two octopuses going at it — or, as marine biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith might put it, engaging in a bit of “ornery behavior.

Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence.


hide caption

itoggle caption

Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence.

Two octopuses going at it — or, as marine biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith might put it, engaging in a bit of ornery behavior.

Two octopuses going at it — or, as marine biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith might put it, engaging in a bit of “ornery behavior.

Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence.

There may be an octopus arms race underway. And that’s not even a joke about tentacles: Octopuses are actually fighting, and potentially using weapons.

The creatures are hardly team players under the best of circumstances.

“Octopuses in general are regarded as fairly solitary animals,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith, a marine biologist at the City University of New York. He is studying octopuses in Australia’s Jervis Bay — specifically, the common Sydney octopus, also known as the gloomy octopus.

“A particular group of them have started living in higher concentrations than usual, which we think is because of some peculiarities of the site where they live,” he tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “And essentially, they’ve had to, we think, learn to get on a little bit. They’ve had to learn to interact, more than octopuses normally have to do.”

And, well, there’s been some friction. The octopuses in the bay have been fighting — or “boxing,” as Godfrey-Smith calls it — and some have even been bullying others.

“There seems to be a lot of fairly ornery behavior which has to do with policing and guarding territory,” he says.

Octopuses Fighting In Jervis Bay

Credit: Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence.

But it gets worse.

Those ornery octopuses have also taken to hurling objects at each other, like shells and bits of seaweed, blasting them through the water with high pressure. And while Godfrey-Smith says there may be other explanations for this behavior, the number of direct hits has him suspecting that the octopuses are using projectile weapons.

“It would be quite significant if it’s happening,” says Godfrey-Smith, who’s been collaborating on this research with David Scheel of Alaska Pacific University. “In general, projectile use is pretty rare among animals.”

He says they’ve got a lot more observing to do before coming to firm conclusions about the shell-chuckers. In the meantime, he refuses to be baited by sensationalizing reporters.

“The prospects for octopus takeover are still fairly remote at present,” he says.

Octopuses Chucking Shells In Jervis Bay

Credit: Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence.

Obama Renaming Continent’s Highest Peak From Mt. McKinley To Denali

Aug 31, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Obama Renaming Continent’s Highest Peak From Mt. McKinley To Denali

President Obama is renaming Alaska's Mt. McKinley in an effort to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes. The peak is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Dinali.i

President Obama is renaming Alaska’s Mt. McKinley in an effort to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes. The peak is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Dinali.

Al Grillo/AP


hide caption

itoggle caption

Al Grillo/AP

President Obama is renaming Alaska's Mt. McKinley in an effort to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes. The peak is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Dinali.

President Obama is renaming Alaska’s Mt. McKinley in an effort to strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and Alaska Native tribes. The peak is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Dinali.

Al Grillo/AP

The White House announced Sunday that President Obama is changing the name of North America’s highest peak.

Mt. McKinley — named after William McKinley, the 25th president, who served in the White House until his assassination in 1901 — is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Denali.

Obama will make a public announcement of the name change in Anchorage Monday, during a three-day visit to Alaska.

As Alaska’s Newsminer reports:

“The mountain, which has been officially named after the 25th president of the United States since 1917, will now be recognized by the U.S. Board of Geographic [N]ames by its original Koyukon Athabascan name.”

A statement by the White House says the designation “recognizes the sacred status of Denali” to Alaska natives going back generations:

“In 1896, a prospector emerged from exploring the mountains of central Alaska and received news that William McKinley had been nominated as a candidate for President of the United States. In a show of support, the prospector declared the tallest peak of the Alaska Range as “Mt. McKinley”—and the name stuck.

“McKinley became our 25th President, and was tragically assassinated just six months into his second term. But he never set foot in Alaska—and for centuries, the mountain that rises some 20,000 feet above sea level, the tallest on the North American continent, had been known by another name—Denali. Generally believed to be central to the Athabascan creation story, Denali is a site of significant cultural importance to many Alaska Natives. The name “Denali” has been used for many years and is widely used across the state today.”

Efforts to change the peak’s name back to Denali date back to 1975. The Washington Post reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently added language in a spending bill that would reestablish the mountain’s original name.

The broader purpose of the of the President’s trip to the nation’s 49th state is to mount an aggressive call to action to fight climate change. The trip, which promises to utilize breath-taking backdrops, will shine light on melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

As CNN reports:

“All week long, Obama will try to call attention to Alaska as a kind of climate change ground zero. Whether it’s a hike on a melting glacier near the town of Seward or his visit with fisherman in the remote coastal village of Dillingham, the President wants a distracted public to see the jarring effects of global warming through his own eyes.”

The White House cited the authority of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to change the name back to Denali. Jewell issued a secretarial order and signed it late last week.

With Futures Tied To Mining, Some Montana Towns Seek New Ways To Get By

Aug 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on With Futures Tied To Mining, Some Montana Towns Seek New Ways To Get By



ARUN RATH, HOST:

Mining for metals like copper, gold and platinum has long been a story of boom and bust, and it’s busting in the U.S. right now. Metals prices are the lowest they’ve been in years. In states like Montana, that means small towns with their futures tied to mining are looking for other options. Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney reports they’re hard to find.

ERIC WHITNEY, BYLINE: Buddy Hanrahan runs a one-man computer services business in White Sulphur Springs, Mont., population 900.

BUDDY HANRAHAN: Bring ’em over. They can come down…

WHITNEY: Hanrahan’s also president of the local chamber of commerce. He’s trying to stay on good terms with other local businesses. So when I ask him how the local economy’s doing…

HANRAHAN: Oh boy, I’ve got to be careful what I say just ’cause I don’t want to offend – steady, level, but at a very low level.

WHITNEY: Way lower than when Hanrahan was in high school. Back then, White Sulphur Springs still had three thriving timber mills. But when federal forest management policies changed in the ’90s, the mills closed, and two-thirds of the town’s residents moved away. That’s why Hanrahan and a lot of other Main Street businesses here now have signs in their windows saying they support opening a new copper mine nearby.

HANRAHAN: Any industry right now is an improvement. I mean, agriculture’s great, and tourism is great, but it’s – it’s tough. It’s a hard road to hoe when you just have that.

WHITNEY: When a Canadian mining company set up a storefront here about four years ago, copper prices were up, and prospects looked good for it to open the mine and create about 200 good-paying jobs. Kim Deal, who’s been here 41 years, would love to see that happen.

KIM DEAL: I moved away after I graduated out of high school, was gone for nine years, and I come back. It’s home.

WHITNEY: Deal spent 31 years tending bar in White Sulphur Springs because she says it’s one of the few steady jobs available here. But she just bought a property management business and is hoping something will come along so her family can stay, too.

DEAL: There’s just nothing here for people to do. There’s no work. You know, and it’s sad when your kids don’t have the option to graduate and say, oh, you know, I’m going to stay at home for the summer and work, or, you know, I don’t want to go to college so I want to get a job, and they can’t do that here. There’s nothing here for them to do that with.

RATH: The proposed copper mine is near the Smith River, one of Montana’s most prized boating and fishing experiences. Environmental groups are trying to stop the mine, but a pretty effective barrier right now could be that the price of copper is only about half of what it was in 2011. K.C. Chang, an economist with the financial research firm IHS Global Insight, says that’s mostly because of China’s economy. It’s shifting away from the rapid industrialization that caused a spike in prices for raw materials.

K.C. CHANG: That shift towards a market that’s more driven by their domestic consumer means that there’s going to be an overall lower copper demand in terms of the global picture.

WHITNEY: A weak forecast for rising copper prices means hopes for another natural resources boom in towns like White Sulphur Springs are fading.

HANRAHAN: Yeah, that three screens really does people in sometimes.

WHITNEY: Back in Buddy Hanrahan’s computer shop, he says local leaders have no choice but to keep looking for other economic options.

HANRAHAN: The mine is a possibility. It may never happen. So we’re just rolling the way things need to roll to survive, not necessarily depending on the mine. It’d be great if it happened, but we’re not going to rely on it.

WHITNEY: Right now, Hanrahan thinks his town’s best hope still lies underground – but not in copper ore. Federal subsidies helped lay fiber-optic Internet cable to White Sulphur Springs, and Hanrahan’s trying to lure some telecommuters who want to be surrounded by the great outdoors. For NPR News, I’m Eric Whitney in Missoula.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “MINING ALL DAY LONG”)

MIRACLE OF SOUND: (Singing) And I feel good ’cause I’ve been mining all day long. Hey, hey, hey, I’ve been mining all day long. I feel…

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

R.I.P. Humvee: What’s Next For Military Transport?

Aug 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on R.I.P. Humvee: What’s Next For Military Transport?



ARUN RATH, HOST:

The reign of the Humvee is coming to an end. The trucks rolled out in the ’80s and quickly became a symbol – the American cavalry has arrived. Now, a new symbol is on the way. This week, the Pentagon awarded a contract to the Wisconsin company Oshkosh Defense to build tougher, more nimble vehicles for the Army and Marines. Washington Post reporter Christian Davenport has written about the long and storied career of the Humvee. He says it was the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that revealed the vehicle’s shortcomings.

CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT: We find ourselves in conflicts now where there’s no clear front line. And the Humvee, in a lot of ways in Iraq particularly, came to be a symbol of, you know, many of the problems that led to – at least the early stages – being called a fiasco. I mean, these Humvees were out there on the battlefield, which was, in Iraq, pretty much everywhere, and they didn’t have the armor to withstand front-line combat. And they weren’t designed for it. They were designed mostly for behind-the-line, rear echelon transporting troops and cargo in relatively safe places.

RATH: So the new vehicle – the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle – what can the JLTV do that the Humvee can’t?

DAVENPORT: Well, the JLTV, if you think about it, it’s like mating a tank with a Jeep. The Pentagon realized we want something that has sort of that level of what they call survivability that can protect against certain level of bombs and blasts, but also has the sort of nimbleness, if you will, of the Humvee, which, you know, can ford rivers. It can go through forests, over rocks. In many ways, it’s like a Jeep. And it, you know, can sort of go off-roading.

RATH: And the Humvee, of course, spanned a popular, for a time, civilian offspring – that would be the Hummer. It just seems like such a different time now. Can you explain – remind us why some civilians found the Hummer so alluring?

DAVENPORT: Right. They do spring these commercial offshoots. So for example, the Humvee – Arnold Schwarzenegger actually saw a fleet of them, I think, in California and said, you know, hey, I want one of those and went to the manufacturer at the time, AM General, and was like hey, you guys got to build me a commercial variant of that. And he pushed them, and ultimately, they did. And the Humvee, as we all know now, became the Hummer.

(SOUNDBITE OF HUMMER ADVERTISEMENT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A vehicle that defies comparison or categorization, a vehicle not in a class, but a universe all its own, a wolf in a field of sheep.

DAVENPORT: That production line has ended. I mean, it came to symbolize sort of American excess – I mean, you know, for getting so few miles to the gallon and became very expensive. But, you know, the Hummer was driven by sports stars and, you know, rap stars and musicians and, you know, actors. And, you know, who knows? Maybe there’ll be a commercial version of the JLTV.

RATH: So getting back to the military vehicles. As they get phased out, what is the military doing with all those retired Humvees?

DAVENPORT: Well, it’ll take a while for the Humvee to be phased out entirely. They still have many, many of them, and there are many uses for them, you know, sort of behind the line. But what’s interesting in researching this article, I found that you can go and buy a used Humvee. I’m sure Arnold Schwarzenegger would be very interested in this. There is a website called IronPlanet, and they have a contract with the Pentagon to sell surplus military equipment, including Humvees. And it seemed when I looked, the bidding generally started about $7,500. So these auctions I believe are held on Wednesdays online, and you can go out and buy yourself a Humvee.

RATH: I’ve got to say, it’d be kind of fun pulling one of those into the NPR parking lot. Christian Davenport covers federal contracting for The Washington Post. Christian, thanks so much.

DAVENPORT: Thank you for having me.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Shooters Quicker To Pull Trigger When Target Is Black, Study Finds

Aug 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Shooters Quicker To Pull Trigger When Target Is Black, Study Finds

Shown a realistic human target — not just a silhouette like this one — shooters were more likely to pull the trigger if the target was black, according to an analysis of 42 studies. Even if you think that you're not prejudiced, says researcher Yara Mekawi, that doesn't necessarily mean that that's true in terms of split-second decisions that you might make in the real world.i

Shown a realistic human target — not just a silhouette like this one — shooters were more likely to pull the trigger if the target was black, according to an analysis of 42 studies. “Even if you think that you’re not prejudiced,” says researcher Yara Mekawi, “that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s true in terms of split-second decisions that you might make in the real world.”

Joshua Lott/Getty Images


hide caption

itoggle caption

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Shown a realistic human target — not just a silhouette like this one — shooters were more likely to pull the trigger if the target was black, according to an analysis of 42 studies. Even if you think that you're not prejudiced, says researcher Yara Mekawi, that doesn't necessarily mean that that's true in terms of split-second decisions that you might make in the real world.

Shown a realistic human target — not just a silhouette like this one — shooters were more likely to pull the trigger if the target was black, according to an analysis of 42 studies. “Even if you think that you’re not prejudiced,” says researcher Yara Mekawi, “that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s true in terms of split-second decisions that you might make in the real world.”

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Are most people more likely to pull the trigger of a gun if the person they’re shooting at is black?

A new meta-analysis set out to answer that question. Yara Mekawi of the University of Illinois and her co-author, Konrad Bresin, drew together findings from 42 different studies on trigger bias to examine whether race affects how likely a target is to be shot.

“What we found is that it does,” Mekawi tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “In our study we found two main things: First, people were quicker to shoot black targets with a gun, relative to white targets with a gun. And … people were more trigger-happy when shooting black targets compared to shooting white targets.”

That is, shooters weren’t just faster to fire at black targets; they were also more likely to fire at a black target.

Interview Highlights

On the kinds of studies they were analyzing

Our inclusion criteria was pretty much that they used what’s called a first-person shooter task. … Participants are generally told that police officers are often put in high-stress situations where they have to make very quick shooting decisions.

And so they are presented with images of targets from various races that either have a gun or have some kind of neutral object. So, sometimes it’s a soda can; other times it’s a cellphone. And what they’re told is, to make the decision to shoot when they see a target with a gun.

They are given less than a millisecond to respond, and if they don’t respond quickly enough, they get a little error message saying, “Please make the decision faster.”

On an additional finding: a correlation between such bias and permissive gun laws

[We] coded the cities in which the data was collected by how permissive the gun laws were. And we used the Brady Law campaign, which gives basically states a score … being very permissive, this means that, you know, they didn’t require background checks in the same way that other, more strict states might or have other limitations on who’s allowed to purchase a gun. …

Basically, what we found was that in states that had relatively permissive gun laws, the shooting threshold for black targets was lower than for white targets.

On theories for why this bias was evident

One theory states, essentially, that when people view images of black targets with a gun, it’s what’s called “stereotype-consistent,” which means that it’s something that you expect. And so people typically respond to things more quickly when they’re congruent, when they make sense to be together. So that’s one theory.

Since the unrest in Ferguson this summer, there have been calls to diversify police forces. But the results of studies on whether police forces that are more diverse can reduce tensions are decidedly mixed.

Another theory is that it could be something to do with threat. It could be that individuals perceive black targets as being more threatening. And so they inhibit their shooting behavior less because they’re more threatened. So you can think of it as kind of a threatened response.

On the implications for law enforcement

I think, generally speaking, what this highlights is that even though a person might say “I’m not racist” or “I’m not prejudiced,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that race doesn’t influence their split-second decisions.

One implication could be that there could be that there should be education about the fact that these biases exist and that they could be outside of one’s control. So even if you think that you’re not prejudiced, you’re not biased, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s true in terms of split-second decisions that you might make in the real world.

Broadway’s First Black Jean ValJean Dies At 21

Aug 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Broadway’s First Black Jean ValJean Dies At 21

Actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who made history earlier this summer as the first black actor — and youngest person — to play the lead character in Les Miserables on Broadway, died Saturday. He was 21.

A spokesman for the production said that Jean-Baptiste died after an accident: he fell from a fire escape in Brooklyn early Saturday morning.

Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble member of the musical’s cast and an understudy for the role of Jean Valjean. He made his debut in that role on July 23.

He played Jean Valjean several times since — most recently, this Thursday.

“The entire LES MISÉRABLES family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle, a remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic – and history – in his Broadway debut,” the production said in a statement.

Numerous Broadway luminaries mourned Jean-Baptiste on Twitter Saturday. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical Hamilton, remembered Jean-Baptiste by posting a video of the two singing together a few weeks ago.

“Here he is,” Miranda wrote. “What a light.”

Worsening Wildfire Seasons Tax The Forest Service

Aug 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Worsening Wildfire Seasons Tax The Forest Service

An airplane used to fight wildfires flies over a blaze that flared up near Omak, Wash., on Thursday.i

An airplane used to fight wildfires flies over a blaze that flared up near Omak, Wash., on Thursday.

Ted S. Warren/AP


hide caption

itoggle caption

Ted S. Warren/AP

An airplane used to fight wildfires flies over a blaze that flared up near Omak, Wash., on Thursday.

An airplane used to fight wildfires flies over a blaze that flared up near Omak, Wash., on Thursday.

Ted S. Warren/AP

This has been one of the worst — and most expensive — wildfire seasons ever in the Northwest, where climate change and a history of suppressing wildfires have created a dangerous buildup of fuels.

With fires burning hotter and more intense, there are renewed calls to change how the federal government pays to fight the biggest fires.

“These large and intense fires are a natural disaster in much the same way a hurricane or a tornado or a flood is,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. “And they ought to be funded as such through the emergency funding of FEMA.”

But behind what seems like another battle over which agency should pay for what, is something much bigger and more complex. The U.S. Forest Service, part of the Agriculture Department, simply isn’t set up to deal with these new types of mega-fires that are transforming the West.

To understand this, remember that wildfires have been intertwined with the Forest Service since just a few years after it was created. The summer of 1910 was later characterized as “The Big Blow Up.” Coincidentally, like this year, the worst fires then were in the Northwest and northern Rockies, where more than 3 million acres burned and at least 85 people died.

In the years after, the Forest Service implemented its now infamous “10 a.m. policy.” Every wildfire had to be put out by 10 a.m. the following day.

They got really good at it.

Firefighters extinguish hot spots after a wildfire, part of the Okanogan Complex, swept through the area on Saturday near Okanogan, Wash.i

Firefighters extinguish hot spots after a wildfire, part of the Okanogan Complex, swept through the area on Saturday near Okanogan, Wash.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images


hide caption

itoggle caption

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Firefighters extinguish hot spots after a wildfire, part of the Okanogan Complex, swept through the area on Saturday near Okanogan, Wash.

Firefighters extinguish hot spots after a wildfire, part of the Okanogan Complex, swept through the area on Saturday near Okanogan, Wash.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

“There are a lot of people who refer to the U.S. Forest Service as the ‘U.S. Fire Service’ because fire has become such a part of their mission,” says Michael Kodas, a wildfire expert at the University of Colorado.

Today, the wildfire season is much longer — 78 days longer than even in the 1970s, for instance — and the conditions out on the land are extraordinary. This is taxing the Forest Service to the breaking point. The agency is now spending more than $1 billion a year to fight fires, and just a fraction of that for every other important ecological job the agency is responsible for such as watershed restoration, tree thinning or recreation projects.

“Part of the problem here is, basically, overly ambitious expectations of what the Forest Service and what our wild land firefighting organization overall can really accomplish.” Kodas says.

It’s now widely known that prior wildfire suppression policies are partly to blame for the current conditions. Yet the impacts of the worsening wildfires on the agency’s budget are telling, if startling.

This year, more than half of the entire Forest Service budget will go to fire suppression, compared to about 16 percent in 1995. More recently, the agency has reported a 114 percent increase in fire suppression staff and a 38 percent drop in the number of people who do all the other work. As fire seasons become year-round in some Western states, the Forest Service has hired a lot more professional firefighters and a lot fewer wildlife biologists or technicians who conduct prescribed burns that help prevent wildfires.

In some ways, the Forest Service set itself up for this. Retired and former Forest Service officials say that as logging declined in the West, the agency made its name as the firefighting leader on Capitol Hill. Today this is how most Americans have heard of the Forest Service, and wildfires are often how the agency justifies its existence to lawmakers.

Firefighting has also gotten more expensive — and political — with homes and whole cities now built out into the woods.

Related NPR Stories

A firefighter monitors flames from the Rocky Fire as it approaches a home late last month. The wildfire has consumed thousands of acres in just over a week.

Many homes in the mountains of Kittitas County, Wash., are at severe risk for a wildfire. Fire managers are worried that parts of typically wet Washington state are years behind other places in the West when it comes to fire mitigation and prevention.

Rancher Ross Frank worries that funding to fight fires in Western communities like Chumstick, Wash., has crowded out important land management work.

Dick Mangan, a retired Forest Service fire official and now firefighting consultant in Missoula, Mont., says the 24-hour news cycle has made it harder to get smarter about long-term forest management.

“All of a sudden somebody’s going to be sticking a camera in there almost forcing the issue, socially and politically, that we take some kind of action to try to protect these places,” Mangan says. “And that generally involves an awful lot of expense.”

In Oregon on Friday, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack warned that the federal government is already spending more than $150 million a week fighting wildfires. The Forest Service says federal, state and local fire teams typically control all but 2 percent of the tens of thousands of wildfires that ignite every year. It’s that last 2 percent that can turn into the big, catastrophic blazes such as Washington’s Okanagan Complex fire.

Vilsack told NPR that the Forest Service is paying its firefighting bills at the expense of other programs that could help prevent future fires.

“At the same time, members of Congress and senators come to us and say, ‘We want more work being done in our forests, we want more timber treated,’ ” Vilsack said.

But wildfires are still relatively small natural disasters compared with a big hurricane or earthquake. There’s widespread doubt that Congress will act on changing fire budgets this summer, so the Forest Service may be stuck as the “Fire Service” for some time.

Tropical Storm Erika May Fall Apart Over Hispaniola; Dominica Deaths At 20

Aug 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Tropical Storm Erika May Fall Apart Over Hispaniola; Dominica Deaths At 20

Tropical Storm Erika roils the surf off the Dominican Republic late Friday morning.i

Tropical Storm Erika roils the surf off the Dominican Republic late Friday morning.

Tatiana Fernandez/AP


hide caption

itoggle caption

Tatiana Fernandez/AP

Tropical Storm Erika roils the surf off the Dominican Republic late Friday morning.

Tropical Storm Erika roils the surf off the Dominican Republic late Friday morning.

Tatiana Fernandez/AP

Tropical Storm Erika is drenching the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but the latest National Hurricane Center forecasts suggest that moving over the rugged island may leave the storm too disorganized to reform and threaten Florida.

“Erika is fighting both land and a hostile wind shear environment, and it will be very difficult for the cyclone to recover. Consequently, weakening in the short term is indicated in the NHC forecast, and there is a strong likelihood that Erika will degenerate to a tropical wave during its interaction with land. However, if it survives, there is a very small opportunity for Erika to regain tropical storm strength in the Florida Straits and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, where the environment is less hostile.”

It’s a big shift from recent days, the forecast notes, when most of the forecasting tools anticipated Erika strengthening into a hurricane over the weekend.

Debris covers a road after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Erika hit the Caribbean island of Dominica in this picture from Robert Tonge, Dominican Minister for Tourism and Urban Renewal, taken on Thursday.

The storm could still could pose a significant flooding threat to the Gulf Coast of Florida. On Thursday Erika dropped a foot of rain on the island of Dominica, triggering flooding and landslides, and late Friday the island’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced the death toll had climbed to 20.

In the Pacific Ocean, the threat to Hawaii from Hurricane Ignacio appeared to be receding somewhat, as recent forecasts anticipated somewhat less strengthening and a track that should take the storm north of the islands. Still, storm surge could be as high as 10-14 feet late Sunday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Rivers remained swollen and choked with debris in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday after Tropical Storm Erika had passedi

Rivers remained swollen and choked with debris in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday after Tropical Storm Erika had passed

Robert Tonge/EPA/Landov


hide caption

itoggle caption

Robert Tonge/EPA/Landov

Rivers remained swollen and choked with debris in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday after Tropical Storm Erika had passed

Rivers remained swollen and choked with debris in Roseau, Dominica, on Friday after Tropical Storm Erika had passed

Robert Tonge/EPA/Landov

Pages:1234567...13»

Categories

Current Times

  • NPT: 2017-11-25 09:22 AM
  • EST: 2017-11-24 10:37 PM
  • PST: 2017-11-24 07:37 PM