Monthly Archives: May 2013

US monitors progress of Google’s driverless cars

Companies from Silicon Valley to Detroit to Germany are developing cars that park, steer and even drive themselves. Now the federal agency for traffic safety has said it wants to come along for the ride.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/31/technology/self-driving-cars-for-testing-are-supported-by-us.html?hp “We want to have some experimentation in the states to see what works, but it’s nice to have federal […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy, Columbia and Queen Semiramis

In The Divine Comedy, Dante sees Semiramis among the souls of the lustful in the Second Circle of Hell: And as the cranes go chanting forth their lays, Making in air a long line of themselves, So saw I coming, uttering lamentations, Shadows borne onward by the aforesaid stress. Whereupon said I: “Master, who are […]

Drones continue to strike with impunity

At least four people were killed and four others injured in a drone attack on a house near the Pakistani-Afghan border early Wednesday. Wednesday’s strike came just six days after President Obama unveiled his new drone policy, curtailing their use to limit civilian casualties and moving oversight of the program from the C.I.A. to the […]

Wal-Mart fined for illegally dumping hazardous waste

Wal-Mart Stores pleaded guilty Tuesday to improperly dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri, agreeing to pay almost $82 million in fines. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/wal-mart-is-fined-82-million-over-mishandling-of-hazardous-wastes.html?ref=us The retailer was charged with six counts of violating the Clean Water Act in California and one count of violating a federal law related to pesticide disposal in Missouri. The problems stem […]

GMO salmon could endanger wild populations

The potential risks of genetically modified fish escaping into the wild have been highlighted in a new study. The fish, which have been engineered with extra genes to make them grow more quickly, pass on this trait to the hybrid offspring. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22694239  The transgenic salmon are currently being assessed by the US authorities, and could […]

FBI side with police after man dies in custody

Federal agents have closed their investigation, and no federal civil rights charges will be filed in the case of a Milwaukee man who died while gasping for air in the back of a police car. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/us/wisconsin-no-charges-over-death-in-squad-car.html?ref=us Derek Williams, 22, was arrested on suspicion of robbery in July 2011 after running about a block and a […]

US operatives shot in Venezuela

Two staff members of the American Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, were shot and wounded at a strip club there early Tuesday, according to officials. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/world/americas/2-american-embassy-officials-are-shot-in-venezuela-strip-club.html?ref=world President Nicholas Maduro had expelled two American Air Force attachés stationed at the embassy, saying they had been involved in activities meant to destabilize the country. He said they  had […]