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WHO: Ebola virus death toll now at 729

AFP: 57 more deaths from the Ebola epidemic in west Africa have pushed the overall death toll from the outbreak to 729, according to the World Health Organization.

The 57 deaths were recorded between Thursday and Sunday last week in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the UN health agency said in a statement.

Follow more on this story at Breaking News

Photo: A nurse from Liberia disinfects the waiting area for visitors at a hospital in Monrovia. (EPA via


What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

Does handwriting matter?

Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard.

But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.

Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.

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Unexpected stem cell factories found inside teeth

Researchers have now discovered nervous system cells transforming back into stem cells in a very surprising place: inside teeth. This unexpected source of stem cells potentially offers scientists a new starting point from which to grow human tissues for therapeutic or research purposes without using embryos.

“More than just applications within dentistry, this finding can have very broad implications,” says developmental biologist Igor Adameyko of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the new work. “These stem cells could be used for regenerating cartilage and bone as well.”

Researchers were studying glial cells, which support and surround neurons that wind through the mouth and gums and help transmit signals of pain from the teeth to the brain. When they added fluorescent labels to a set of glial cells in mice, they saw that over time, some of them migrated away from neurons in the gums toward the inside of teeth, where they transformed into mesenchymal stem cells. Eventually, the same cells matured into tooth cells, the team reported this week in Nature

Flexible. Nerve cells sometimes spontaneously transform into stem cells inside teeth, researchers have discovered. Pasieka/Science Photo Library/Corbis

How Politicians Rig Elections, Explained In 2 Minutes

Most Americans think elections are rigged in favor of incumbents, and they’re right. Part of the problem is that, unlike most other countries, we let politicians choose their voters.
Via Vox

On a chilly night in February, Jessica Ojeda, 23, sat shivering in her car while police arrested her fiancé for drunken driving.

It was shortly after 1:30 a.m. and they were still a couple of miles from their Salem home. Her cellphone was dead; she didn’t have money for a taxi. Police put her fiancé, William Helle, in the back of a police car and told Ojeda they were impounding the vehicle.

"I don’t have any way to get home," Ojeda said to the deputy. "Wait a minute, you can’t just pull me over and leave me here."

But a Marion County police report confirms that Ojeda was, indeed, left there — alone at 2 a.m., walking along Hawthorne Avenue NE to a nearby hotel to call for a ride.

Most law enforcement agencies don’t have policies in place requiring officers to go out of their way to help people who wind up in situations like Ojeda’s.


You have to retire from the NSA to make $1 million per month

Former NSA director Keith Alexander will charge companies up to $1 million a month to keep them safe from online hackers. Apparently Alexander and business partners from IronNet Cybersecurity have founded a new firm after leaving the government and military in March. The company supposedly offers a new technology that has a “unique” approach when it comes to detecting hackers online.

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What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.

In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—is little more than a front for a high-dollar covert operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.

The rationalizations for the American police state are many. There’s the so-called threat of terrorism, the ongoing Drug War, the influx of [undocumented] immigrants, the threat of civil unrest in the face of economic collapse, etc. However, these rationalizations are merely excuses for the growth of a government behemoth, one which works hand in hand with corporations to profit from a society kept under lockdown and in fear at all times.

The Stealing of America by the Cops, the Courts, the Corporations and Congress (via questionall)

Andrew Lamb is a Canadian artist who, over the last two years, has been on a mission to rejigger neighborhood watch signs around Toronto to feature 1980s and 90s icons from morning cartoons, cult shows, and comic books. So far, he’s amended more than 70 signs, and thanks to his efforts my neighborhood is now presided over by Mulder and Scully and I’ve never felt safer. The 30-year-old artist makes his living creating puppets and has been working for the past few years on the technology required for a big planned project involving covertly painting Toronto bike lanes.

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