read / the past seven days

Federal highway BR-222, June 9, 2012 in Para state, Brazil. Highway construction through Amazonian rainforest has led to accelerated rates of deforestation. Although deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down 80 percent since 2004, environmentalists fear recent changes to the Forest Code will lead to further destruction. Around 20 percent of the rainforest has already been destroyed. By Mario Tama

“Wesley Warren Jr has a giant ball-sack. That is not a euphemism or misprint: Wesley Warren Jr has a scrotum about the size and weight of a medium-sized child… it is so big that Wesley must wear a hooded sweatshirt over his massive deformed genitalia when he goes out in public.”

“Last February at the Academy Awards, Adam Sandler said something funny. This is not a common occurrence — not because Sandler has devolved into our laziest movie star, but because he’s never been known for one-liners. Even people who love Adam Sandler movies don’t so much quote the dialogue as imitate how Sandler says the dialogue: The way he flutters between that high-pitched, somewhat effeminate, sweetly annoying little-boy voice of his, and the deeper, Eddie-Vedder-at-the-end-of-”Jeremy” bark that’s phase one of his signature temper tantrum, the all-fists-on-nut-sacks eruption that is typically, though not always lately, comedic in nature. Sandler has been doing this since Saturday Night Live. Back then, he worked relatively cheap. These days, he doesn’t get out of bed for less than $20 million. His range is limited, his rewards not so much.”

“No, said airline security, you can’t take this bottle onboard. It exceeds the 100 milliliter limit; it’s forbidden. But wait, said professor Martin Birchall of Bristol University. This is a medical container. Inside is a trachea, a carefully constructed human windpipe, seeded with 60 million stem cells from a very sick woman in Barcelona. We have just 16 hours to get it into her body. We pre-arranged this.”

“Turtles killed as they were having sex and then fossilised in position have been described by scientists. The remains of the 47-million-year old animals were unearthed in the famous Messel Pit near Darmstadt, Germany. They were found as male-female pairs. In two cases, the males even had their tails tucked under their partners’ as would be expected from the coital position.”

“On the evening of May 13, Mother’s Day, a Canadian woman named Dana Dirr was hit head-on while driving to the Saskatchewan hospital where she worked as a trauma surgeon. She was 35 weeks pregnant, but determined to work until the moment she gave birth. The morning after the crash, her husband John (“J.S.”) Dirr posted a note on Warrior Eli, a Facebook page the Dirrs had created to document their 5-year-old son Eli’s battle with cancer: “Last night at 12:02am I lost the love of my life,” J.S. wrote. “I lost my wife, the mother of my children, and my best friend.” Miraculously, Dana had held on in the hospital just long enough to have her baby—a daughter, and the Dirr’s eleventh child.”

“Dr. Perry Kendall stands behind his controversial comments that taking pure ecstasy can be safe. But B.C.’s chief provincial health officer says he is not advocating for the drug to be legalized and sold in stores, as stated in a previous story… Kendall says Canada should instead look at an “evidence-based way” of regulating and controlling psychoactive substances. “Let’s look at what works and what doesn’t work. Let’s look at what harms of various drugs are and compare them. And let’s look at the impacts of the policies on a drug use,” he said.”

“Police say a man upset over his daughter’s lifestyle chopped her head off with a sword and then paraded it through his village before surrendering to authorities in western India. Marble miner Ogad Singh’s 20-year-old daughter had been living with her parents in the Rajasthani village of Dungarji after leaving her husband two years ago.”

“A team of Canadian researchers has developed one of the most effective cures yet for the Ebola virus. That’s big news both for treating the deadliest virus on Earth and tackling myriad other similarly aggressive diseases. The treatment, in which injections of protein-grabbing antibodies stop a virus from replicating, has the longest treatment window so far resulting in full recovery – a full day. There’s just one catch: It can take up to two weeks for symptoms of the disease to appear.”

“A Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan has announced a ban on polio vaccines for children as long as the United States continues its campaign of drone strikes in the region, according to a statement by the Taliban. “Polio drops will be banned in North Waziristan until the drones strikes are stopped,” said the statement, released Saturday.”

“An Indonesian man was jailed for 30 months after writing “God doesn’t exist” on his Facebook page. Alexander Aan, 30, was imprisoned on Thursday for sharing explicit material about the Prophet Mohammed online. He started an atheist group on Facebook on which he shared comic strips of the prophet having sex with his servant, a court in western Sumatra heard today.”

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