[DIGEST: npr.org, CBC News, The Guardian]

This summer, Canada joined a few other countries and a small number of US states to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The new law, backed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, counters the Supreme Court of Canada, which struck down a similar law in 2015. Some view this legislature as immoral because of religious taboos on suicide, and others view the law as immoral because of its narrowness in scope.

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Credit: Source

[DIGEST: Neopress, WIRED, BioCarbon Engineering]

Hobby drones are often seen as status symbols of the tech elite. The spendy toys have been blamed for invading sensitive airspace and private property, as well as for more egregious activities, such as smuggling drugs into prisons, colliding into skyscrapers and airplanes, and interfering with firefighters’ efforts to combat wildfires.

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[DIGEST: ScienceAlert, Imperial London College, US News]

What makes someone crave potato chips? Why is that plate of cookies so tempting? Some may blame willpower, but scientists have determined that bacteria may be responsible for these junk food cravings. Bacteria in the human gut tell the brain what to eat and how much. One particular type of bacteria, called propionate, produces a molecule that sends signals to the brain to stop eating, and scientists in London have been trying to boost the power of that molecule.

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[DIGEST: New York Times, Health Affairs. org, FeedingAmerica.org]

People with type 2 diabetes know it can be expensive to follow the high fiber, low carbohydrate diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Cheap and filling foods tend to be heavy in the carbohydrates that cause blood sugar to spike. Foods that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, such as protein and vegetables, often cost significantly more, and can be hard to come by for people without reliable access to enough safe and nutritious food. This dilemma, often exacerbated by low income and other limitations, is also known as food insecurity. While food assistance may be available, the food that is subsidized or donated to emergency food pantries is often low in quality and high in carbs. Those experiencing food insecurity have few options for feeding themselves well or consistently on a tight budget, and often pay with their health.

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[DIGEST: Wall Street Journal, ABCNews, NYTimes]

A Chinese beverage company called “face book” unsuccessfully fought Mark Zuckerberg’s monolithic social media empire for the right to use the name. In traditional Peking Opera, a “face book” or Lian Shu, refers to the intricate masks worn to indicate a historical character. It is a centuries-old phrase, and Zhongshan-based Zhujiang Beverage company, which produces milk-flavored drinks and porridges, recently held the Chinese trademark for “face book.”

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Old habits die hard in India, where a hierarchy of human beings sorted by socioeconomic background and skin color, also known as the caste system, persists despite a 1950 ruling by the Supreme Court of India outlawing the disenfranchisement of purportedly lower-caste citizens.

India’s caste system developed before 2,220 BCE when genetic groups from southern India and northern India began to co-mingle. Four thousand years later, the social hierarchy continues, from the lowest “untouchable” caste of the poorest people with the darkest skin color to the highest caste of wealthy light-skinned people. Though it is now illegal to classify and discriminate based on caste, culturally it is still the status quo.

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STARZ is presently casting roles for the television adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods, anticipated to air in 2017. Following the success of shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander, both fantasy literature-turned-drama series, the show has the potential to be one of the most diversely cast programs on television. If the major roles are cast according to Gaiman’s original vision, it could embrace a wide variety of ethnicities and cultures.

In the series, Neil Gaiman suggests that when people emigrated to North America, they brought their culture and their gods with them. Gaiman’s America is full of gods from every group dating back to the Vikings, up to and including present day immigrants. The plot follows an ex-convict, Shadow, as he becomes a bodyguard for a man known as Mr. Wednesday. Those familiar with Norse lore will recognize Wednesday is a synonym for Woden’s Day, or Odin’s Day, indicating that Mr. Wednesday represents the Norse god Odin. Shadow’s work for Odin takes him across the country, leading to several encounters with other deities in human form from a wide swath of cultures. These include the Egyptian gods, Thoth, Anubis and Bast; the Hindu goddess Kali; the African god Anansi; Whiskey Jack or “Wisakedjak” of Algonquin lore; and Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba.

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