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Showing posts from March 24, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts

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[On the epidemic of deadly despair among Trump's biggest supporters (note point five: this story is unique to the US). The complicated collapse of middle-aged white Americans. *RON*]
Julia Belluz, Vox, 23 March 2017

In 2015, a blockbuster study came to a surprising conclusion: Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, despite positive life expectancy trends in other wealthy countries and other segments of the US population.

The research, by Princeton University’s Anne Case and Angus Deaton, highlighted the links between economic struggles, suicides, and alcohol and drug overdoses.

Since then, Case and Deaton have been working to more fully explain their findings.

They’ve now come to a compelling conclusion: It’s complicated. There’s no single reason for this disturbing increase in the mortality rate, but a toxic cocktail of factors.

In a new 60-page paper, “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st Century,” out in d…

Denis Voronenkov: ex-Russian MP who fled to Ukraine killed in Kiev

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[On the health risks of criticizing Vladimir. Putin's spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of Kremlin critic, and former MP, who left Russia last year and renounced citizenship. *RON*]
Shaun Walker, The Guardian, 23 March 2017

A former Russian MP who had fled to Ukraine was shot dead on a busy street in central Kiev on Thursday.

Denis Voronenkov, who had spoken out against Vladimir Putin and Kremlin policies, was shot three times outside the upmarket Premier Palace hotel.

Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, quickly pointed the finger at Russian authorities, calling the killing an act of “state terrorism”.

Kiev’s head of police said Voronenkov, who had been granted Ukrainian citizenship after he fled in 2016, was shot three or four times in the head and neck and died at the scene.

A firefight broke out between Voronenkov’s bodyguard, believed to have been provided by the Ukrainian security services, and the assassin. …

Israeli Jewish man arrested for bomb threats against Canadian, U.S. Jewish targets

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[American-Israeli dual citizen, 19, arrested in Israel, had been "found unfit for compulsory service in the Israeli military," i.e., is most likely mentally ill. *RON*]

Associated Press, CBC News, 23 March 2017

A 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man was arrested in Israel Thursday as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centres and other institutions in Canada and the U.S.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear. Israeli media identified him as an American-Israeli dual citizen and said he had been found unfit for compulsory service in the Israeli military.

House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion

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[With this non-binding motion, which "calls for study," Trudeau can officially declare himself grand master of the meaningless, feel-good gesture. *RON*]
CBC News, 23 March 2017

The House of Commons has passed M-103, a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination.

All NDP and nearly all Liberal MPs supported the motion, which passed 201-91. The majority of Conservative MPs voted against, with leadership candidate Michael Chong and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton voting in favour. Mississauga Liberal MP Gagan Sikand and Barrie Conservative MP Alex Nuttall both abstained.

The vote follows months of bitter debate and a series of protests and counter-protests across the country over whether the private member's motion would limit free speech or single out Islam for special treatment in Canadian law.

It had additional symbolic significance in the emotional aftermath of the Jan. 29 mosque shooting in Quebec City, wh…

A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals

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[Capitalism and pseudoscience. Will we be able to believe anything we read in print in scientific journals when this level of hucksterism exists? *RON*]

Gina Kolata, New York Times, 22 March 2017

The applicant’s nom de plume was not exactly subtle, if you know Polish. The middle initial and surname of the author, Anna O. Szust, mean “fraudster.” Her publications were fake and her degrees were fake. The book chapters she listed among her publications could not be found, but perhaps that should not have been a surprise because the book publishers were fake, too.

Yet, when Dr. Fraud applied to 360 randomly selected open-access academic journals asking to be an editor, 48 accepted her and four made her editor in chief. She got two offers to start a new journal and be its editor. One journal sent her an email saying, “It’s our pleasure to add your name as our editor in chief for the journal with no responsibilities.”

Little did they know that they had f…