About 2 percent of U.S. counties account for more than half of the executions carried out in the country; foreign universities are competing with American ones for the top academic rankings; meanwhile, social networks may help predict your chances of getting shot. 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.

Study: Majority of U.S. Executions Originate in 2% of Counties The death penalty in the U.S. is handed down according to vagaries of just a few harsh counties, a new study finds.

Russia: ‘Visit Our Gay Bars’ – Speaker Tells Europe’s MPs Russia’s parliamentary speaker invited European MPs to sample Moscow’s gay scene when they questioned him on homosexual rights, it’s reported.

What is the Oldest Lightbulb in Continuous Use? Installed before the Wright Brothers took to flight, 110 Years old and she is still beautiful.

When Are Micro-Apartments Just Way Too Micro? Tiny homes can be a space for brilliant innovation.

How Social Networks Explain Violence in Chicago What if you could predict your chances of being shot from your social network: who you know and how you know them? Turns out, maybe you can.

More Partisanship: What We Need to Fix Congress The shutdown of the federal government, we’re told, is a result of “partisanship” or even “hyperpartisanship,” as the centrist group No Labels puts it.

Northwestern’s Journalism Program Offers Students Internships with Prestige, But No Paycheck Northwestern University’s journalism school boasts of its prowess in preparing students for prestigious careers — but it also serves as a pipeline for unpaid internships.

How to Kill Goyim and Influence People: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel On another dry, sunny day in Jerusalem during the summer of 2010, writer Max Blumenthal weaved through the crowds of tourists, baby-faced soldiers, and packs of Orthodox settlers milling around on Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall, and headed toward Pomeranz, a Jewish book emporium on Be’eri Street, a busy road a few blocks away.

American Universities Yawn at Global Rankings But foreign competitors are elbowing their way onto the annual lists.

How Images Become Viral on Google+ Network science has changed the way we think about the spread of information, diseases and even fashions.

How Apple Could Boost Speeds 20 Times on the Next iPhone The new iPhone breaks ground by seamlessly sharing Wi-Fi and 4G for Siri. Further tweaks could boost bandwidth 20-fold in some cases.

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