Economics
March 6, 2014

In 2011 and 2012, many thought the Euro might break up due to the sovereign debt crisis. Unlike countries that have their own currency, countries in the Eurozone are dependent on the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB). This disconnect makes Euro countries much more vulnerable than other countries to solvency crises. Since, then, however the new chief of the ECB, Mario Draghi, has engaged in a bond-buying program of Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) which has helped struggling periphery countries (Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, etc) stay solvent.

But while this has lowered interest rates in the struggling countries — and done enough to keep the Euro together — it has not been enough to get Europe out of the woods. Unemployment still remains cataclysmically high in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and high throughout the Eurozone. And now with inflation rapidly falling, many are worried that Europe is falling into debt deflation. Of course, Europe as a whole is not in deflation yet.

But as Paul Krugman argues, the process is already under way:

I'd say that to have debt deflation — in which falling prices due to a weak economy increase the real burden of debt, which depresses the economy further, and so on — you don't need to have literal deflation. The process begins as soon as you have lower inflation than expected when interest rates were set. It's also noteworthy that inflation rates in the highly indebted countries are all well below the eurozone average, with actual deflation in Greece and near-deflation in the rest. So the debt deflation spiral is in fact well underway. [The New York Times]

Europe's approach throughout the crisis has been to do the very minimum necessary to keep the Euro system afloat. It remains to be seen if that is an approach compatible with an economic recovery anytime soon.

pao pow
March 27, 2015
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gender was not the reason former partner Ellen Pao was passed over for a promotion at prominent venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, a California jury in Silicon Valley declared Friday. After the verdict was read, however, the jury was sent back to deliberate on one of the four claims, which did not have the necessary majority of at least nine jurors to constitute an official decision — the jurors had ruled eight to four in favor of Kleiner.

Pao's suit asked for $16 million in lost wages and future earnings, in addition to a potential $144 million in punitive damages.

This doesn't look good
March 27, 2015

Ecologist and GMO advocate Patrick Moore wants to set the record straight about a recent WHO report that classified glyphosate, which is found in Roundup and other weed-killers, as "probably carcinogenic" to humans.

Moore appeared on French news channel Canal+ to explain that Roundup isn't dangerous, telling the Canal+ reporter that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you."

Understandably, the reporter's response is, "You want to drink some?" Moore quickly declines the offer, saying that he won't drink it because "I'm not stupid," though he does add that he knows it is "not dangerous to humans." Check out the interview in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria

Correction: This article originally referred to Patrick Moore as a Monsanto lobbyist. In a statement written after this article was published, Monsanto said Moore "is not and has never been a paid lobbyist for Monsanto." This article has since been corrected. We regret the error.

space stuff
March 27, 2015
Nasa.gov

On Friday afternoon, NASA launched a two-man crew for a one-year space mission on the International Space Station. The pair includes Scott Kelly, an American astronaut, and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russain cosmonaut.

The journey will be especially notable because Kelly's identical twin brother, Mark, is staying on Earth. Mark will undergo genetic studies while his brother is in space, and scientists will use data from both twins to further explore how the body changes while in space for longer periods of time.

The mission is also a test for future trips to Mars, where astronauts could stay in orbit for 500 days or more.

bathroom break
March 27, 2015
iStock

Physical attacks, drug deals, and bathroom sex are what Zephyrhills High School administrators are trying to put an end to, but students and parents aren't pleased with a new policy that requires students to be escorted to the bathroom.

"We're in high school; we shouldn't be babysat. We should be able to go to the bathroom," one student told WFTS.

But Zephyrhills High principal Andrew Frelick explained that students have also been spreading feces in the bathroom, fighting in the hallways, and stealing when left unchaperoned. In the face of backlash to the new rule, AOL reports that the policy has been changed slightly, and now only students with disciplinary or academic issues will require an escort.

Braaaaaaaaaiins
March 27, 2015
Facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC

AMC's long-discussed Walking Dead spin-off finally has an official title. The new TV show will be called Fear The Walking Dead — a title that provides a helpful contrast to all those non-scary zombies in the original series.

Few details about Fear the Walking Dead are known, but inside sources say the show is set in Los Angeles at the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Its story is not expected to overlap with the original The Walking Dead, which is set to air its season five finale on Sunday.

Fear The Walking Dead is expected to premiere late this summer. AMC has already ordered two seasons, because come on, this zombie craze is never going to fade, right?

Only in America
March 27, 2015
iStock

A New York state high school celebrating National Foreign Language Week caused an uproar when a student recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. Student Andrew Zink said reciting the pledge in different languages was meant to show that "what makes you American is not the language you speak, but the ideas you believe in." But the district superintendent publicly apologized, saying the use of Arabic "divided the school in half."

Here's looking at you kid
March 27, 2015
iStock

Being hassled at the airport by TSA is a nuisance every traveler wants to avoid — and now a "secret behavior checklist" released by The Intercept may help passengers do just that.

Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is the program used by TSA officers to spot suspicious-looking characters. Individuals who exhibit certain characteristics such as "excessive throat clearing" and "exaggerated yawning" earn a point or two toward their ranking of likely-terrorist. Conversely, points are deducted if you're a member of a family or if you're of a more advanced age.

Other factors on the 92-point checklist that might cause TSA to pay special attention to you at the airport include "face pale from recent shaving of beard," "unusual items," and "fast eye blink rate."

The SPOT program has repeatedly come under fire by critics who question the effectiveness of behavior detection and those who say the program could lead to racial profiling. In 2013, a Government Accountability Office report found that evidence did not support whether the SPOT techniques were effective in identifying "persons who may pose a risk to aviation security."

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