Plenty of government programs had rough starts, but no one remembers anymore; mysterious phallic sculptures are disappearing from a tourist site in Iran; meanwhile, America is nowhere near as diverse as we think. 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.

Stop Giving Your Pet Food From China, Unless You Don’t Mind Them Dying 3000 dogs and cats have become ill, and nearly 600 have died, in the past several years, because of jerky pet treats imported from China, and not just chicken jerky.

Adelson Says Obama Should Fire ‘Atomic Weapon’ at Iran, Not Negotiate Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire supporter of Israel, said that the U.S. should fire a nuclear weapon at Iran rather than negotiate.

Social Security Flubbed Its Rollout. No One Remembers. Over at The Week Bill Scher offered up 5 Other Botched Rollouts of Government Programs” in order to bring a little historical perspective to the current pile-on over the bugs.

The Disappearing Phallic Sculptures of Iran Located in the green hills of northeast Iran, the Khalid Nabi Cemetery, also known as the “Valley of Genitalia”, is a historic site famous for its very phallic sculptures, thought by some to be gravestones.

Yes, the Internet Is Taking Up Time You Used To Spend With Actual People Robert Putnam warned nearly two decades ago about what he called the “technological transformation of leisure.”

Americans Vastly Overestimate How Diverse the Country Really Is In the last few years, the U.S. Census Bureau has released a series of high-profile projections narrowing in on a significant demographic milestone for the United States set to take place in the early 2040s.

Wikipedia Cracks Down On ‘Paid Advocacy Editing and Sockpuppetry’ Site’s editors have banned or blocked more than 250 user accounts in order to ‘protect the projects against non-neutral editing.’

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