The Red Line… Again, Christie Loves Obama, Tyson On Taxes, More Democratic Gun Control Work To Come And American Money For Afghans: Monday Morning News Roundup 4-29-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Israeli officials are (again) saying that Iran has crossed “the red line” and must be blasted to smithereens.

 

  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is beginning to look a lot like a Democrat with some of his recent policy initiatives, especially with regard to gun control. The Governor also began his week praising President Barack Obama, who he says “has kept every promise he’s made” about helping his State recover from Superstorm Sandy.

 

  • So this is what’s happening with the money we’ve been printing? The New York Times reports the CIA has been buying American influence with Afghan president Hamid Karzai “with bags of cash” — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

 

  • Former boxer Mike Tyson owes millions of dollars in back taxes, but he still says he loves paying taxes and thinks Obamacare will save him money. Is anyone else wondering why in the hell “Fox and Friends” was talking politics and taxes with Tyson?

 

  • Congressional Democrats who failed to grab your guns earlier this month promise the issue’s not dead. Look for Federal gun-control legislation to be reintroduced later in the 113th Congress, with a more organized sales job for low-information voters.

 

  • During the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama offered this gem of a joke: “Now, look, I get it. These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be. Time passes. You get a little gray.”

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

* Ben Bullard contributed to this report.

 

Boston And More Government Lies

The Saudi Arabian “person of interest” who was hospitalized with serious injuries and then held under guard at a hospital because he was suspected of playing a part in the Boston Marathon bombing is just a college student who happened to be enjoying the annual spectacle.

Two Chechnyan brothers — one a naturalized U.S. citizen — who heretofore were unknown to the U.S. security apparatus, became radicalized for unknown reasons. Using instructions found online, they fabricated bombs using kitchen utensils, hardware junk and fireworks, concealed them in a backpack and duffle bag and detonated them near the finish line of the race.

Days later, after the FBI solicited the help of the public in identifying two men in grainy video images, the two Chechnyan brothers came out of hiding, killed an MIT police officer in cold blood in an effort to steal his sidearm, car jacked an Asian man, drove to a convenience store and robbed it, then engaged in a firefight with police. The two men were armed with a small arsenal of five pipe bombs, an M-4 carbine, two handguns and a BB gun. They planned to kill as many people as they could and then, depending on who is talking, blow up New York or party there, authorities said.

During the early morning hours of Friday, April 19, the two men battled with police, exchanging gunfire and exploding at least one of their bombs. At least 200 rounds were fired by the cops. The suspects fired back 80 or more at police. The older brother, identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was apprehended when he ran toward police while firing his weapon. Tamerlan was on the ground being handcuffed by police when younger brother Dzhokhar — by all accounts of friends a nice and friendly guy who had never expressed jihadist opinions — drove over him in a stolen SUV, dragging the body at least 30 feet before it became disentangled from the vehicle’s undercarriage.

This violent exchange, in which police believe they wounded Dzhokhar, led to a voluntary lockdown of the town of Watertown, part of greater Boston. Residents and business owners were encouraged but not forced to stay inside all of Friday while police, FBI and National Guard troops and equipment scoured the neighborhood for the criminal terrorist. Police tactical units, armed in full SWAT or military gear conducted house-to-house searches, asking people to exit their homes at gunpoint, strongly encouraging them (with threats) to raise their hands (even if they were of different sex, race and age of the known suspect) and be frisked.

The suspect was finally located hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard by the boat’s owner, who had noticed the tarp covering the boat was loose. Peering beneath the tarp, the homeowner saw the suspect, bleeding and asleep or unconscious, and called police.

Well-armed and fitted with an explosive vest, the suspect posed grave risk to law enforcement. So they surrounded the area, engaged in another firefight with him and finally apprehended him. Having been injured in the throat, the suspect is unable to talk, but he did manage to confess to the plot before being read his Miranda rights by a Boston judge.

As best I can tell, this is the official narrative of the Boston Marathon bombing. It is the story the FBI and the rest of government wants you to believe. Because it’s coming from the FBI and being parroted by the government propaganda machine mainstream media, it must be the truth. The masses have accepted it as such and have now moved on to more important interests like the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft, “American Idol” or some other mindless, inconsequential pursuit.

However, now we — at least those of us who pay attention — know, thanks to Glenn Beck, the Saudi person of interest is not just some innocent bystander after all.

Just hours after the April 15 bombing, Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi was put on a terror watch list and had an event file created that indicated he was armed and dangerous; and actions began that would lead to his deportation. Alharbi, who is related to a number of terrorists now residing in Gitmo and/or listed as part of al-Qaida, was admitted to the United States under a “special advisory opinion,” indicating someone pulled some strings for him. His strings go a long way — all the way to the White House, where Alharbi was a frequent visitor (seven times since 2009). His file contained one prior event, indicating he was already in the terrorism watch list system. Yet even though he’s marked as a terrorist, he was allowed in. Perhaps that explains Michelle Obama’s hospital visit. Alharbi and the Obamas are friends.

After news of his possible deportation leaked, government officials backtracked. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano refused to answer questions from a Congressman about Alharbi. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told Beck a different Saudi was in custody but not connected to the bombing.

Someone altered Alharbi’s file on April 17 in a way that disassociated him from the bombing, according to Beck, but an original had been printed out and saved. The change happened around the time that first Secretary of State John Kerry and then President Barack Obama met with the Saudi foreign minister — a meeting that wasn’t on Obama’s schedule.

There are photographs on the Internet that purport to show Alharbi with two other Saudis near the bomb site.

If the government will lie about who Alharbi is and whether his is a suspect, what else about the official narrative is a lie?

Despite initial claims by the FBI that included a request to help identify the two men in the video, the Tsarnaev brothers have been known to that agency and the CIA for some time. According to their mother, the FBI interviewed them five years ago. The CIA was warned about Tamerlan by Russian authorities almost two years ago. He was on at least two terrorist watch lists. He was flagged so that his travel outside the U.S. would create an alert. They may have been so well-known to the government security apparatus that they were, in fact, double agents.

If the FBI will lie about knowing who the suspects were, what other portions of the story are false?

Police begin to look pretty incompetent if they are having a shootout involving dozens of police officers and just two suspects if the suspects escape, even if the suspects are armed with several weapons. But now we know that the pair did not have an arsenal, as first reported, but only one Ruger 9 mm handgun.

If police will lie about the weapons the pair had and what happened during the shootout, what else are they lying about?

The doctor who first examined Tamerlan said the suspect was in cardiac arrest when he was brought to the emergency room. The doctor described him as suffering from gunshot wounds and a possible blast injury to the trunk that included thermal burns. No mention was made of injuries sustained from being run over by a car. A witness to the shootout who took photographs out his window said Dzhokhar drove through the police barricade, striking two police cars as he did. He did not mention Tamerlan being run over.

If the police will lie about Tamerlan’s cause of death, what else are they lying about?

Police fired dozens of rounds at the boat in which Dzhokhar was hiding. He came out of the boat with a wound to the throat. The MSM reports it was a wound so serious it may leave him unable to speak. It may have been a suicide attempt, police say. Except, he wasn’t armed. He didn’t have a suicide vest. USA Today says this “undercuts initial accounts that the 19-year-old university student was heavily armed, had shot at police and possibly had an explosive device.” And the wound was small and more like a knife cut or a shrapnel wound, according to one of the SWAT team members who arrested Dzhokhar. And as Robert Wenzel notes, notice the reaction of other SWAT members at about 4:50 on the video as the man speaking describes the cut. Did he deviate from the official narrative?

If police will lie about the weapons Dzhokhar had and the extent of his injuries, how much of the rest of the narrative is a lie?

As Jon Rappoport points out, the government’s bomb narrative is fishy. The piece of metal that was purported to be remains of a pressure cooker bomb shows no evidence of having contained shrapnel. The bomb blast was designed to stay low, indicating a level of sophistication far above reading a how-to article on an al-Qaida website.

Official information about Craft operatives who were seen before the explosions, some of them walking around with radiation detectors, is likewise questionable, not that the MSM and their mindless watchers are questioning it. Runners report seeing bomb-sniffing dogs being used before the event and being told a drill was being conducted. Boston police claim there was no drill. More lies!

The FBI claims it’s looking for other members of the Tsarnaev’s terror cell. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick insists they acted alone. It can’t be both, but no one outside of alternative media is asking which it is.

The FBI, the CIA and other non-government organizations (NGOs) use patsies to stage terror events. Even Obama mouthpiece The New York Times has outed the FBI for staging terror attacks so it could swoop in at the last minute and “save” Americans from attacks that would not have happened without FBI help. They have long been known to lie to advance their agendas: Aurora, Colo.; Newtown; Waco; Ruby Ridge; Oklahoma City; 9/11; Gulf of Tonkin; USS Liberty — the “official” stories on all these are lies.

Yet the people take what government says as gospel and move on. Normalcy bias, or perhaps psychosis, keeps them asleep and happy and thinking there is a government intending to keep them safe. That way, they’re not distracted from their television shows, their iPads or their sporting events.

GOP Lawmakers Want DHS Ammo Hoarding To Stop

Questions were raised last week about the Department of Homeland Security’s true reasons for making the massive ammunition purchases that have grabbed headlines in recent months as lawmakers questioned agency officials about the bullet buys.

“It is entirely… inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition,” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said during a hearing.

While some Democratic lawmakers defended DHS officials who said that the department had made orders for a slightly higher amount of ammunition than usual, Chaffetz was joined by Republicans in disagreement.

He pointed out that DHS currently has more than 260 million rounds stockpiled. According to the lawmaker, the agency bought in excess of 103 million rounds in 2012 and reported using 116 million rounds over the year among its roughly 70,000 agents. Those numbers mean that DHS allocated 1,300 to 1,600 rounds per officer, dwarfing the U.S. Army’s average of roughly 350 rounds per soldier.

Representative Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) posited that ammo bought by DHS is being stockpiled, “disposed of,” passed to other agencies, or shot “indiscriminately.” Other lawmakers have taken similar views, questioning whether the agency is expecting widespread civil unrest or is simply buying ammo to limit access to civilian purchasers.

DHS officials attacked conservative online media, namely Drudge Report, for making issue of purchases that represent “about 1 percent of the total number of rounds manufactured in the U.S.” each year. The agency denies reports that it plans to buy up to 1.6 billion rounds over five years, saying the number is closer to 750 million.

Resultant of the hearings was the introduction of the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability (AMMO) Act of 2012 by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) in their respective chambers.

The lawmakers believe that DHS’s ammo purchase plans are directly related to President Barack Obama’s gun-control agenda.

“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Inhofe. “One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with Federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years’ worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens’ access to these resources.”

The proposed legislation would restrict agencies from obtaining more ammunition for a six-month period when agency stockpiles reach monthly averages higher than they were prior to the Obama Administration.

“I was surprised to find out the DHS has the right to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years, while it already has two years’ worth of ammo already. This is an issue that must be addressed, and I am pleased this legislation provides us the opportunity to do so.” said Lucas.

Pro-Gun Grab Groups Have Gotten Millions In Donations From Liberal Billionaire Soros

George Soros, the billionaire chairman of the American fund management firm that bears his name, has donated nearly $7 million to nonprofits that push a pro-gun control agenda between 2000 and 2011.

According to Newsbusters, Soros donated a combined $6,727,966 to five organizations during that period. It’s not yet known how much he’s spent on backing gun-grabbing advocates since the beginning of last year’s string of mass shootings, which raised liberals’ public zeal to legislate gun ownership.

Of the five organizations, only one — the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence — claims gun control as its single cause. But the others — the American Bar Association, The Children’s Defense Fund, The League of Women Voters and Physicians for Social Responsibility — all push gun control aggressively as part of their overall missions of societal reform.

Soros has been criticized by 2nd Amendment watchers as a known gun grabber since at least 2004, when he published a book arguing the Administration of President George W. Bush “infringed the rights of states to legislate and enforce provisions on issues such as gun control and medical marijuana.”

More significantly, Soros holds immense influence over at least 30 major liberal news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times and The Associated Press. He’s spent more than $50 million since 2000 to help fund such outlets, as well as to insinuate liberal points of view through the influence donor money buys at journalism schools both in and outside the United States.

A lot of good it’s doing: Gun and ammunition sales have spiked so greatly since December that manufacturers can’t keep up. As a result, firearms dealers are either turning customers away, rationing ammunition or putting customers on waiting lists.

Cashless As Of Tomorrow?

Dear Bob,

I read via “Human Events” e-letter yesterday that on 4/30/13 the Fed will proclaim that the US is now a CASHLESS SOCIETY. Can you comment on the truth of this and what the affects will be on Cash on Hand, people’s investment choices, etc.? Thank you.

Linda S.

Dear Linda S.,

Almost anything can be expected now, but I doubt that it will happen this soon. I believe that the system might implode by then.

Best wishes,
Bob

Researchers: Fight Depression With Faith

Spirituality and science have had a strained relationship in recent years as heated emotions continue to surround debates over creationism versus evolution and other subjects that pit faith against observation. A recent study, however, points out that there are things about which the scientific and spiritually minded can agree, among them: Faith can have the power to heal.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry showed that belief in God can offer people “significant protection” against depression, which is slated to become the world’s most prevalent disease by 2030.

For the study, Harvard University researchers observed 159 mental-health patients at Massachusetts’s McLean Hospital for a year to investigate the relationship between religious belief, the patients’ expected health outcome and the actual outcome. The researchers asked each patient to rank belief in God on a scale of 1 to 5 and questioned about how positive they felt that medical treatment would help their depression symptoms. Seventy-one percent of the individuals registered at least slight belief in a higher being.

According to the researchers, the individuals who said they had “no” or only “slight” belief in God were twice as likely not to benefit from clinical treatment for depression symptoms.

Regardless of religious affiliation, however, a majority of patients with a “high” level of faith in God reported better treatment outcomes.

The researchers concluded: “Belief in God, but not religious affiliation, was associated with better treatment outcomes. With respect to depression, this relationship was mediated by belief in the credibility of treatment and expectations for treatment gains.”

California Lawmakers Pushing For Statewide Tax On Sugary Drinks

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only liberal with statist visions of better living through legislation.

Over on the left coast, California legislators are concocting a variation on Bloomberg’s famous — and failed — attempt to ban large soft drinks, only with an eye toward redistributing a little more of the wealth of the State’s 12.4 million households.

Democratic State Senator Bill Monning is sponsoring a bill that would impose a regressive penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugary sodas and energy drinks, converting the funds raised through the tax into public spending thorough a new entity called the Children’s Health Promotion Fund. That fund would back community obesity prevention programs and further support public health programs in schools.

Remarkably, Californians actually seem to favor the State’s social engineering/money grab measure. A February Field poll found 68 percent of voters in favor of the bill, with the percentage among ethnic voters even higher. The tax would apply not only to canned and bottled beverages, but to fountain sodas sold at restaurants statewide as well.

Predictably, the bill also enjoys positive spin from the very State agencies in line to expand their bureaucratic offerings if the tax is approved. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy called the tax “fair-minded” in a statement of support for the measure:

Californians are becoming increasingly concerned about the obesity epidemic and its heavy burden on the well-being of Californians, especially our children. More than ever, California voters want solutions that not only hold the biggest contributor to the problem (sugary beverages) accountable, but that also raise funds to address the impact on our children. SB 622 does both of those and is a smart, fair-minded policy to protect our children, our state’s health and, ultimately our state budget.

“Protect… our state budget,” really? Check out some other ways California’s leaders are currently attempting to protect the State budget:

  • Imposing a 9.9 percent “oil severance tax” on oil extraction — an anti-business move against a “captive” industry in a State that has already seen other businesses flee to escape high taxes, regulations and penalties.
  • Raising the registration fee for every privately owned vehicle by $6.
  • Adding a State tax to every point-of-sale purchase of prepaid mobile phones, as well as to every separate purchase of additional phone minutes.
  • Issuing $9 billion in municipal bonds on a $69 billion high-speed rail system that has no set start date for construction, that Governor Jerry Brown wants China to help fund and that the White House is eager to subsidize by an additional $3 billion.

Last month, the State auditor concluded California had a net worth of minus $127.2 billion. Viewed from that awful perspective, there’s no doubt the State’s political power brokers “need” the public’s money.

That California voters have voluntarily continued their support of government tax-and-spend efforts — the rail system, the drink tax and hikes to both income and sales taxes (via the passage of voter referendum Proposition 30) — also reveals, beyond any doubt, that nothing’s going to change in the Golden State anytime soon.

How Would You Handle A Home Intruder: With Lethal Force Or With Non-Lethal Ammo?

To kill or not to kill. That is the question. You may be perfectly within your legal and ethical rights to end the life of a home intruder, but is that what you want to do? That’s what you have to ask yourself, and I’d recommend that you do it before it happens, not afterward.

If I wake up to an uninvited person in my home at 3 in the morning, there is only one assumption that I can make: that he is there to rob me and very possibly to rape, kill or kidnap my wife and/or my children. If I assume anything less than that, I’m a fool.

So I already feel that I have the right to protect myself in any fashion that I choose, including shooting to kill if that’s the option that seems best in order to accomplish my goal of keeping my family members safe. By breaking into my home, this intruder has forfeited his rights to a friendly, sit-down chat; and if he ends up dying under my roof, well, better him than one of us who lives there.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment, because there are repercussions to everything that we do in life. If I end the life of a home intruder, there’s no bringing him back. Regardless of how he got in and what his intentions were, he’s gone forever.

What if I find out after the fact that I shot a mentally handicapped person who was too confused to know where he was and didn’t even have a weapon? Or what if he was an unarmed teenager who was trying to “prove himself” to his friends? I’m not saying that I would not be within my rights to use lethal force; I’m just saying that if I ever ended up regretting my decision to shoot the intruder dead, those regrets would go unresolved.

And, of course, there is also the possibility that I could harm my wife or one of my children if I use live ammo to try to kill a home intruder. One or more of my family members could be near the intruder when I shoot without me seeing them in the dark. Or what if one of my bullets passes through a wall and strikes my child or wife?

I strongly believe that I am within my rights to shoot and kill a home intruder. But that doesn’t mean that doing it is necessarily the right response for everyone. Another option for possibly taking down a home intruder without ending his life is non-lethal ammo. If you choose this route, here are five types you may want to consider:

  • Rubber bullets: They won’t penetrate the skin, but will leave serious welts that will require medical attention.
  • Wax bullets: These could penetrate the skin at close range or if they strike a sensitive body part.
  • Plastic bullets: These are used by police for riot control. They’re also used for target practice.
  • Electric bullets: These are metal or rubber bullets that release an electrical charge when they hit a target, much like a Taser or other shock weapon.
  • Bean bag rounds: These are designed to incapacitate the target and leave large welts, but not penetrate the skin.

The biggest concern that some people have with non-lethal ammo is that it might result in only slowing down some intruders — including particularly large men — and not stopping them. They say that non-lethal ammo could end up infuriating the home intruder and making the situation even worse for you and your family. And if you end up in a gun fight with a home intruder, it’s very likely that he will be using live ammo.

So, if you use live ammo to try to stop a home intruder, you’re within your rights to do so. But if you can’t bring yourself to do that for whatever reason, there are alternatives, including non-lethal ammo. Only you can make the decision that’s right for you and your family. The most important thing is to make this decision in advance and then be as prepared as possible should that nightmare situation ever present itself.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from a home intruder, check out my blog post on 40 homemade weapons you already own and join in the discussion.

–Frank Bates

Gun Grabbing Chicago Policies Not Helping As Homicides Rise

According to a crime-tracking blog, stripping residents’ 2nd Amendment rights isn’t doing much to get guns out of criminals’ hands in the Windy City.

Crime In Chicago tallies 510 shootings and 105 homicides through the first four months of 2013.

The blog provides daily updates on violent crime, and maintains data on crime in the city from previous years.

For 2012, the site reports 2,670 shootings in Chicago, an increase of 20 percent from the 2,217 shootings in 2011. Homicides in 2012 totaled 535, compared with 441 in 2011.

Mormon Bishop Ends Attack On Woman, Using His Samurai Sword

A weapon in a good guy’s hands — be it a gun or, maybe, something else — is far from dangerous.

For a woman who was being attacked Tuesday in front of a Salt Lake City home, a 29-inch samurai sword proved to be her salvation.

That’s because homeowner Kent Hendrix awoke to a commotion, went outside and saw the woman being mugged. His son had told him something bad was happening outside, so Hendrix grabbed his sword on the way out and approached the scene.

One look at the blade and its wielder, who also happens to be a Mormon bishop and a fourth-degree black belt, was enough to convince the alleged perpetrator to scram. Hendrix noticed the man appeared to have dropped a tube of Chapstick as he fled, so Hendrix snapped it up and yelled, “I’ve got your DNA and I’ve got your license plate [memorized] — you are so done!”

An hour later, suspect Grant Eggerston turned himself in. He was booked for robbery, attempted burglary, trespassing and violation of a stalking injunction.

Hat Tip: The Blaze

 

War Drums Sound For Conflict With Syria, Iran

As a handful of lawmakers urge American intervention in Syria over alleged usage of chemical weapons by the Bashar Assad regime, the possibility of more Mideast wars is looking likelier by the day.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), based on unsubstantiated reports of chemical weapon use in Syria, called for the United States to “provide weapons to people in the resistance who we trust” as well as other forms of military support for Syrian rebels.

“Our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin,” the White House said in a letter Thursday.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has riled war hawks in making remarks about another Mideast nation with tense U.S. relations: Iran.

“I don’t know if all of these efforts that we’re applying in dealing with Iran — one being the international economic sanctions — will in fact change their attitude about what we think is their objective, moving toward a nuclear weapon” Hagel told reporters in Southwest Asia. “I don’t know if what we’re doing will shift their thoughts or their approach.”

Google Reports Content Takedown Requests At A Record High

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (UPI) — Google says takedown requests by governments worldwide to remove content from its services have hit an all-time high.

Between July and December 2012, the search giant said, it received 2,285 government requests for the removal of content on its services, covering 24,179 separate pieces of content, a new record.

In the first half of 2012, Google received 1,811 requests to remove more than 18,000 pieces of content, CNET reported Thursday.

Part part of the company’s Transparency Report launched three years ago, Google’s latest release suggests attempts at political censorship are becoming an increasingly troublesome issue.

“In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services,” Google stated. “In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.”

The requests showed a sharp increase in numbers from Brazil during municipal elections held last fall in that country, Google reported.  Russia also requested many more takedowns, jumping from just six in the first half of 2012 to 114 in the second half.

Google said its YouTube service was the target for 20 countries asking requesting removal of clips from the movie “Innocence of Muslims.”

Google scrutinizes all requests carefully to make sure they’re legal and comply with Google’s policies, the company’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in a blog post last year.

To be considered, a request typically must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official, and issued under an appropriate law, he wrote.

Study Of Bizarre Star System Confirms Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity

TORONTO (UPI) — Canadian astronomers say study of a bizarre binary star system show Einstein’s theory of relativity holds true even in the most extreme condition ever observed.

“The unusual pair of stars is quite interesting in its own right but we’ve learned it is also a unique laboratory for testing the limits of one of our most fundamental physical theories, general relativity,” University of Toronto astronomy Professor Marten van Kerkwijk, a member of an international research team, said.

The binary system studied is exceptional because of the unique characteristics of each star and their close proximity to each other, a Toronto release said Thursday.

One is a tiny but unusually heavy neutron star, one of the most massive confirmed to date, with gravity more than 300 billion times stronger than that on Earth.

It is orbited by a rather lightweight dwarf star that travels around the neutron star every two and a half hours, an unusually short period.

Astronomers say observation of the pair have detected a significant change in the orbital period of the binary of eight-millionths of a second per year.

Given the masses of the pulsar and the white dwarf, this turns out to match exactly what Einstein’s theory predicts should be happening.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity says gravity is a consequence of the curvature of space-time created by the presence of mass and energy, and as two stars orbit each other gravitational waves are emitted — wrinkles moving out in space-time.

As a result, the binary slowly loses energy, the stars move closer, and the orbital period shortens as predicted by Einstein.

The study of the extreme binary system provides “further confidence that Einstein’s theory is a good description of nature — even though we know it is not a complete one, given the unresolved inconsistencies with quantum mechanics,” van Kerkwijk said.

Whales Share Knowledge And Learn From Others Much As Humans Do

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (UPI) — Humpback whales are able to learn from each other, passing on hunting techniques in much the same way humans share knowledge, British researchers say.

A study led by the University of St Andrews in Scotland found a new feeding technique, brought on by the need to find new prey, has spread to 40 per cent of a humpback whale population.

Humpback whales in the Atlantic Ocean off New England were forced to find new prey after stocks of herring, their preferred food, crashed in the early 1980s.

A new hunting technique — hitting the water with their tails to herd prey — has spread through the population by cultural transmission, a university release reported Thursday.

“Our study really shows how vital cultural transmission is in humpback populations — not only do they learn their famous songs from each other, they also learn feeding techniques that allow them to buffer the effects of changing ecology,” St. Andrews biologist Luke Rendell said.

Humpbacks around the world normally herd shoals of prey by blowing bubbles underwater to produce ‘bubble nets,” but the new technique, dubbed “lobtail feeding,” involves the whales hitting the water with their tails before diving to produce the bubble nets.

The innovation is specific to a particular prey — sand lance — because its use is concentrated around Atlantic spawning grounds where the sand lance can reach high abundance, the researchers said.

The findings strengthen the case that cetaceans — whales and dolphins — have evolved sophisticated cultural capacities, the researchers said.

Social Norms Not Just Human

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (UPI) — Adopting the behavior of others when on their home territory is not just a human attribute, British scientists say, but has been observed in non-human primates.

The findings could help explain the evolution of human desire to seek out local knowledge — “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” — when visiting a new place or culture.

Researchers at the University of St Andrews observing wild vervet monkeys in South Africa said they found adult males migrating to new groups conformed quickly to the social norms of their new neighbors whether it made sense to them or not.

“At first sight their willingness to conform to local norms may seem a rather mindless response — but after all, it’s how we humans often behave when we visit different cultures,” researcher Andrew Whiten said. “It may make sense in nature, where the knowledge of the locals is often the best guide to what are the optimal behaviors in their environment, so copying them may actually make a lot of sense.

“Our findings suggest that a willingness to conform to what all those around you are doing when you visit a different culture is a disposition shared with other primates,” Whiten said.

Leading primate experts have hailed the study as rare experimental proof of “cultural transmission” in wild primates.

Earth’s Core Hotter Than Thought, Hot As Sun’s Surface

PARIS (UPI) — New measurements suggest the Earth’s inner core is far hotter than previously thought, at 10,8000 degrees F as hot as the sun’s surface, French scientists say.

The Earth’s core is solid, a crystalline form of iron, but the temperature at which that crystal can form has long been debated.

New experiments used X-rays to measure tiny samples of iron at extraordinary pressures in laboratories to analyze how the iron crystals form and melt.

The first such measurements in the early 1990s of iron’s “melting curves” — from which the temperature of Earth’s core can be estimated — suggested a core temperature of about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists at the French research agency CEA used the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the source of some of the world’s most intense X-rays, to re-analyze the measurements.

“It was just the beginning of these kinds of measurements so they made a first estimate … to constrain the temperature inside the Earth,” CEA researcher Agnes Dewaele said of the earlier experiments.

“Other people made other measurements and calculations with computers and nothing was in agreement. It was not good for our field that we didn’t agree with each other,” she told BBC News.

“We have to give answers to geophysicists, seismologists, geodynamicists — they need some data to feed their computer models.”

The researchers’ new experiments yielded an estimated core temperature of about 10,800 degrees F, give or take 1,000 degrees, or about the same as the temperature of the sun’s surface.

More importantly, Dewaele said, “now everything agrees.”

Sugary Drinks May Increase Risk Of Diabetes

LONDON (UPI) — One sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent, researchers in Britain say.

Dr. Dora Romaguera of Imperial College London and researchers from the InterAct consortium analyzed the consumption of juices, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks collected in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found roughly one can of a sugary drink drunk per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent.

This increase in risk fell slightly to 18 percent after accounting for total calorie intake and body-mass index suggesting the effect of sugar-sweetened soft drinks on diabetes is not purely linked to body weight, Romaguera said.

People who drank more artificially-sweetened soft drinks were also more likely to get type 2 diabetes, but this association appeared to be because participants with a higher BMI tend to drink more artificially sweetened drinks and are also more likely to develop diabetes, the study said.

However, drinking pure fruit juice or diluted juices, sometimes with additives was not associated with diabetes risk, the study said.

“The increase in risk of type 2 diabetes among sugar-sweetened soft drink consumers in Europe is similar to that found in studies in North America,” Romaguera said in a statement.

Gen X Not The Slackers Expected, They’re Burdened Like Their Parents

NEW YORK (UPI) — The MTV Generation, often derided as “slackers,” are affluent, stable and saddled with jobs, mortgages and families as their parents, a U.S. survey found.

A study from the MetLife Mature Market Institute reported 70 percent of Gen Xers — born between 1965 and 1976 — live with a spouse or partner. They have an average of 2.5 children and 82 percent own their own homes, although 17 percent said the value of their homes was less than the debt attached to them.

The Gen Xers grew up in the 1980s and 1990s listening to Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, and watching “MTV” and “The Cosby Show” on TV. They identify with the characters in the movies, “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Forty-six percent were latch-key children whose parents both worked outside the home.

Forty-three percent said they remained in the same type of career throughout their working years and about 40 percent were with the same employer for 10 years or more, while 75 percent said they were working full or part-time. Most were part of a dual-earner household.

Now ages 36-47, Gen Xers are part of the so-called sandwich generation. Many care for both their children and their parents, and 10 percent are grandparents.

Just 19 percent earn less than $35,000 per year and 29 percent earn more than $100,000. Forty-three percent graduated from college and 50 percent said they were behind on their retirement savings.

The survey of 1,000 Gen Xers was conducted by GfK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife Mature Market Institute from Nov. 29-Dec, 19, 2012. No margin of error was provided.

About Half Of U.S. Obese Children Deficient In Vitamin D

DALLAS (UPI) — Nearly half of U.S. children who are obese do not have sufficient levels of vitamin D, a U.S. pediatrician says.

Dr. Christy Turer of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, said risk of vitamin D deficiency was even higher for severely obese and minority children.

“One-in-2 children with severe obesity is vitamin D deficient, and only about 10 percent of severely obese African-American children are not deficient,” Turer said in a statement. “While we don’t know for sure what causes the deficiency, there are things parents can do to reduce their child’s risk.”

Left untreated, vitamin D deficiency can pose serious health risks that include rickets and osteomalacia, a condition that causes softening of the bones. The deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and severe asthma, Turer said.

Helpful behavioral changes include limiting television/computer and video game time to less than 2 hours a day, increasing physical activity to more than 2 hours a week and encouraging children to drink 2-3 cups of low-fat vitamin D-fortified milk per day.

While 600 international units of vitamin D per day is recommended for healthy children, obese children may need more, Turer said. Parents should talk to their pediatrician regarding the appropriate dose, Turer advised.