1. First day of papal conclave. Following Mass, the College of Cardinals will enter the Sistine Chapel and cast their first votes to select the successor to Pope Emeritus Benedict. We expect initial results around 6:30 p.m., Vatican time. Black smoke from the Chapel chimney will mean that no candidate received the necessary two-thirds majority vote. White smoke signals the selection of the next pope. Follow along with editor Mike Luciano’s live blog.
2. NY “soda ban” struck down. The day before NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial ban on large, sugary drinks was set to become law, a state judge ruled against the law in court. Judge Milton Tingling, Jr. called the ban “arbitrary and capricious,” echoing the complaints of New York business owners. The ban would have prevented businesses from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. Bloomberg announced he will appeal the decision immediately.
3. Aurora shooter submits “not guilty” plea. A judge entered a plea of “not guilty” on behalf of James Holmes today. Holmes is accused of killing 12 and injuring 70 others at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises last July.
4. NASA announces results of Mars analysis. In a press conference today, NASA will reveal the results of analysis performed on the first rock sample ever extracted from Mars. Watch the conference live here, at 1pm EDT.
5. Facebook “likes” reveal personal details. Researchers from Cambridge have found that certain patterns of “likes” are linked to specific personal qualities. For example, if you “like” science and curly fries, you probably have a high IQ. The researchers can use their data to reliably predict a Facebook user’s religion, drug behavior, and sexual orientation, among other traits.
6. Liberal arts schools offer tuition deals. In the face of declining high school graduation rates and decreasing enrollment at private colleges, liberal arts school are beginning to offer novel financial incentives to prospective students. Alma College, in Michigan, now offers its students a $2,500 research stipend and free classes to those who need a fifth year to graduate. More than two-dozen liberal arts schools have frozen tuition rates at 2012 levels.
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