Shots - Health Blog
5:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

West Nile Virus Makes A Comeback This Summer

Christopher Doll releases fish into the water of a neglected pool to kill mosquitoes that might carry West Nile Virus in Concord, Calif., in 2009.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 6:39 pm

The West Nile virus is back, and it's looking like it could be particularly bad this year. As as result, federal health officials are warning people to protect themselves against the mosquito-borne infection.

The West Nile virus first showed up in the U.S. in 1999 and quickly spread from coast to coast, raising widespread alarm. Some have argued that red-breasted robins play a key role in the spread of the virus.

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The Torch
5:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

If Gabby's Got The Gold, Why Flip Over Her Hair?

Gabrielle Douglas performs Thursday on the beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around final. Some people are focusing on her hair rather than her skill.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:35 pm

Gabby Douglas, the 16-year-old gymnast from Virginia Beach, Va., won another gold medal Thursday. The first was won with her team earlier this week. She was the only member of the team to perform in all four rotations. So, why are some black women obsessed with her hair? Writer Monique Fields has this perspective.

Never mind how she flies like a raven on the balance beam. Or flutters across the floor. Or soars on vault. Or swings on the uneven bars.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

'360': Intertwined Lives In A Connected Europe

Michael (Jude Law) and Rose (Rachel Weisz) are two of the many characters in 360, a film about interconnected European lives from the director of City of God and The Constant Gardener.
Phil Fisk Magnolia Pictures

For all the glum punditry about our brave new world of connected disconnection, there are endless possibilities for free play — though you'd never know it from the sorry crew of malcontents in 360, an ambitious post-millennial take on Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

In A Decrepit Future, An Identity Crisis Multiplies

Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) visits Rekall, a company that implants memories in its customers, in an attempt to explain a series of recurring dreams. Farrell plays the role originally portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 film of the same name.
Michael Gibson Columbia Pictures

Set in a high-tech yet shabby future, the remake of Total Recall is a fully realized piece of production design. But its script, credited to six authors, is more like a preliminary sketch.

Directed by Underworld franchise veteran Len Wiseman, the movie retains some elements of Paul Verhoeven's friskier (and more graphically violent) 1990 original. Yet it also makes lots of changes, notably by downplaying the brain-bending aspects of the scenario in favor of thought-free action. (Also, it never leaves a devastated Earth for Mars.)

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Election 2012
4:27 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

New Target In Voter ID Battle: 1965 Voting Rights Act

A voter casts his ballot in a West Miami, Fla., fire station during the Republican primary in January.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 9:49 am

A landmark federal law used to block the adoption of state voter identification cards and other election rules now faces unprecedented legal challenges.

A record five federal lawsuits filed this year challenge the constitutionality of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 statute prevents many state and local governments from enacting new voter ID requirements, redistricting plans and similar proposals on grounds that the changes would disenfranchise minorities.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

At 'English-Only' Hearing, Rep. Conyers Delivers His Statement In Spanish

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

It was a controversial hearing to begin with. This morning, a House subcommittee was looking into a bill that would make English the official language of the United States and require that government functions like naturalization ceremonies be conducted in English.

Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan was not a fan, so he decided to deliver his opening statement in Spanish.

First he thanked the chairman, then he proceeded to assail the measure.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:16 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

The Science Of Ritual: Why We Seek Help And Healing In Repetition

Devotees take part in rituals and offer gifts in celebration of Yemanja Day, in Salvador, Bahia state, Brazil, in February.
Ricardo Cardosa DPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 4:21 pm

A few days ago, I found myself sitting in a room full of cross-legged yogis with my sweaty hands resting on the sweaty knees of the people beside me, bellowing a mantra in unison over and over again. What united us at that yoga studio was empathy for yoga instructor Michael Joel Hall, who was savagely beaten as he walked home earlier that week with his boyfriend.

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Theater
4:07 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Playwright Fugard Bucked South Africa's 'Racist Ideas'

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard was a thorn in the apartheid regime's side. Now 80, he calls any suggestion that he would slow down "nonsense."
Gregory Costanzo

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard describes the time Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 as "a period of euphoria that was the most extraordinary experience of my life."

He says he was also convinced he would be the country's "first literary redundancy."

"My life had been defined by the apartheid years," he tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More. "Now we were going into an era of democracy ... and I believed that I didn't really have a function as a useful artist in that anymore."

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Economy
4:01 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

What Can We Do To Fix The Economy?

Courtesy of Jared Bernstein

U.S. employment is stalled, growth is anemic, and the Federal Reserve has decided not to take action for at least another month.

Most economists weren't expecting the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets the Fed's monetary policy, to announce another round of quantitative easing — a fancy term that basically means the central bank buys bonds to increase the money supply and make borrowing cheaper — at this week's meeting. Still, that's exactly what a number of them think is needed.

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Knight Capital Says It Lost $440 Million Because Of Computer Glitch

Remember the computer glitch that caused market turmoil Wednesday morning?

As we told you, it was caused by a computer glitch that accidentally forced Knight Capital Group to buy a great number of stocks.

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