nanotechnology: graphene


Nan­otech­nol­ogy at Scitable

One of the great achieve­ments of nanoscience to date is the devel­op­ment of graphene, a man­made sheet of inter­linked, honeycomb-​patterned car­bon atoms that is exactly one car­bon atom thick. Due to its thin­ness on the one hand and the uni­for­mity of the hon­ey­comb arrange­ment on the other, graphene is both extremely light and extremely strong. In fact, amaz­ingly enough, graphene is 200 times stronger than steel.


The topsy-​turvy world of men who oppose anti-​violence cam­paigns by Josh Shahryar at Women Under Siege

Some­thing about women being vocal about their expe­ri­ences and demand­ing pro­tec­tion and legal action for the vio­lence per­pe­trated against them threat­ens an anti­quated and prob­lem­atic mas­culin­ity. This either implic­itly or explic­itly requires men to have domin­ion over women. It leaves women reliant on men, con­trolled by them.

Cana­dian fem­i­nist activist receives death threats and other abuse after being tar­geted by Men’s Rights Activists by David Futrelle at Man Boobz

Since being tar­geted by angry YouTube misog­y­nists and MRAs, the red-​haired activist has received death threats, rape threats and lit­er­ally hun­dreds of other hate­ful and harass­ing mes­sages. She’s also been “doxxed” — that is, she’s had her per­sonal infor­ma­tion plas­tered all over the inter­net, includ­ing on A Voice for Men’s forum. Ten days after being uploaded to YouTube, the video of her face­off against the MRAs has gar­nered more than 300,000 views, and YouTu­bers are still leav­ing threats and insults and crude sex­ual comments.

This, appar­ently, is what “Men’s Human Rights Activism” con­sists of: the doxxing and harass­ment of indi­vid­ual women.

wealth and poverty

A protester holds up a sign at a demonstration outside McDonald's in Times Square in New York

The Amer­i­can dream: Sur­vival is not an aspi­ra­tion by Sarah Kendzior at Al Jazeera

Mis­tak­ing wealth for virtue is a cru­elty of our time. By treat­ing poverty as inevitable for parts of the pop­u­la­tion, and giv­ing impov­er­ished work­ers no means to rise out of it, Amer­ica deprives not only them but soci­ety as a whole. Tal­ented and hard-​working peo­ple are denied the abil­ity to con­tribute, and soci­ety is denied the ben­e­fits of their gifts. Poverty is not a char­ac­ter flaw. Poverty is not emblem­atic of intel­li­gence. Poverty is lost poten­tial, unheard con­tri­bu­tions, silenced voices.

Work­ing at McDonald’s is not indica­tive of all a per­son can accom­plish, nor should it be a sen­tence to lim­ited oppor­tu­nity. The ser­vice indus­try is increas­ingly where Amer­i­cans end up, as pre-​recession jobs are replaced with part-​time, poverty-​wage work. If tem­po­rary jobs are a per­ma­nent prob­lem, we need to improve their con­di­tions — along with those of the white-​collar jobs to which many aspire but can­not afford to take.

wealth inequality


The Wealth of Nations by Marty Hart-​Landsberg at Lewis and Clark blogs

Accord­ing to Credit Suisse, “The aim of the Credit Suisse Global Wealth project is to pro­vide the best avail­able esti­mates of the wealth hold­ings of house­holds around the world for the period since the year 2000.”

Accord­ing to the pub­li­ca­tion, global house­hold wealth was $222.7 tril­lion in mid-​2012, equal to $48,500 for each of the 4.6 bil­lion adults in the world. Wealth is “defined as the mar­ketable value of finan­cial assets plus non-​financial assets (prin­ci­pally hous­ing and land) less debts.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, as the fig­ure below shows, aver­age global wealth varies con­sid­er­ably across coun­tries and regions.

phantom phone calls and neurobiology


Why you think your phone is vibrating

Sens­ing phan­tom phone vibra­tions is a strangely com­mon expe­ri­ence. Around 80% of us have imag­ined a phone vibrat­ing in our pock­ets when it’s actu­ally com­pletely still. Almost 30% of us have also heard non-​existent ring­ing. Are these hal­lu­ci­na­tions omi­nous signs of impend­ing mad­ness caused by dig­i­tal culture?

Not at all. In fact, phan­tom vibra­tions and ring­ing illus­trate a fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple in psychology.

You are an exam­ple of a per­cep­tual sys­tem, just like a fire alarm, an auto­matic door, or a daf­fodil bulb that must decide when spring has truly started. Your brain has to make a per­cep­tual judg­ment about whether the phone in your pocket is really vibrating.

mixed-​media drawing: Félix Bracquemond

five ducks

  • Title: [Les canards]
  • Other Title: Five ducks in a pond
  • Creator(s): Brac­que­mond, Félix, 18331914, artist
  • Date Created/​Published: [ca. 1882?]
  • Medium: 1 draw­ing : wash, gouache, pas­tel ; 22 x 32 cm.
  • Repro­duc­tion Num­ber: LC-​USZ62-​71423 (b&w film copy neg.)
  • Rights Advi­sory: No known restric­tions on publication.
  • Call Num­ber: DRWG/​MA, no. 50 (A size) [P&P]
  • Repos­i­tory: Library of Con­gress Prints and Pho­tographs Divi­sion Wash­ing­ton, D.C. 20540 USA

President Jimmy Carter and the nuclear threat


The fol­low­ing is an excerpt from Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter’s farewell speech.

…I want to lay aside my role as leader of one nation, and speak to you as a fel­low cit­i­zen of the world about three issues, three dif­fi­cult issues: The threat of nuclear destruc­tion, our stew­ard­ship of the phys­i­cal resources of our planet, and the pre-​eminence of the basic rights of human beings.

It’s now been 35 years since the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. The great major­ity of the world’s peo­ple can­not remem­ber a time when the nuclear shadow did not hang over the earth. Our minds have adjusted to it, as after a time our eyes adjust to the dark.

Yet the risk of a nuclear con­fla­gra­tion has not less­ened. It has not hap­pened yet, thank God, but that can give us lit­tle com­fort — for it only has to hap­pen once.

The dan­ger is becom­ing greater. As the arse­nals of the super­pow­ers grow in size and sophis­ti­ca­tion and as other gov­ern­ments acquire these weapons, it may only be a mat­ter of time before mad­ness, des­per­a­tion, greed or mis­cal­cu­la­tion lets loose this ter­ri­ble force.

In an all-​out nuclear war, more destruc­tive power than in all of World War II would be unleashed every sec­ond dur­ing the long after­noon it would take for all the mis­siles and bombs to fall. A World War II every sec­ond — more peo­ple killed in the first few hours than all the wars of his­tory put together. The sur­vivors, if any, would live in despair amid the poi­soned ruins of a civ­i­liza­tion that had com­mit­ted suicide.

National weak­ness — real or per­ceived — can tempt aggres­sion and thus cause war. That’s why the United States can­not neglect its mil­i­tary strength. We must and we will remain strong. But with equal deter­mi­na­tion, the United States and all coun­tries must find ways to con­trol and reduce the hor­ri­fy­ing dan­ger that is posed by the world’s enor­mous stock­piles of nuclear arms.

This has been a con­cern of every Amer­i­can pres­i­dent since the moment we first saw what these weapons could do. Our lead­ers will require our under­stand­ing and our sup­port as they grap­ple with this dif­fi­cult but cru­cial chal­lenge. There is no dis­agree­ment on the goals or the basic approach to con­trol­ling this enor­mous destruc­tive force. The answer lies not just in the atti­tudes or actions of world lead­ers, but in the con­cern and demands of all of us as we con­tinue our strug­gle to pre­serve the peace.

Nuclear weapons are an expres­sion of one side of our human char­ac­ter. But there is another side. The same rocket tech­nol­ogy that deliv­ers nuclear war­heads has also taken us peace­fully into space. From that per­spec­tive, we see our Earth as it really is — a small and frag­ile and beau­ti­ful blue globe, the only home we have. We see no bar­ri­ers of race or reli­gion or coun­try. We see the essen­tial unity of our species and our planet; and with faith and com­mon sense, that bright vision will ulti­mately prevail.

government: U.S. State Department and FOIA

U.S. Depart­ment of State Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) website

Wel­come to the U.S. Depart­ment of State Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) web­site. Like all fed­eral agen­cies, the Depart­ment cre­ates and receives records when car­ry­ing out its mis­sion. This web­site pro­vides a wealth of infor­ma­tion about the Department’s FOIA pro­gram and how to obtain access to the Department’s records, as well as a search tool con­tain­ing 80,211 search­able doc­u­ments reviewed and released to the public.

The Depart­ment of State main­tains records deal­ing with:

For­mu­la­tion and exe­cu­tion of U.S. For­eign Policy

Admin­is­tra­tion and oper­a­tions of the Depart­ment of State and U.S. Mis­sions abroad

Con­sular assis­tance given to U.S. Cit­i­zens abroad

In gen­eral, per­ma­nent records 25 years and older, pre-​1925 pass­port and pre-​1940 visa records are prop­erty of National Archives and Records Admin­is­tra­tion (NARA)

Cur­rent and for­mer employ­ees of the Depart­ment of State

Appli­ca­tions from U.S. Cit­i­zens for U.S. Passports

Visa requests from non-​citizens to enter the U.S. You may wish to view the Visa Records Con­tact Infor­ma­tion to deter­mine where the visa records you are seek­ing are maintained