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

2 hours 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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A Video Illusion For A Summer Day

Jun 29, 2013
Originally published on July 1, 2013 8:24 am

My dad sent me a link to the video below several months ago.

Since then, Illusion Chasers Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik have singled it out for attention on their Scientific American blog.

As they notice, it is amusingly difficult to see what's going on here, even though it doesn't take us very long to understand what is happening. All the understanding in the world, it seems, doesn't work its way down to our eyes, or brains, to let us simply see what happening.

What makes this video particularly striking is that, unlike most of the famous optical illusions beloved of perceptual psychologists — the Müller-Lyer illusion, the Penrose Triangle, the Kanizsa Triangle — this is no 2D line drawing. Moreover, it is a display of real people and their movements. If there's one thing we are very good at parsing and making sense of it is human movement.

But here we are baffled.

Psychologists like optical illusions because, by showing how we mis-perceive, they bring out the principles that govern normal perception. It's the closest we can get to tinkering with the mechanism which is our visual system.

But it is helpful, too, to think of perceptual illusions, of this sort, not as break-downs, but as outright successes. By carefully camouflaging themselves, and organizing their movements, these dancers create new visual patterns. It is striking how very good we are at noticing and paying attention to these patterns.

Enjoy!


You can keep up with more of what Alva Noë is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @alvanoe

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