Science 

Medical examiner taps DNA science to find missing persons

For families who have searched years for missing loved ones, donating a sample of their DNA is often a last, desperate act to confirm their worst fears. New York City’s medical examiner is leading a nationwide effort to collect genetic material and match it with unidentified human remains. It’s a way to finally give family members some answers and maybe some solace. “People will not rest without answers, at least some answers,” said Dr. Barbara Sampson, the city’s chief medical examiner. Over the last decade, thousands of DNA samples have…

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Top Stories World 

Obama’s portrait controversy shows Americans don’t know how to engage with art

Get the Think newsletter. SUBSCRIBE When former President Barack Obama chose artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait, everyone knew Wiley’s interpretation was destined to stand out from the other paintings of previous presidents hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. Sure enough, the unveiling of Obama’s portrait on Feb. 12 was quickly met with controversy. Some people believed the painting too abstract, others found the background foliage confusing — and then there was the fact that Wiley had, in paintings completed in 2012, depicted black women holding the severed…

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Top Stories World 

At crossroads of policing and murder, a long push for accountability

After her son Ramarley Graham was shot and killed by a New York police officer, Constance Malcolm says she dedicated herself to community activism almost by accident. “I had to be Ramarley’s voice,” she says. “Even now, when you hear about Ramarley’s story, you think, ‘Oh, yeah, that was the kid that was running from police into the house, and who hid in the bathroom.’ Six years later, and that’s what you hear. I have to try to get that out of people’s mindset.” Two hundred miles away in Baltimore,…

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Top Stories World 

To attract new fans, NBA turns to Lunar New Year and Bollywood

Borcheng Hsu was already a pro at promoting professional sporting events when Jeremy Lin arrived at the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. Hsu, 41, had cut his teeth earlier on baseball, helping to drum up ticket sales for an annual Taiwan night with the New York Mets. He has brought that expertise to the Nets, a team whose injured Lin is one of a small cohort of players of Asian descent currently in the NBA. Basketball transcends geographical boundaries and allows us to connect with communities around the globe. Basketball transcends…

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Technology 

Bitcoin: Big in investing, but still lousy for buying a sandwich – CNET

Lior Rachmany, 39, CEO of Dumbo Moving in Brooklyn, said he started taking bitcoin for payment a few months ago. Cryptocurrency transactions now take up about 5 percent of his business. Sarah Tew/CNET This is part of “Blockchain Decoded,” a series looking at the impact of blockchain, bitcoin and cryptocurrency on our lives. Ever the tech enthusiast, Bert Green decided to start accepting bitcoin at his Chicago storefront in 2013, becoming one of the first art galleries in the US to accept the digital currency as payment. Things didn’t work…

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Top Stories World 

A tale of two cities and murder

Two American cities, separated by just 200 miles along the Northeast corridor, tell two very different stories about the crime of murder. Just look at last year’s numbers, their raw inverted symmetry, each historic and jaw-dropping: Baltimore, population 615,000, had 343 murders last year. That’s a murder rate of 55.8 per 100,000 people, the highest the city has ever seen. Recommended: In Pictures Policing America New York, population 8.5 million, had 290 murders last year. That’s a murder rate of 3.3 per 100,000 people, and the lowest the city has…

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Top Stories World 

In Trump era, reformers take fight to local prosecutor races

DALLAS — If you can’t win big, go small. That’s the strategy gaining momentum among criminal justice reformers in the age of Trump, as the federal government hardens its approach to law enforcement. Instead of pouring money and energy into squeezing change out of Washington, national civil rights organizations are teaming with local groups to push their agendas in county-level district attorney races, where a few thousand votes can determine who asserts the most influence over the local justice system. Picking their targets carefully, and crunching election data to influence…

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Science 

President Trump’s Plan to End DACA Hits Another Legal Stumbling Block

A district judge ruled that the President relied on flawed legal positions More (NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump’s administration didn’t offer “legally adequate reasons” for ending a program that spared many young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. as children, a judge ruled Tuesday as he ordered the program to continue. U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn said in a written order that the Republican president “indisputably” has the power to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but relied on flawed…

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Top Stories World 

Another judge blocks Trump administration from ending DACA

(Reuters) – A second U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, cannot end in March as planned, a victory for state attorneys general and immigrants who sued the Republican administration. Related The decision is similar to an earlier ruling by a federal judge in San Francisco that DACA must remain in place while…

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Science 

Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell Predict a Tough Road Ahead for an Immigration Deal

WASHINGTON — The Senate’s two top leaders put on a show of camaraderie as their chamber launched its immigration debate, but also laid down markers underscoring how hard it will be to reach a deal that can move through Congress. “We really do get along, despite what you read in the press,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday at a previously scheduled appearance alongside his counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at the University of Louisville. There was even ribbing when Schumer presented McConnell with a bottle…

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