Morning Reads

-Good economic news: according to the Department of Commerce, GDP is estimated to have grown by 3.1% in the the third quarter. That calculation exceeds Bloomberg’s 2.7% prediction.

-Scott Brown, perhaps with an eye on Massachusetts’ forthcoming special election, said that he supports a federal ban on assault weapons.

Mother Jones’ Adam Serwer explains how Republicans and Democrats worked together to kill a ban on the suspension of habeas corpus that was in the 2013 defense spending bill. And they say bipartisanship in Washington is dead!

-A decision that could influence this year’s blockbuster intellectual property trial: CNET is reporting that the USPTO revoked Apple’s patent on “pinch to zoom” technology. Exclusive rights to it played a role in Apple’s multi-billion dollar courtroom victory against Samsung. Samsung is appealing that decision — which includes an injunction against a host of its products. Apple, meanwhile has the opportunity to contest the USPTO’s decision.

-The Orelans Parish School Board in New Orleans voted on Tuesday to ban the teaching of creationism in science class and any “history textbook…adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines.”

-South Korea has its first female President. Park Geun-hye narrowly beat out her liberal opponent, Moon Jae-in in Wednesday’s vote. Her father, Park Cheung-hee, presided over South Korea’s brutal military dictatorship from 1961 until his assassination in 1979. On a decidedly lighter note, Park currently lives in Gangnam.

And this came out last month, but is more relevant than ever…

NASA explains why the world probably won’t end tomorrow. It debunks the idea that the Mayans even predicted an apocalypse, pointing out that “the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.”

-And just in case you’re giving away all your worldly possessions in anticipation of the Mayan “apocalypse,” consider your friends at the Washington Monthly. We’re currently in the middle of our annual holiday fundraiser.

Samuel Knight

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.