Hillary Clinton's first comments about the constantly evolving situation in Ukraine may be late, but they packed a punch. At a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, Calif., the former secretary of State compared Moscow's policy of issuing Russian passports in the Crimean region to the "population transfers" that occurred under Nazi Germany, people who attended the fundraiser tell BuzzFeed. She spoke at length on the subject, showing off her knowledge of pre-WWII diplomatic minutia. "If this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," Clinton said, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
All the Germans that were... the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that's what's gotten everybody so nervous. [Via Long Beach Press-Telegram]
Although Hillary implicitly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler, she isn't the first to use WWII rhetoric to describe the Ukrainian conflict. On Saturday, a Russian professor named Andei Zubov compared Russia's actions in the Ukraine to Germany's takeover of Austria in 1938. On Tuesday, he said that he has been fired from his job at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Celeste Mora
In response to recent cyberthefts by China's government, the Obama administration is developing a package of economic sanctions to potentially impose on Chinese companies and individuals that have benefited from the thefts of U.S. trade secrets. It will be decided in as soon as the next two weeks whether these sanctions will be issued.
While the implementation of these sanctions would be a big step up in the administration's response to cyber-economic espionage, the sanctions would come at what The Washington Post describes as "a particularly sensitive moment between the world's two biggest economies." Moreover, China's president is scheduled make his first state visit next month.
The White House would not comment on the specifics of the sanctions currently in the works, but, according to former White House cyber official Rob Knake, the unprecedented sanctions would be an "even stronger move" than indictments previously issued, The Washington Post reports. "It’s really going to put China in the position of having to choose whether they want to be this pariah nation — this kleptocracy," Knake said, "— or whether they want to be one of the leading nations in the world.” Becca Stanek
The world just got a rare glimpse inside Russian President Vladimir Putin's estate, thanks to a rather, well, odd video of Putin working out with his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, on Sunday. Putin and Medvedev were in Sochi to watch a martial arts tournament, and the video shows them pumping iron together at Putin's Bocharov Ruchei residence, with the cameras clicking away as they watch and encourage one another.
"Later the politicians rewarded themselves with a barbeque, which they prepared without any help," says RT. Their drink to accompany their steaks was apparently tea. Putin is known for inviting the press to watch his feats of strength and heroic sportsmanship. Why did he want this workout session recorded? Who knows. But you can enjoy the spectacle below. Peter Weber
And then there were three. That's the number of Senate votes the White House needs to sustain President Obama's promised veto of a bill trying to stop the Iran nuclear deal, after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) became the 31st senator to say he'll vote to support the deal on Sunday. Two more senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — are leaning toward yes, according to The Washington Post's tally, and 11 senators (10 of them Democrats) are undecided or their vote is unknown.
Although the numbers and momentum appear to favor Obama, it's not over until the votes are cast in the binding resolution of disapproval, expected to be taken up by Congress in mid-September. So heavy-spending advocacy groups are still trying to convince wavering lawmakers to support their side, and various groups of experts or interested parties are issuing letters with the same goal. The newest letter, dated Monday, is from 75 former members of Congress, urging their successors and former colleagues to back the Iran deal. Only four of the signatories are Republicans, but one of them, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), is a pretty big name in foreign policy. Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) also signed the letter. Peter Weber
Sometimes space is so lovely it puts sci-fi CGI to shame. Late last week, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) released a new photo of the Twin Jets Nebula, or PN M2-9, a "cosmic butterfly" comprised of two stars about the size of the Sun that orbit each other. The bipolar nebula was discovered in 1947 by astronomer Rudolph Minkowski (thus the M in the name), and photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997. But this new image, captured by Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), is much more detailed, and more stunning:
You can read more about the Twin Jet Nebula, and how the dying stars are producing the shimmering wings of gas, at NASA. Or you can get much of the same information from the Wall Street Journal video below. Peter Weber
Body mass index (BMI) doesn't tell the whole story about your weight and health, says Albert Sun at The New York Times. The formula commonly used to determine obesity (or underweight) is so popular because it's easy to measure height and weight. But in 18 percent of cases, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, BMI gets it wrong.
In 11 percent of cases, people labeled overweight have healthy amounts of fat, and 31 percent of those underweight or normal weight have excess fat. More men are "healthy obese" than "skinny fat," while the reverse is true for women. Here's what the women's weight/fat data look like mapped out:
Yes, you can be "skinny fat" or "healthy obese." How body fat percentage tells a different story than BMI http://t.co/P2hU4uhJVo
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 29, 2015
The CDC measured body fat percentage with a type of X-ray called a DXA scan, Sun explains, and the discrepancy between that more expensive measurement and BMI matters: "The consequence is that some perfectly healthy high-BMI people might be unnecessarily worried about their weight or penalized by higher insurance premiums. And some normal-BMI people may be fatter than they realize and facing the same health risks as the obese." You can learn more, and see the men's weight/fat spread graphed out, at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Some people might look at a newly discovered crustacean and think "it looks like a shrimp," but Dr. James Thomas saw Elton John.
— CA AcademyOfSciences (@calacademy) August 29, 2015
The species Leucothoe eltoni lives in the reefs of Indonesia and Hawaii, where it is likely an invasive species. Thomas, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, said he's listened to John's music in his lab throughout his scientific career, and that's how he came up with the name. "When this unusual crustacean with a greatly enlarged appendage appeared under my microscope after a day of collecting, an image of the shoes Elton John wore as the Pinball Wizard [in the movie Tommy] came to mind," he said.
Scientists who discover new species are given the honor of coming up with a name, which is why there was once a reptile named after Jim Morrison, and there are coral reefs in the Caribbean with parasites recognizing Bob Marley, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Researchers are still studying the L. eltoni, and Thomas says that finding the new species shows "the important of regular environmental monitoring, especially in tropical environments." Catherine Garcia
Europe is facing a lot of tough, complicated choices — and some very visible tragedies — as it deals with a huge influx of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. But as The Economist explains in the video below, the would-be refugees from the various areas have more or less settled on specific routes to Europe. If you want a better understanding of Europe's biggest current problem, this video will give you a good, helpful overview of what's going on in the European Union and the decisions it faces in the next months and years. Peter Weber