Four at Four

Some news and the Friday afternoon open thread.

  1. A new international ranking of the science ability of 15 year olds has been conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The study found the United States is below average and ranks a dismal 29th of the 57 countries evaluated. Finland, Hong Kong, and Canada were rated the top three countries on the science scale. (Hat tip The Great Beyond – the Nature blog.)

  2. The Guardian reports Russia pulls out of NATO arms pact. “President Vladimir Putin has withdrawn Russia from a key post-cold war international arms treaty, paving the way for the deployment of Russian forces closer to Europe. The withdrawal of Russian participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was signed into law today. The United States, the European Union and Nato had urged Putin not to suspend the treaty, seen as a cornerstone of European security.”

  3. The Globe and Mail reports Taser firms picked up coroner’s lecture tab. “Taser International and another company closely linked to the manufacturer have paid the way for Ontario’s deputy chief coroner to lecture at their conferences on the phenomenon of ‘excited delirium,’ a medically unrecognized term that the company often cites as a reason people die after being tasered. James Cairns… publicly advocates the use of the stun gun, has become one of the top Canadian experts Taser officials turn to for help shoring up public support for their products in times of crisis.”

  4. Spiegel has an in depth examination of the impact of the U.S. dollars decline in Why America’s currency is the world’s problem. “The world depends on the dollar. It is the most important currency in global trade. Aircraft, oil, steel and most natural resources are priced in the US currency. Central banks around the world invest a substantial share of their currency reserves in dollars. The competitiveness of entire continents depends on changes in the value of the world’s reserve currency. For these reasons, the dollar’s decline has the potential to send the world economy into a crisis. Americans have been living beyond their means for years. That includes both consumers, who often buy their houses, cars and other consumer items on credit, and the government, which is adding billions to the national debt to pay for its programs, especially to fight terrorism and wage the war in Iraq.”



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  1. A man in New Hampshire has demonstrated the best way how not to ask a candidate a question. I’m very relieved that Sen. Clinton’s campaign staffers and volunteers were not hurt.

  2. If you saw a story that came out today that is an important one and you feel it deserves more attention please clue me in to it so it can be considered for the Monday Morning News Drop.

    I’ll go poke around too.



    Sad, sad day.

    • nocatz on November 30, 2007 at 23:21

    Gardai in Dublin are on the lookout for 36,000 pints of beer stolen from the Guinness brewery.


    A man drove a truck into the yard on Wednesday, and left with a trailer containing 180 Guinness kegs, 180 Budweiser kegs, and 90 Carslberg kegs.

    180 Budweiser kegs?  Must be for when the in-laws come over.

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