4:51pm

Wed May 1, 2013
World

Why Chemical Weapons Have Been A Red Line Since World War I

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

Soldiers with the British Machine Gun Corps wear gas masks in 1916 during World War I's first Battle of the Somme.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons could change the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war. But why this focus on chemical weapons when conventional weapons have killed tens of thousands in Syria?

The answer can be traced back to the early uses of poison gas nearly a century ago.

In World War I, trench warfare led to stalemates — and to new weapons meant to break through the lines.

Read more

4:37pm

Wed May 1, 2013
It's All Politics

The Federal Deficit Is Actually Shrinking

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 1:33 pm

The Treasury Department announced this week it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.

That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.

Read more

4:36pm

Wed May 1, 2013
The Two-Way

Justice: Prison Compassionate Release Programs Inconsistent

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:18 pm

Inmates file by a guard tower at California's Chino State Prison in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Compassionate release" programs that free inmates with terminal illnesses and limited life expectancies are poorly run and lack clear standards, the Department of Justice's inspector general said on Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports:

Read more

3:20pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Mate Doesn't Have Your Back? That Boosts Depression Risk

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:21 am

Having a special someone won't fend off depression if that person doesn't have your back.
iStockphoto.com

Having a mate is supposed to be good for your mental health.

But if that mate is critical or can't be counted on when the going gets tough, that's worse than having no mate at all, researchers say.

"The quality of your relationships matters more than quantity when it comes to depression," says Dr. Alan Teo, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan who led the study.

Read more

3:16pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Afghanistan

Secret Cash To Afghan Leader: Corruption Or Just Foreign Aid?

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged a report this week that the CIA has regularly been sending him money. Afghans seem to have mixed feelings. The president is shown here speaking at an event in Kabul on March 10.
S. SABAWOON EPA/Landov

After a report in The New York Times this week, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the CIA has been secretly delivering bags of money to his office since the beginning of the war more than a decade ago.

Read more

2:58pm

Wed May 1, 2013
The Two-Way

NASA Details Space Telescope's Cosmic Near Miss

This diagram shows Fermi and Cosmos 1805 on a collision course.
NASA

A new video reveals just how close NASA came last year to losing its $500 million Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in a narrowly averted collision with a defunct, Cold War-era Soviet spy satellite.

On March 29, 2012, Julie McEnery, the project scientist for Fermi, received an automatically generated email warning that the two satellites were due in just a few days to pass within 700 feet of one another as their respective orbits crossed.

Read more

2:46pm

Wed May 1, 2013
The Salt

Chicken Diapers? Urban Farming Spawns Accessory Lines

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 10:19 am

Clucking all the way to the bank: A hen models a polka-dot diaper from MyPetChicken.com, a multimillion-dollar business that sells everything from chicken caviar treats to day-old birds.
Courtesy of MyPetChicken.com

There's free range and then there's free rein — around your house.

When Julie Baker's backyard birds started spending more time inside, it was tough to keep them clean. So she got innovative.

She sewed up a cloth diaper — chicken-sized, of course — added a few buttons and strapped it onto her little lady.

One thing led to another, and eventually, a business was born.

Read more

2:40pm

Wed May 1, 2013
The Two-Way

WATCH: Civil Unions Are Legal In Colorado

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:13 pm

Anna, left, and Fran Simon, both of Denver, Colo., are the first same-sex couple to be issued a Civil Union license at a midnight ceremony in the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder, at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building on Wednesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

At midnight, civil unions became legal in Colorado. The state joined eight other states with similar laws and nine others — plus the District of Columbia — to permit gay marriage.

As has become the custom, couples lined up at courthouses across the state in the middle of night, waiting for the clock to strike 12 to receive their paperwork and exchange their vows.

Read more

1:42pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Movie Reviews

Two Indie Directors Go Confidently Mainstream

In Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price, Zac Efron stars as a teen rebelling against his family and dreaming of becoming a professional race car driver. Sound like a generic summer pic? Critic David Edelstein says the film has "a hell of a sting in its tail."
Hooman Bahrani Sony Pictures Classics

Studios are putting most of their eggs in $100 million baskets these days, even as American independent filmmakers go hungry from lack of mainstream attention. But two of my favorite American indie writer-directors, Jeff Nichols and Ramin Bahrani, have new films with bigger stars than they've had before — films they hope will break through to wider audiences. The results, at least artistically, are impressive.

Read more

1:30pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Book Talk

Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Ecological Author Speaking At UTC May 3rd

The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch In Nature, by David George Haskell

David George Haskell, a University of the South biology professor and author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated ecological memoir The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch In Nature, will speak at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Friday, May 3rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Benwood auditorium.  WUTC's Michael Edward Miller interviewed Haskell last year about his book:

WUTC's Michael Edward Miller interviewed David George Haskell in 2012.

Read more

Pages