Norwegian Police Find a 'Bomb-Like' Device in the Capital
Police in Norway set off a controlled explosion in the capital, Oslo, after they found a “bomb-like” device. A suspect is in custody. “The noise from the blast was louder than our explosives themselves would cause,” a police spokesman told Reuters. The device was found in the Groenland neighborhood, a popular spot with bars and restaurants near the city’s main police station. Police would not release further information about the suspect, or details of the device they found. The country was on high alert after an attack in Sweden the day before, in which a man stole a beer truck and drove it into a crowd of people, killing four and injuring many others. Nordic countries are not used to regular acts of terrorism, as has been increasingly the case in much of Europe.
Vi har kontroll på stedet, og avventer nå til vi har fått foretatt nødvendige undersøkelser.Vi har kontroll på en person med status mistenkt
Warplanes Return to the Syrian Town Hit by Chemical Attack
Warplanes returned on Saturday to bomb the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the site targeted by the Bashar al-Assad regime earlier this week in a chemical attack. The latest bombing killed one woman and wounded several others, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain. It’s not known who deployed the warplanes. Khan Sheikhoun is practically a ghost town now, ever since Tuesday when Assad killed more than 80 people in the chemical attack. This prompted the U.S. to retaliate Friday with 60 Tomahawk missiles fired at the Shayrat air base, the site where the chemical attack was launched. It was the first time U.S. took direct military action against Assad since the civil war began in 2011. Elsewhere in the country on Friday, the U.S. targeted ISIS-held city of Raqqa, killing at least 15 people, including a woman and her six children on a boat in the Euphrates River.
Venezuela Bans Opposition Leader From Holding Office
Venezuelan authorities banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding office for 15 years, removing President Nicolás Maduro’s toughest challenger in next year’s election. The move is the latest in a series of attempts to assert Maduro’s control in a country that has already pushed back democratic elections. Venezuela’s comptroller general accused Capriles, a state governor, of misusing public funds and "administrative irregularities." Capriles has run for president twice, and is seen as the opposition’s best chance at beating Maduro. Capriles has led a series of protests recently, accusing the government of stifling dissent. Maduro is deeply unpopular in the country since oil prices plummeted and threw Venezuela into an economic nosedive. The government has tried to consolidate power, and in March the Supreme Court stripped Congress of authority. The court rescinded that decision a week ago after massive protests and criticism even from within the ruling party.
The militant Basque separatist group ETA handed over its weapons to French authorities Saturday, ending a decades-old conflict and the last insurgency in Europe. At a ceremony in southern French city of Bayonne, militants handed authorities an inventory of weapons and their locations. ETA, which is an acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, was founded in 1959 to fight cultural and political repression under Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. The Basque region lies on the border of France and Spain, and the ETA has sought to carve out an independent state. More than 850 people were killed in their fight, including Franco’s heir, Luis Carrero Blanco. ETA members dug a tunnel under the road Blanco drove to mass each week and packed it with bombs, blowing up his car and killing him. The group also attacked areas crowded with civilians. In 1987 it targeted a Barcelona supermarket and killed 21 people, including children. In 2011, the ETA declared a ceasefire, but held onto its weapons. At the supply caches, authorities were expected to find more than 120 firearms and more than three tons of explosives. Neither the ceasefire or disarmament include impunity, so investigators could use some of the weapons to tie suspects to past crimes.
Swedish police arrested a man they accused of stealing a beer truck in Stockholm and crashing it into a crowd of people in a busy shopping area, killing four. The suspect is a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan who had been known to the country’s security services, although investigators found no ties to extremism. His name was not released. He is the same man pictured in a still image taken from a surveillance video that police released on Friday, the day of the attack. Officers initially said they were unsure what role the man might have played, but by Saturday said they were confident he had driven the truck. Swedish media also reported that investigators found a suspicious device in the truck, but it has not been identified.
Richard Spencer is a troll and an icon for white supremacists. He was also my high-school classmate.
On December 17, 2007, the libertarian magazine Reason held a Christmas bash—a “Very Special, Very Secular Christmas Party”—at its office in Washington, D.C. The guest of honor, the late Atlantic book critic Christopher Hitchens, tugged liberally on his drink and gave a speech about how the holiday season was oppressive (“like living in fucking North Korea”). Then near the height of his powers as an anti-theist pamphleteer, Hitchens led the crowd in a tuneless rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “A Christmas Carol,” before slipping away and leaving the guests to the open bar and the mistletoe.
Among those guests was a figure from my past. I had not seen Richard Spencer in more than 10 years. He was not yet known as our generation’s most prominent white supremacist. I remembered him as my eighth-grade-chemistry lab partner and high-school classmate. We spotted each other and walked closer, circling uncertainly for a few seconds, before he spoke my name and confirmed that a wormhole had indeed opened from late-1990s North Dallas.
In 16th- and 17th-century Europe, physicians, butchers, and executioners alike hawked the salutary effects of Axungia hominis.
One night in 1731, Cornelia di Bandi burst into flames. When the 62-year-old Italian countess was found the next morning, her head and torso had been reduced to ash and grease.
Only her arms and legs remained intact. After examining what was left of her body, a local physician concluded, in a report cited years later, that the conflagration “was caused in her entrails” by the variety of combustible materials to be found there, including alcohol and fat, “an oily liquid … of an easily combustible nature.” An early instance of what would come to be known as “spontaneous human combustion,” di Bandi’s case was one of many later studied by the French agronomist Pierre-Aimé Lair. If there was a common denominator to these otherwise unexplained phenomena, Lair concluded, it was the fact that most of them involved corpulent older women with a penchant for drink, thus combining fat and alcohol in a literally explosive mix. In addition to the fuel provided by excess body fat, which was rendered even more combustible when “penetrated by alcoholic substances,” surplus fat was said to create higher levels of hydrogen, making the body especially flammable. Lair concluded:
University libraries around the world are seeing precipitous declines in the use of the books on their shelves.
When Yale recently decided to relocate three-quarters of the books in its undergraduate library to create more study space, the students loudly protested. In a passionate op-ed in the Yale Daily News, one student accused the university librarian—who oversees 15 million books in Yale’s extensive library system—of failing to “understand the crucial relationship of books to education.” A sit-in, or rather a “browse-in,” was held in Bass Library to show the administration how college students still value the presence of books. Eventually the number of volumes that would remain was expanded, at the cost of reducing the number of proposed additional seats in a busy central location.
Little-noticed in this minor skirmish over the future of the library was a much bigger story about the changing relationship between college students and books. Buried in a slide deck about circulation statistics from Yale’s library was an unsettling fact: There has been a 64 percent decline in the number of books checked out by undergraduates from Bass Library over the past decade.
Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world a century ago.
A century ago, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, as much of the world was still recovering from the devastation of World War I. Rebuilding was just beginning, refugees were returning home, orphans were being cared for, and a global influenza outbreak was being battled. In other news, the Lincoln Memorial was nearing completion in Washington, D.C.; Vladimir Lenin was working to solidify the Soviet Republic; the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed—guaranteeing women the right to vote; a molasses disaster struck Boston; and much more. Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world 100 years ago.
The president has been intervening in the process of producing a border wall, on behalf of a favored firm.
Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET on May 25, 2019.
Many of the tales of controversy to emerge from the Trump administration have been abstract, or complicated, or murky. Whenever anyone warns about destruction of “norms,” the conversation quickly becomes speculative—the harms are theoretical, vague, and in the future.
This makes new Washington Post reporting about President Donald Trump’s border wall especially valuable. The Post writes about how Trump has repeatedly pressured the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security to award a contract for building a wall at the southern U.S. border to a North Dakota company headed by a leading Republican donor.
The story demonstrates the shortcomings of Trump’s attempt to bring private-sector techniques into government. It shows his tendency toward cronyism, his failures as a negotiator, and the ease with which a fairly primitive attention campaign can sway him. At heart, though, what it really exemplifies is Trump’s insistence on placing performative gestures over actual efficacy. And it is a concrete example—almost literally—of how the president’s violations of norms weaken the country and waste taxpayer money.
Boosting your ego won’t make you feel better. Instead, try talking to yourself like you would your best friend.
In 1986, California state assemblyman John Vasconcellos came up with what he believed could be “a vaccine for major social ills” like teen pregnancy and drug abuse: a special task-force to promote self-esteem among Californians. The effort folded three years later, and was widely considered not to have accomplished much.
To Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, that’s not surprising. Though self-esteem continues to reverberate as a pop-psych cure-all, the quest for inflated egos, in her view, is misguided and largely pointless.
There’s nothing wrong with being confident, to answer Demi Lovato’s question. The trouble is how we try to achieve high self-regard. Often, it’s by undermining others or comparing our achievements to those around us. That’s not just unsustainable, Neff argues, it can also lead to narcissism or depressive bouts during hard times.
The human brain can’t contend with the vastness of online shopping.
In theory, Amazon is a site meant to serve the needs of humans. The mega-retailer’s boundless inventory gives people easy access to household supplies and other everyday products that are rarely fun to shop for. Most people probably aren’t eager to buy clothes hangers, for instance. They just want to have hangers when they need them.
But when you type hangers into Amazon’s search box, the mega-retailer delivers “over 200,000” options. On the first page of results, half are nearly identical velvet hangers, and most of the rest are nearly identical plastic. They don’t vary much by price, and almost all of the listings in the first few pages of results have hundreds or thousands of reviews that average out to ratings between four and five stars. Even if you have very specific hanger needs and preferences, there’s no obvious choice. There are just choices.
Regulators should think carefully about the fallout from well-intentioned new rules and avoid the mistakes of the past.
“Our way of taking power and using it would have been inconceivable without the radio and the airplane,” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels claimed in August 1933.
Such statements are often cited—the head of Disney, Bob Iger, recently said that Adolf Hitler would have loved social media—but frequently misinterpreted. Goebbels was not saying that the Nazis had used both new technologies, the airplane and the radio, to come to power. Rather, the airplane helped the Nazis take power. Radio helped them keep it.
The history of radio, and in particular how it was regulated in interwar Germany, is more relevant than ever: Five years ago, the question was whether we would regulate social media. Now the questions are how and when we will regulate them. As politicians and regulators in places as disparate as Berlin, Singapore, and Washington—even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—consider how best to do so, we should think carefully about the fallout from well-intentioned new rules and avoid the mistakes of the past.
One half of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller explains how performance and discomfort make education come alive.
Education, at its most engaging, is performance art. From the moment a teacher steps into the classroom, students look to him or her to set the tone and course of study for everyone, from the most enthusiastic to the most apathetic students. Even teachers who have moved away from the traditional lecture format, toward more learner autonomy-supportive approaches such as project-based and peer-to-peer learning, still need to engage students in the process, and serve as a vital conduit between learner and subject matter.
Teachers are seldom trained in the performance aspect of teaching, however, and given that every American classroom contains at least one bored, reluctant, or frustrated student, engagement through performance may just be the most important skill in a teacher’s bag of tricks.
Jes Kast, a minister in the United Church of Christ, believes the procedure should be fully legal and accessible. Her path to that position has been complicated.
In America, the debate about abortion is often reduced to binary categories. Religious versus secular. Misogynists versus murderers. Even “Christian theocracy” versus, presumably, everyone else.
With abortion once again in the headlines this month, after Alabama and several other states passed near-total bans on the procedure, Jes Kast, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, spoke up as someone who does not fit those categories. She supports abortion rights, and is representative of her denomination on this issue: According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of people in the UCC, a small, progressive denomination with a little less than 1 million members, think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Kast also serves on the clergy-advocacy board of Planned Parenthood, which works to “increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health,” according to its website.