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Wolfgang Alexander Moens
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Science!
Science!

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Ruby Bridges: the first African-American child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South:

"On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Ruby and her mother five blocks to her new school. While in the car, one of the men explained that when they arrived at the school, two marshals would walk in front of Ruby and two would be behind her. The image of this small black girl being escorted to school by four large white men inspired Norman Rockwell to create the painting "The Problem We All Must Live With," which graced the cover of Look magazine in 1964. When Ruby and the federal marshals arrived at the school, large crowds of people were gathered in front yelling and throwing objects. There were barricades set up, and policemen were everywhere. Ruby, in her innocence, first believed it was like a Mardi Gras celebration. When she entered the school under the protection of the federal marshals, she was immediately escorted to the principal's office and spent the entire day there. The chaos outside, and the fact that nearly all the white parents at the school had kept their children home, meant classes weren't going to be held. On her second day, the circumstances were much the same as the first, and for a while it looked like Ruby Bridges wouldn't be able to attend class. Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, agreed to teach Ruby. She was from Boston and a new teacher to the school. "Mrs. Henry," as Ruby would call her even as an adult, greeted her with open arms. Ruby was the only student in Henry's class, because parents pulled or threatened to pull their children from Ruby's class and send them to other schools. For a full year, Henry and Ruby sat side by side at two desks, working on Ruby's lessons. Henry was very loving and supportive of Ruby, helping her not only with her studies but also with the difficult experience of being ostracized.

Ruby Bridges' first few weeks at Frantz School were not easy ones. Several times she was confronted with blatant racism in full view of her federal escorts. On her second day of school, a woman threatened to poison her. After this, the federal marshals allowed her to only eat food from home. On another day, she was "greeted" by a woman displaying a black doll in a wooden coffin. Ruby's mother kept encouraging her to be strong and pray while entering the school, which Ruby discovered reduced the vehemence of the insults yelled at her and gave her courage. She spent her entire day, every day, in Mrs. Henry's classroom, not allowed to go to the cafeteria or out to recess to be with other students in the school. When she had to go to the restroom, the federal marshals walked her down the hall. Several years later, federal marshal Charles Burks, one of her escorts, commented with some pride that Ruby showed a lot of courage. She never cried or whimpered, Burks said, "She just marched along like a little soldier." [...]"

"Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it."

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“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” [...]

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Heaven on their minds:

Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1973 American musical drama based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera of the same name. The film, starring Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman, and Barry Dennen, centers on the conflict between Judas and Jesus during the week before the crucifixion of Jesus.

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"[...] we have to be on our guard, constantly [...]"

The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens.

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2013 by the Australian government to inquire into and report upon responses by institutions to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia. The establishment of the commission followed revelations of child abusers being moved from place to place instead of their abuse and crimes being reported. There were also revelations that adults failed to try to stop further acts of child abuse. The commission will examine the history of abuse in educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organisations, state institutions and youth organisations.

Here are some of the preliminary results regarding the widespread abuse in the Roman Catholic Church:

"The average age of alleged victims was 10.5 for girls and just over 11.5 for boys.

[...] Up to 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2015, with abusers most prevalent in the dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in New South Wales. The numbers were even worse in some national Catholic orders. By far the worst was the order of the St John of God Brothers, where a staggering 40% of religious brothers are believed to have abused children.

Twenty-two per cent of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist Brothers, both orders that run schools, were alleged perpetrators. More than one in five priests in the Benedictine community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators, while 17.2% of clergy were accused of crimes against children in the Salesians of Don Bosco order.

[...] The disturbing figures were revealed by senior counsel assisting, Gail Furness, SC. She also revealed that the Holy See had refused to hand over documents involving Australian priests accused of abuse.

“The royal commission hoped to gain an understanding of the action taken in each case,” Furness said. “The Holy See responded, on 1 July 2014, that it was ‘neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested’,” she said.

Furness said the responses of Catholic diocese and orders across the country were “depressingly similar”.

“Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [brothers] were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past,” she said. “Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover-ups.” [...]"

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A cut-throat case of evolutionary backstabbing in the Peruvian rainforest

The Peruvian Amazon is teeming with life. For the flora and fauna that make it their home, this means that fierce competition is part of the bargain. This short from KQED’s science documentary series Deep Look investigates the remarkable measures species will take to get an edge in contested evolutionary battlegrounds, examining the curious case of big-headed ants, which have betrayed a longtime evolutionary ally, Inga trees, for a sweeter deal ...

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the relationship between parasites and hosts, where one species lives on or in another to the benefit of the parasite but at a cost to the host, potentially leading to disease or death of the host. Typical examples are mistletoe and trees, hookworms and vertebrates, cuckoos and other birds. In many cases the parasite species do so well in or on a particular host that they reproduce much faster and can adapt to changes more efficiently, and it is thought that almost half of all animal species have a parasitic stage in their lifetime.

What techniques do hosts have to counter the parasites, and what impact do parasites have on the evolution of their hosts?

With Steve Jones (Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, London); Wendy Gibson (Professor of Protozoology at the University of Bristol); and Kayla King (Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford).

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In 1959, Bertrand Russell, the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher, mathematician and peace activist was just short of his 87th birthday, when he gave wide-ranging interviews to the BBC and the CBC.

In this clip, we capture Russell giving life lessons — lessons about critical thinking, love and tolerance — to a generation living 1,000 years in the future [...]

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"This evocative movie of four planets more massive than Jupiter orbiting the young star HR 8799 is a composite of sorts, including images taken over seven years at the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii.

The movie clearly doesn’t show full orbits, which will take many more years to collect. The closest-in planet circles the star in around 40 years; the furthest takes more than 400 years. [...]

The planets are quite far from each other, which is to be expected due to their enormous size. Because of those large separations, Wang said astronomers will be watching to see if the system is stable or if some of the planets may be ejected from the system. [...]"

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"[...] And I beg the young people: whatever you do, do not hate [...]"
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