Lab Report: Flint’s Water Crisis Had a ‘Horrifying’ Effect on Fetal Deaths

Troubled waters: A new study associates the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, with a “horrifyingly large” increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages, after the city changed its public water supply in 2014. The Washington Post reports:

During this time period, residents in Flint were generally unaware of the amount of lead in their water. “Because the higher lead content of the new water supply was unknown at the time, this decrease in [the general fertility rate] is likely a reflection of an increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages and not a behavior change in sexual behavior related to conception like contraceptive use,” Grossman and Slusky conclude.

They next turned to deaths of fetuses of 20 weeks gestation and older, excluding abortions, which are reported by hospitals.

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The Palestinian director who earned a fatwa for her first film

When Maysaloun Hamoud first heard about her fatwa, she was shaken. The religious ruling – widely seen as a formalised “death sentence” – seemed like an extreme reaction for a woman who’d just released a Palestinian comedy. “It was pathetic,” the director says, remembering the moment she heard the news. “I wasn’t afraid, but I felt a kind of sorrow.”

The film at the centre of the furore was In Between. Hamoud’s first ever feature, it follows the story of three Israeli-Palestinian women as they attempt to share an apartment in Tel Aviv. It’s a raw and real portrayal of everyday womanhood, with each character struggling to navigate between family constraints, Islamic tradition, and cosmopolitan liberalism.

While it’s true that women’s stories are rarely – … Read the rest

Should we celebrate Uber losing its London licence?

Yes, be glad Uber is over – Abi Wilkinson

Without a doubt, the decision not to renew Uber’s license to operate in London was the right call. What other choice is there when the company shows such disregard for passenger safety and the rule of law, in the UK capital and across the world?

Revelations earlier this year that Uber used specially designed software to “greyball” law enforcement officials in cities where its service violated regulations – so that they weren’t able to hail a car during sting operations – were shocking but unsurprising. Like so many of Silicon Valley’s self-proclaimed “disruptors”, Uber executives seem to believe they’re above the jurisdiction of local and national governments. Technological innovation is part of the picture, sure, but they

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Moonshine Link Discovered for Pariah Symmetries

In 1892, the mathematician Otto Hölder posed a question that would occupy the field for more than a century: Is it possible to make a periodic table of all finite symmetry? The answer, to which hundreds of mathematicians have contributed, is yes. But the taxonomy that emerged from this monumental effort has prompted both enlightenment and head scratching. For in addition to the well-understood elements of the symmetry chart, a handful of outliers made themselves known — elements mathematicians could prove must exist but couldn’t connect to any natural shapes.

In particular, mathematicians discovered six maverick forms of symmetry that sit so far out on the fringe of the symmetry world that they became known as “pariahs.” When the first pariahs were discovered in the mid-1960s, … Read the rest

Oil companies sued to pay for cost of rising sea levels, climate change

(credit: David Yu)

At least five California municipalities are suing five major oil companies, claiming in public nuisance lawsuits that the firms should pay for the infrastructure costs associated with rising sea levels due to climate change.

The latest suits announced Wednesday by Oakland and San Francisco name BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. The cities claim the oil companies knew of the dangers of fossil-fuel-driven climate change but kept mum. The cities claim that global warming, which they say has melted ice sheets and heated sea water, has contributed to rising seas by about eight inches in California over the past decade. They say it could rise 10 feet by the year 2100.

“The bill has come due,” San Francisco City Attorney

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