Scientists connected the brains of a pair of rodents–one in Brazil, the other in North Carolina–via computers; an Italian jeans maker has trademarked the word “Jesus” thus holding exclusive rights to clothes bearing Christ’s name; meanwhile, a police officer is on trial in New York on suspicion of planning to rape, torture and cannibalize women. 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.

Researchers Link Two Rats’ Brains via Computer It’s not exactly rat telepathy. Let’s call it a computer-mediated rat mind-meld.

Django Unchained, or The Help On reflection, it’s possible to see that Django Unchained and The Help are basically different versions of the same movie.

Bob Woodward Embodies US Political Culture In A Single Outburst The decades-old Woodward lore plays a critical role in maintaining the fiction of a watchdog press corps even though he is one of the most faithful servants of the war machine and the national security and surveillance states.

Andrew Sullivan Calls Out Pope For Being Gay, Living With His Sexetary Conservative, Catholic and gay blogger Andrew Sullivan has some issues with the circumstances surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement.

How NASA Scientists Are Turning L.A. Into One Big Climate-Change Lab Southern California’s Mount Wilson is a lonesome, hostile peak — prone to sudden rock falls, sometimes ringed by wildfire — that nevertheless has attracted some of the greatest minds in modern science.

The Cannibal Cop on Trial Though Gilberto Valle faces life in prison if convicted—he’s been charged with “a heinous plot to kidnap, rape, murder and cannibalize a number of very real women”—the former New York City police officer barely says a word.

Supreme Court Shields Warrantless Eavesdropping Law From Constitutional Challenge Both the Bush and Obama DOJ’s have relied on one tactic in particular to insulate its eavesdropping behavior from judicial review: by draping what it does in total secrecy, it prevents anyone from knowing with certainty who the targets of its surveillance are.

If You Take These Jeans’ Name in Vain, Prepare to Meet Their Maker In a branding coup of biblical proportions, an Italian jeans maker persuaded the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2007 to register the word “Jesus” as a trademark, giving the company exclusive rights in America to sell clothing bearing the name of Christianity’s central figure.

The Science Behind Coffee and Why it’s Actually Good for Your Health Coffee isn’t just warm and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you.

Austerity USA Begins March 1st U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them.

Aaron Swartz Was Right The suicide of the Internet wunderkind Aaron Swartz has given rise to a great deal of discussion, much of it centered on whether the penalty sought against him by the prosecutor was proportional to his “crime.”

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