Musical Abilities Linked to Strength of Language Skills

A new study that tested high school students’ rhythmic abilities showed that those lacking in reading and speaking skills had more difficulty keeping to the beat of music. According to CBS News, study author Nina Kraus stated that “rhythm is an integral part of both music and language.” Students who had musical training of some sort not only had significantly higher reading and speech capabilities in comparison with their peers, but also had “enhanced neural responses to speech sounds,” according to BBC News. Sound waves that were played during the test matched the brainwaves created by the students. This means that if you were to play the brainwave through a speaker it would sound the same as the sound wave it was mimicking. This finding expressed a connection between the brain processes auditory, reading, language and motor controls. 

The Healthcare Laws Verses the Debt Ceiling

“[If we don’t raise the debt ceiling,] America becomes a deadbeat,” said President Obama on Friday, September 20 according to the New York Times. A bill was recently passed through the House of Representatives and is now being discussed at the Senate which would prevent funding of the recent healthcare laws nicknamed “Obamacare.” The Republicans have refused to raise the debt ceiling – defined by the New York Times as the “government’s borrowing limit” – until Obama agrees to cut funding for the system that is set to take effect next year. If the debt ceiling is not raised, the United States will default on its current debts. Without a compromise, the federal government could shut down completely on October 1.

President Obama told House Speaker Boehner that he refuses to compromise on the bill, citing Congress’s duty to take care of the nation’s debt. If the Democrat-heavy Senate refuses to pass the Republican Obamacare cuts, the federal government will be at a standstill. Certain federal workers would not receive pay, including some military personnel. This excludes air traffic controllers, food inspection and the U.S. border agency, but national parks would be closed and non-essential employees would be sent home.

Terror in Nairobi

Saturday, September 21 was the start of what would become a four-day conflict between Kenyan military personnel and a branch of a Somali Islamic militants at a high-class mall in Nairobi, Kenya, according to BBC News. 72 people were killed during the siege by the individuals, a number that includes a few security personnel and militants. Because the siege ended with a fire that caused the collapse of the mall, there are still many individuals missing. Kenya mourned for three days to honor the lives lost during the attack, two of whom were family members of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. According to the New York Times, American security officials have stated that “The massacre plot was hatched weeks or months ago on Somali soil, by an ‘external operations arm’ of the Shabab, an Islamist terrorist group based there…” It is still unclear what the motives behind the conflict are.