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.

How to make a black hole

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

  • 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.

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.
Keep reading Show less

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.
Keep reading Show less