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China Rising
June 17, 2014

We've all seen the headlines about rampant Chinese economic growth. Many have presented evidence — from ghost cities, to excessive financial debt — that China's growth is an unsustainable bubble. And maybe the boom there will soon give way to a bust.

But what I think is under-appreciated is just how huge China's growth has been.

Here's a figure that sticks out: Bill Gates points out that between 2011 and 2013, China used more cement than the U.S. did in the entire 20th century:

(Gates Notes)

Now, China is a huge country with over four times the number of people that the U.S. has. But still. The 20th century was America's century, where it built out its huge continent-spanning highway system, its airports, its sanitation systems, and cities where skyscrapers dominate the skyline like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Cement — the key ingredient in concrete — is very literally the foundation for modern life and urban living. We drive on it, we walk on it, we live in it. And China is using it at a rate that has never been seen before on this planet. John Aziz

Late Night Antics
1:02 a.m. ET

On Wednesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon and Jason Segel showed how fast they can think on their feet during a game of "Word Sneak." The premise was simple — both had five different, totally random words they had to work into a conversation as casually as possible. After a rough start (really, "mongeese"?), Segel won the game thanks to the clever way he was able to slip "Gene Shalit" into the discussion — plus, he gets bonus points for cracking up Questlove. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

MH370?
12:11 a.m. ET

Investigators still don't know if the piece of airplane wreckage found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean is from missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370, but experts say that the way the ocean's currents work, it's entirely 'plausible.'

"It depends on where it went in, but it's about the right time for debris to wash up," oceanographer Robin Robertson told Reuters. Reunion Island is 4,000 miles from MH370's last known position before it vanished in March 2014 with 239 people onboard, but it's also in the Indian Ocean gyre, a major spiral of currents driven by surface winds. Currents rarely move in a straight line, and can reach speeds of more than 2.2 miles per hour, or 300 miles a week.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre, an Australian agency working with Malaysia on the search, said the spot where the fragment was found is "consistent with other analysis and modeling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean." Sources told NBC News that Boeing Corp. investigators believe the fragment is from a 777, and MH370 is currently the only missing 777 in the world. Investigators will look closely for any distinctive markings, and can even glean clues from the barnacles and shells that are now on the surface; by determining how old the sea life is, they can figure out when the jet debris entered the water. Catherine Garcia

wtf
July 29, 2015
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This isn't your great-great-great-great-grandmother's Little Women.

Because now we have to go back to the 1800s for our television shows, the CW is putting into development a series that takes the beloved March sisters and throws them into a situation much worse than living with scarlet fever and rejecting marriage proposals. As Deadline reports, the project is being described as a "hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, in which disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined — all while trying not to kill each other in the process." OK.

Why stop there? Let's make Tom Sawyer an android anarchist attempting to survive life in a hellish police state, and have Moby Dick live in a post-apocalyptic ocean where he's just misunderstood and not really out to destroy ships and kill people. Now that Atticus Finch is a racist, it's not like the classics are sacred anymore, anyway. Catherine Garcia

See you in court
July 29, 2015
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Three University of Virginia graduates and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers are suing Rolling Stone magazine and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely for defamation, claiming that an article that ran in December 2014 and has since been retracted identified them as participants in a gang rape.

George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler filed the lawsuit in New York federal court on Wednesday, and are seeking more than $75,000 for "mental anguish and severe emotional distress" caused by the article and its aftermath, The Washington Post reports. The story centered around a junior referred to as Jackie, who said that during a September 2012 party at the University of Virginia Phi Psi house, she was raped by seven fraternity members as two older brothers watched.

The filing states that the "plaintiffs have been embarrassed to admit that they are members of Phi Kappa Psi as a result of the article and its accusations," and Elias said that since he lived in the frat house at the time, people believed he was involved. None of the fraternity brothers were named in the 9,000-word article, which was retracted after a Columbia Graduate School of Journalism review in April concluded it was profoundly flawed. Catherine Garcia

sports
July 29, 2015
Elsa/Getty Images

Wednesday in Minnesota, the National Football League Players Association filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of Tom Brady  to vacate his suspension.

The New England Patriots quarterback was suspended for four games May 11 after a report maintained that while he did not improperly handle deflated balls used in the AFC Championship game won by the Patriots 45-7, he "at least" was "generally aware" of the alleged involvement of Patriots staff. On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall upheld the suspension, and the NFLPA said it would file an appeal.

The suit claims that Brady's punishment was not fair and consistent, and the appeal hearing "defied any concept of fundamental fairness," NFL.com reports. It also alleges that Goodell was partial in his decision to uphold the suspension. Catherine Garcia

Oh Florida
July 29, 2015

On Wednesday, the Florida state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued a gun store that declared itself a "Muslim-free zone."

In a complaint filed in federal court, CAIR accuses Florida Gun Supply of Inverness with violating the federal public accommodations law and seeks an injunction to stop the discrimination, Reuters reports. "We just can't let segregation rear its ugly head in Florida again," Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of the group, said. "This is part of Islamophobia that we need to challenge."

On July 18, the store's owner, 28-year-old Andrew Hallinan, posted on Facebook a video stating that the shop was a Muslim-free zone because of the shootings at military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After the post went up, Hallinan invited Shibly to attend a course at Florida Gun Supply of Inverness and then explain the Koran to him, but Shibly said Hallinan later canceled the meeting. Hallinan's attorney, Robert Muise, says the lawsuit is "absolutely bogus." Catherine Garcia

bad customer service
July 29, 2015

A 911 dispatcher has resigned following the release of a recording where he was heard telling a caller whose friend was shot she could "deal with it yourself."

On June 26, Esperanza Quintero, 17, called 911 in Albuquerque after her friend, Jaydon Chavez-Silver, 17, was shot at a party during a drive-by shooting. ABC News reports that on the tape, dispatcher Matthew Sanchez is heard asking Quintero multiple times if Chavez-Silver was breathing. Quintero said she was "frustrated" with being asked the question multiple times, and said, "He's barely breathing? How many times do I have to f—ing tell you?" Sanchez replied, "OK, you know what ma'am? You could deal with it yourself. I'm not going to deal with this, OK?" and then hung up.

A spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Fire Department told ABC News that "the dispatcher did dispatch units prior to disconnect" and "the response time was four minutes and 26 seconds, which exceeds national standards." Sanchez was removed from the dispatch center and placed on administrative assignment before resigning, but that's not enough for Quintero. "It was his job," she told KOAT. "I don't understand why he would've hung up. I cussed at him once. I was frantic, I was scared. You know, I'm only 17. ... He didn't talk me through it. Obviously, helping people is not for him."

Chavez-Silver died at the hospital, and no suspects have been arrested yet in connection with the shooting. Catherine Garcia

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