Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Not Winging It, But Ringing It

May 28, 2013

Humans do it with smoke.

Dolphins do it with air.

With a little snort, dolphins can produce a nearly perfect "air" rings, (sophisticated non-dolphins called them toroidal vortices) which they turn into underwater toys.

If they leave the rings alone, (because air is lighter than water) the underwater circles will expand, rise to the surface and disappear — so very playful dolphins don't let them rise. In the video below, you can see them pushing the rings down, so the water pressure keeps them compact. Or — just for the fun of it, it seems — they will make a ring smaller by cutting it in two — with a quick bite!

So here the dolphin approaches ...

... then, (extremely quickly, so fast you can't see how) it takes a nip out of the bigger bubble, instantly restitching the two loose ends into a smaller, more compact bubble that keeps the bubble tight and lets them keep playing ...

Dolphins (I learned watching videos with dolphin expert Diana Reiss and Stanford bubble physicist Manu Prakash) sometimes blow two bubbles, giving the second one an extra push that sends its sailing right through the first — a kind of dolphin parlor trick.

But their favorite thing, it seems, is to use their noses (called rostrums) to spin the bubbles without ever touching them. They intentionally create turbulence in the surrounding water that can make the ring spin very tight, or they'll design a looser, wigglier bubble, move it along until it's about to burst, and just before it does, they open their mouths ...

... and swallow it!

While humans and dolphins obviously play with rings, it's possible humpback whales do this too. The video shows humpbacks sending air rings to the ocean surface, but in one of them, the giant underwater author suddenly pops up mid-ring to take what looks like a bow in front of a boat of whale-watchers.

Volcanoes, of course, don't take bows. But in any ring-blowing contest, Italy's live volcano, Mt. Etna, deserves some kind of trophy for Gorgeous Ring Production. This nearly perfect ring got coughed straight out of a mountain ...

The video ends with a complicated series of rings within rings produced by the Soviet Union in 1961. It is the biggest man-made toroidal vortex in human history, and it's the only ring in this video collection that made me wince.

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