From Trump, Not Just Words

Donald Trump in Lakeland, FL on Oct. 12
Donald Trump in Lakeland, FL on Oct. 12

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s first question at Sunday night’s presidential debate was, not surprisingly, about the just-released lewd 2005 recording of Donald Trump boasting of being able to force himself on women. Cooper looked up at the billionaire Republican nominee: “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”

After Trump circled around the question by calling the exchange “locker-room talk,” the CNN moderator had his follow-up question ready:

COOPER: Just for the record, though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago, that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?

TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

COOPER: So for the record, you’re saying you never did that?

TRUMP: I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women â€"

COOPER: â€" Have you ever done those things?

TRUMP: â€" And they have respect for me. And I will tell you: No I have not ...

“No I have not” is the key phrase, which Trump finally added with the tone of an afterthought. But in front of 66 million viewers, it was definitely for the record.

In the past 18 hours, reports from The New York Times, The Tampa Bay Times and People magazine, as well as a post on Facebook, recount incidents that would make Trump guilty of both sexual assault, and lying in front of 66 million people. Several of the accusers have said that Trump’s explicit denial of such behavior in the debate prompted them to finally go public with their stories, adding to a growing national accounting for the prevalence of sexual assault in American society that began with Friday’s revelation of Trump’s offensive 2005 conversation.

As his campaign appears to be imploding in a way that may be unprecedented in American politics, the candidate is furiously denying all the latest accounts, and threatening to sue the newspapers that have published them. Will that lead to others? This is, as we say in the news business, a developing story â€" and how it plays out is about more than just the race for the White House.



The U.S. military launched cruise missile strikes from the Red Sea at three coastal radar sites in Yemen early this morning, in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a U.S. Navy destroyer earlier this week, The Washington Post reports. The Pentagon says the targets were successfully destroyed. “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.


Jaber Albakr, the Syrian refugee and terror suspect arrested by the German police on Monday, was found hanged in his cell yesterday evening despite being on suicide watch, Deutsche Welle reports. Albakr had reportedly been planning to attack a Berlin airport and explosives were found at his apartment.


From Ancient Rome to India, here’s your 57-second shot of history.


The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Here’s a favorite clip of the orphan expand=1] with his gun.


Nobel prize-winning Italian playwright and actor Dario Fo has at the age of 90. Among the political satirist’s best known works wasThe Accidental Death of an Anarchist in 1970. Often described as a modern-day “jester,” Fo won the 1997 Nobel in literature, considered an unusual choice for a stage figure rather than novelist â€" and news of his death came hours before the announcement of the 2016 winner, another “song and dance man.”


The number of government requests to Google for user information were up 10% in the first-half of 2016 compared to the previous semester, making it the fourth consecutive increase, the company announced yesterday. The United States had the largest number of requests, followed by Germany and France.


One of the great things the Internet has brought us is the access to unprecedented amounts of information. But does it necessarily mean we’re well informed? Writing in El Espectador, journalist Jorge Eduardo Espinosa reflects on that great paradox of our digital era. “Truth has ceased to matter. In our times, everything depends on speed and efficiency instead. If the Internet does not give it to you immediately, at the bat of an eyelid, if posts on Facebook exceed a paragraph or comments 140 characters, we start to feel we are losing out, or will be late for something. Where and what? Nobody knows, but just late. It transforms the very notion of time more stressful, and schizophrenic.

And yet, this constant information bombardment requires us to reflect before judging and doubt before hurling charges, or the right to defense before being condemned. And that is not what is happening.”

Read the full article, Speed And Anonymity On The Internet Is Killing Truth.


Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf, resigned with immediate effect saying he had “become a distraction” as the third-largest U.S. bank tries to recover from its sham accounts scandal. The Financial Times says his replacement is doing little to end the controversy.


Obscure Chandelier â€" Pisco Bay, 1996


Well-wishers are gathering across Thailand, and more particularly outside the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, where 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is undergoing treatment as his fragile health worsens, The Bangkok Post reports. The oldest monarch in the world is seen as a symbol of unity in Thailand, and his passing would be a heavy blow to a country divided by successive coups and currently run by the military.



Avant-garde pieces of furniture belonging to British rock icon David Bowie, who died in January this year, will go on sale next month. We can sit like heroes, and not just for one day.

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Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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