<p>Ahmed Al Shayea left Saudi Arabia in November 2004 to join the insurgents in Iraq. He was misled into driving a butane-gas delivery truck, which was detonated by remote control in an attack that killed eight people and left him disfigured. Today, he wants would-be insurgents to listen to his advice: "There is no jihad. We are just instruments of death."</p>
Credit Donna Abu Nasr / AP
<p>Ken Ballen is a former federal prosecutor and the founder and president of Terror Free Tomorrow, an organization that investigates the causes of extremism.</p>
Ahmad Al Shayea grew up in Saudi Arabia in a middle-class family and dropped out of high school to join a local gang. Abdullah Al-Gilani fell in love with a girl who eventually married someone else. Zeddy was an old colleague of Osama bin Laden's.
The National Cathedral, closed since sustaining extensive damage from the August earthquake that shook Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, will reopen on Nov. 12, according to officials.
The cathedral is also trying to raise money to pay for repairs, estimated to run into the tens of millions of dollars. A statement on the landmark's website says organizers are seeking "at least $25 million" to cover its expenses through the end of 2012.
Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 10:02 am
I lied. My smartphone isn't a microscope — yet. But there are some smart physicists who want to make that transformation possible very soon, if not for you and me at first, then for doctors who don't have easy access to laboratories.
<p>Over the past few seasons, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has changed from meek hero to forceful villain. TV critic David Bianculli says he isn't just breaking bad anymore...he's entirely broken.</p>
Credit Gregory Peters / AMC
<p>Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, and Taissa Farmiga play a family moving into a house, where the previous tenants were found dead.</p>
If you don't want to hear details, especially about last night's season finale of Breaking Bad, turn away from this website now. But I consider it fair game to talk in detail about TV shows once they've been televised — especially if they're doing interesting enough work to be saluted for it.
[Note: If the previous paragraph didn't convince you, maybe this will: There are many, many spoilers for Breaking Bad ahead. Proceed at your own risk.]
I was blown away by the season ender of Breaking Bad.
We inherit the darndest traits from our parents. My mom bequeathed to me that funny leg-shake she does when she's sitting. She also seems to have passed along a quick (but ... hmm ... endearing?) temper. And in the "thanks-for-that" column? Well, I'm on the skinny side. And so is she.
Our mother-daughter likeness isn't so unusual. Turns out, the "inter-generational transmission of thinness" is real. Thin parents appear to pass on "skinny genes."
The warnings from public health officials that the deaths and illnesses from listeria-tainted cantaloupes could drag on for a while are proving true.
The death toll from cantaloupes grown by Jensen Farms has hit 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report on the outbreak. A hundred people have been sickened in 20 states, with Colorado and New Mexico the hardest hit.
<p>The Texas Longhorns band performs during a basketball game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on March 18. A challenge to the admissions policy at University of Texas, Austin, contends that the school does not need to consider race to achieve a diverse student body. </p>
A Texas affirmative action case that has the potential to rewrite law on how or whether public colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, and soon.
Though the court, which opened its fall term this week, has not yet agreed to hear Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, constitutional experts on both sides of the issue say they believe the case will be scheduled for a hearing this year or next spring, just as the presidential election season heats up.
Kathy Scruggs of Georgia went to the store to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. By mistake, the clerk gave her a ticket for Powerball. Scruggs decided to buy both. The unemployed woman's Powerball ticket was worth more than $15 million.
To celebrate its German roots, residents of Cullman, Ala., usually donned liederhosen and ate bratwurst in. But keeping with Bible Belt values, beer was verboten. This year kegs are being tapped at what had been billed as the world's only dry Oktoberfest.
Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 7:34 am
Four men were arrested Tuesday for their alleged roles in what the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald Machen, alleges was "one of the most brazen corruption schemes in the history of federal contracting."
Remember reading, as a child, and feeling the fine mesh of words catch you up so completely that you became enjoyably muddled about which was the real world and which the world of the book? For me, it was as though I gulped down the language of the story and grew fat with its cadences — they rang in my ears, colored my vision and pulsed in my throat.
As I got older, I lost some of that easy susceptibility. What had once been a permeable membrane between fiction and life solidified.
Israeli scientist Daniel Schectman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Wednesday.
The discovery, made in 1982, changed the way chemists look at solid matter.
"Contrary to the previous belief that atoms were packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns, Shechtman showed that the atoms in a crystal could be packed in a pattern that could not be repeated," the academy said.
The U.N. Security Council has failed to agree on what to do about Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. Tuesday night, Russia and China vetoed a resolution condemning Syria, even after the text was watered down and stripped of any threats of sanctions.
The Department of Education says that as distance learning has grown so has fraud. An inspector general's report found that scam artists are taking advantage of the popularity of online education to steal federal education money.