Bogus religious liberty claims

Ever since the US Supreme Court ruled that state laws banning marriages were unconstitutional, opponents have shifted their tactics. We have seen the emergence of evangelical Christian claims that they need to protect ‘religious liberty’ and this tactic is being used as a wedge to allow religious people to freely discriminate against those of whom they disapprove, which usually means the LGBT community and those in same-sex marriages.
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Carlsen retains chess title

The World Chess Championship ended on Wednesday when current champion Magnus Carlsen defeated challenger Sergey Karjakin in the first of the tie breakers that consisted of four rapid-format games all played on the same day. In which each player was allocated just 25 minutes apiece, with 10 seconds added after each move. The regular rules under which the first 12 games ere played lasted up to seven hours.
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How undocumented students go to college

In the heated debate about mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, some anti-immigrant groups are demanding that they not be given any services at all, including education. Some student groups in colleges are calling for them to be made ‘sanctuary colleges’, similar to proposed ‘sanctuary cities’, that will protect such students from being thrown out of the country.
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Could the speed of light have been larger during the very early universe?

A new paper by João Magueijo and Niayesh Afshordi has been published that suggests that the speed of light has not had the same value over the age of the universe but instead could have been much higher, even infinite, at the very beginning of the universe when the cosmic temperature was extremely high. (You can see the paper without a journal subscription here.) Their suggestion is made in response to the well-known problem that the universe seems to be remarkably homogenous and isotropic over its entire size. This suggests that all the parts of the universe were in contact at one time in order for that kind of equilibrium to be reached. The problem is that the fastest communication possible is with light and that speed is not sufficient to create that kind of homogeneity.
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The perils of shopping for cheese while black

There is a weird story coming out of Virginia where two young black men went to a CVS store to buy some cheese and suddenly found that all the store employees had disappeared, as if they had been abducted by aliens or been raptured. They looked everywhere for them and finally the police arrived to join in the search to find that the employees had locked themselves in a back room out of fear.
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Nelson Mandela and the US media

After I watched and linked to the clip of Nelson Mandela giving Kenneth Adelman and Ted Koppel their comeuppance at an event in City College, New York during Mandela’s first visit to the US after being released from prison, I became interested in seeing more of that event and found these two clips of it. The clips are illustrative of how the US media serves the US establishment. It was more of an ambush than a town hall but Mandela turned the tables on Koppel.
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Review: Looking for Fidel (2004) and Castro and black America

Cuba is going through nine days of mourning for the death of its long time leader Fidel Castro, whose ashes will be taken around the country before being laid to rest in the same cemetery as Jose Marti, the freedom fighter who is revered through Latin America. Castro is viewed with great admiration throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia and you can be sure that his funeral will be attended by a huge number of national leaders. Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau issued a warm statement of condolences, recalling that his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, was a friend of Fidel’s.
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