RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/December 2014

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December 2014[edit]

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29Closure of Milwaukee voucher school leaves 200 kids in the lurch, but hey! At least the owner got his $35 million... for having 2-3% of his students read and do maths at grade level.
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25So, that 1950s wave of UFO sightings, that kicked the UFO cult into high gear? Literally half of them were the CIA testing the U2 series.
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19Non-biblical vocabulary word of the day -- Gynandromorphism -- courtesy of the half-male, half-female cardinal (this type, not this type) found in northwestern Illinois.
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-7Episcopal bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, with a previous DUI incident and alcohol in the car, fatally hit biker Thomas Palermo, drove home, and returned 20 minutes later.
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8Woman shot by two year old.[1]
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6Commissioner Bratton defends the indefensible. With an extra helping of "silent majority" BS.
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35Trans teen Leelah Alcorn, whose parents refused to support their daughter, committed suicide this morning. In her suicide note she begged people to try to work for a better world for trans people.
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38John Boehner: "All right, we have control of both chambers of Congress. Now we can't just give everything away to the Democrats now. Avoid any controversies. Rule #1: Don't hang out with neo-Nazis. That should be easy... Right?"
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52On Christmas day, Neil deGrasse Tyson posted this tweet and Christian fundamentalists lost their collective shit guaranteeing increased coverage. On the 27th, NDT commented on the kerfuffle and the fun continued (including in the Facebook comment section at the bottom of the page).
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-3Seems Egypt's still not keen on the Jews being taken away.
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15Russia just won't give up that stoopid story that MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian Su-25.
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33Netanyahu is disqualified from running for Likud party leadership for alleged misuse of party funds; Netanyahu will appeal. Simultaneously, but without any connection apparent by now, Israel police reveal a huge political corruption investigation: About 30 political figures are said to be involved in nepotism and transfer of funds. The parliamental elections on 2015-03-17 are about to get exciting.
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39Erdoğan : Birth control is treason.
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13Oh, dear God... Context: During a charity event hosted at Glendale Elks Lodge, a performer made a parody of Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce called Bad Bad Michael Brown. Both the LAPD and the Glendale Elk's Lodge have said that they did not sanction the event and are launching investigations.
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-20David Cameron's Christmas message - "giving, sharing and taking care of others". Pass the sickbag.
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22Ohio town REALLY isn't into zombie Jesus.
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40A Fox affiliate in Baltimore altered footage to make it appear as if protesters in D.C. were chanting "kill a cop".
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40Sean Hannity's own fellow hosts and reporters at Fox News named him the network's worst host. Hannity responds by proving them right.
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21Gaylard Williams, pastor of Praise Cathedral Church of God in Seymour, Indiana, victim of Haggard's Law.
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25Little victories: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission convinces Adelaide court that Homeopathy Plus was being "misleading and deceptive" in their anti-vaxx, pro-homeopathy stance. A penalty hearing is scheduled for February 2015.
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26"We're not anti-police." Emerald Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, offers support and condolences to families of slain NYPD officers.
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-12

Nebraska professor plans to build warp drive in his garage.

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5Mass killers often start by stalking or assaulting women.
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16Joe Cocker, quite good singer, deaded at 70 of lung cancer.
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26Pope Francis begins the celebration of Festivus by airing his grievances over the Vatican Bureaucracy. "spiritual Alzheimer's" ... saucer of milk?
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9Patreon had to make an actual rule against sponsoring child porn, malicious doxing or hate speech. Why? 8chan and Gamergate, of course!
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27San Franciscan police officer batters sleeping hospital patient; claims he was assaulted.
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23Hopefully this is the last we'll ever hear of Andrew Wakefield.
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53Ohioan county jail threatens solitary confinement on a Muslim woman for refusing to go to Church; woman sues state for violating the constitution.
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32Teacher fired by Roman Catholic school for having in vitro fertilization wins $2 million verdict but there will be an appeal.
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12To be fair, there are at least several people involved in Bitcoin who are not money-laundering drug dealers.
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9Obama: Just release the stupid goddamn film. Sony: Okay, okay! Fuck you, everyone.
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25Farewell, Her Excellency The Rev. Sir Doctor Stephen Tyrone Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World** La Première Dame de France.
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18Persecution of atheism and secular humanism is on the rise ... as these ideas become more widely accepted as legitimate. (A report on the International Humanist and Ethical Union's Freedom of Thought Report.)
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20Sony pulls the release of Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview due to empty North Korean threats. Fucking cowards. Update: Perfect timing, as the Times finally confirms what was long suspected. (It appears the regime is now so unstable that it will cyberattack Hollywood companies to prevent objectionable films from getting smuggled in. Holy Streisand... maybe Babs is no longer worthy.)
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18Not only are wealth gaps at nearly unprecedented levels, actual corporate control is in the hands of even fewer than previously thought
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1Londoners on the Tube, so cold, so unfriendly, so... singalong?
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38"Are we entering a new Cold War?" Well, the Russian economy is imploding and the US is about to lift a little-known embargo... Update: And one of the most counter-intuitve foreign policy initiatives of all time has ended. US to re-establish full relations with Cuba after 50 years.
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20The Taliban massacre over 100 schoolchidren and their teachers, in Pakistan. The government overeacts promising speedy executions and innocent people could die without a proper trial.
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9After Bush and Shrub, what name for this one?
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9See, it takes top Silicon Valley disruptive innovators like Uber to see a hostage siege and immediately think "w00t, price-gouging opportunity!"
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17UKIP candidate Kerry Smith resigns after a series of racist, homophobic and elitist remarks. Apparently, outbreaks of racism and homophobia are side-effects of morphine. Perhaps it should say so on the bottle.
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10A number of people were taken hostage by an Islamic extremist in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, five escaped. The police stormed the cafe and three including the gunman were killed.
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15ISIS leader: "If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no ISIS"
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23Bob Jones University slammed over its handling of sexual abuse incidents in report by a Christian organization they contracted.
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38Raw milk company defends product after 3yo's death ... a few weeks after sharing a Facebook image mocking safety concerns about raw milk.
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15Health officials in Michigan are sounding the alarm thanks to a high rate of vaccine waivers. In California, whooping cough has made a comeback. And the National Hockey League is experiencing an outbreak of mumps.
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30In a perfect example of the Streisand Effect, staff member of the United States Senate tries to remove reference to torture in the Wikipedia article of the CIA torture report.
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34Greenpeace may have unintentionally damaged the Nazca site in Peru; later apologises.
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35No tax breaks for the Ark Park. Update: Here's the actual letter from Kentucky’s Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart to Ken Ham. It's a thing of beauty.
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17Death and rape wishes, still an acceptable part of Twitter discourse.
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28Czech scientists manage to create all the components of RNA in an experiment simulating an asteroid impact.
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22Guess who's running for president again! (GOP national primaries: better than any reality show.)
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36Illinois General Assembly revives recording ban on cops by citizens, makes it a felony.
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40The CIA torture report is out. Highlights: they gravely lied to Congress and the White House, understated the brutality of their methods and the number of torture victims and exaggerated the value of the gathered information or even fabricated it; “At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held”; the CIA itself leaked classified information to journalists, exaggerating the success of interrogation methods in an effort to gain public support. Guardian summary, live feed, background; NYT key points, analysis; Full document (huge PDF). Update: Telling.
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35You know that freedom of religion thing? It cuts both ways.
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29Trickle down economics slows growth, says the OECD
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30Scott Lively runs out of appeals; to stand trial for crimes against humanity.
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21The Satanists are at it again: Holiday Satanic Display Approved By Florida Capitol
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13A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals. "These outlets both belong to a world of predatory journals that spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work — whatever it is — for a fee, without actually conducting peer review"
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23Richard Dawkins apparently had not heard about the men's rights movement.
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38Chemical weapon attack on furry convention. A jar of chlorine powder was used, indicating a very unsophisticated attacker. 19 hospitalized, 18 now released, none dead, thankfully. Additionally, as reality has a sense of morbid irony, a nearby dog show took con-goers in for shelter.
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42Science being awesome again. Six years after launch, New Horizons sends back an "I'm awake!" message, as it prepares for final approach to Pluto.
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37British High Court overrules Jehovah's Witnesses' objections to blood transfusion for son
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22Paid fossil energy lobbyists posing as attorneys general in more than a dozen states. Republicans – who could have guessed that.
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55In view of the Hobby Lobby decision, the Satanic Temple strikes back by filing a lawsuit to exempt their followers from reading pro-life literature which is required in some states when planning to have an abortion. Their argument is that since their beliefs are solely based on scientific facts, and because much of this literature's content is not based on science, having to read it would inflict their freedom of religion.
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18Rolling Stone has cast doubt on its own article relating to a rape scandal at UVA, following discrepancies found by the Washington Post that cast doubt on the veracity of Jackie, the supposed rape victim's claims. Basically a retraction here and a statement from the fraternity in question here.
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27Being Black in Public claims another victim. He was "verbally challenging" the cop, so clearly summary execution was justified... provided the cop's name was Dredd and this was Mega City One... The cop claims to have felt a gun in his pocket, but no, he was unarmed, and it was actually a prescription medicine vial. The police account conflicts with what other witnesses say. What is it with all these black men who try to draw weapons they don't have?
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15Good tidings of great joy: there's a new Ayn Rand novel coming out.
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21Indiana cops are a bunch of dicks.
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12A football-loving goat joins in a game.
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17There's a campaign to put McDonald's in churches.
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22 If you're black in the USA you can't go down the stairs in the place where you live without risking that a rookie police officer will "accidentally" shoot you dead! While Akai Gurley was dying the policeman who shot him didn't even get medical help Why are so many black people the victims of supposed police fatal mistakes and not others? This happens too often and is no coincidence.
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27Bill passes in the Michigan House of Representatives to make it legal to discriminate, on religious grounds.
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13I was hoping that they'd at least be allowed to run for office.
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34Canadian family prays over corpse in home for six months in hopes of resurrection.
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6A Lancastrian vicar is arrested over a suspicious infant death after a series of incidents.
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12Tory Rebel MP Mark Pritchard is arrested on suspicion of rape, and is bailed until January on an election year.
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11The British courts effectively rule on foetal personhood
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22Yet again a grand jury wouldn't indict a white police officer who caused the death of a black man. Eric Garner refused to be handcuffed and felt police were harassing him for trying to break up a fight. Obama with other leading US politicians are trying to address a breakdown in trust between police and communities and Al Sharpton says the grand jury system is broken.
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23Not-So-Complementary Medicine: A recent Australian study has indicated that many alternative therapies can reduce or compromise the effectiveness of concurrent chemotherapy or conventional cancer treatment.
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14Obviously it's a mad biotinker wanting to revive the clock tower sniper in a robotic spider body. Obviously.
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19Hypothetically, if a bill was tabled with the name "No Social Security for Nazis Act," would anyone (in the most polarized Congress of all time) vote against it? So far, no.
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25HIV is evolving - very publically, in a time scale that is readily understandable, to become somewhat milder.
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39Cameron knows which sexual acts are bad and bans them from porn produced in the UK. IF THE WOMEN EJACULATE THEN THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON. (Cameron must not be a Monty Python fan. His list "blows away" the subject matter of one of their most popular -- and one of their most NSFW -- short songs.)
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27If you're communications director to a Congressman, don't diss Obama's kids. Especially if you ever did something newsworthy as a teenager, or have ever shown any lack of class.
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10Outgoing congressidiot Steve Stockman has introduced a bill demanding America conduct a study on what Rep. Steve Stockman has named the "Stockman Effect."
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12"Hands down the weirdest story I've ever covered." (Of course it has to involve North Korea.)