Jeffrey Engel, Hillary Clinton prods rivals on student debt

New York Times

Originally Posted: August 13, 2015

When Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled her plan this week to make higher education more affordable, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida promptly dismissed it as “Obamacare for college.” Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, asserted that she would burden taxpayers by throwing more federal money at the problem.

But despite early criticism from rivals and pointed questions about the political feasibility of her proposal, Mrs. Clinton’s ambitious, expansive $350 billion plan to reduce debt in higher education has opened a new front in the presidential campaign. It has put pressure on her opponents as she has made a centerpiece of her agenda an issue that resonates across classes, party lines and generations. Read More

Dinosaur-hunting: A Famous Fossil Safari

Dallas Zoo

Originally Posted: August 14, 2015

Just east of Matlock Road in Mansfield, Texas, a small, seemingly unremarkable plot of land overlooks a new shopping center. Graded for construction, the upturned earth impregnated with shale and red clay resembles so many other future building sites across the booming Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Yet this spring, this was the epicenter of a remarkable tale: a rare, 96-million-year-old dinosaur discovery by 5-year-old Wylie Brys and his father, Dallas Zoo employee Tim Brys.

Wylie and Tim suddenly found themselves thrust into the international spotlight: “Texas boy discovers dinosaur bones,” “Not Your Typical Sandbox Find!” and “Jurassic Jackpot,” the headlines shouted, with reports running on hundreds of media outlets, including the BBC, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report, and Time. More than 6.5 million people across the country watched accounts of the father-and-son team. ABC World News Tonight Anchor David Muir even introduced Wylie as the “Jurassic kid.” READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Dealing with Putin’s strategic incompetence

War on the Rocks

Originally Posted: August 7, 2015

Vladimir Putin is a bad strategist: He does not understand the relationship between military violence and political objectives. In the last two years, he has all but ruined his aspiration to return Russia to the ranks of the great powers. His ham-fisted annexation of Crimea, along with his transparent support for secessionists in the ongoing civil war in East Ukraine, has been disastrous for Russian interests. Putin’s adventurism led to stock market chaos, a major currency crisis, and staggering levels of capital flight — all of which have compounded the problem of collapsing oil prices. The loss of revenue is damaging Russia’s conventional military power because the government will struggle mightily to modernize its forces. Meanwhile, Putin has breathed new life into NATO, an alliance that had been searching for common purpose and sagging under the weight of the war in Afghanistan. READ MORE

Mystery Booms Plaguing California Residents Finally Have a Source

Science World Report

Originally Posted: August 8, 2015

Mysterious booms have plagued the residents of El Dorado County in California for some time now. While some have speculated what the cause of these booms has been, it’s remained a mystery until now.
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Residents have reported that the booms aren’t as crisp as a gunshot, and instead sound more like an aerial bomb. A few have speculated that it could be the result of work occurring in an underground mine. READ MORE

Physicist Tom Coan is a principal with an international team unraveling the secrets of neutrinos.

SMU

Originally Posted: August 7, 2015

Fermilab experiment observes change in neutrinos from one type to another over 500 miles

Scientists have sorted through millions of cosmic ray strikes and zeroed in on neutrino interactions in their quest to learn more about the abundant yet mysterious particles that flit through ordinary matter as though it isn’t there.

Initial data from a new U.S.–based physics experiment indicates scientists are a step closer to understanding neutrinos, the second most abundant particle in the universe. READ MORE

Political scientist, Cal Jillson, quoted in Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 6, 2015

Texas’ cuts to Medicaid could leave poor without therapy

AUSTIN — Even as they left nearly $18 billion unspent, Texas lawmakers ordered a $350 million cut this year to Medicaid pay for therapists who perform one of health care’s most exacting jobs.

In a two-year budget that was flush enough to trim taxes and triple state spending on border security, the Legislature told Medicaid officials to slash nearly a quarter of the $1.4 billion they shell out for acute care — or outpatient — therapy.

The move threatens the jobs of speech, physical and occupational therapists who work with 445,000 poor Texans afflicted with, among other things, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. This part of the sprawling state-federal Medicaid program also offers speech therapy to children born prematurely, who often find it hard to swallow and speak. READ MORE