Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 6:02 pm
An all-digital public library is opening today, as officials in Bexar County, Texas, celebrate the opening of the BiblioTech library. The facility offers about 10,000 free e-books for the 1.7 million residents of the county, which includes San Antonio.
On its website, the Bexar County BiblioTech library explains how its patrons can access free eBooks and audio books. To read an eBook on their own device, users must have the 3M Cloud Library app, which they can link to their library card.
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 4:17 pm
The rains that brought severe flooding to parts of northern and central Colorado have eased, allowing people a chance to regroup before more rain comes, possibly as soon as Saturday afternoon. Thousands of residents have been displaced by the flooding, from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south, since waters hit dangerous levels Wednesday.
Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:06 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have reached a deal that calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. The plan, which Kerry announced in a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, gives Syria a week to detail its chemical arsenal.
"The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments," Kerry said. "And as I said at the outset of these negotiations, there can be no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime."
The Government Accountability Office says that the Social Security Administration made about $1.3 billion in payments over two years to about 36,000 people who were believed to be working, while claiming they were disabled.
The GAO arrived at this number by comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires and people on disability insurance.
While $1.3 billion sounds like a whole lot of money, keep in mind that this only represents less than 1 percent of all the disability benefits paid by the agency.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:58 pm
More than 150 people are now believed to have been sickened by synthetic marijuana in Colorado, which legalized recreational use of real pot last November. Three people may have died.
State and federal investigators are scrambling to identify the exact source of the illnesses. The state health department has named about a dozen illicit products, often sold as "incense," that it believes are responsible for at least some of the illnesses. The stuff goes by names like "Spice," "Crazy Clown" and "Dead Man Walking."
Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 6:12 pm
Darwin the 'Ikea monkey' will no longer be hitting the superstores with a Canadian woman who calls him her son after a judge in Ontario ruled that the primate is not a pet and should remain at an animal sanctuary.
As we wrote in December, Darwin, a Japanese macaque dressed in a heavy shearling coat, attracted considerable attention when he escaped from a locked crate in owner Yasmin Nakhuda's car in Toronto. He made his way through rows of parked cars and ended up inside a nearby Ikea store before staff there cornered him and called in animal control officials.
"No shark fin, bluefin tuna or black moss will be on the menu at official entertainment functions," the government said. "The items have aroused international and local concern because they are either captured or harvested in ecologically unfriendly or unsustainable ways, or cause other conservation concerns."
Science is more like the United Nations than it is like a village. Different communities of scientists carry out their work using their own methods, languages and styles. Scientists in different fields need interpreters if they are to communicate with each other. There is no scientific lingua franca, not even mathematics.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 1:46 pm
Saying that the goal is to balance its budget in fiscal year 2015, NPR announced late Friday morning that it will soon offer "a voluntary buyout plan across the organization that reduces staffing levels by approximately 10 percent."
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:07 pm
Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 3:58 pm
State officials in Hawaii say there's little they can do to clean up a 223,000-gallon molasses spill that has killed thousands of fish, as swimmers, surfers and snorkelers were being warned that the massive die-off could attract sharks.