3 Essential Things To Read About Paul Ryan Today

Mitt Romney chose super-conservative superstar Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee this morning. Read these articles if you want to know who he is and what this might mean for America.

Mitt Romney will name Paul Ryan as his VP. Here's what that means.
Ezra Klein, Washington Post

This is an admission of fear from the Romney campaign. You don't make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals favor your candidate. You make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals don't favor your candidate. And, right now, the numbers don't look good for Romney: Obama leads in the Real Clear Politics average of polls by more than four percentage points — his largest lead since April.

12 Things You Should Know About Paul Ryan
Igor Volksy, Think Progress


  1. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand.
  2. Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class, cuts them for millionaires.
  3. Ryan wants to end Medicare, replace it with a voucher system.
  4. Ryan thinks Social Security is a "ponzi scheme."
  5. Ryan's budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years.
  6. Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students.
  7. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsides for big oil.
  8. Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies.
  9. Ryan claimed Romneycare has led to "rationing and benefit cuts."
  10. Ryan believes that Romneycare is "not that dissimilar to Obamacare."
  11. Ryan accused generals of lying about their support for Obama's military budget.
  12. Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood" amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure.

Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P.
Ryan Lizza, New Yorker

Ryan recommended ending Medicare, the government health-insurance program for retirees, and replacing it with a system of direct payments to seniors, who could then buy private insurance. (The change would not affect current beneficiaries or the next decade of new ones.) He proposed ending Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, and replacing it with a lump sum for states to use as they saw fit. Ryan also called for an end to the special tax break given to employers who provide insurance; instead, that money would pay for twenty-five-hundred-dollar credits for uninsured taxpayers to buy their own plans. As for Social Security, Ryan modestly scaled back his original proposal by reducing the amount invested in private accounts, from one-half to one-third of payroll taxes. Ryan's Roadmap also promised to cut other government spending, though it didn't specify how. Likewise, it promised to lower income-tax rates and simplify the tax code, but it didn't detail which popular deductions—mortgage interest? retirement contributions?—it would eliminate.
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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

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The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

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