“Student loans are destroying the imagination of youth. If there’s a way of a society committing mass suicide, what better way than to take all the youngest, most energetic, creative, joyous people in your society and saddle them with, like $50,000 of debt so they have to be slaves? There goes your music. There goes your culture. There goes everything new that would pop out. And in a way, this is what’s happened to our society. We’re a society that has lost any ability to incorporate the interesting, creative and eccentric people.” ~David Graeber
Even worse still, we still have music and movies and art; they just suck because they lack soul.
More than 100 people were still unaccounted for as efforts continued to rescue passengers aboard a South Korean ferry that sank off the country’s south-west coast on Wednesday morning.
Dozens of coastguard and navy vessels were battling to rescue passengers, including 325 high school pupils and their teachers. A major rescue operation is now underway involving more than 30 coastguard and military ships, as well as about a dozen helicopters.
Officials said two of the ship’s 476 passengers, which included more than 300 children, had been confirmed dead but there were fears that many passengers may have been trapped inside the vessel as it listed and sank. Full story
A special New York police department unit that sparked controversy by tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an effort to detect terror threats has been disbanded, police officials said on Tuesday.
Stephen Davis, a spokesman for the NYPD, confirmed that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department’s intelligence division.
In a statement the mayor, Bill de Blasio, called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys”. Full story
Pseudoeurycea bellii is the largest of the lungless salamanders (family Plethodontidae) and one of the largest terrestrial salamanders, with a maximum size of 36 cm in total length. Pseudoeurycea bellii has a stout body, long, muscular limbs, and a long tail, constricted at the base. The tongue is projectile. This salamander has shiny dark black skin with two red to red-orange spots on the occipital area (back of the head) generally present. The subspecies P. b. bellii has a dorsal mark in the shape of a chevron, generally followed by paired rows of red to red-orange spots (sometimes joined into chevrons) running along the back, down to the base of the tail. In contrast, the subspecies P. b. sierraoccidentalis (found in northern Mexico, in an area straddling the border of Sonora and Chihuahua) has greatly reduced reddish coloration, with asymmetric and irregular small dorsal markings (Parra-Olea et al. 2005).
Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading.
Two New Alligator Snapping Turtle Species Announced, Some Face Localized Risks
by Brett Smith, Red Orbit
A new study published in the journal Zootaxa reveals that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species – not one as previously thought.The report also indicated that the localized distribution of these species, which includes coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico, poses a significant threat to their continued survival.
“We have to be especially careful with our management of the Suwannee River species because this turtle exists only in that river and its tributaries,” said study author Travis Thomas, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientist, referring to a small river that winds through parts of Georgia and Florida. “If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species. The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go.”
Based on analyses of the fossil record and modern turtle morphology, study researchers revised the genus Macrochelys to include Macrochelys temminkii and the two newly-described species, Macrochelys apalachicolae and Macrochelys suwanniensis. Constrained to river systems that empty into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the species are split by geography, which triggered changes in genetics, according to the study team…