Recently in Notable Category

by Maddy Hughes
The government has laid down its hand in the case of an illegal church church in Beijing, according to The New York Times and Christian Today.

Shouwang Church, also known as Lighthouse, is what is known as an illegal house church, a church that exists outside the area of state-controlled churches in China. The government in China is publicly atheist as well as Communist, and has repeatedly evicted the group from its meeting area.

In response, the church said that it would meet outside instead of trying to hide from the government.

The government has detained the church's leaders and on Sunday, for the second week in a row, detained many of the members who attempted to worship outside after the eviction in a public plaza.

The arrests of the parishioners were explained by the government as a reaction to anti-political activity, though the church claimed that its gatherings had nothing to do with politics. The government took more than 100 of the worshipers to unknown locations after boarding them on buses.

Following the event, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, said in a statement of the U.S. state department's annual human rights report that the church members who were detained were expressing their "internationally recognized right to free expression" and asked that they all be released from custody of the government. Later on, they released all but three members of the group.

Physicists discover what could be a new particle

by Maddy Hughes
This week at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, scientists found a strange bump in their data that could indicate the existence of a new sub-atomic particle.

Further research is needed to prove that the particle is indeed a kind never before seen, as stressed by Brian Greene, a physicist quoted in NPR's coverage of the event.

But though the evidence so far is not enough to say for sure if the particle is a new finding, there is great excitement over its possibility among the scientific community. This is in part because if the particle was truly something previously unknown, it could signify a new force of nature, which sounds impossible to conceive.

"If it isn't something that can be washed away through more refined data," Greene said, "it would be a huge revolution."

The unusual data was found using the Tevatron particle accelerator in the Fermi lab, as researchers were studying collisions between protons and antiprotons, BBC News reported.

These collisions produce W boson particles, and a pair of what are called "jets" of other particles. These jets contained the "bump" in the data, alerting the physicists to something that does not fit within the current Standard Model of the subatomic particle community.

While it was unclear whether the bump was an accident or a real finding, the researchers said that it was definitely not a particle called "Higgs boson," for which they have been ardently searching. According to Dan Hooper, a theoretical physicist at the Fermilab not involved with the study, if the particle was a new discovery it would be even more radical than finding the Higgs particle.

It may be the case that what the physicists are seeing is just a fluctuation in the data, but researchers only have to examine the numbers they already have, and the data from an upcoming experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to find out.

Target sues gay rights group

by Maddy Hughes
SAN DIEGO--Target has filed a lawsuit against a pro-gay marriage group for campaigning outside of stores in San Diego, Minnesota Public Radio and the Huffington Post both reported.

Their decision to sue the group comes after two events concerning their relationship with the gay/ lesbian community that have both created bad publicity and tension between their company and this client base. While the company claims that the lawsuit has nothing to do with the cause they were campaigning for but rather the distraction it was causing to customers, it does not look good added on to the previous issues with their public image.

The first instance that got them into trouble was their $150,000 donation to a business group that supported a Minnesota candidate who opposed gay marriage. After issuing a public apology basically saying that everyone had misinterpreted their donation, they also had a tentative partnership with Lady Gaga to promote her new album which was short-lived and fell through after their business meeting, which reportedly resulted in a conflict concerning their policy.

During the court hearing Friday in San Diego, Judge Jeffrey Barton asked why Target attorney David McDowell had not provided proof of the customers being upset over the activists, but McDowell replied that he could get it, but should not need it since the case is about keeping people off their private property.

Brian W. Pease, attorney of the gay rights group Canvass For a Cause, said that the area in which they were petitioning was considered by courts to be an area appropriate for groups to exercise free speech.

Target maintained that they have asked plenty of organizations to respect the privacy of the area surrounding their store, and their action against Canvass For a Cause did not involve any sort of political agenda. Arguments went back and forth, and Judge Barton announced that he would make a decision by the end of next week.

Youtube video of Qadaffi parody becomes a hit in Arab world

by Maddy Hughes
JERUSALEM-- A man from Tel Aviv, Israel has created a YouTube video making fun of Qaddafi's dictatorial ways, gaining attention all across the Arab world in support of rebels in Libya.

The New York Times and The Washington Times both covered the popularity of the video, which is fueled by the movement written about here

Noy Alooshe, a 31-year-old journalist, made the video out of inspiration taken from watching the leader give an angry and threatening speech Tuesday. Alooshe said that the combination of the leader's rhythmic speech, funny clothing, and strange gestures gave him the idea to create a spoof that would surely grab the attention of all those in opposition to Qaddafi.

He used a song made by Pitbull and featuring T. Pain, both American rappers, to take place of the speech on Tuesday, with a repetition of the word "Zenga" (giving the video its title "Zenga Zenga"), which was actually Qaddafi saying "zanqa," "alleyway" in Arabic.

Mr. Alooshe finished the video early Wednesday morning and used Facebook and Twitter to spread the link for it. By Sunday night it was viral, having gotten 500,000 hits. A majority of the feedback was positive.

Mr. Alooshe received a message from a Libyan rebel saying that if and when Qaddafi falls from power, "We will dance to 'Zenga-Zenga' in the square."

Texas considers bill to legalize gun possession on campus

by Maddy Hughes
AUSTIN, Texas--A plurality in members of the Texas House have signed on to legislation that would allow teachers and students to carry guns on campus, as reported by The Houston Chronicle and The Huffington Post.

Texas is the third state to consider such legislation, and if passed, it would become the second state to have it. Utah allows guns on campus and Colorado allows individual colleges to decide whether they want to give permission.

But guns would also be allowed if concealed inside classrooms, which has gotten the attention of victims during the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

Colin Goddard and John Wood, both victims at Virginia Tech, were at the capitol Thursday urging lawmakers not to pass the bill.

Those in favor of the law say that it's about self-defense and in favor of safety, while opponents say it would just make campuses more dangerous.

The bill awaits a verdict.

Obama to cut domestic spending

by Maddy Hughes
President Obama will present his budget plan for fiscal 2012 Monday, and sources report he plans to cut domestic spending by $1.1 trillion by 2021.

This will be the third annual budget proposal for Obama, this time presenting to a primarily Republican House of Representatives. Two briefings are scheduled for the coming week--one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday--for the head of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, Market Watch reported.

The proposal includes a plan to take away tax cuts for families with an income of $250,000 per year, who were covered in the Bush presidency. Obama said that the cut will reflect the need in the U.S. to cut back on spending for things we don't need, so that we will be able to continue the services of things we do need.

The New York Times
reported that the cut would consist of two-thirds reduction in spending, including the spending on domestic programs of which he approves. The alternative budget cut from House Republicans is not yet available, so the two plans are difficult to be compared, although the GOP said that they would propose a reduction of $100 billion in spending.

Among the cuts in domestic spending, if the plan passed, would be $78 billion in military expenditures, cuts on health care programs (not including Medicare), and more.

As the outcomes of budget cut proposals are always hard to predict, Obama's plan will serve more as a message of his philosophy regarding national spending than an exact layout of how much spending to cut, and where to cut it.

Looting at Egyptian National Museum

by Maddy Hughes
Close to the ongoing anti-government protests in Cairo, Egypt have been attempts of theft at the Egyptian National Museum. The Daily Star and the Wall Street Journal gave very similar accounts of this event Monday.

50 men tried to break into the museum but were detained by soldiers who were on guard in anticipation of something happening to the museum during some of the most intense protests right next to it.

Two cases were smashed nearby a piece featuring King Tut's golden funerary mask, which attracts much tourism. A head of a small clay statue was found on the stairs, and the museum's gift shop was littered with broken glass, postcards, and souvenirs.

The looters are believed to have been aiming for the gold in the museum.

Ways the mind benefits from meditation

by Maddy Hughes
According to articles in The New York Times and Science Daily, a study discussed in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (published today) indicates that the benefits of meditation may include improvements in cognition and psychology.
This study focused on the difference between regular meditation and "mindfulness meditation," which focuses on the physical sensations of the body in order to prevent the mind from wandering.
The idea behind this technique is the Buddhist theory that the key to happiness is to be in the present moment, as opposed to thinking about one's past or future.
The two articles differ in their presentation of the facts, as the author of the New York Times article summarizes the findings and relates it back to the situation of her marriage (and her husband, who practices the new mediation) and Science Daily explains the phenomenon more thoroughly in scientific terms.
The main fascination of the results was the decrease in grey matter in the amygdala, the area of the brain that shows levels of anxiety, and an increase of grey matter in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain commonly associated with memory.

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