Mike Hapgood, who studies solar events, says the world isn’t prepared for a truly damaging storm. And one could happen soon.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent antinuclear symbol.
Until recently, we’ve only been able to guess about the actual psychological effects of fiction on individuals and society. But new research in psychology and broad-based literary analysis is finally taking questions about morality out of the realm of speculation. This research consistently shows that fiction does mold us. The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape. But perhaps the most impressive finding is just how fiction shapes us: mainly for the better, not for the worse. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds. More peculiarly, fiction’s happy endings seem to warp our sense of reality. They make us believe in a lie: that the world is more just than it actually is. But believing that lie has important effects for society — and it may even help explain why humans tell stories in the first place.
A gray whale nicknamed “June” that Orange County rescuers tried unsuccessfully to free from tangled rope last month won its freedom late Thursday — from crab fishermen out of Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco.
Luscious Jackson emerged in 1991 as the coolest girls strutting the East Village. Playing a mélange of hip-hop rhythms, brooding bass, and mysterious harmonies, the group — founding members Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, and Kate Schellenbach — hit hard among the then-burgeoning alt-punk-hip-hop scene in New York, propped up by their lifelong friends the Beastie Boys.
The 7-foot dolphin — nicknamed Fred by some of the spectators — apparently swam mistakenly into the wetlands with five companions earlier in the week. While the dolphin’s pod mates returned to sea, the one called Fred stayed behind.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
XALITZINTLA, Mexico (AP) — The white-capped volcano that looms over Mexico City emitted a terrifying low-pitched roar Friday and spewed roiling towers of ash and steam as it vented the pressure built up by a massive chamber of magma beneath its slopes. Authorities prepared evacuation routes, ambulances and shelters in the event of a bigger explosion.