Ed Stone cannot say when the Voyager-1 spacecraft will leave the Solar System, but he believes the moment is close.

The latest data from this extraordinary probe, reported in this week’s Science journal, suggests it is surfing right on the very edge of our Sun’s domain.

The particles streaming away from our star have reduced to a trickle at its present location, 18.5 billion km from Earth.

Particles flying towards it from interstellar space, by contrast, have jumped markedly in the past year.

It all points to an imminent departure, which would make Voyager the first man-made object to cross into the space between the stars.”

Edward Snowden — the fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor — appears to be stuck in Moscow, unable to leave without a valid American passport, according to interviews Sunday with two men who had sought to aid him: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa.

Snowden, 30, arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport last weekend, after previously taking refuge in Hong Kong. Moscow was only supposed to be a stopover. WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization, had said Snowden was headed on to Ecuador — whose leftist president has been critical of the United States — and that he would seek asylum there.

Now, however, both men said Snowden is unable to leave.”

Socially Conscious turned 2 today!

Socially Conscious turned 2 today!

In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.

"There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know," Pruitt said."

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.””

The Truth Behind Calorie Labels - NY Times Op-Doc

A beautiful attempt to summarize life on Earth.

The United Nations will launch an investigation into the “possible use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Secretary General Ban Ki moon announced Thursday.”

I’m not opposed to this, but I think it’s curious that we draw the line at chemical weapons. The good ol’ bullet has killed thousands of people already in Syria.

To gauge a website’s success or the success of a publication that utilizes it, one must look at metrics: clicks, views, shares, tweets, points, likes, search engine optimization, etc. As experts and amateurs analyze the trends between content and metrics, they are coming to the same conclusion: high metrics are irrefutably linked to cognitive laziness, i.e. dumbing down. The internet is pandering to the channel surfing consumers who refuse to stay in it for the long haul, and the print industry is following its lead.

Good copy does not make an appealing read, a well-thought out article with structure and flow has been replaced by lists—“Top 10 Ways to Stay Slim Over Winter Break,” “Five Ways to Control Your Diet,” “Eight Reasons Why Liposuction is For You.” In a recent New York Times pieceSelf’s vice president and publisher Laura McEwen, expounded on the recent rebranding of the publication, “The magazine is being edited for the women who think in 140 characters,” she was a quoted as saying in reference to Twitter’s word limit, and subsequently its readership’s attention span. With this dwindling willingness to commit to substance, comes a concurrent lack of discernable style and individualism—a two dimensional vacuum where the language has a closer resemblance to binary code.”

(Reuters) - A defense contractor better known for building jet fighters and lethal missiles says it has found a way to slash the amount of energy needed to remove salt from seawater, potentially making it vastly cheaper to produce clean water at a time when scarcity has become a global security issue.

The process, officials and engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp say, would enable filter manufacturers to produce thin carbon membranes with regular holes about a nanometer in size that are large enough to allow water to pass through but small enough to block the molecules of salt in seawater. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.”

Each year, the government doles out tax breaks worth $1.1 trillion. That is more than the cost of Medicare and Medicaid combined. It is more than Social Security. It tops the defense budget, and it tops the budget for nondefense discretionary programs, which include most everything else.”

LOS ANGELES, March 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The following is a statement by Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill:

In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana “inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines.” The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide “risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer.”“

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice.  It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month.  Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.  In America.”

TOKYO — Amid growing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of recovery, Japan marked the second anniversary Monday of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and has displaced more than 300,000.