The truth is out there
March 20, 2014
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If you believe that "doctors and the government still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders," you're wrong — but you're not alone. A new study by a pair of University of Chicago political scientists indicates that a discouraging 20 percent of American adults believe that conspiracy theory about vaccinations, and another 36 percent are unwilling to take sides. In all, the researchers found that about half of respondents believed in at least one of the six conspiracy theories the study asked about.

The most popular bit of "medical conspiricism" — with 37 percent agreeing and another 31 percent on the fence — is that the FDA "is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from drug companies." The only other conspiracy to hit the 20 percent agreement mark is that "health officials know that cell phones cause cancer but are doing nothing to stop it because large corporations won't let them."

The researchers warn against dismissing the people who believe these notions as "a delusional fringe of paranoid cranks," noting that most of them (us?) are normal people trying to cope with a crazy world that includes lots of real stacked decks and official monkey business. These conspiracy theories can actually harm our health, says Chris Hendel at Consumer Reports, but "over the years industry, our government, and some medical researchers have given us more than a few reasons to doubt that they always have our best interest in mind." Peter Weber

This just in
3:28 p.m. ET
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The Indonesian government rejected last-ditch calls for clemency for eight of the so-called Bali Nine heroin smugglers, executing seven foreigners and one Indonesian by firing squad. The execution of the ninth convict, Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines, was unexpectedly postponed at the last minute so that officials could review her drug-smuggling conviction — Veloso's family says she unknowingly carried a suitcase containing drugs into the country, and President Benigno Aquino III had urged Jakarta to stay her execution. Meanwhile, relatives and supporters of the condemned around the world held vigils for the prisoners leading up to their executions. Samantha Rollins

This doesn't look good
2:55 p.m. ET
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How much TV would it take to impact your child's health? Two hours a day, maybe three?

Unfortunately, a new study suggests the answer is much less than that. Just one hour of TV per day could be enough to increase the risk of children becoming overweight or obese, according to research from the University of Virginia.

Researchers looked at data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, which studied 11,113 kindergarten-age children in 2011 and 2012. The researchers found that children who watched one to two hours of TV a day weighed more than those who watched less than one hour of TV daily. Children who watched at least one hour of TV each day were 39 percent more likely to become overweight and 86 percent more likely to become obese, the study found.

The researchers also discovered that not all screens had equal effects. Increased computer use wasn't linked to a greater risk for becoming overweight or obese. Some experts believe TV's commercials could account for the difference — advertisements for unhealthy foods or sugary drinks could also lead to weight gain. Meghan DeMaria

Same-sex marriage
2:54 p.m. ET
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a landmark same-sex marriage case, with the justices predictably splitting along partisan lines in their questioning.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the centrist adjudicator who could be the deciding vote, appeared to show support for each side of the debate at different times. Acknowledging marriage's historical definition as being between one man and one woman, he said it would be "very difficult for the Court to say we know better." Yet he also questioned why same-sex couples should not enjoy the "same ennoblement" as straight couples.

The case involves two questions: Whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and, if not, whether states must recognize such marriages performed elsewhere in the U.S. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case this summer. Jon Terbush

Discoveries
1:30 p.m. ET
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Scientists have discovered a saltwater network 1,000 feet below an ice-free region in Antarctica, and its implications are literally out of this world.

If life-supporting aquifers can exist in Antarctica, there's a good possibility that they could exist on Mars, too. Antarctica is the region of Earth most similar to Mars, and the McMurdo Dry Valleys, where the saltwater was found, are some of Earth's coldest, driest environments, The Verge explains.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, explains that the find is significant because the saltwater was found at a temperature that could support microbial life. The researchers used an electromagnetic sensor to find Antarctica's saltwater brines, and they found that beneath frozen surfaces, Antarctica has a system of interconnected, unfrozen aquifers. They believe the saltwater aquifers could be the byproducts of ancient ocean deposits or an evaporated lake.

While researchers believe Mars' surface is too cold to for anything to live there, it's possible that its subsurface could sustain life, especially if Antarctica's subsurface could do so. The team plans to study larger areas of Antarctica to see if other regions could also be home to saltwater networks. Meghan DeMaria

This just in
1:28 p.m. ET
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The NFL is ditching its controversial tax-exempt status because it has become a "distraction," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday in a letter to team owners. Many questioned the NFL's unique exemption last year amid the league's domestic violence debacle, and some lawmakers began pushing to end the benefit, which Congress created in 1966 to smooth the merger of the NFL and AFL. Though the change is expected to have little impact on the NFL's bottom line, it should mitigate some criticism of the organization and its roughly $10 billion in annual revenue. Jon Terbush

Baltimore
1:15 p.m. ET

With Baltimore engulfed in violence and looting last night, a Baltimore city councilman, Nick Mosby, tried to explain the roots of the rioters' anger to a Fox News interviewer, explaining that people were showing "decades-old anger and frustration for a system that's failed them."

"This is bigger than Freddie Gray," he said, whose death sparked the riots. "This is about the socioeconomics of poor urban America." He added, "When folks are undereducated, unfortunately they don't have the same intellectual voice to express it the way other people do."

The interviewer, Leland Vittert, then asked, "We just watched this liquor store being looted... Is that right?" To which Mosby responded, "Is that right? No. I think you've missed everything I've tried to articulate."

Watch some of the exchange below, and watch a full exchange here, in which Mosby signs off by saying Vittert's continued concern with the liquor store was "not productive." —Ryu Spaeth

"This can erupt anywhere in socially economically deprived America."Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby speaks to FNC's Leland Vittert as rioting continues.

Posted by Fox News on Monday, April 27, 2015

Baltimore
1:08 p.m. ET
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President Obama on Tuesday said there was "no excuse" for Monday's violence and destruction in Baltimore following the funeral for Freddie Gray, the black man who died in police custody of an unexplained spinal injury.

"They're not protesting, they're not making statement — they're stealing," Obama said.

"It's a handful of people taking advantage of the situation for their own purposes, and they need to be treated as criminal," he added.

Obama also lambasted rioters for having "distracted" from the peaceful, positive message preached by protesters in the preceding days. And broadening his focus to the recent spate of police killings of unarmed black men, Obama said it raised "troubling questions" and exposed deep-seated problems regarding police interactions with the communities they serve.

"There are some police who aren't doing the right thing," Obama said. Jon Terbush

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