2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
The standout news & pop obsessions gleaned from your search habits
YIR 2012: Superstorms and Scorchers
Mother Nature made her mark again this year and did so, unfortunately, in the most extreme ways: hellish heat, drought, superstorms and other wild weather events.
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- West agrees wider Russia sanctions as Kiev says forces near crash site
By Gabriela Baczynska and Aleksandar Vasovic KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - U.S. and European leaders agreed on Monday to impose wider sanctions on Russia's financial, defense and energy sectors as Ukraine said its forces advanced toward the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. The new sanctions, which U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy discussed in a conference call, are aimed at increasing the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Malaysian airliner was shot down over territory held by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine. "It's precisely because we've not yet seen a strategic turn from Putin that we believe it's absolutely essential to take additional measures and that's what the Europeans and the United States intend to do this week," said Tony Blinken, a national security adviser to Obama.
- Earth May Be in Early Days of 6th Mass Extinction
Earth may be in the early stages of a sixth mass extinction, an international team of scientists says. Animals and plants are threatened. The world's remaining animals with backbones are 25 percent less abundant than in 1500— a trend also seen in invertebrate animals, such as crustaceans, worms and butterflies, the scientists reported. The previous mass extinction, which wiped out the dinosaurs, happened about 65 million years ago, likely from a catastrophic asteroid that collided with Earth.
- Pirate paradise: New app streams movie torrents to Apple TV and Roku
An app called Popcorn Time that has been dubbed the “Netflix for pirates” has been making waves recently because it makes finding and streaming pirated movies and TV shows easier than it has ever been before. The app is also quite sleek, with a nice user interface and, apparently, equally elegant code. The program’s code has been used in a number of similar apps, and now a new offering of particular interest has popped up: TorrenTV. “Popcorn Time is beautiful in code and in looks but I wanted to do two things that Popcorn Time didn’t allow me, [such as watching] movies directly on my TV,” TorrenTV’s creator told TorrentFreak in a recent interview. Of course, Carlos’s new app does just that. Using the TorrenTV
- Romney would top Obama if 2012 presidential election were held today: poll
- These Facial Features Matter Most to First Impressions
You may think you can judge a person you just met based on his or her facial expressions. First impressions of people — such as whether they are trustworthy, dominant or attractive — can develop from a glimpse as brief as 100 milliseconds or less. Because first impressions can affect people's future behavior and can be difficult to overturn, "it's useful to know how we're being judged on our appearance, especially since these judgments might not be accurate — think of effects on court cases or democratic elections, for example," said study co-author Tom Hartley, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of York in England. Although some previous research has suggested that there may be a kernel of truth in some first impressions, Hartley noted that people typically go too far with the judgments they develop from first impressions.
- Police charge 2 men in fatal Philly carjacking
- Fist bumps more hygienic than handshakes, say scientists
Fist bumps are more hygienic than handshakes and drastically reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases, researchers in Britain have found. The study discovered that a handshake transfers 10 times as much bacteria as a fist bump, following a series of tests at Aberystwyth University on the west coast of Wales. Doctor Dave Whitworth, who led the research, said the study could have a serious impact on public health. The results of the research, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, showed that handshakes passed on far more of the dangerous bacteria than fist bumps or high fives.
- Israel strikes house of Hamas Gaza leader, digs in for long fight
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ori Lewis GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's military pounded targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country needed to be prepared for a long conflict in the Palestinian enclave, squashing any hopes of a swift end to 22 days of fighting. Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the house of Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh before dawn on Tuesday, causing damage but no casualties, Gaza's interior ministry said. Eleven people were killed in a strike on a house in the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza City as Israeli forces hit targets across the territory in the most widespread night of attacks so far in the coastal enclave. The military said five soldiers had died in a gun battle with militants who crossed into Israel via a tunnel near the community of Nahal Oz, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.