Weeks Before Aurora Attack, James Holmes Had Psychiatrist, Police And University On Edge

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DENVER (AP) — More than a month before James Holmes’ rampage on a Colorado movie theater, the head of his neuroscience graduate program called a campus police officer with alarming information: Holmes had told his psychiatrist that he wanted to kill people to make up for his failure in science.

The call, never previously disclosed, came just after the psychiatrist expressed similar concerns to the same University of Colorado campus police officer. But newly released documents show the officer did little other than check to see whether Holmes had a criminal record and deactivate his campus access cards. And his psychiatrist declined to detain Holmes, who had revealed no specific targets or threats, because she thought it would only “inflame him.”

 

 

The documents obtained by The Associated Press provide new details about the best chance authorities had to stop Holmes before the July 2012 theater massacre. They also show how hard it can be to predict who will turn violent, even when they’ve displayed warning signs, experts say.

“There’s no reliable way we can identify those few who will pick up a gun and start shooting people from the vast number who might seem odd or unusual or even scary,” said James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who has studied and written about mass killings. “You can’t predict it. Did they do everything they could have? That’s another question.”

A judge last week sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole for murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 more after jurors couldn’t agree that he deserved the death penalty.

The documents, released by the University of Colorado and prosecutors in response to open-records requests by the AP, provide the fullest look yet at how university officials handled concerns about Holmes, who dropped out of the prestigious program a month before the attack. A longstanding gag order lifted at the end of Holmes’ trial had prohibited officials from releasing the documents or speaking publicly about the case.

 

A lawsuit filed by the widow of one of Holmes’ victims accuses university officials and Holmes’ psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, of not doing enough to stop the shooting. With the trial over, the lawsuit can proceed. During the trial, Fenton testified that, without specific threats or targets, she lacked the evidence to have him placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

The university said in a statement that its faculty and staff acted responsibly. Campus police officer Lynn Whitten, who was not named in the lawsuit, has since retired. Her attorney, Tom Rice, said she did all that she could with the limited information she had, none of which gave her reason to believe Holmes was an imminent danger.

Holmes started seeing Fenton in 2012 to help with his social anxiety. He soon confided that he was having thoughts about killing people.

His last visit was June 11, 2012. By then he had already amassed an arsenal of weapons and body armor and was meticulously planning his attack on a packed showing of a new Batman movie. But all Holmes told Fenton and another psychiatrist, Robert Feinstein, was that he had failed a key exam and was dropping out of the neuroscience program.

Holmes “left in a huff,” Fenton told Whitten, whom she called the same day. She was concerned because Homes had told her “I want to kill as many people as possible,” and she wondered if he was nearing a psychotic break, according to the documents.

Though he had “constant homicidal thoughts,” Fenton told Whitten, he had never revealed specific targets or plans. But Whitten wrote in her notes that “Holmes indicated to Fenton that he liked thinking about it.”

Fenton was alarmed enough to violate Holmes’ health privacy rights and call his mother, Arlene. But Fenton did not tell Arlene Holmes about her son’s homicidal obsession, instead mentioning that he’d dropped out of school.

The documents show that Fenton found Holmes’ mother’s reaction reassuring.

She left a voicemail for Whitten: “It’s pretty good news on our guy James. It sounds like he’s always been like this. I’ve talked to his mom, she and the dad are kind of putting some quiet support in place. They’ve got my number in case they need anything.”

She concluded: “So, anyway, I think we’ve got everything in place for now, so if something else comes up I’ll let you know.”

Arlene Holmes testified during the trial that Fenton didn’t return her calls seeking more information. Fenton chose not to detain Holmes because she felt he was “on the borderline” and didn’t think it would help, she told Whitten, according to the documents.

About the same time, Fenton called University of Colorado professor Sukumar Vijayaraghavan, head of the neuroscience program, about Holmes, the documents say.

“James had told her (Fenton) he did not think he would make a mark on the world with science so he could blow up people and become famous,” Vijayaraghavan told police, according to the documents. Vijayaraghavan said he then called Whitten, who told him “action would be taken immediately.” She said she had suspended his student ID and “police are aware of the situation and are keeping an eye on the whole thing.”

After the shooting, Whitten told Aurora police she “discussed Holmes” with her sergeant and checked with others on the status of his withdrawal from the university.

Fenton said she never heard from Holmes again. But Holmes didn’t stop thinking about her. Hours before he left for the theater, he mailed her a journal where he had scrawled his detailed plans for the attack, plans he said he pointedly kept from her during their sessions.

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100 Disposable Cameras Were Given To Homeless People In London. They Then Created Works Of Art

In July, Café Art
, a U.K.-based arts initiative, gave 100 Fujifilm disposable cameras
 to homeless people in London with just one instruction: take photographs that capture “My London.”

Days later, 80 of the 100 cameras were returned — all full of memories and many stunning, and at times, haunting images: an abandoned boot on a road in East London, picnicking people on a hot summer day, a lone bird standing on a Westminster street.

The goal of the “My London” project, said Paul Ryan, one of Café Art’s directors, was “to provide people affected by homelessness an outlet to express their talent and creativity
.”

More than 2,500 photographs were ultimately developed. 

Last month, a panel of judges picked 20 of the best photographs, and they were shown at a exhibition at Spitalfields Art Market in London.   

The photographers whose works were displayed included Ioanna Zagkana, a woman from Greece who became homeless after an accident ended her dancing career; Ceci, who has post-traumatic stress disorder and has been living in a squat in Bethnal Green; David Tovey, a once-homeless artist; and Ellen Rostant, a 16-year-old girl who has been living in temporary housing with her seven siblings for the past three years.

A Lithuanian man named Zin was also one of the photographers whose work was showcased. Zin, who now lives in a squat in Camden Town, told Café Art that creative expression has helped him to overcome a troubled childhood and addiction.

“The challenge I had to overcome was to discover a direction in my life that would keep me happy and fulfill me as a human being,” he said. “And so far I discovered that it is creativity.”

Visitors to the “My London” exhibition were asked to choose their favorite images. Café Art says the most popular photos will be featured in a 2016 calendar and sold to the public. 

The group, which showcases and encourages the creation of artwork by members of London’s homeless population, has launched a Kickstarter campaign
 to fund the calendar’s creation.

“All the money raised goes back into the project, either to pay for the printing of the photographs and calendar, rewarding the winning photographers, providing art materials for art groups affected by homelessness or helping individuals attend art courses,” Café Art said.

So far, more than $17,000 has been raised. 

Scroll down to admire some of the project’s top 20 images. Learn more about Café Art’s Kickstarter campaign here
.

 

Bags for Life, Strand, by David Tovey

Colour Festival, Olympic Park, by Goska Calik

Left Boot, East London, by Ellen Rostant

Tyre Break, Hackney, by Desmond Henry

Yellow and Red by Frances Whitehouse

West End Bird, Westminster, by Zin

London Calling, Lincoln’s Inn, by XO

Tower Bridge Picnic, Southwark, by Ceci

Light at the End, Stratford, by Ellen Rostant

The Artist, Whitechapel, by Michael Crosswaite

Faceless Child, East London, by Ellen Rostant

 

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Cooperating with China to Solve the North Korea "Problem"

SHENYANG, CHINA–Public space is shrinking in China for discussion of “Western” views. But “contrary to the general crackdown, North Korea policy seems to be an exception,” a U.S. diplomat told me on my recent trip to China. One hears plenty of criticism of Pyongyang.

Even official Beijing’s unhappiness with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is evident, though Beijing continues to bankroll the Kim Jong-un regime. It’s a position some analysts would like to change. I recently met with one outspoken Chinese scholar in Shenyang, a couple hours away from the Yalu by car.

My colleague was careful not to directly criticize Beijing policy but advocated a much different approach. He noted that “China and North Korea have experienced enormous changes in their relations in the past ten years.” The “basis of that relationship now is about the national interest.” The “two countries still care about each other,” but now there are a “lot of problems between the countries, which have different views on different subjects.”

The most important issue, no surprise, is nuclear weapons. China supports denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. This “is the “worst disagreement between them.”

Second is economic development. “China insists on reform of the whole economic and political system,” explained my friend, while Beijing’s objective is to “transform North Korea.” Unfortunately, he noted, the DPRK government fears such change. Beijing wants a stable neighbor; Pyongyang wants a stable regime.

Issue number three involves bilateral trade. “China wants to have normal trade with North Korea,” but the North “always is broke.” Pyongyang expects to receive goods even if it does not pay. My colleague noted that “many of the companies that have contracts with North Korea” did not receive the promised products from the North and “this caused great loss for China and for companies in China.”

The fourth concern is refugees. “Many North Koreans have fled to this part of China,” he said, forcing Beijing to “think about how to deal with the issue.” So far, the People’s Republic of China has essentially come down on the Kim regime’s side, returning refugees. But that has sparked sustained international criticism given the disastrous human rights consequences.

Coming in at fifth is the Six Party Talks. My interlocutor explained that “China insists on peaceful dialogue among the respective countries. It wants to use this dialogue to solve the nuclear problem.” On this question China “has had some issues with the U.S. and North Korea not cooperating,” which has “stopped the process of discussing the nuclear issue.”

In his view the U.S. and PRC should focus on solving these matters: “China and the USA have a common understanding greater than their disagreement.” He admitted the two governments have some “conflicting interests,” but “also can cooperate” based on a “common understanding that North Korea should not have a nuclear weapon.”

Most important, “if China and America do not go to war then there is no chance that a war will happen” in the region, which is “why cooperation between the U.S. and China is a crucial factor for peace for the region and world.”

He also hoped the PRC and U.S. together would apply pressure on the North. He admitted that “China has its own interests and cares about its national security.” But a nuclear North would be a major problem: “China would be a direct victim of it.” There’s the obvious risk that Pyongyang would use an atomic bomb in war. There’s also the more mundane danger of an accident, since “the experimental parts of the program are near Liaoning Province,” of which Shenyang is the capital.

What to do? There should be dialogue “among the three countries.” Beijing and Washington need to prevent the North from playing them against each other, demonstrating that there isn’t “any gap, any room” between them which would allow Pyongyang to develop nuclear weapons.

More controversially, he wants “to stop giving foreign aid to the North and to impose additional sanctions on North Korea.” Penalties should be imposed if the Kim government “does not listen to the U.S. and China.” He hopes increased penalties would work, but admitted that “North Korea is an extreme country.”

If these steps don’t work, at that point “we should know the way.” When asked to explain further, he said “I wouldn’t say it out loud, but Israel would know how to do it.” That is, military action. He didn’t explain whether he envisioned Chinese cooperation in or merely acquiescence to a U.S. strike. But he believed extreme measures could be justified.

What would the Chinese government think of his idea? He admitted that the perspective was his own, not that of Beijing. However, his idea “reflected the national interest.” If the three steps were followed, beginning with negotiation, then he believed Beijing might “follow his suggestions.” He believed the severity of the threat would drive policy: “development of nuclear weapons by the North would cause unimaginable challenges for the Chinese people and economy. So stopping advances the national interest.”

In the end, he expected Pyongyang either would reform, opening the country, or resist, destroying itself. He hoped for the first: it’s the only way the North can develop, changes in North Korean society will encourage reforms in the government, and the international environment will add pressure for movement in Pyongyang. However, since no one knows what will happen, he urged both the U.S. and China to “prepare for both ways.”

Although there’s no evidence that Beijing government is about to adopt my friend’s proposals, the fact that he holds and expresses such views is significant. There’s obviously no groupthink in Chinese academic and policy circles, as emotional attachment to North Korea steadily drains away.

Moreover, while Beijing continues to prop up the Kim dynasty, it does so without enthusiasm. That creates an opportunity for Washington to persuade the PRC to change policy. But doing so requires making a better argument. My friend’s proposal offers a possible blueprint: talk with Beijing, address its problems, and suggest a common program. Chinese officials still might be unmoved. But it would be better than the strategy being followed today.

This post first appeared at China-US focus.

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Millions Affected By The U.S. Government Hack Haven't Been Told Yet

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government has not yet notified any of the 21.5 million federal employees and contractors whose security clearance data was hacked more than three months ago, officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

The agency whose data was hacked, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), said the Defense Department will begin “later this month” to notify employees and contractors across the government that their personal information was accessed by hackers.

OPM said notifications would continue over several weeks and “will be sent directly to impacted individuals.”

OPM also announced that it hired a contractor to help protect the identities and credit ratings of employees whose data was hacked.

In a statement, OPM said it had awarded a contract initially worth more than $133 million to a company called Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID experts, for identity theft protections for the 21.5 million victims of the security data breach. The contractor will provide credit and identity monitoring services for three years, as well as identity theft insurance, to affected individuals and dependent children aged under 18, the agency said.

Officials have said that compromised records could include embarrassing personal details, such as arrest records or information about drug use, generated by field investigators assigned to check out disclosures made in clearance applicants.

U.S. investigators have said they believe the hackers were based in China and probably were connected to the Chinese government. So far U.S. security officials have found no evidence that the Chinese or anyone else had tried to use the hacked data for nefarious purposes, officials said.

An interagency group is considering whether responsibility for security clearance investigations should be shifted from OPM to another government agency. The White House confirmed such a study is under way.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and David Gregorio)

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This Grizzly Bear Thinks Your GoPro Totally Sucks

This is what it’s like to get smacked down by a grizzly bear
.

Naturalist Brad Josephs
 placed a GoPro camera in grizzly territory in Alaska to record the bears, and it wasn’t long before one griz came over to investigate. 

After carefully checking to see if the camera might be dangerous — and apparently deciding that it’s not food — the bear slapped it upside the lens.

As the footage shows, it seems the camera is no worse for the wear.

The clip was posted on YouTube last week by GoPro.  

 

 

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Bangkok Bombing Suspect's Prints Match Those Found On Bomb, Police Say

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BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police said Wednesday that the fingerprints of a foreign man arrested at Thailand’s border with Cambodia match those found on a bottle containing bomb-making material, as the investigation into last month’s deadly bombing in Bangkok gathered steam.

National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said authorities were still conducting DNA tests but could determine that “this man is important and is related or conspired with people who committed” the Aug. 17 bombing at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok. The blast left 20 people dead, more than half of them foreigners, and over 120 injured.

The investigation into the attack has picked up in recent days with the arrest of two suspects and raids on two apartments on the outskirts of Bangkok that contained bomb-making materials.

In the first apartment, raided Saturday in the Bangkok neighborhood of Nong Chok, police arrested a suspect they described as a foreign man and seized bomb-making equipment that included detonators, ball bearings and a metal pipe believed to be a bomb casing.

They also took fingerprints from the apartment, which turned out to match those of another suspect arrested Tuesday at the border with Cambodia, Prawut said.

“We can confirm that the man’s fingerprints match with those found on a bottle that contains a bombing substance,” Prawut said, and then added, “He could be the one who brought the bomb out of this apartment or he could have brought the bomb to the crime scene.”

Prawut said that further testing, including DNA tests, were being conducted to bolster that theory.

Both suspects who have been arrested are being interrogated by the military and have not yet been charged.

When authorities announced the arrest Tuesday of the suspect at the border, they described him as bearing resemblance to a man spotted in surveillance video at the shrine who is believed to have planted the bomb. The suspect seen in the video, wearing a yellow T-shirt, is carrying a backpack that he places on a bench before leaving.

No one has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack, sparking an array of theories about who might be behind it.

Speculation has grown that the suspect might be part of a group seeking to avenge Thailand’s forced repatriation of ethnic Uighurs to China in July. Prayuth on Monday linked the two theories, suggesting the bombers might have been involved in smuggling Uighurs out of China.

Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs) are related to Turks, and Turkey is home to a large Uighur community. The Erawan Shrine is especially popular with Chinese tourists, feeding the idea that it could be a target for people who believe the Uighurs are oppressed by China’s government. Beijing says some Uighurs are Islamist terrorists, and that among them is a group that has been smuggled out of China to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Thailand’s national deputy police chief, Chakthip Chaijinda, told reporters that the suspect arrested at the border speaks Turkish, which requires a translator. He did not say whether a translator has been brought in or if the Turkish Embassy has been approached.

The prime minister said officials knew from their investigation that people involved in the bombing were about to flee the country and had traced one of the suspects to Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province, a crossing point to Cambodia. He described the arrested man as a piece in a jigsaw puzzle that would connect various parts of the case, which included a bomb that exploded harmlessly in a river next to a busy pier in Bangkok the day after the shrine blast.

Police spokesman Prawut said Tuesday that three new arrest warrants had been issued in connection with the case, bringing the total to seven. Two were named persons — he could not provide spellings for the names of the men, whose nationalities were unknown — while the third was not identified by name but was described as a Turkish national. He displayed pictures of the three on a tablet computer.

The blast at the Erawan Shrine was unprecedented in the Thai capital, where smaller bombs have been employed in domestic political violence over the past decade, but not in an effort to cause large-scale casualties.

Arrest warrants were issued Monday for two more suspects — a Thai woman and a man of unknown nationality — after a raid Sunday on a second apartment found more bomb-making materials. Relatives of the woman who had rented the second apartment told authorities that she is innocent and is now in Turkey, married to a Turkish man. The three new arrest warrants announced Tuesday were related to the apartment raided Saturday, Prawut said.

The suspect arrested Saturday had a Turkish passport, though Thai authorities say it was fake. At his apartment, they seized at least 11 passports that appeared to be Turkish, among more than 200 passports in all.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said Monday that reports that the woman wanted by Thai police may be in Turkey and other allegations about a Turkish connection were “speculation,” and that the ministry would not comment on speculation.

The official said he had no information about the woman and could not confirm that her husband is Turkish.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules that bar officials from speaking to journalists without prior authorization.

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AMANZA –Ep.9

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The 10 Lessons to Learn from Traveling

2015-08-28-1440797946-8456360-learning1.jpg

By College Tourist
; Author: Nicole Darian, University of Iowa

What The Real World Won’t Teach You

Contrary to popular belief, traveling can teach you more than a classroom, job, or relationship ever will. I’ve found that people’s definitions of “the real world” vary quite a bit. For me, the real world means packing up and leaving your comfort zone, the familiar, your safe place, and experiencing unknown things – a new place, new people who may not understand you, unfamiliar customs, the list goes on. Traveling is being in the real world, and here are 10 vital lessons that it will teach you.

1) To be more patient

Being American and from a big city, the fast-paced lifestyle is inevitably engrained in me. Waiting for anything – food at a restaurant, lines for the restroom, even waiting for a professor or boss to email me back – drives me crazy. The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my travels and backpacking is that it’s okay to wait and have lag time, and if something happens to go wrong, to be patient when seeking help. Though it seems that way, traveling isn’t at all luxurious like advertisements and glamorous Instagram accounts make it out to be. Your flight gets cancelled because the pilot is sick and you’re stuck in the airport, you catch a stomach bug and you’re on bedrest, your bus is late, you get on the wrong train, bad weather will minimize outdoor activities – it happens on every trip, and trust me, it builds character. If things always went smoothly, the adventure wouldn’t exist. Patience is truly a virtue and you’ll learn to tackle the circumstances as they come, which will make you appreciate the experience even more.

2) To leave your comfort zone

People don’t enjoy traveling because it means leaving behind what’s comfortable for them, whether it’s their group of friends, air-condition, their favorite foods, pets, the list goes on. Just getting on a plane and going is the first step. It’s exhilarating to forget what’s familiar for a bit and expand your horizons. Once you do, there is no better feeling than taking on unfamiliar territory and making it familiar. All it takes is pulling the trigger, and you’ll come home with endless stories.

3) To be more curious

I recently listened to a TED Radio Hour podcast called “From Curiosity to Discovery” and I loved every second of it. Fully understanding something that was once just an idea makes traveling so worth while. Being in new territory will probe new ideas and curiosities – what the local customs are, the local food, what language is spoken, and religious practices. Traveling and interacting with locals and natives will give you a better understanding, and therefore turning these curiosities into discoveries. This will then make you hungry to learn more, ask questions, and completely immerse yourself into a new place.

4) To appreciate other cultures

It’s easy to question and judge cultures that are different than yours. Traveling or living somewhere completely different gives you a new perspective that’s different from just hearing or reading about it. The act of being somewhere new allows you to fully immerse yourself and appreciate that new place, from the people, the language, the clothing, and everything in between. Taking the time to come out of your shell and interact with the local culture is the way to experience and appreciate it fully. Again, this can’t be taught, only experienced.

5) To live simply

Believe it or not, you can survive with very, very little and get by just fine. Most people around the world do. Traveling extensively forces you to pack so lightly that you’ll go home overwhelmed by how much you actually own. Not only that, but sleeping in rundown guesthouses, hostels with bed bugs, and tents pitched anywhere that you can find space really isn’t the end of the world, you just learn to live with it. Steering away from lavish meals on the town and fancy cocktails on outdoor patios is another experience you may have to sacrifice while traveling if you want to save enough to travel longer. As a result, you’ll come home and realize that you don’t need anything more than the essentials to survive.

6) To make friends with strangers

If you’re traveling alone, you’ll be desperate for human interaction. And guess what? Every other traveler is too! I’ve found it extremely rare to come across another traveler who isn’t eager to hear your story, where you’ve been, for how long, and your opinions and advice. You can seriously build a global network even if you’re traveling for just a few days. It’s a beautiful thing to say that you’re friends with people around the planet, and you’re all bonded by one common trait: love for adventure and new experiences. If you’re traveling alone, you’ll never really be alone, as there will always be someone wanting to tag along for an activity or just sitting next to other travelers on public trans. This is definitely my favorite part about traveling.

7) …but to also embrace your solo travel experience

Admittedly, traveling alone does get lonely. You’re constantly saying goodbye to new friends who are going to different places, having to leave a new place that you’ve mastered and made familiar and taking on new territory with minimal information, and sometimes no one to talk about the amazing day you had sightseeing with. Learning to eat meals in restaurants, go to bars, or walking around a new city alone takes some getting used to, but it’s really okay to do these things alone. Being alone and having time to reflect on your experiences will help you appreciate them more, and you won’t be distracted by outside opinions. You also won’t have to deal with conflict of interests or compromising on activities! It’s the best, and you will come home with a new sense of independence.

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8) To try new things

We’re going to be forced to come out of our shells no matter what. Doing what we’re used to at home doesn’t always work when we travel so we have to adjust. Pick up the language and try not to stick with what’s familiar. Try a restaurant serving ethnic food and avoid the touristic restaurants with equivalent food from home. Take public transportation and learn the system, it’s not difficult after the first couple of times. Sign up for an outdoor activity that you might not get the opportunity to do at home like hiking, sailing, or flying in a helicopter. New places means new opportunities, so try not to pass them up.

9) To think creatively

Sometimes it takes a little thinking outside of the box to get by. No wifi for directions? The restroom you entered is merely a hole in the ground? The buses to your next planned destination are all booked? There are always alternatives, and bumps in the road should never keep people from traveling. Studies show that people who travel think more creatively and are better at adjusting to new situations. Again, traveling isn’t full of glitz and glamour as it’s portrayed. there will always be something to overcome, forcing us to be creative.

10) To find beauty in small things

Returning from a trip, a study abroad experience, or a weekend away feels rejuvenating once we return. New perspective is gained. A home cooked meal will mean so much more to you because you missed it for so long. The person who smiled at you on the street becomes your best friend. Seeing a statue or monument in your hometown will remind you of the one you saw abroad. It’s really the small things that give us joy in life, and they’re usually free. Traveling is one way to learn this.

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TRACE — Ep.9

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Here's What Baby-Name Data Says About Our Current (And Next) President

With all the wackiness coming from the Republican presidential field, including but not limited to immigrant “package tracking
” and a great Northern wall
 (ironically, a proposal coming from a white Walker
), it’s easy to forget that the candidates in this election may be more conventional than their most recent predecessors in one respect: their first names.

Just a few ordinary dudes named Barack, Willard and Abraham

Yes, it will be pretty hard to top the 2012 election between candidates named Barack Hussein Obama and Willard Mitt Romney
. According to baby-name data from the Social Security Administration, that contest saw — for the first time ever — a matchup between two people whose names did not rank among the top 1,000 baby names during election year. Indeed, Barack and Willard were not in the top 1,000 baby names at any time throughout the century or so that the Social Security Administration has been recording name data. The only other presidential candidate whose name fell outside the top 1,000 during election year was Adlai Stevenson. 

We know that names can have eerie consequences on peoples’ lives — from test performance
 to the rate at which they donate to disaster relief
. But could a particularly presidential name propel a candidate to the Oval Office? Does a more popular name translate to a greater share of the popular vote? Click/touch below to see how … that’s not always the case.

 

 In head-to-head matchups, candidates with the less popular name were slightly more likely to triumph on Election Day. In an odd twist, no candidate with the more popular name during an election year has prevailed. (Sorry, Sen. Robert M. La Follette
!)

 

 

Of the clown car’s worth
 of Republicans currently running for president, three have first names that fall outside the top 1,000 of 2014, the last year of data available: Lindsey Graham, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal and Rand Paul. With the exception of Cara “Carly” Fiorina, whose name ranks 672, the rest fall safely within the top 500 baby names of 2014.

Percentage-wise, at least, Democrats can claim to be the party of first-name diversity: out of the five Democrats
 who have announced their candidacy so far, two — Bernard “Bernie” Sanders and Hillary Clinton — possess a name that fell outside the top 1,000 baby names of 2014. Somehow, however, we feel that both would be more like Barack Obama and less like Adlai Stevenson.

Names matter more than you think. For more on the curious science of names, check out the story of how names can determine destiny
, as presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. 

 

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