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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Watts For Lunch? (Or Why Humans Are Like Light Bulbs)

Jun 10, 2013

There's a new lunch place down the block, so like you do when the menu looks interesting, I walked in and ordered something mysterious, which for me was the "Red Lentil and Edamame Salad," mostly because I can never remember what edamame is, and because that word suggests doing something slightly frightening, like munching accidentally on one's mother.

How Much Energy Am I Eating? Enough To Power A Flashlight?

What arrived was a bowl of lentils, roasted carrots, raisins, mint and (I'm guessing) edamame beans. I took the bowl to a window seat, and that's when my mind began to wander. My mind doesn't need much to go free. It slips off whenever I let it, when I'm by myself and alone with my thoughts, which, at this moment, were: "So I'm chewing these beans and I'm breaking them into little bits, which will become littler bits in my stomach, (bond-breaking, as the chemists would say) so I'm turning food into energy. But how much energy am I getting? Does a salad produce enough calories or watts or whatever, to light a flashlight? Or run an electric toothbrush for 10 minutes?

(Do you ever do this? I do this all the time.)

After lunch I looked up the answer. I found it in a fine little book by Wayne State Professor Peter Hoffman, called Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos. In it, he says humans will typically eat roughly 2,500 calories a day.

1.5 Million Joules Is ... ?

Professor Hoffman is a physicist. He goes on to make some quick calculations. If one food calorie equals 4,184 joules of energy, at 2,500 calories a day, that means our bodies break down or release 1.5 million joules. Sounds like a lot, no? But if you divide those joules by the number of seconds in a day (86,400), that works out to a rate (where 1 watt = 1 joule per second) of about — 120 watts a day. In other words, that's all I need to dream, wake, dress, shower, work, walk to a restaurant, order a salad, ask myself how much energy am I using, and then look it up, think about it, and write this essay. I can power all trillion cells (of me) for a day at the same rate that it takes to light one 120-watt light bulb.

That's it?

That's it. Peter Hoffman writes, "Humans talk, write, walk and love using the same amount of energy per second as a light bulb."

I'm humbled. I will now confess that when I got back from the salad place, I diddled, I called friends, yakked with office mates and used up lots of time to avoid writing this, and yet — down deep, at a cellular level, it turns out I'm a mind-boggling display of energy efficiency. You too, of course.

On certain afternoons, this is a nice thing to know.

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