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Data analytics firm Spotter launches social media ‘sarcasm detector’

French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC. Spotter’s platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU…   [Finger caught with a mousetrap on a white background via Shutterstock.com.]…

How spiders use an electrical charge to trap insects

< The spider web – already one of nature’s greatest marvels for its strategic architectural design and the adhesive strands – has now been found to have another advantage: a negative electrical charge, which can snap up positively charged insects…  …

New abortion restrictions reignite culture wars

A crowd shouts ‘Shame, shame, shame!’ as law enforcement officers stand outside the North Carolina legislative building after the state Senate gave its approval to a series of abortion restrictions July 3.…  …

Pentagon puts 650,000 workers on unpaid leave due to cuts

Heavy US government spending cuts took a sharp swing as the Pentagon began putting about 650,000 civilian workers on unpaid leave. The Department of Defense’s civilian employees face furloughs of up to 11 days through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The unpaid leave will slash their…

White House dodges questions of Egyptian ‘coup’ as military aid continues

The Obama administration attempted to sidestep questions over the legality of military aid to Egypt on Monday, claiming it was not in its “best interests” to decide yet whether the armed overthrow of the country’s elected president amounted to a coup or not. US law prevents any administration providing support…

Supreme Court asked to suspend NSA and FBI’s blanket collection of phone data

The US supreme court will be asked to suspend the blanket collection of US telephone records by the FBI under an emergency petition due to be filed on Monday by civil rights campaigners at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic). This new legal challenge to the power of government agencies…

Strength and frequency of tropical cyclones could increase dramatically: study

The world typically sees about 90 tropical cyclones a year, but that number could increase dramatically in the next century due to global warming, a US scientist said Monday. Rising greenhouse gas emissions could lead to a 10 to 40 percent increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones by the…

Protest outside Egypt’s Republican Guard ends in bloodshed

Emotions ran wild on Monday near an elite military base in Cairo outside which at least 51 people were gunned down in a dawn attack on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. As pitched battles raged on Salah Salem, a boulevard where Morsi supporters hurled rocks at a security…

Church of England restarts process to ordain women bishops

The Church of England voted Monday to restart the process that would lead to ordaining women bishops after traditionalists blocked the idea last year, plunging the church into turmoil. The General Synod, the governing body of England’s state church, will consider the draft measures in November with the aim of…

BP seeks to dismiss ‘feeding frenzy’ of Gulf oil spill claims

BP asked a US appeals court on Monday to scuttle a “feeding frenzy” of “fictitious” compensation claims stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The British energy giant reached a $7.8 billion settlement last year with thousands of people and businesses hit by the worst environmental disaster in…

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