Warning: The following story may be upsetting to some people.
That's because it's about clowns.
Yes, clowns. Painted white faces, red lips, receding hairlines with tufts of wild hair, and — of course — the red foam nose. Fun for all ages, yet plenty of people are downright scared of them. There's even a word for it: coulrophobia, though that's not an official diagnosis.
In one week, voters in New Jersey go to the polls in a special primary election for a U.S. Senate seat.
No one on the ballot has more name recognition than Cory Booker, the 44-year-old mayor of Newark, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. But Booker's critics say he's been more focused on his own ambitions than on governing New Jersey's largest city.
President Obama was back on the road talking about the economy today. Lately, he's been taking a trip or two a week all over the country with a different focus each time. Today, he was talking about housing in Phoenix, where the 2008 crash was louder and more painful than in most places. The president laid out some new proposals to help the housing industry, and he described some old ones too.
The sale of The Washington Post to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos could bring up conflict between the owner's interests and the paper's editorial independence. I talked about some of those issues with longtime media executive and consultant Merrill Brown. Among his jobs, he was a reporter and then corporate executive for The Washington Post. Later, he was founding editor-in-chief of msnbc.com. I asked Brown what he sees as potential conflicts of interest with Bezos at the helm of The Post.
In Choire Sicha's Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City, a voice from our future looks back at events taking place in a "massive" East Coast metropolis, its citizens perpetually gripped with "a quiet panic" while living in a gritty landscape of iron and excess. Throw in a mysterious virus, a rich, blind governor, a sketchy mayor campaigning for a third term, and this novel gets even more curious.
Apple has been notoriously disinterested in Washington politics. But two decisions coming from the Obama administration in the past few days indicate that Washington is increasingly interested in Apple.
A gene that affects the brain's dopamine system appears to have influenced mothers' behavior during a recent economic downturn, researchers say.
At the beginning of the recession that began in 2007, mothers with the "sensitive" version of a gene called DRD2 became more likely to strike or scream at their children, the researchers say. Mothers with the other "insensitive" version of the gene didn't change their behavior.