Why shooting peace activists to death is a big deal — even in foreign policy circles, what priests’ mistresses think of celibacy, and how much public money Sarah Palin got paid to attempt public speech.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that 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.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Iran Leader Ahmadinejad’s Same-Sex Kiss CNN’s Fareed Zakaria broadcast an interesting photo Sunday morning: Iranian president … Ahmadinajad kissing another man!!!

What students can teach us about iPhones My anthropology class studied the gadget’s use on campus and uncovered anxiety, addiction and gushing love.

Why the Gaza boat deaths are a huge deal While we don’t yet know all the facts, the apparent killing of at least 10 people aboard a ship bound for Gaza with humanitarian aid already has all the hallmarks of a massive public-relations disaster.

10 Things You Need (But Don’t Want) To Know About the BP Oil Spill How the owner of the exploded oil rig has made $270 million off the disaster, and nine other shocking, depressing facts about the oil spill.

HEALTH PLAN HEADED FOR MAJOR DISASTER AS EMPLOYERS VIEW CUTS TO SAVE MONEY Although U.S. employers view controlling health care costs as their highest health care reform priority, few believe that the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stem the tide of rising costs, according to a May 2010 survey by Towers Watson.

Italian priests’ secret mistresses ask pope to scrap celibacy rule Forty women send unprecedented letter to pontiff saying priests need to ‘experience feelings, love and be loved.’

GETTING DIRTY IS GOOD FOR THE BRAIN Getting some outdoor time is not only good for the soul, it’s probably good for the mind. Research from The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, suggests that exposure to a natural soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae can increase learning behavior. Another reason to enjoy, and protect, the great outdoors. And a potential reason to eat a little dirt here and there.

Palin to get $75,000 for Cal State Stanislaus speech Two Cal State sources disclose the amount, which is not confirmed by officials. Her appearance has brought much attention to the Turlock campus.

Black Water Rising As the oil continues to flow, the political and environmental fallout is just getting started.

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