The Study

The hacking group Lulz Security has made a mockery of internet security this past month, hacking into and stealing data from a number of company and government networks, including Fox, the United States Senate, and an FBI affiliate. Just today, the group has hit the servers of a gaming magazine and three hugely popular online games.

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The Wallow wildfire is still raging after more than two weeks, today becoming the largest wildfire in Arizona history. The Wallow wildfire has already burned over 733 square miles, but as of yesterday, only 18 percent had been contained, with more than 4,000 firefighters working to put it out. The monster fire has some people wondering—does climate change mean there will be more fires like this in the future? Probably, scientists say. A study by A.L. Westerling and H.G. Hidalgo called “Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S.

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Tonight, seven Republican candidates will take part in the first New Hampshire primary debate of the 2012 campaign. Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul will do rhetorical battle from 8 to 10 p.m. at St. Anselm College in Manchester.

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Americans breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ staff released the first photographs of the congresswoman since she was shot during an event in Tucson this January. In the photos, the congresswoman appears smiling and alert, with a scar along her left temple. Giffords was lucky—though she sustained a gunshot wound to the head and the bullet passed through her brain, it did not sever arteries or veins. Additionally, the injury was “through and through,” and the bullet did not hit the midline of the brain.

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Earlier today, the Sun (aka el sol, Helios, or "that big bright thing that makes other stuff turn funny colors after you look away from it") stunned scientists with its latest solar flare. More specifically, the solar flare, despite only being of medium intensity, sent perhaps the largest amount of solar material into space ever recorded. "A mushroom of cooled plasma popped like a pimple," wrote National Geographic, sending plasma spraying upwards, before the material settled back over approximately half the surface area of the sun.

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The food pyramid is no more. Today, Michelle Obama helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture announce the abandonment of the old food pyramid and the adoption a new food guide: “My Plate.” The new image shows a split plate with slices for fruits, grains, vegetables and proteins, and a cup on the side representing dairy.

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"Cell phones may cause cancer," news organizations around the world shouted today, after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that cell phones are "possibly carcinogenic to humans." (Many people found out about the news while checking their cell phones. In other news, incidents of irony soared to record highs today.) More specifically, the IARC found "limited" evidence of a relationship between cell phone use and cases of glioma and acoustic neuroma, two types of brain cancer.

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With a heat wave rolling across the country, it comes as little surprise that "portable air conditioners" is currently trending on Google. After a relatively cool spring in many parts of the country, Memorial Day weekend saw temperatures into the 90s in many parts of the southern and eastern United States. No heat-related deaths have been reported yet, but cities are already reviewing their plans to deal with the heat. One of the more controversial aspects of heat waves, sadly, is that certain parts of cities see higher mortality rates than others.

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Today, President Obama signed a bill extending the Patriot Act for another four years. (Technically, a presidentially-designated autopen signed the bill, but that's apparently good enough for law enforcement.) Though the bill passed in the Senate on a 72-23 vote, two senators were especially vocal in their dissent. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) warned, “When the American people find out how the government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” Sen.

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Yesterday, health officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, confirmed the existence of a small measles outbreak in the area. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Health Department says that an area woman who contracted the disease in India has passed it along to at least two people, and more may have been exposed. This is the first measles outbreak in the Charlottesville area in over twenty years. More worryingly, this outbreak brings the number of cases in the US so far this year to more than 120.

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