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'You're not special' graduation speech sparks buzz

Social media was buzzing about a Boston-area high school teacher's blunt commencement speech that told students they "are not special."


Wellesley High English teacher David McCullough Jr. told graduates "You are not special. You are not exceptional," quoting empirical evidence:
Stormtrooper

Police State: Aurora Police Stop Dozens Of Innocent Drivers at Gunpoint Looking For Robbery Suspect

Aurora Police Searched Series Of Cars Looking For Suspect


Denver - Aurora police stopped dozens of cars and pulled out their drivers at gunpoint looking for a bank robbery suspect Saturday afternoon.

Police said an armed man robbed a Wells Fargo bank on E. Hampden Avenue and S. Chambers Road and fled.

Police tracked the robber to the intersection of E. Iliff Avenue and S. Buckley Road.

Responding officers barricaded the area, trapping about 25 cars near the intersection. Then police went car by car and pulled out each occupant at gunpoint and handcuffed them.
Attention

More U.S. Soldiers Take Their Own Lives than are Killed in Action

dog tags
Almost every day this year, a soldier on active duty took his or her own life -- meaning that suicides killed more troops than war, according to a just released study.

The Times as well many other media organizations have reported that there had been 154 suicides this year, compared to 124 military fatalities.

This means that 2012 might mark the highest number of recorded suicides since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dollar

Increasingly, Europe Looks Like America of 2008

banking collapse
© unknown
Events in Europe are following the pattern seen in the U.S. several years ago. In Europe, financial crises in small countries are now giving way to crises in large ones.

This parallels what happened here. In 2005, home-building stocks peaked, and the national housing market peaked around year-end. In 2006, mortgage lenders and brokers began going bust. In winter 2007, the stocks of large financial companies peaked. In the spring, Bear Stearns announced problems with two real estate funds it sponsored.

In July, the Russell 2000 peaked. In August, the Fed temporarily reversed its tightening bias by announcing a small emergency cut in its "discount window" interest rate.

Also that month, if memory serves me correctly, the economist Ben Stein announced that no one should worry, what was happening in sub-prime would stay in sub-prime.

In the fall, problems with bond insurers became apparent, and cracks started appearing in the auction rate securities ARS) market. The Dow and S&P 500 peaked.
Arrow Down

Economic Insanity: Italy bailing out Spain?

house prices
© Forbes
Will Spain's bailout boost the markets on Monday? As Abram Brown points out the markets are eager for good news. But there are serious question marks over the bail out. Not least that the Spanish can't seem to agree on what they have agreed to. And Euro zone members don't actually know how they are going to pull off this refinancing.

What they believe they have done is create a plan that will ward off contagion if the Greek election goes against the pro-austerity parties Monday week. That might be unraveling already, as Spaniards take to the streets to protest against the deal. Add in to the mix, skepticism about the size of the rescue - $125 billion is just not enough some analysts are saying. The real figure is at least double that.

Comment: This extract from the article is very telling:
"The bailout seems to be coming from the EFSF [...]. Italy, a country with its own serious sovereign debt problems, guarantees 18% of the facility."
If you have watched the comprehensive documentary on the global financial crisis of 2008 "Inside Job", Narrated by Matt Damon, there is a very similar financially corrupt illusion of stability presented: Goldman Sachs (and probably JP Morgan) bought Credit Default Swaps (insurance) from AIG to cover their potential losses on the collapsing housing market they were heavily exposed to. However, AIG simply did not have enough collateral to cover the 'insurance' when it was called in for the amount Goldman Sachs had bought.

The Eurozone ponzi scheme is similar: Spain's banks speculated massively on the property bubble and are now, due to its collapse, liable for massive incurred debts. The fragility of the whole economy becomes startlingly clear when we see that to cover these losses, loans are coming indirectly from Italy who itself is completely insolvent and next in line for a bailout..

Blackbox

Horror at 7-Eleven as woman becomes human fireball after being doused in gasoline and IGNITED by her ex-boyfriend

A woman was severely burned after being covered in gasoline and set on fire by her knife-wielding ex-boyfriend and father of her child, police said.

The 34-year-old, who has not been named, suffered the horrific attack outside a 7-Eleven store in South Florida following a row with Roosevely Mondesir, when they met so that she could pick up her son.


She was waiting outside the store in her silver Mercedes at around 3am on Monday when Mondesir showed up in his white Jaguar without the boy and began hurling the fuel over her, Boynton Beach Police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said.

She tried to run away, but the 52-year-old man chased her with a knife and then ignited her.

In graphic surveillance video, a man can be seen threatening a woman with a large knife, struggling in the doorway of the store.

'Get away from me!' she can be heard shouting.
Mr. Potato

People Power! Greece's growing 'potato movement'

Recession-hit Greeks
© Anna Psaroudaki/Al Jazeera
can now buy rice for a euro per kilo directly from producers
A growing group of grassroots activists are cutting out agricultural middlemen and connecting farmers and shoppers.

Athens, Greece - When an economy shrinks, prices are meant to go down in response to falling demand. This has not happened in Greece - at least not yet. While the Greek economy shrank by an average of five per cent a year between 2009 and 2011, consumer prices rose by an average 3.7 per cent a year. The combination of falling revenues and rising prices has led to an explosive political mix.

It is not politicians but grassroots activism that has come to address this issue. In April, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reported a 24.6 per cent drop in potato prices from March 2011 - the largest ever one-year drop in any commodity. The reason for this historic deflation was what has come to be known as the potato movement - and it is having an empowering effect on Greeks, not only as consumers, but also as citizens and voters.
Handcuffs

Amir Khadir's Daughter, Yalda Machouf-Khadir, Faces 11 Charges Related To Protests, No Bail For Now

© Patrick Sanfacon
Amir Khadir's daughter Yalda Machouf-Khadir faces 11 charges in connection with different events.
The activist daughter of a Quebec politician, facing charges following disruptive protests and vandalism, will spend the weekend behind bars.

Yalda Machouf-Khadir faces 11 charges in connection with different events - including break and enter, conspiracy, mischief, assaulting a police officer and assaulting a news photographer.

The 19-year-old daughter of Amir Khadir, the sole elected member of the left-wing party Quebec solidaire, looked bored as she leaned against the prisoners' dock, resting her head in her hands.

The Crown objected to her release and to the release of all but one of the people arrested this week for similar activities, so they will spend the weekend in jail until bail hearings Monday.

The charges against Machouf-Khadir stem mainly from vandalism at the offices of former education minister Line Beauchamp, and from a separate case at Universite de Montreal.
Attention

Self-Injury Shockingly Found In Younger Children: Study

Self Injury
© Olga Sapegina / Shutterstock
It is a well-known fact that some school-aged children have self-injured themselves in the past as a way to cope with emotional stress, but a new study has found shocking evidence that it exists even in children as young as 7 years old.

Previous studies have suggested that 1 in 5 teens and young adults engage in self-injury at some point in their life, but this is the first to find such a result in kids so young, raising awareness about a disturbing problem.

The study, based on 665 interviews with school children in Denver and central New Jersey, found that one in 12 third-, sixth- and ninth-graders in the interview had self-injured at least once without the intention of killing themselves. For third-graders alone, close to 7 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys said they had self-injured themselves. About two-thirds of those polled, said they had also done it more than once.

The study defines self-injury as cutting, carving, burning, piercing, or picking at the skin, or hitting oneself to cause pain, but not death.

"A lot of people tend to think that school-aged children, they're happy, they don't have a lot to worry about," study coauthor Benjamin Hankin, a psychologist from the University of Denver, told Reuters. "Clearly a lot more kids are doing this than people have known."

The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that many of the children feel that causing themselves physical pain helps them cope with emotional stress. Some researchers believe that physical pain releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that can be calming.
Bizarro Earth

Fact or Fear?: Earth's Collapse is Imminent, Researchers Say

© Unknown
Scientists at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, say that we have taken our planet on the track of "irreversible collapse". The point of no return may be reached this century, they say. The measures of preventing a scenario they compare to the event of the extinction of the dinosaurs, are about as likely to be implemented as oil drilling to stop tomorrow.

If your life revolves around sustainability, this research will definitely ruin your day. If you enjoy debating the existence and effects of global warning, this study will become part of your next discussion to argue the value of panic creation. According to the authors of a new paper that "used scientific theories, toy ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence as a crystal ball", there is not much left to do to save our planet from a state-shift in Earth's biosphere. And even if we can, the proposed measures, which include an immediate "reduction" of the number of humans inhabiting Earth, may not be popular enough to be considered.

The scientists believe that a state at which a shift will occur is almost reached. "The last tipping point in Earth's history occurred about 12,000 years ago when the planet went from being in the age of glaciers, which previously lasted 100,000 years, to being in its current interglacial state," said Arne Mooers, a researcher participating in the project. "Once that tipping point was reached, the most extreme biological changes leading to our current state occurred within only 1,000 years. That's like going from a baby to an adult state in less than a year. ... Importantly, the planet is changing even faster now."

Comment: Are we - On The Eve Of Destruction? Is - 2012 The End of the World As We Know It
Prophecy, Prediction, and Portents of Things to Come

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