Financial Funnies

If only financial reform was as funny as the comedy sketches being played out on popular comedy website funnyordie.com sighs The Washington Post’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.

"What you gotta understand is that we got a regulatory issue here. We gotta regulate that or we're gonna get more bubbles. Gonna get bigger, larger, then pop, money goes to the weasels," advises a "Daddy Bush" impersonator on popular comedy website funnyordie.com, in a terse summary of the "whole shebang" of financial reform. If only financial reform were really funny, sighs The Washington Post’s commentator Katrina vanden Heuvel. She says such reforms shouldn’t be seen as a luxury after devastating financial crisis and that it should not be a partisan issue: "Everyone from the tea partiers to Volvo-driving liberals has a stake in shutting down the casino and getting the big banks under control. Of possible reforms, creating an independent agency to protect consumers from financial abuse should be one of the easier lifts. The problems are obvious. Consumers are battered routinely by predatory mortgage brokers, shifty credit card companies and rapacious pay-day lenders with exorbitant fees. We've seen that these practices can bring down the global economy, not just the vulnerable consumer. And the utter failure of the Federal Reserve and other regulators to use their powers to police the banks has amply demonstrated the need for an independent cop on the beat."

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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