1. Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons system begins (NPR)
In Syria, a team of international weapons experts has begun the process of destroying the country's chemical weapons arsenal.
"The inspectors used sledgehammers and explosives to begin the work," NPR's Deborah Amos reports for our Newscast unit. "They are on a tight deadline to destroy more than 1,000 tons of nerve gas and banned weapons within a year."
2. Iran says 4 have been arrested in nuclear sabotage plot (NPR)
Iran arrested four people it says were intent on sabotaging facilities in its nuclear program. The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the four are being questioned.
As for who Iran might hold responsible for the alleged plot, the AP reports that Ali Akbar Salehi told the semiofficial Fars news agency, "hostile countries." Decoding the possible meaning of that statement, the AP says, "In Iranian official terminology, hostile countries are usually a reference to Israel and the United States."
Photo by Asim Bharwani / modenadude via Flickr Creative Commons
1. Weekend Reading: Silk Road's currency cocoon (Quartz)
Silk Road, the illicit online marketplace seized by the Feds this week, is said to have collected revenues of more than 9.5 million bitcoin since 2011, reports Quartz.
For a sense of how important Silk Road is to the bitcoin economy: "The Federal Reserve currently estimates that there are $10,771 billion in circulation. For a single company to dominate the US dollar the way Silk Road does bitcoin, it would need to have earned $8,745 billion in revenue over the two and half year period, or $3,498 billion a year."
2. Sometimes nature is better than Danish hair metal (NPR)
White lion cubs were the pride of the Internet this week. However, if the last white lion you thought about is the one hairsprayed into the history of 1985, you might find the recent animal footage out of South Korea and Serbia somewhat lacking in tight pants.
Three Lions/Getty Images
1. Peer-review pressure: Fake science is being published, for a fee (NPR)
An experiment by "Science," a leading mainline journal, concluded that many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a fee. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers, researchers cheated out of meaningful feedback, and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (read: everyone).
Deliberately faked research was submitted 305 times — more than half the journals accepted it, failing to flag the fatal flaws noticeable to "anyone with more than high-school knowledge of chemistry."
2. Latino education gap threatens California’s future (KPCC)
Despite a decade of effort, educators have failed to close the achievement gap for the state's largest minority group.
Latinos scored a hundred points less than their white counterparts, and more than 150 points below Asian students, on this year's California's Academic Performance Index. It could be years before the public knows whether Common Core will help Latinos.
Photo by Chase Clark/ohthecuteness via Flickr Creative Commons
1. New aging: 'Crystallized intelligence' compensates for diminished brain power (KPCC)
Unless you've already forgotten, you know that humans lose cognitive ability as we age. Now, a UC Riverside study finds that our hard-earned wisdom helps make up for that loss of brain power.
The study looks at two kinds of intelligence — "fluid intelligence," which gives us the ability to learn and process information (that's what degrades as we age), and "crystallized intelligence," or accumulated life experience, seems to pick up the slack.
2. In 1948, LA banned comic books. MEANWHILE... (KPCC)
In September 1948, the L.A. City Council passed a ban on comic books. This Sunday at El Cid, Captured Aural Phantasy Theater will present its "Night of Noir" variety show that brings some of these banned comics to life in the style of an old radio program.
Photo by BeerNotBombs via Flickr Creative Commons
1. Weekend warriors may be battling the devil winds (KPCC)
The weather may be mild right now, but dry air coming off the desert will push the marine layer back to its watery lair on Thursday. Santa Ana gusty winds are forecast for the mountains and inland valleys, accompanied by a sharp drop in humidity levels to single digits.
The National Weather Service has issued extreme fire danger warnings for late Thursday night through Saturday, with Santa Ana winds gusting up to 55 miles an hour in local mountains. Friday's highs in the valleys are set to climb to around 90 degrees — even higher Saturday.
2. The best-kept secret of local musicians opens its doors to the public (KPCC)
RZA will headline a block party in Echo Park this weekend in celebration of Bedrock Studios — a 40,000 square-foot former jewelry factory that now operates as a rehearsal space, recording studio, and vintage pinball arcade.