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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Remember Iraq?

Huge prison break, huge setback for costly war, many lives imperiled: no coverage. 

Why is nobody talking about this? Last week's Abu Ghraib prison escape took a major chunk out of the successful parts of the tentatively over U.S. War in Iraq.


I just thought I'd let you know, in case you missed the half hour window during which the story was being reported, after speculation about the gender of the "royal baby" but before getting distracted by yet another glimpse at Anthony's wiener

Upwards of 500 high level prisoners, including high-ranking Al Qaida members, were broken out of the infamous prison, in an apparently pre-planned and well organized attack involving mortars and vehicles.

Since the U.S. intervention there ended up responding to the asymmetrical warfare model by being mostly about disassembling Al Qaeda by capturing its command, or otherwise weakening their strategic capabilities by removing senior officials, this is a step back for the entire war effort.

Depending on the rate at which 500 important combatants were able to be captured during the whole Iraq campaign, this escape might represent the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars and scores of lives and months of war.

It's probably worth mentioning.

You can read some of the paltry selection of articles about it hereherehere, and here.

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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