Darwin's First Steps As A Geologist

This visit is especially interesting as it provides some glimpses in Darwin’s geological background at the beginning of the voyage of the Beagle (1831-1836). It’s therefore even more surprising to read in Darwin’s later autobiography (1876-1881) as follows: "The very first place which I examined, namely St. Jago, in the Cape de Verde islands, showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of Lyell’s manner of treating geology." Darwin also emphasizes how the visit of St. Jago converted him to Lyell’s geology. But from the geological notes he made during the field trip on St. Jago it emerges that young geologist Darwin was still struggling to accept this idea. More important, accepting slow geological processes made it necessary also to accept a very old earth.

January 17, 2017 14:30 UTC

US military official: 85-90 percent of eastern Mosul cleared of ISIS militants

Three months into its operation to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul, US military officials say that upwards of 90 percent of the eastern part of the city has been cleared of ISIS militants. Dorrian’s announcement comes after it was revealed that Iraqi forces have also captured the Mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, after driving ISIS militants from a neighborhood in eastern Mosul. Dorrian said there are more than 750,000 Iraqi civilians still living in western Mosul, an area that ISIS militants still full hold. He added that he would not estimate when the operation to liberate western Mosul would begin. However, earlier on Tuesday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement on state TV that Iraqi forces had begun “moving” against ISIS militants in western Mosul, Reuters reported.

January 17, 2017 14:30 UTC

Donald Trump’s brutal pre-inauguration poll numbers, in context

That kind of context makes clear that Trump's numbers are even more brutal than they might seem. Here's more:Only one other president in the past 40 years has had an unfavorable rating higher than 20 percent upon being sworn in. The new Post-ABC poll also tested approval ratings for Trump's transition effort — a slightly different question than personal favorability ratings. Just 11 percent of Democrats approve of Trump's transition. Even among Republicans, approval for Trump's transition is substantially lower — 77 percent, vs. 87 percent or higher for each of his four immediate predecessors.

January 17, 2017 14:25 UTC

7-year-old stuns with Taylor Swift impersonation

A 7-year-old named Xia Vigor is going viral for her impression of Taylor Swift during Saturday’s episode of the Filipino competition show “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.”Xia took the stage to perform Swift’s 2008 hit “You Belong With Me,” complete with a costume-change and looks that mirrored some of Swift’s signature styles. Expand / Contract That dress look familiar? The second look Xia wore on the show is similar to Swift's 2009 Grammy's style. (Reuters)The 7-year-old stunned the judges – and the Internet– with her charisma and creativity. On Tuesday morning, her performance was trending on YouTube and a clip from the show had garnered more than 1.6 million views.

January 17, 2017 14:23 UTC

Laura Ingraham Considering Run For Senate In Virginia

WASHINGTON ― Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is “considering” challenging Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election. And it might be something I’m interested in,” Ingraham told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. An author and Fox News contributor who runs the conservative website LifeZette, Ingraham was one of Donald Trump’s most prominent supporters during his campaign. The 2018 Virginia Senate race is shaping up to be one of the marquee contests in the country. “I did hear through the grapevine that Eric Cantor is interested in running,” Ingraham said on “Fox & Friends.”

January 17, 2017 14:20 UTC

New York Manufacturing Grows in January for 3rd Month

WASHINGTON — Manufacturing in New York state expanded in January for the third straight month, as new orders and shipments grew. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that its manufacturing index slipped slightly to 6.5 in January from 7.6 the previous month. The report adds to evidence that manufacturing in the state is growing modestly, but not fast enough to spur any hiring. Still, manufacturing firms in the state are optimistic: A measure of expected business conditions in six months nearly matched December's five-year high. Manufacturers added 17,000 jobs in December, though they still shed 45,000 in all of 2016.

January 17, 2017 14:07 UTC

Donald Trump once again tries to wave away America’s skepticism about him as a conspiracy

President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 as the least popular incoming president in at least four decades. His excuse, as any close Trump observer might have predicted: Polls were and are wrong and rigged. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017An experienced Twitter user, Trump packed a lot into those 140-odd characters. The Post-ABC and Quinnipiac polls Trump wanted to rebut on Tuesday were national polls. Here, too, Trump has a choice: Build a bridge to those who dislike him or simply to wave those people away.

January 17, 2017 14:06 UTC

Who Should Run Our Universities?

The case really is about the questions: Who runs universities? Can or should universities who have committed embarrassing acts shut down investigation of those acts by unleashing the political and financial power of their alumni and legislators? A private investigative agency, Kroll Associates, looked into the matter for UT, and suggested favoritism had been shown by UT administrators. Should the school try to maximize enrollment by having nearly open admissions, or maximize prestige by denying entry to many applicants? In my experience, university trustees more often error in the directing of being excessively deferential, not asking hard questions of presidents, or seeking independent sources of information about university operations.

January 17, 2017 14:03 UTC

Stimulant boosts function in patients recovering from depression

People recovering from depression but struggling with its effect on memory, concentration and cognitive function may benefit from the stimulant modafinil, according to results of a small study published on Tuesday. But in a trial of modafinil versus placebo in patients recovering from depression, researchers at Britain's Cambridge University found the drug prompted significant improvements in memory and higher scores in a test. "(Family doctors) or psychiatrists often hear complaints of concentration or memory difficulties from patients with depression. Depression is one of the world's leading causes of disability, affecting 350 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization. Almost all people with depression have problems with attention, concentration and memory.

January 17, 2017 14:01 UTC

Ponder sainthood at the grave of Junípero Serra, who led the way for California's missions, in Carmel

Why: No man or woman has shaped California more profoundly than Junípero Serra, now St. Junípero. What: The pioneering padre who founded the first nine of California's 21 missions in the 18th century and won sainthood in 2015 is buried at the Carmel Mission , which is officially known as San Carlos Borromeo de Carmel Mission. Pay respects at his cenotaph. Where: Carmel Mission, 3080 Rio Road, Carmel, 323 miles northwest of downtown L.A.How much: Adult admission, $6.50; children (ages 7-17), $2. Info: Carmel Mission

January 17, 2017 14:01 UTC

5 Things I Think About CES 2017

The Rise Of Deep LearningAs I arrived at CES 2017 the first thing I picked up in McCarron Airport was my badge. Here are 5 key things I noticed about CES this year. CES shows us just how important vendors feel connectivity is to our (and their) future. Smart watches are getting the upgrade. Don’t like your Alexa speaker, buy a bluetooth speaker that can upgrade your sound.

January 17, 2017 14:00 UTC

Trump decries ‘phony’ polls showing him with low approval ratings

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll asked respondents about President-elect Trump's handling of his business interests and whether he should release his tax returns. “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls,” Trump said on Twitter. “They are rigged just like before.”The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. [Poll: Trump draws low marks for transition, response to Russian hacking]That makes Trump, who takes the oath of office Friday, the least popular incoming president in at least four decades. The final Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll before the election showed Clinton with a 4-point edge in national support, a statistically insignificant lead.

January 17, 2017 13:58 UTC

Presidents Have Less Power Over the Economy Than You Might Think

We all have a tendency to think that a president whose policies we disagree with will be bad for the economy and the stock market. Let’s walk through the factors that determine economic results — from those that are more purely luck to those that do reflect a president’s skill at overseeing the economy. You see that a big part of the economic growth that might take place during a given presidency is determined by forces not under any politician’s control. For fiscal policy, talk to CongressThis is often what we think of when we talk about a president’s economic policy. None of this means that presidents can’t do a lot to make the United States economy more dynamic and productive.

January 17, 2017 13:50 UTC

Why people keep comparing Donald Trump to P.T. Barnum, of circus fame

For years, Barnum, the fabled huckster and impresario, has been compared to the highest-ranking showman of our era, president-elect Donald Trump. Or do you– Donald Trump: P.T. Donald Trump: P.T. Similarly, Donald Trump said he has avoided ever trying alcohol. Like Trump, Barnum did try to get to Washington on the national political stage, and was widely ridiculed for doing so, Reuters reported.

January 17, 2017 13:45 UTC

Ukraine Files Case Against Russia at UN's Highest Court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Ukraine has filed a case against Russia at the United Nations' highest court, accusing Moscow of illegally annexing Crimea and illicitly funding separatist rebel groups in eastern Ukraine. In the case announced Tuesday by the International Court of Justice, Ukraine accused Moscow of "intervening militarily in Ukraine, financing acts of terrorism, and violating the human rights of millions of Ukraine's citizens." Fighting between Ukrainian government troops and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 9,600 people in eastern Ukraine since it began in 2014. From the time the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine began in April 2014, the Ukrainian government referred to Russian interference as terrorism. Officially, Russia has only sent humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine.

January 17, 2017 13:43 UTC

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