The Plot Thickens

The story Waq al-waq reported yesterday about the former Guantanamo detainee and another wanted Saudi militant found dead in Sa'dah continues to evolve. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to disclose everything that I have been able to find out in the past several hours, but I can say that the story goes deeper than just the two Saudis - only one of whose identity has been confirmed.

In another, and perhaps separate twist, al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting that seven Somalis have been arrested for fighting with the Huthis. (In this the paper is following the reporting of Akbar al-yawm, a pro-government paper.) These two incidents will almost certainly be used by the government to support previous claims that al-Qaeda and the Huthis are in cahoots.

I think it is much too early to tell if this is actually the case, and I would be extremely wary of taking these claims at face value. Too much is still unknown at this point.

In other al-Qaeda news, al-Arabiyya is reporting that it obtained a cell phone video featuring AQAP Deputy Commander and former Guantanamo detainee, Said Ali al-Shihri, calling on individuals in Saudi to donate money to the cause to help their brothers in Yemen with jihad.

Along, with al-Shihri there is a Yemeni militant who is being identified by al-Arabiyya as Muhammad 'Abd al-Karim al-Ghazali.

A video of the story is available here, and an English language report on the issue is here.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

In Switzerland, gun ownership is high but mass shootings are low. Why?

In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
  • Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
  • Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.