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The New Yorker writer favorites

At The New Yorker's Page Turner weblog they asked some of their: 'contributors for their favorite books they read this year', in The Best Books of 2014. Top-dog reviewer James Wood of course gets a spread all his own, and offers his Favorite Books of 2014 -- though not with too many surprises, if you read his column.

'A Year in Reading' at The Millions

The Millions entertaining A Year in Reading: 2014 series is finally complete, so there the link to check out all 74 entries, an enjoyable variety of recollections and recommendations from a whole lot of people; see also A Year in Reading:...Show More Summary

Is the Russian Economy About to Meltdown? And is China Going to try to Save it?

Russian government is doing a bank bailout. China offers a currency swap to stabilize ruble.

The Cat that Came for Christmas

HT: Pam Lane-Garon. Top of the season to all my readers. I really do appreciate your 'patronage.' I wish you all the best for the New Year. Peace to all who want it, and good will to those who have...

How Will Fracking, Climate Change Impact American National Security?

Energy sources and related commodities have driven national security issues ever since the modern nation-state was born with the Peace of Westphalia. Oak made Spain and England’s stout sailing ships. Water energy and wind drove mills and moved water. Show More Summary

John Anderson on Levels of Reality

Call it the MOB doctrine: there are modes of being, ways of existing, levels of reality. I have defended the MOB in these pages and in print, chiefly in "Existence: Two Dogmas of Analysis" in Novotny and Novak eds., Neo-Aristotelian...

General Dynamics Awarded Contract for ~$500 Million Mobile Landing Platform-class ship

General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a $498 million contract to build the fourth Mobile Landing Platform that will be the second configured as a so-called Afloat Forward Staging Base for mine countermeasure (MCM) helicopters and special operations forces (SOF) and U.S. Show More Summary

Toward a Language of Gratitude: My Problem with Saying ‘No Problem’

“Thanks for being there for me yesterday. It really helped to talk with you.” “No problem.” “The flowers are really beautiful! Thanks for bringing them.” “No problem.” “I appreciate the ride to the airport.” “No problem.” In each of these interactions, there is something offered and gratitude expressed. Yet the giver does not appear to […]

The Coming Knife Fight Over US Navy Procurements & Budget

Smooth sailing is not in the Navy’s forecast for the next year.The service faces big decisions on major programs, and we can expect clashes between Navy plans, congressional politics and budgetary realities on three of the biggest: the...Show More Summary

The Bookshelf: Miscellany VIII.

For those who have truly waited until the last minute, or for those who give New Year’s presents, here are some books that escaped my attention when I made my last such post: 1) Sociolinguistics: A Very Short Introduction, by John Edwards. This won my heart right off the bat by having a dedication in […]

Putting bedbugs to bed forever

A team of scientists has found a way to conquer the global bedbug epidemic. By lending their own arms for thousands of bed bug bites, they have finally found the solution -- a set of chemical attractants, or pheromones, that lure the bedbugs into traps, and keep them there.

Christmas colors disguise gliding lizards in the rainforest

By mimicking the red and green colors of falling leaves, Bornean lizards avoid falling prey to birds whilst gliding, new research has found.

Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces

Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left. New research has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go left when entering unknown spaces. Around ten percent of people are left-handed and brain lateralization is widespread in other vertebrates.

MQ-8C Fire Scout Drone Helicopter's First Take off and Landing on a US Navy Destroyer

Fire Scout makes it look easy to take off from a destroyer. It’s not.In video released today (above), the MQ-8C helicopter takes off from the destroyer Jason Dunham with its eyes closed — or rather with its cockpit windows painted over, because there’s nobody inside. Show More Summary

European fire ant impacts forest ecosystems by helping alien plants spread

An invasive ant species that has become increasingly abundant in eastern North America not only takes over yards and delivers a nasty sting, it's helping the spread of an invasive plant species. The ants are very effective dispersers of invasive plant seeds and new research suggests that together they could wreak havoc on native ecosystems.

Scrapie could breach the species barrier

The pathogens responsible for scrapie in small ruminants (prions) have the potential to convert the human prion protein from a healthy state to a pathological state, researchers have discovered for the first time. In mice models reproducing the human species barrier, this prion induces a disease similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Show More Summary

The ants that conquered the world

About one tenth of the world's ants are close relatives; they all belong to just one genus out of 323, called Pheidole. New research suggests that Pheidole evolved the same way twice, once to take over the New World, and then again to take over the Old World.

To remove the gallbladder or not: That is the question

Gallbladder removal is one of the most common operations performed in older adults. Yet, research suggests that many patients who would benefit most from the surgery don't get it.

Children's high risk clinic reduces serious illness by 55 percent

High-risk children with chronic illness who received comprehensive care at a special clinic staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, had a dramatic reduction in serious illnesses, documents a new study. These benefits are the greatest identified to date for medical homes for patients in any age group.

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