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5 things you absolutely must know today (plus Donald Trump’s latest ad)

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Obama to tackle gun-show loophole

President Barack Obama is set to make buying a firearm in the U.S. a little more difficult than it currently is. It’s really quite easy to buy a gun there, apparently. In some cases, using the gun-show loophole, it takes a license and money and a verbal confirmation that you can legally own a gun in whatever state you happen to be in. Obama’s Tuesday announcement to Congress will tackle the gun-show clause, implementing stricter rules on sellers to perform wider background checks. Republicans are poised to fight Obama’s executive actions, vowing to reverse the regulations if they ever win the presidency. Below is a short BBC video shot inside a U.S. gun show. [Source: BBC]

China erects gigantic statue of Chairman Mao

It was built in one of China’s poorest regions, the Henan province. And it commemorates a leader responsible for a famine that killed nearly 45 million lives. A 118-foot statue of Chairman Mao has been built out of concrete and steel and gold-coloured paint by a group of people who admired the leader, whose shortcut to industrialization known as the “great leap forward” cost the country tens of millions of lives. Mao Zedong ruled China until his death in 1976. It took about 10 months to build the statue and came in at slightly under one million CAD, an amount that has drawn criticism from advocacy groups believing the money would have been better spent on poverty reduction. Though controversial to many, Mao is remembered by some as a leader representing fairness and justice. [Source: Guardian]

Scientists look to penguins for ice prevention on airplane wings

UCLA aerospace engineer Pirouz Kavehpour and team are hoping the natural systems that prevent ice from forming on the feathers of penguins can be adapted for use on airplane wings. Gentoo penguins release preen oil from a gland near their tales, and their jagged feathers have tiny pours, all only visible under a microscope, and all acting together to ensure the critters don’t freeze solid when exiting the ocean in sub-insane temperatures. [Source: Science News]

The latest on the Oregon standoff

The sheriff of Harney County wants the Bundy militia, now self-identifying as the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, to go home. “You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County,” said David Ward. “That help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed and unlawful protest.” Ryan Bundy, one of the leader of the armed group that is currently occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon, told local news that they would leave if the county asked it to. This reads like an episode of Justified. Where’s Timothy Olyphant when you need him? At issue in this standoff is federal lands in northwest U.S. Here’s an excerpt from the Oregonian: “Three-quarters of Harney County’s land is federally owned, a reality that, here and elsewhere in the West, has long fueled debate about the ownership and management of federal lands. Locals who rely upon federal lands to graze cattle and sheep say they worry every time an environmental concern arises or a particularly bad wildfire season hits. Often those issues come with new regulations on their use of the land.” The militia has detailed plans to return the land to the local ranchers. At this writing, the group is no doubt pacing back and forth inside the refuge, waiting for the next move, whatever that is. Meanwhile, observers of this strange happening hope that the FBI will break its silence and go public with its plan, ’cause we know it has one; just hope it’s peaceful. [Source: The Atlantic]

New elements added to the periodic table, completing seventh row

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has announced the addition of four new elements to the periodic table. The Union is the gatekeeper of the table. The scientists who discovered/made the new elements over the past number of years get the opportunity to name them, and they can do so “after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist,” according to the union. Right now, until named, they exist as ununtrium (113), ununpentium (115), ununseptium (117) and ununoctium (118).  [Source: Scientific American]

Donald Trump’s latest TV ad

Here’s Donald Trump’s latest television ad. Spoiler: if everything human in you is working, watching this should make you sad.


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