beluga whale with russian tracking device on its neck
News

Whale Found Wearing Russian Harness Sparks Concerns of Naval Ops

May 7, 2019

A beluga whale spotted in Norway wearing a Russian harness sparked heightened concern over Russian special ops, “The Washington Post” reported. The creature’s harness read “Equipment of St. Petersburg,” raising concerns that it may be part of a top secret Russian intelligence program. Are marine mammals smart enough to spy on us? […]

callao cave in the Philippines
News

New Human Species Discovered in the Philippines

April 17, 2019

A small relative to our species (“Homo sapiens”) has been discovered in a cave in the Philippines, “USA Today” reports. Newly excavated bones and teeth provide evidence of a previously unknown humanoid species. The discovery changes our knowledge of evolution and early ancestry for the second time in a decade. […]

Julian Assange co-founder of Wikileaks, headshot
News

WikiLeaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested in London

April 16, 2019

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has been arrested in London, according to BBC News. The Australian co-founder of the information leaking site faces charges of federal conspiracy in the United States. The website has a complicated history with free speech and the release of classified information. […]

Book burning in large flame
News

Priest Apologizes for Public Burning of Harry Potter Books and Other Items

April 9, 2019

A Polish priest who led a public burning of items believed to have magical or occult properties has issued an apology, NBC News reported. The items—including Harry Potter titles, Buddhist figurines, and an African mask—were cast into a fire outside a Catholic church in Gdansk, Poland. Scapegoating and vilifying others are common practices in justifying religious violence. […]

Pope Francis refusing hand kiss
News

Pope Francis Refuses Hand Kiss over Hygiene, Defying Tradition

April 1, 2019

Pope Francis refusing to let 19 people kiss his hand has sent critics reeling, the BBC reported Thursday, March 28. A Vatican spokesperson, Alessandro Gisotti, said he asked the pope about it, who responded that it was a “simple question of hygiene.” Where do historical expectations of the pope come from? […]

News

Art Thieves Steal Forged Bruegel Masterpiece, Police Say

March 23, 2019

Italian police switched a famous painting by Pieter Bruegel the Younger with a forgery in anticipation of a theft, the BBC reported. Bruegel and his father were both accomplished Flemish artists whose works are worth millions. Study the diverse paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. […]

Sad little pug before being sold on ebay by german government
News

Pug in Germany Seized, Sold by City to Cover Family’s Debts

March 11, 2019

For the first time, city officials in a German town took a family dog and sold it on eBay to pay for its owners’ unpaid debts. The city, Ahlen, has claimed the seizure is legal, although the city has drawn criticism. The incident suggests a good time for a refresher look at the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and eminent domain laws. […]

Russian Military using smartphone
World News

Russia Restricts Military Personnel’s Smartphone Use

February 26, 2019

A new Russian bill limits military personnel’s use of smartphones. Lawmakers cited active-duty soldiers’ use of social media, which has caused several political embarrassments for the country in recent years. In the United States, how much do the Constitution and other laws relate to the digital age and what are the exceptions? […]

2019 new years golden big on red background
World News

The “Year of the Pig” Meets Its Pig of the Year

February 15, 2019

As the lunar calendar signals the Chinese New Year, China celebrates the beginning of the “Year of the Pig” with an unlikely guest—the British cartoon character “Peppa Pig.” The surprising runaway viral hit of Peppa’s movie trailer focuses attention on traditional New Year’s practices and long-held cultural beliefs in China. […]