Scholars are acknowledging that alchemy actually led to noteworthy experiments; the CIA allegedly hired out a torture villa in Poland; meanwhile, sugar may soon power tablets, phones and more. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Alchemy May Not Have Been the Pseudoscience We All Thought It Was Throughout much of the 20th century, the academic community had little patience with alchemists and their vain efforts to transmute base metals into gold.

CIA Paid for Poland Torture Center The Washington Post alleges that CIA officials paid Polish intelligence $15 million—handed over in cardboard boxes—in exchange for access to a villa tucked away in the Polish lake district, where operatives ran a secret prison and employed interrogation techniques that many in the international community, included President Barack Obama, have labeled torture.

Ralph Nader on The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome — From Japan to America There is good reason why the New York Times continues to cover the deteriorating conditions in the desolate, evacuated Fukushima area.

Skills Gap a Convenient Myth Haven’t seen too many “Help Wanted” signs lately? You haven’t been looking hard enough.

Almost Everything in ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Was True This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about nuclear weapons, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

Sugar Battery Offers Hope of Green-Powered Gadgets Within Three Years Virginia Tech research means longer-lasting smartphones, tablets and consoles powered by sugar could be available soon.

The Childless City It’s hip, it’s entertaining—but where are the families?

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