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DC5n United States science in english 100 articles, created at 2021-12-06 03:31 articles set mostly negative rate -1.5
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Who's in the College Football Playoff? Michigan, Alabama, Georgia and Cincinnati

The College Football Playoff field is complete, and for the second time in the format's history half of the field will be composed of … 2021-12-05 06:00 3KB www.usatoday.com

(9.89/20)  2 
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Third Party to Probe Oxford High's Actions Ahead of Shooting

A third party will investigate events at Oxford High School that occurred before a school shooting that left four students dead and six other students … 2021-12-06 00:00 6KB www.theepochtimes.com

(8.40/20)  3 
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The detection of Omicron in the U.S. expands to at least 16 states.

Most of the infected had traveled to southern Africa recently, but health officials are bracing for the inevitable community spread. 2021-12-05 14:47 5KB www.nytimes.com

(5.78/20)  4 
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Fantasy football rankings - NFL Week 13

Weekly individual and composite rankings for each position in PPR and non-PPR formats. 2021-12-05 17:51 1KB www.espn.com

(4.49/20)  5 
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Before Even Receiving a Name, Omicron Could Have Spread in New York and the Country

A health care analyst came to Manhattan for an anime convention. His trip shows how the virus once again outpaced the public health response. 2021-12-05 14:56 10KB www.nytimes.com

(4.29/20)  6 
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What We Do and Don’t Know About the Omicron Variant And what we don’t know remains a lot.

Scientists say the variant, which has been spreading in South Africa and Botswana and has already prompted numerous travel bans, has a worrisome number of mutations — but more research is needed. 2021-12-06 00:31 16KB nymag.com

(4.20/20)  7 
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Traveler who jumped from taxiing plane ‘thought somebody was after him’

'I don’t want him to be portrayed as. some crazy guy that jumped out of the plane,' the man's mom said 2021-12-05 20:39 2KB www.nydailynews.com

(4.16/20)  8 
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Fauci to Sen. Ron Johnson: ‘Preposterous’ to Claim I’m Overhyping COVID

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) … 2021-12-05 16:29 1KB www.breitbart.com

(3.27/20)  9 
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Hippos test positive for coronavirus in Belgium, the first known cases in species

It's unclear how the Antwerp zoo's Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, contracted the virus. 2021-12-05 21:23 3KB www.pressherald.com

(3.10/20)  10 
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3 skiers killed in avalanche in Austria

Three of the skiers were buried by the avalanche, while another two were partly buried and able to free themselves, regional police said in a statement. 2021-12-05 12:32 1KB www.cbsnews.com

(2.10/20)  11 
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Pope Francis: We Live in ‘the Age of Walls and Barbed Wire’

ROME — Pope Francis lamented Sunday morning that “little has changed with regard to the issue of migration” since he last visited the Greek island … 2021-12-05 13:07 4KB www.breitbart.com

(2.03/20)  12 
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15-year-old boy shot after argument in Loop

About two hours earlier, a CTA bus driver was beaten less than half a mile away. 2021-12-05 08:34 1KB chicago.suntimes.com

(1.32/20)  13 
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Nagaland: Army orders CoI into killing of civilians in operation

Ordering a Court of Inquiry into the incident, Army said that one of its personnel was killed and several others were seriously injured. 2021-12-05 11:19 4KB www.siasat.com

(1.10/20)  14 
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Telangana prepared for third wave of COVID-19: Health director

Telangana has tripled its oxygen generating capacity and maintained 27 oxygen containers on reserve in anticipation of an increase in Covid-19 2021-12-05 07:27 2KB www.siasat.com

(1.07/20)  15 
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Explosion heard near Iranian nuclear site Natanz

TEHRAN, Iran — An explosion shook the area near Iran ’s main nuclear -enrichment plant late on Saturday, prompting conflicting explanations from Iranian officials as Tehran … 2021-12-05 06:50 3KB www.foxnews.com

(1.02/20)  16 
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Biden and Putin to speak this week

The meeting comes as U.S. intelligence is warning of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine as soon as January. 2021-12-05 15:39 3KB www.cbsnews.com

(1.01/20)  17 
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Artist comes forward about Crumbleys' whereabouts after their capture, lawyer says

Andrzej Sikora has contacted authorities following the discovery of the Crumbleys in a commercial space in Detroit linked to him. 2021-12-05 20:53 4KB eu.detroitnews.com

(1.01/20)  18 
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Farrah Abraham 'Teen Mom' Reunion Show Unfortunately Got Physical

'Teen Mom' is getting a blast from the past with Farrah. 2021-12-05 18:43 1KB www.tmz.com

(1.01/20)  19 
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Dear Abby: Needy friend keeps me on the phone for hours

Woman wants to reduce contact with former co-worker now in a nursing home. 2021-12-05 12:00 3KB chicago.suntimes.com

(1.01/20)  20 
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1 miner missing, 1 hurt in coal mine accident in Poland

Coal mining authorities said Sunday that one miner is missing and one has been rescued with injuries after an earth tremor and a cave-in … 2021-12-05 10:28 1KB abcnews.go.com

(1.01/20)  21 
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Incoming German transport minister warns against travel over Christmas

Germany’s incoming transport minister is advising people against travelling over Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections. 2021-12-05 09:57 2KB www.independent.ie

(0.24/20)  22 
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What Are the Truly Verifiable Facts Surrounding COVID-19? - Global Research

Incisive and carefully researched article by David Skripac, first published on Global Research on August 14, 2020 *** “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Those words, uttered by two-time Nobel Prize-winning chemist and physicist Marie … 2021-12-05 13:45 40KB www.globalresearch.ca

(0.06/20)  23 
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Man fires shots at NC State students after trying to rob them on campus, police say

A man attempted to rob a group of North Carolina State University Students in a car, according to the university's police department. 2021-12-05 13:03 1KB www.wral.com

(0.05/20)  24 
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Live updates: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Rams at SoFi Stadium

Keep it here for live updates from reporter Kevin Modesti along with analysis and stats during and after the game. 2021-12-05 19:00 899Bytes www.ocregister.com

(0.03/20)  25 
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Study shows more pregnant women die from homicide than illness

[ Editor's note: This story originally was published by Live Action News . ] New research published November 1, 2021, in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology has … 2021-12-05 20:09 3KB www.wnd.com

(0.02/20)  26 
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Travis Pastrana Pays Off ‘Airplane Deal’ With Chase Elliott

Travis Pastrana has paid off a deal that he made with Chase Elliott during the NASCAR playoffs. He jumped out of a plane that Elliott controlled. 2021-12-05 21:47 4KB heavy.com

(0.02/20)  27 
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Shell oil and gas exploration fury spreads to UK

The countrywide protests aimed at stopping energy giants Shell from blasting the ocean floor off South Africa's ecologically sensitive East Coast in search of oil and gas have spread to the UK. 2021-12-05 20:12 3KB www.news24.com

(0.02/20)  28 
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We Are Living Through a Time of Fear – Not Just of the Virus, but of Each Other - Global Research

Welcome to the age of fear. Nothing is more corrosive of the democratic impulse than fear. Left unaddressed, it festers, eating away at our confidence and empathy. 2021-12-05 15:45 3KB www.globalresearch.ca

(0.02/20)  29 
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"Don't Look Up," an apocalyptic comedy

Can you play an existential crisis for laughs? Correspondent Tracy Smith talks with stars Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, and with writer-director Adam McKay (an Oscar-winner for "The Big Short"), about "Don't Look Up," a satire about Earth's impending collision with a comet that offers a comical analogy to climate change – and mankind's reluctance to deal with it. 2021-12-05 14:56 1KB www.cbsnews.com

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Joanne Shenandoah, Indigenous singer of majestic lyricism, dies at 64

She played guitar, piano, flute, cello and other instruments, gave up to 200 concerts a year, and sold millions of recordings. 2021-12-06 00:25 7KB www.pressherald.com

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2021 AI Predictions: What We Got Right And Wrong

As Niels Bohr put it: "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." 2021-12-06 00:00 8KB www.forbes.com

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Two Lots Of COVID Drug Remdesivir Part Of Safety Recall For Glass Particle Contamination

Gilead is notifying distributors and customers about the problem. 2021-12-05 23:16 2KB miami.cbslocal.com

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U.S. Space Force experimental satellite launch postponed to Tuesday

A U.S. Space Force plan to launch a cluster of experimental satellites from Florida, including a NASA laser communications spacecraft, has been delayed to early Tuesday morning. 2021-12-05 23:16 1KB www.upi.com

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Dying Columbia student cried for help after being stabbed by reputed gangbanger

A Columbia University grad student stabbed to death in Morningside Park desperately cried out for help before collapsing, part of a horrifying random attack caught … 2021-12-05 22:46 2KB nypost.com

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What Peng Shuai’s rape accusation says about China

The tennis star’s disappearance is part of a larger pattern of censorship and misogyny. 2021-12-05 22:44 11KB www.vox.com

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The wreaths need a ride: Vet-honoring Wreaths Across America faces trucking, transport challenges

The remembrance wreaths need a ride. Officials at Wreaths Across America say the effort has been affected by the current challenges faced by the trucking … 2021-12-05 22:25 2KB www.washingtontimes.com

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Crimes against LGBTQ community deserve thorough investigation

The vast majority of those cases receive only a glimmer of the attention Jussie Smollett has received. 2021-12-05 22:21 3KB chicago.suntimes.com

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What To Do If You Are Ghosted After A Job Interview

A survey by Indeed reveals that 77% of job seekers say a prospective employer has ghosted them after a job interview. Here's what to do if it happens to you. 2021-12-05 22:00 4KB www.forbes.com

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To Deny the "Lab Leak" COVID Theory, the NYT and WPost Use Dubious and Conflicted Sources

A bizarre and abrupt reversal by scientists regarding COVID's origins, along with clear conflicts of interest, create serious doubts about their integrity. Yet major news outlets keep relying on them. 2021-12-05 20:53 13KB greenwald.substack.com

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Space Station Astronauts Squeezed Into A Module To Watch Solar Eclipse

Only a few humans got to witness a total solar eclipse on Saturday (Dec. 4), and a few of them happened to be in space. 2021-12-05 20:52 3KB www.forbes.com

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Britney Spears Impersonated Some Of The Therapists She Was Forced To See While Under Conservatorship

Spears is now using her Instagram to discuss some of the traumatizing experiences she went through. 2021-12-05 20:45 2KB uproxx.com

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Cocaine Evidence Found Near UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Private Office

The United Kingdom’s worsening drug problem intensifies as evidence of cocaine was discovered in toilets near the private office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A … 2021-12-05 20:34 2KB dailycaller.com

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Experts Believe Other States Could Switch To Electric Mowers Like California

Millions of Americans own gas-powered lawn mowers, but that could be changing. 2021-12-05 19:31 2KB miami.cbslocal.com

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"The organ that makes us human": How skin conditions shape our relationship with the world

"Skin" author Sergio del Molino says that skin afflictions affect our disposition — and may even make us tyrants 2021-12-05 19:00 5KB www.salon.com

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How Do Ocean Microbes Change The Climate? Ask This South African Scientist!

South African researcher Kolisa Yola Sinyanya is exploring the role of marine microorganisms and through that, the ocean's role in the carbon cycle and global climate change. #globalsouthscience 2021-12-05 19:00 4KB www.forbes.com

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CDC’s Walensky: Recommendations for Masking Have Been ‘Crystal Clear’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that their recommendations for masking had been “crystal clear. … 2021-12-05 18:57 2KB www.breitbart.com

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Stocks This Week: Buy Applied Materials And Thermo Electron

Here are stock selections for the strongest part of the year. 2021-12-05 18:43 3KB www.forbes.com

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Vivek Murthy Denies U.S. Back 'at Square One' Amid Omicron, Notes Holiday Travel OK

Those who are vaccinated, get tested before traveling, or gather in well-ventilated spaces and use masks carry a low risk of spreading the virus, Murthy said. 2021-12-05 18:12 3KB www.newsweek.com

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Poverty ratio 32.75% in rural areas against 8.81% in urban: NITI report

Urban areas, by all accounts, have skimmed off the fruits of development at least during 2015-16, the year of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), … 2021-12-05 17:59 4KB www.business-standard.com

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This Dino Species Has 'Something Never Seen Before'

A fossil found in Chile is from a strange-looking dog-sized dinosaur species that had a unique slashing tail weapon, scientists reported Wednesday. Some dinosaurs had spiked tails. 2021-12-05 17:40 3KB www.newser.com

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Notable Deaths in 2021

A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who'd touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity. 2021-12-05 17:40 209KB www.cbsnews.com

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COVID physician suing hospital 'to bring medicine back to doctors'

A physician and medical researcher who is suing his Virginia hospital for preventing him from treating COVID-19 patients with effective drugs that have become … 2021-12-05 17:35 8KB www.wnd.com

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Illumina CEO explains what scientists are studying to determine if Omicron variant is more transmissible

Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina, a company that identifies and tracks COVID variants through genomic sequencing, said Sunday that "we are in a lot different position than we were at the beginning of the pandemic" in figuring out where the virus and variants are. 2021-12-05 17:30 1KB www.cbsnews.com

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Not in favour of cut-off based admission system: DU Vice Chancellor

The current cut-off based admission system puts students from the boards where the marking is "strict" at a disadvantage, Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh … 2021-12-05 17:13 4KB www.business-standard.com

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Restoring election integrity: The one and only way to save America from tyranny and destruction

One year before the 2022 midterm elections, the United States of America, long the freest, most powerful and most successful nation on earth, is on … 2021-12-05 17:06 8KB www.wnd.com

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Chicago organizations look for Type One diabetes cure

A T1D cure is sought by organization like JDRF and UChicago Medicine. 2021-12-05 16:57 2KB abc7chicago.com

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Study finds increased consumption of eggs in children decreases egg allergy

Illinois: According to a recent study, children should be introduced to eggs at an early age to decrease egg allergy. This study was presented at the 2021-12-05 16:22 2KB www.siasat.com

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Study finds sense of unreality in mothers after uterus transplantation

Gothenburg: According to a study by the University of Gothenburg, new mothers have a feeling of unreality after giving birth due to getting a uterus 2021-12-05 16:16 4KB www.siasat.com

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Nashville mom arrested for bringing loaded gun into high school during fight, police say

A Nashville mom was arrested Thursday after carrying a loaded semi-automatic handgun into a high school during a physical fight between students, authorities said. … 2021-12-05 15:53 2KB www.foxnews.com

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Data Driven Decisions And Forecasting At Shopify

By making data driven decisions and applying machine learning for anomaly detection and forecasting at scale Shopify is creating new experiences for their merchants. 2021-12-05 15:51 9KB www.forbes.com

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Listen to 'On The Line': A gunman inside a Michigan school

Listeners go to a vigil, hear from students and explore what's next for the alleged shooter. 2021-12-05 15:51 1KB eu.freep.com

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Police: 18-Year-Old Shot To Death After Argument At East Harlem Deli

Police released a photo of the man they're searching for Saturday. 2021-12-05 15:40 2KB newyork.cbslocal.com

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Omicron variant may have picked up a piece of common-cold virus: experts

The Omicron variant may have fragments of another virus, possibly the one that causes common cold in humans, researchers said. Researchers from Nference, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based … 2021-12-05 15:34 2KB nypost.com

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Man Who Helped Catch Suspect In Deadly Morningside Heights Stabbing Recalls ‘Unbelievable’ Encounter With Alleged Killer

Thirty-year-old Davide Giri, a Columbia University graduate student from Italy, was killed after he was stabbed in the stomach near Morningside Park. A short time later, an Italian tourist was also stabbed near the same park. He survived. 2021-12-05 15:30 3KB newyork.cbslocal.com

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Why An Eric Gordon Trade Could Be Difficult To Construct

Getting the math to work on a trade will be difficult. 2021-12-05 15:24 4KB www.forbes.com

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Traditional Chinese medicine leading to destruction of African biodiversity: Report

China is systematically destroying the biodiversity and pursuing growth of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCMs) in Africa 2021-12-05 15:21 3KB www.siasat.com

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Seaweed may help stop coronavirus from infecting human cells: Study

Jerusalem: A substance extracted from edible marine algae may help stop the spread of coronavirus, according to a study. Researchers from Tel Aviv 2021-12-05 15:09 3KB www.siasat.com

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Why VR still isn’t as immersive as it should be

The VR experience is improving, but it won't be fully immersive until the experiences it offers have real meaning. 2021-12-05 15:05 8KB venturebeat.com

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Mahanadi Coalfields to set up 50-MW solar plant in Odisha's Sambalpur

Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) will set up a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur district at a cost of Rs 301.92 … 2021-12-05 15:05 1KB www.business-standard.com

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Scientists who study boredom can help you channel your feelings into something productive

Turn off the Netflix: People who are bored don’t need to be entertained — they need to be engaged, research says 2021-12-05 15:00 13KB www.salon.com

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Is Gene Editing the New Name for Eugenics? "Enter Bill Gates" - Global Research

A major new technology known as Gene Editing has gained significant attention in recent months. Its advocates claim it will revolutionize everything from agriculture production to disease treatment. Is this technology a stealth way to introduce GMO genetic manipulation by way of another technique. 2021-12-05 14:13 6KB www.globalresearch.ca

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Ocean resources key to India's future economy, says Jitendra Singh

Stating that marine minerals from coastal and ocean resources will be key to India's future economy, Union Science and Technology Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh … 2021-12-05 14:06 2KB www.business-standard.com

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Study Reveals Why Astronauts Age Faster in Space

Weightlessness makes DNA replication more prone to errors, so astronauts experience the symptoms of aging earlier than normal. 2021-12-05 14:00 3KB www.newsweek.com

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Put a price on carbon

A price on carbon would make dirty electricity more expensive, and solar- and wind-generated electricity relatively cheaper. Imagine more vacant city lots covered in solar panels to supply local houses. 2021-12-05 14:00 3KB chicago.suntimes.com

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Could 118 lives have been saved in Chicago if vaccines were distributed more equitably?

A UChicago study suggests a fairer distribution of shots would have saved lives. And an analysis of data by WBEZ, MuckRock and Documenting COVID-19 shows how, despite the city’s efforts to improve vaccine equity, the initial phase of Protect Chicago Plus did not prioritize some vulnerable communities. 2021-12-05 13:30 9KB chicago.suntimes.com

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Stunning photos show total solar eclipse over Antarctica

These stunning photos show the moment the sun is completely covered by the moon in an amazing solar eclipse. The phenomenon saw the sun completely … 2021-12-05 13:06 2KB nypost.com

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Welcome to ‘Web3.’ What’s That?

Crypto enthusiasts see a future where the internet runs on blockchain-based tokens. In some spaces, these experiments are already well underway. 2021-12-05 13:00 7KB www.nytimes.com

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Antarctica was once a rainforest. Could it be again?

A polar expedition drilled into the seafloor and unearthed 90-million-year-old tree roots. 2021-12-05 13:00 11KB www.vox.com

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'Red Rocket' Is a Study in Shamelessness

The film’s lead is reprehensible and self-aggrandizing––and mesmerizing to watch. 2021-12-05 13:00 6KB www.theatlantic.com

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Opinion: Clean energy focus in Build Back Better would create jobs, invest in everybody

Raygun founder and solar energy and electric vehicle consultant: The more we produce in the US, the less beholden we are to outside forces. 2021-12-05 12:14 3KB eu.desmoinesregister.com

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Eskom to suspend load shedding

Eskom says it intends to suspend load shedding sooner than anticipated. 2021-12-05 12:12 1KB www.news24.com

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Criminal investigation underway at University of New Haven

A criminal investigation is underway at the University of New Haven following a robbery that took place earlier this morning. 2021-12-05 11:41 2KB www.wfsb.com

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4,669 hectares of fields in Himachal Pradesh covered with solar fencing

For preventing the crop damaged by wild animals, the Himachal Pradesh government is implementing the Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana. Under this scheme, 4,669. … 2021-12-05 11:37 3KB www.business-standard.com

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Florida history: Remembering the Everglades ValuJet plane crash

Aircraft slammed nose-first into the swamplands of the Everglades National Park just west of the Miami International Airport minutes into the air. There were no survivors. 2021-12-05 11:34 4KB eu.palmbeachpost.com

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Asteroid twice the size of pyramids heading near Earth at end of year

Known as 2017 AE3, the asteroid has an estimated diameter ranging between 120 meters and 260 meters. It likely won't hit Earth, which is … 2021-12-05 10:25 759Bytes www.jpost.com

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ED records statement of ex Mumbai CP Singh in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate has recorded the statement of suspended Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities … 2021-12-05 10:14 3KB www.business-standard.com

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A Bitcoin Boom Fueled by Cheap Power, Empty Plants and Few Rules

Cryptocurrency miners are flocking to New York’s faded industrial towns, prompting concern over the environmental impact of huge computer farms. 2021-12-05 10:00 10KB www.nytimes.com

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Some see animal welfare problems with plan for tiger sanctuary near the Strip

The illusionist proposing a tiger sanctuary near the Strip to house the animals that would perform in his Las Vegas magic show says he is passionate about animals and is creating a climate controlled environment from . 2021-12-05 10:00 6KB lasvegassun.com

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L&T winning more orders overseas than in India, says A M Naik

India’s largest construction and engineering player, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has lost 14 large orders in India as companies that don't have adequate … 2021-12-05 09:22 1KB www.business-standard.com

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California’s economic recovery lags Nebraska

If nothing else, this exercise in numerology is a reminder that California, for all its Hollywood glitz and its Silicon Valley flash, is a state with a fundamental socioeconomic problem. 2021-12-05 08:01 4KB www.ocregister.com

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On This Day: NASA test launches Orion spacecraft

On Dec. 5, 2014, NASA successfully test launched its Orion spacecraft, its hope for the future of manned space travel and an eventual trip to Mars. 2021-12-05 08:00 781Bytes www.upi.com

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Taj Mahal is losing its sheen. Blame the pollution in Yamuna, not just industrial emissions

Hydrogen sulphide released from polluted water has a more corrosive impact on the monument than sulphur dioxide emitted by the factories in Agra, finds a study. 2021-12-05 08:00 9KB scroll.in

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Discoms' outstanding dues to gencos rise 1.3% to Rs 113,227 cr in December

Total outstanding dues owed by electricity distribution companies (discoms) to power producers rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,13,227 … 2021-12-05 07:40 4KB www.business-standard.com

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Omicron: India’s genome consortium backtracks on booster dose advice, says need more experiments

A week ago, the organisation had said that the additional shots may be considered for people above the age of 40. 2021-12-05 07:29 2KB scroll.in

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Spurt in sale of agricultural land in Telangana

Hyderabad: The Telangana state witnessed record sales of agricultural lands during the current fiscal year. Around 60,000 land transactions are taking 2021-12-05 06:47 1KB www.siasat.com

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Arianna, 14, loves being ballet dancer

She does very well with her peers and is able to build and maintain healthy relationships. 2021-12-05 05:08 1KB www.bostonherald.com

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JNU admin advises students’ union to cancel screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’

New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Saturday "firmly" advised the students' union to cancel the screening of 'Ram Ke Naam' 2021-12-05 04:57 4KB www.siasat.com

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Venus' 'greatest brightness' visible on Dec. 8: PAGASA

PAGASA said there will be several Moon-planetary conjunctions this week, with Venus achieving its 'greatest brightness.' 2021-12-05 04:56 2KB news.abs-cbn.com

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BYU women hold off Utes’ rally to stay undefeated

As a way to drum up support and build an environment like the University of Utah sees at its Pac-12 Conference road games, the Utes gave all fans dressed in red free entry to Saturday evening’s. 2021-12-05 04:26 3KB www.deseret.com

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Signature of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry becomes first living NFT at Art Basel

Where no one has gone before! The authentic signature of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry has been coded into the DNA of a living bacterial organism, and … 2021-12-05 03:51 2KB nypost.com

Articles

DC5n United States science in english 100 articles, created at 2021-12-06 03:31

 

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Who's in the College Football Playoff? Michigan, Alabama, Georgia and Cincinnati
(19.99/20)

The College Football Playoff field is complete, and for the second time in the format's history half of the field will be composed of teams from the SEC. Alabama's 41-24 win against Georgia will send both teams to the playoff and create the possibility of the second SEC-on-SEC championship game. The last time this happened, the Crimson Tide beat Georgia with a long touchdown pass in overtime. This power move from the SEC could overshadow the history made by Cincinnati's win against Houston, which will end the Group of Five's playoff drought. Filling out the four-team field is Michigan, which beat Iowa to claim the Big Ten championship. Here is the fallout from this week's run of conference championship games: Michigan seemed on track to blow Iowa out of the water early before the Hawkeyes slowed down and settled the tempo, sending the game into halftime with the Wolverines up 14-3. Style points came later, as Michigan added 21 points in the fourth quarter to win 42-3 and make a case for being the top overall seed in the playoff. Kenny Pickett should land in Manhattan as a Heisman Trophy finalist — but he'll be a heavy underdog to actually win the award, as we'll touch on below — after throwing for 253 yards with three combined touchdowns in the Panthers' 45-21 win against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons led 21-14 at halftime before Pittsburgh surged to the program's first ACC championship since joining the conference. Of course, watching Alabama dismantle Georgia's defense would make you wonder: Were the Bulldogs really favored in the SEC championship game? It's a huge win for the Crimson Tide, who will return to the playoff once again, and a banner result for the SEC, which will send two teams into the semifinals for the second time. As before, it's the Tide and Bulldogs. There is also no question about who will lift the Heisman later this month — the winner will be Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, and it shouldn't be a close vote. Houston hung tight with Cincinnati through halftime but came undone not long into the third quarter, as three quick scores pushed the Bearcats up 35-13 and into history as the first team from outside the Power Five to reach the playoff. Any doubt that Cincinnati would finish in the top four with a win was removed after Oklahoma State fell to Baylor, turning any questions instead to where the committee will rank the best team from the Group of Five. In control at halftime, Baylor nearly coughed up the Big 12 championship but rallied to pull off what ranks among the memorable moments in program history: the late defensive stand culminating with a fourth-down spot just inches from the end zone. That handed the Bears the 21-16 win against Oklahoma State and a spot in the New Year's Six, while the Cowboys plummet out of the mix for the national semifinals. The two meetings between these teams this season served as reminders of how far Oregon is removed from playing for national championships and just what sort of program Kyle Whittingham has built with the Utes. The combined score of 76-16 does a good job recapping just what Utah did to the Ducks across eight quarters of absolute punishment on both sides of the ball.
Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati reach College Football Playoff
espn.com
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Michigan No. 2 in final College Football Playoff rankings, will play Georgia in Orange Bowl
eu.freep.com
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College Football Playoff committee’s job made easier with upsets
nypost.com
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Cincinnati Breaks Glass Ceiling, Becomes First ‘Group Of Five’ Team To Make College Football Playoff And Will Face No. 1 Alabama
forbes.com
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Opinion: Cincinnati barbarians are at the gate of the College Football Playoff. Let them in
usatoday.com
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY: Young leads Tide over Georgia
wtop.com
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Breaking down Michigan football's potential College Football Playoff semifinal opponents
eu.freep.com
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Alabama-Cincinnati And Georgia-Michigan Will Play In The College Football Playoff Semifinals
uproxx.com
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Michigan lands at No. 2 in College Football Playoff and fans think the fix is in
eu.freep.com
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Alabama Beats Georgia, Back to Playoff
outsidethebeltway.com
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Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati earn football playoff bids
upi.com
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Alabama, Michigan, Georgia And Cincinnati Make The College Football Playoff
dailycaller.com
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Playoff set: Alabama vs. Cincinnati, Michigan vs. Georgia
lasvegassun.com
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Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati Make College Football Playoff
nytimes.com
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Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati picked for College Football Playoff
pressherald.com
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Michigan storms to Big Ten title, eyes College Football Playoff
eu.detroitnews.com
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College Football Playoff field set: Alabama vs. Cincinnati, Michigan vs. Georgia
nypost.com
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College Football Playoff preview - Keys to Alabama-Cincinnati, Michigan-Georgia
espn.com
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Bowl projections: Will Michigan football or Alabama be the No. 1 seed in CFP?
eu.freep.com
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The College Football Playoff will feature Alabama v. Cincinnati and Michigan v. Georgia
edition.cnn.com
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The College Football Playoff committee got the top four right, no question about it
espn.com
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History is made as Cincinnati becomes first Group of Five school to make College Football Playoff
deseret.com
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Michigan routs Iowa for Big Ten Championship, likely secures spot in College Football Playoff
foxnews.com
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College Football Playoff: Alabama Number One, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati Round Out Top Four
dailywire.com
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Playoff set: Alabama vs. Cincinnati, Michigan vs. Georgia
wtop.com
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Whicker: Cincinnati proves the College Football Playoff is no closed shop
ocregister.com
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Alabama gets No. 1 seed in College Football Playoff, followed by Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati
usatoday.com
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Michigan vs. Georgia: Wolverines rejoin elites by barging into College Football Playoff
eu.freep.com
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Alabama gets No. 1 seed in College Football Playoff, followed by Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati
usatoday.com
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College Football Playoff is set: Alabama vs. Cincinnati, Michigan vs. Georgia
chicago.suntimes.com
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 2 /100 

0.7
Third Party to Probe Oxford High's Actions Ahead of Shooting
(9.89/20)

A third party will investigate events at Oxford High School that occurred before a school shooting that left four students dead and six other students and a teacher wounded, the Michigan district’s superintendent said, with the Michigan attorney general responding Sunday that her office could conduct it. Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said in a statement that he called for the outside investigation because parents have asked questions about “the school’s version of events leading up to the shooting.” He also elaborated on interactions with the student leading up to the shooting. “It’s critically important to the victims, our staff and our entire community that a full and transparent accounting be made,” Throne said. His comments came after a news conference Friday by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald that detailed numerous warning signs from the student charged in the shooting: His search for gun ammunition on a cellphone, and a drawing that showed a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” above a person who appears to have been shot along with “my life is useless” and “the world is dead.” “Of course he shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom.… I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack, but yeah,” McDonald said. Asked if school officials may potentially be charged, she said: “The investigation’s ongoing.” On Tuesday at the school, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit, the student was sent back to the classroom after a school meeting with his parents. Three hours later the shooting occurred. “The school should have been responsible to relay that to the sheriff’s office. It looks like this could have been prevented,” Robert Jordan, founder and director of St. Louis-based Protecting Our Students, said Friday. “People died because of those mistakes.” In addition to Jordan, parents of students slain in a 2018 school shooting in Florida say police should have been alerted before Tuesday’s rampage. The suspect in the Oxford High shooting, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is now charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. On Friday, prosecutors charged his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. They pleaded not guilty on Saturday and a judge imposed a combined $1 million bond. On Twitter Sunday, Attorney General Dana Nessel said her office has reached out to the school to investigate the shooting and events leading up to it, saying, “Our attorneys and special agents are uniquely qualified to perform an investigation of this magnitude.” The 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting was bought at a local gun shop on Black Friday by James Crumbley as an early Christmas present for his son, authorities said. School officials became concerned about the younger Crumbley on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone, McDonald told reporters. On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointing at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said. There also was a drawing of a bullet, she said, with words above it: “Blood everywhere.” Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and is bleeding, she said. “My life is useless” and “The world is dead” also were written. Ethan Crumbley and both his parents met with school officials at 10 a.m. Tuesday. His parents left, and Ethan went back to his classes with his backpack, where investigators believe he stashed the gun. Authorities were not notified, something that county Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he wishes would have been done. By 1 p.m. Tuesday, the school erupted in gunshots, chaos, and bloodshed. “The school had the responsibility to be doing an immediate threat assessment on the student and bringing into that conversation the sworn police officer and law enforcement,” said Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was one of 17 students slain in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. About five weeks before the Stoneman Douglas shooting, an FBI tip line received a call saying former student Nikolas Cruz had bought guns and planned to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up.” That information was never forwarded to the FBI. Cruz, who had been expelled from the school a year earlier and had a long history of emotional and behavioral problems, never was contacted. Now 23, Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder. “We have to take these threats seriously,” Alhadeff said. But looking at such an issue after the fact raises other questions, said Christopher Smith, professor of Law and Public Policy at Michigan State University and chair of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. You have to consider whether the “teacher and school officials specifically have in their training that you need to report all these things,” Smith said. In a video message to the community Thursday night, Throne acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, the parents and school officials. Throne offered no details but said that “no discipline was warranted.” In his statement Saturday, Throne elaborated on the events of Tuesday morning, saying the student was taken to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that he planned to pursue video game design as a career. He worked on homework while waiting for his parents as counselors watched him. “At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses, and demeanor, which appeared calm,” Throne said. “While both of his parents were present, counselors asked specific probing questions regarding the potential for self-harm or harm to others,” Throne said, adding counseling was recommended for him, and his parents were notified that they had 48 hours to seek it. “When the parents were asked to take their son home for the day, they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work.” He said that the student had no prior disciplinary infractions so he was allowed to return to the classroom instead of being “sent home to an empty house.”
After responding to Oxford High shooting, deputies 'struggling in a big way,' finding help
eu.freep.com
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Michigan superintendent announces independent investigation of actions leading up to Oxford High shooting
foxnews.com
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Third party will probe Oxford, Michigan, school shooting as questions mount over warning signs
usatoday.com
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Oxford High district requests independent investigation into shooting
upi.com
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Third party to probe Oxford High’s actions ahead of shooting
wtop.com
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Nessel offers to conduct AG investigation into Oxford school shooting
eu.detroitnews.com
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Third party to probe Oxford High's actions ahead of shooting
abcnews.go.com
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Third party to probe Oxford High’s actions ahead of shooting
twincities.com
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Oxford school district requests third-party probe into events leading up to shooting
eu.detroitnews.com
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Michigan AG reaches out to high school with offer to probe school shooting
thehill.com
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0.3
The detection of Omicron in the U.S. expands to at least 16 states.
(8.40/20)

The highly mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus had been reported in at least 16 states by Saturday, with Washington state reporting three new cases. Many of the cases appeared to be people who had traveled to South Africa recently, including the first case reported Saturday in Wisconsin by the state’s department of health. Some, however, seemed to be examples of community spread, including an infected person in Hawaii who had not traveled outside of his state, and a man in Minnesota who attended an anime convention in New York City. Regardless, health officials were bracing for the inevitable community spread of the variant. Late Saturday, Gov. Ned Lamont reported Connecticut’s first case, a man in his 60s whose relative had recently attended the anime convention. Additional family members were being tested, and both the man and his relative were fully vaccinated and experiencing only mild symptoms. None of the Omicron cases reported so far in the United States have resulted in serious illness, hospitalization or death. The Washington State Department of Health said three adults from three different counties -- Thurston, Pierce and King — had tested positive for Omicron. They were being informed, and their conditions were unknown. Even as concerns about the Omicron variant intensified, top federal health officials said that for now the Delta variant remained a greater threat to Americans. “I know the news is focused on Omicron, but we should remember that 99.9 percent of cases in the country right now are from the Delta variant,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press briefing on Friday. “Delta continues to drive cases across the country, especially in those that are unvaccinated.” About 104,000 cases were being reported in the United States every day, compared with about 12,000 per day six months ago. States in the Midwest are recording some of the biggest spikes, while New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota lead the country in recent cases per capita. On Friday, state health officials confirmed three cases in Maryland, all in the Baltimore area. Two of the cases are from the same household and include a vaccinated individual who had recently traveled to South Africa and an unvaccinated person who was deemed a close contact. The third case is unrelated, and the patient, who was vaccinated, has no known recent travel history. O fficials in Philadelphia said that they had found one case, a man in his 30s. The sole case identified in Utah was a vaccinated individual who had just returned from South Africa. In Missouri, officials identified a case linked to domestic travel. Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said that a fully vaccinated woman who had recently traveled to South Africa tested positive for the Omicron variant after being treated at an emergency department in northern New Jersey. She was in isolation with mild symptoms, officials said. On Thursday, officials in New York State announced that they had confirmed five cases of the variant: a 67-year-old woman in Suffolk County who returned from South Africa; two residents of Queens; one resident of Brooklyn; and another person in New York City who had traveled recently. The vaccination status of most of the individuals remained unknown. A vaccinated Colorado resident who had recently returned from southern Africa was that state’s first confirmed case. California reported several cases — the first being in San Francisco on Wednesday. In Alameda County, health officials confirmed five new cases of the Omicron variant that were “mildly symptomatic,” part of a cluster of 12 local coronavirus cases linked to people who attended a wedding in Wisconsin on Nov. 27. One of the individuals at the wedding had recently traveled internationally, the Alameda County Public Health Department said. Guests who tested positive had all had been vaccinated and none had been hospitalized. Genomic sequencing to detect the variant had not been completed on all 12 cases. The authorities in Nebraska on Friday said that of the six cases involving the Omicron variant found there, only one was in a vaccinated person. One of the infected people had returned from Nigeria on Nov. 23, they said, and the other five were likely exposed through household contact. None had required hospitalization. An Oahu resident with no history of travel is the first Omicron case in Hawaii. “This is a case of community spread,” the state’s department of health said in a news release. The individual had previously been infected with the coronavirus but was never vaccinated.
Omicron COVID-19 Variant Found in Almost One-Third of US States
theepochtimes.com
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Omicron variant found in at least 15 US states - CDC chief
news24.com
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Vaccine Demand Boosts As Americans Worry Over Omicron
nymag.com
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Omicron Detected In These 16 States
forbes.com
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Omicron Cases Grow in U.S. as State-by-State Detection Rises
breitbart.com
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New US travel rules: What you need to know about the changes prompted by Omicron
edition.cnn.com
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Americans respond to states with high taxes – by leaving!
wnd.com
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U.S. braces for impact as Omicron found in at least 16 states
cbsnews.com
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 4 /100 

0.0
Fantasy football rankings - NFL Week 13
(5.78/20)

Week 13 is here, and so are our analysts with their fantasy football rankings for this week's games. Below you will find individual and composite rankings for each position for PPR and non-PPR formats. Click a link and get ready for game time! Week 13 byes: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans PPR rankings: Quarterbacks| Running backs| Wide receivers Tight ends| Kickers| Defense/Special teams Non-PPR rankings: Quarterbacks| Running backs| Wide receivers Tight ends| Kickers| Defense/Special teams Our analysts update their rankings throughout each week.
NFL Week 13 game picks, schedule guide, fantasy football tips, odds, injuries and more
espn.com
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Watch: Patriots-Bills Week 13 Fantasy Starts & Sits
bostonherald.com
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Giants vs. Dolphins odds, analysis and predictions for all Week 13 NFL games
nypost.com
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NFL Week 13 fantasy football inactives watch - Who's in and who's out?
espn.com
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NFL Week 13 predictions: Ride with Derek Carr and the Raiders
nypost.com
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List of inactive players for NFL games in Week 13
wtop.com
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N.F.L. Week 13 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread
nytimes.com
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NFL Week 13 schedule, scores, updates and more
foxnews.com
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What We Learned From Week 13 in the N.F.L.
nytimes.com
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 5 /100 

0.3
Before Even Receiving a Name, Omicron Could Have Spread in New York and the Country
(4.49/20)

They wore fluorescent wigs and capes with gold tassels. They arrived in knee-high white platform boots, and with feathered wings affixed to their backs. Dressed like their favorite characters, or just wearing street clothes, they packed into Manhattan’s main convention hall — some 53,000 of them — over three days in November to celebrate their love of Japanese animation shows known as anime. In the crowd was Peter McGinn, a 30-year-old health care analyst in town from Minneapolis. He attended discussion panels, chatted with strangers about his anime podcast and, at night, sang karaoke with friends. After flying home, he learned that one friend from the convention — an anime fan from North Carolina — had just tested positive for the coronavirus. In the days to come, many more of his friends from the convention would test positive, as well. Coughing and feeling tired, Mr. McGinn also took a test. He had the virus, too. That was Nov. 23, a day before most scientists had even heard of the new variant that was tearing across southern Africa. The World Health Organization had not yet even given the variant a name — Omicron. But it was already present in the United States, undetected. That became apparent this past week, when health authorities in Minnesota examined the virus samples in a batch of recent tests. One of them — from Mr. McGinn — showed Omicron’s telltale mutations. His infection, which was announced by the Minnesota health authorities on Dec. 2, is the first known instance of Omicron spreading within the United States. “I’m essentially patient zero,” he said in an interview from Minneapolis on Friday, though he wonders how he contracted it. “It’s still a mystery.” He may never know. The announcement came more than 10 days after the anime convention ended, leaving health authorities far behind, even before they realized the race against Omicron had begun. New York City health officials have sent tens of thousands of emails and text messages to the convention attendees, urging them to get tested. But so far the authorities have yet to confirm any transmission of Omicron at the Anime NYC convention, which was held Nov. 19-21. It is possible that the convention contributed little to Omicron’s spread. But it appears more likely that the virus is once again outpacing a public health response that is simply unable to keep up. (On Saturday, Connecticut officials said that a man in his 60s from their state fell sick with the Omicron variant in late November, days after a family member had returned from attending the anime convention.) In the nearly two years since the novel coronavirus first began circulating in this country, the United States has built enough capacity to test more people than any other country. It is now sequencing some 14 percent of positive P.C.R. tests, searching for mutations and identifying variants. Some municipalities, like New York City, and states, like Massachusetts, built out large-scale contact tracing organizations. Most of the U.S. population — 60 percent — are vaccinated. Just a few weeks ago, before Omicron was identified, there was widespread hope that the pandemic, in this country at least, was easing. People felt safe as they flashed their proof of vaccination — as was required for entry — and streamed into the Javits Center for the convention. But amid tens of thousands of new Delta infections in the United States each day, Omicron’s landfall and spread are easily hidden. Many coronavirus infections are asymptomatic or have only minor symptoms, slipping under the radar. Indeed, it remains unclear if the anime convention was a super spreader event. “We haven’t found evidence of widespread transmission at the convention,” Adam Shrier, a spokesman for New York City’s contact tracing program, Test and Trace Corps, wrote in an email. It is also unclear whether Mr. McGinn was infected at the convention or by a fellow attendee. But he spent successive days at the convention, and evenings with other convention goers. Of the roughly 30 people he recalls socializing with in New York City, about half have since tested positive for the coronavirus, Mr. McGinn said. However, none of the states where they live have announced whether those people also had the Omicron variant. Much remains unknown about Omicron, including how deadly it is or the degree of protection that Covid vaccines provide against it. But epidemiologists are once again talking about flattening the curve, through mask wearing and more cautious behavior. And they are urging action now, to avoid a repeat of the mistakes made in March 2020, when New York officials were slow to understand just how quickly the virus was spreading throughout the city. Over the past four days, New York’s genome sequencing program has detected seven Omicron cases among residents in New York City, although health authorities have provided little information about the cases. “All of these cases are believed to be unrelated to the recent Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center,” the governor’s office said in a news release on Saturday morning. New York’s surveillance program for screening variants is relatively robust, but it comes with a lag, as do similar programs elsewhere. It typically takes between four and eight days from the time a sample is swabbed to identify which variant caused the infection. That means any alarming increase in new cases that is noticed today may already be a week old. Dr. Jay Varma, an epidemiologist who helped guide New York City’s pandemic response as a City Hall adviser, said in an interview that he believed the city should distribute N95 masks to households in the neighborhoods that were hardest hit by Covid-19 last year and start opening more testing sites in response to Omicron. And he said it was time to tighten New York City’s vaccination requirement for indoor venues like restaurants and bars. Rather than requiring only one dose, he suggested that it was time to require three. “We don’t know how effective that is going to be,” said Dr. Varma, who said he shared these and other ideas with top city health officials this past week. “But as far as I can tell, there is no downside to basically forcing the issue: Full immunity now means three doses of a vaccine, so go ahead and get it.” Mr. McGinn’s experience illustrates the difficulties of contact tracing. He flew into La Guardia Airport on Nov. 18, excited to link up with other anime fans and soak up New York. He went out for dinner and drinks, stayed with two friends in an Airbnb in Hell’s Kitchen and sang karaoke in Koreatown on a Saturday night. During the day, he attended the anime conference at the Javits Center. The atmosphere was joyous, with the feel of a huge reunion. The “Artist Alley,” which showcased anime artists, was so clogged and chaotic that one attendee, Lucy Camacho, 23, described it as “Penn Station during rush hour.” Tian Chang, 29, one of the artists, said she felt safe from Covid-19 at first, with many attendees wearing masks, as the convention required. Still, her worries grew, as the crowds did. She recalled “an explosion of attendees,” with “crowds shoulder to shoulder in some areas.” From her table, she watched as masks came off while people ate, chatted with friends or found an empty corner to take a nap. Returning to Minnesota a few days before Thanksgiving, Mr. McGinn felt unusually tired. His slight cough was probably his asthma, he figured. After a long sleep — some 14 hours — he felt fine. Then Mr. McGinn heard from a friend from the convention who lived in North Carolina and had tested positive for the virus. On Nov. 23, he took an at-home Covid test, which came up positive. He also went to a large testing site for a P.C.R. test. Other friends from the convention, all vaccinated, reported that they too had been infected. “One guy had a bad day, but for the most part, mild symptoms for everyone,” Mr. McGinn said. “It was a stay home, get a blanket and watch a movie kind of thing.” Mr. McGinn said he had no idea who infected whom, or where. By the evening of Dec. 1, Minnesota health officials were convinced that a batch of samples they had recently analyzed for mutations included their first case of Omicron. A case investigator, Kathy Como-Sabetti, called Mr. McGinn to learn whom he might have exposed to the new variant. Mr. McGinn told her about the anime convention, with its crowds. “I kind of went, ‘Wow, well, this changes our story,’ ” she said. Minnesota officials immediately called the New York City Health Department with the bad news. “They took it very much in stride,” Ms. Como-Sabetti said. Dr. Ted Long, who oversees New York City’s Test and Trace Corps, said he was aware of five New York City residents who attended the anime convention and had also tested positive. These five had sought out testing, received positive test results and mentioned the anime convention when contact tracers called. But he did not know whether they had been infected with the new Omicron variant or the Delta variant, which is infecting some 1,500 people a day and driving a new surge of cases in the city. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is assisting the Minnesota and New York City Health Departments track the outbreak, a spokeswoman said, and it held a conference call Saturday morning with officials from local health departments. But with so many people in attendance, and a lag of two weeks, public health experts said it was not realistic to try to untangle precisely who infected whom. “I don’t think there needs to be an individual phone interview with the 53,000 people who attended,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiology professor at Columbia University. Professor El-Sadr added that all individuals should follow C.D.C. guidelines, which instruct fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to wear a mask for up to 14 days — a period that ends this weekend — and get tested. “I think the pragmatic way to do contact tracing in this context is that everyone should consider themselves a close contact,” she said.
Live updates: New York Giants at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. kickoff
ocregister.com
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New York Weather: CBS2’s 12/5 Sunday Afternoon Forecast
newyork.cbslocal.com
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Live updates: New York Giants at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. kickoff
bostonherald.com
71e70321d59fdf3f29b260db9e9e4406
Omicron Variant Continues To Spread Through Tri-State And Around Country
newyork.cbslocal.com
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Upstate New York Hospitals Are Being Overwhelmed by COVID
nymag.com
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What We Do and Don’t Know About the Omicron Variant And what we don’t know remains a lot.
(4.29/20)

A worrisome new COVID-19 variant recently identified in southern Africa was officially designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Friday. The WHO has also given the variant, B.1.1.529, the name Omicron. Cases of the variant have been detected in almost two dozen countries, and it appears to be driving a surge of infections in South Africa. A growing list of countries, including the U.S., have restricted travel from countries in southern Africa in an attempt to slow the variant’s spread. Scientists in South Africa and elsewhere are working as fast as they can to determine whether Omicron may or may not be more dangerous compared with other variants, like Delta. As with any new variant, that means determining whether or not Omicron, which has an unusually high number of mutations, is more easily transmissible, better able to evade COVID treatments and natural or vaccine-induced immunity, or might cause more severe disease. In the meantime, below is what we do and don’t know about the new variant. In less than a week, the Omicron variant has quickly generated a significant amount of alarm among world leaders, public-health officials, and scientists. Below, the latest major developments in the aftermath of Omicron’s emergence. According to new research published Friday, the new variant has been spreading in South Africa at more than the double the speed of the Delta variant — though it’s not yet clear precisely why. Per the New York Times: On Thursday night, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that five cases of the new variant had been confirmed in the state. One of the cases involves a 67-year-old woman from Suffolk county “with some vaccination history” who had recently been in South Africa. The patient reported mild symptoms after testing negative upon her return on November 25. She tested positive on November 30. Two more cases were confirmed in Queens, in addition to one in Brooklyn, and a “suspected traveler case” in “one of the five boroughs,” according to public-health officials. The vaccination status and potential exposure of the four New York City cases were unknown. Omicron has also been detected in California, Colorado, and Minnesota — where a traveler tested positive after returning from attending an anime convention at the Javits Center in New York City held the weekend before Thanksgiving. In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that those who attended the event would be notified, but that “we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city.” In a briefing held this week by the World Health Organization’s Africa branch, scientists from South Africa presented a paper — which has not yet been peer-reviewed, nor published in a scientific journal —suggesting that previous infections do not have much effect in stopping transmission of the virus. “Population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection,” the authors wrote. In the briefing, they noted that 40 percent of the population has already had COVID and another 30 percent has been partially vaccinated. With Omicron cases taking off rapidly, they suggested that previous infections do not have much effect in stopping transmission of the virus. “We believe that previous infection does not provide them protection from infection due to Omicron,” Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and an author of the study, told the New York Times. To prepare for the spread of Omicron in the United States, President Joe Biden announced a free, at-home testing program on Thursday, in which privately-insured Americans would be covered for tests and the 150 million Americans without private insurance would be reimbursed for their purchases. Biden also announced new vaccination sites focused on families, a push for boosters for all Americans over 18, and additional testing requirements for international travelers, who must now show a negative test from the 24 hours before their flight. “We’re going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion,” he said at the National Institutes of Health. Reimbursement for at-home tests is not expected to be ready until January 15, when federal regulators are expected to tell insurers to pay for tests purchased for home use. Reimbursement will not be retroactive either. The first two cases confirmed in North America were detected in Ottawa, Ontario, on Sunday. Omicron has been found in at least 25 countries so far. First off, more research is needed about the Omicron variant before the real-world differences between it and other variants are clear. As of now, the most concerning difference between Omicron and other known variants is that it has a “very unusual constellation of mutations,” according to Tulio de Oliveira, the director of South Africa’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation. Those roughly 50 mutations of note include over 30 on the virus’s spike protein, including ten mutations on a key protein (the ACE2 receptor) that helps the virus infect humans — whereas the Delta variant has two mutations on the ACE2 receptor, and the Beta variant has three. The high number of mutations, relative to other variants, does not necessarily mean Omicron is more transmissible or better able to evade immune responses (like the protection induced by vaccines) than other variants. But Omicron’s mutations — which include ones that scientists haven’t seen before as well as ones they have — suggest it might be. “If we were looking out for mutations that do affect transmissibility, it’s got all of them,” University of Oxford evolutionary biologist Aris Katzourakis told Science. On Saturday, Brown University’s School of Public Health dean, Ashish Jha, said he thought “the more likely scenario is that Omicron does spread more easily than Delta.” That would also explain why early data suggests Omicron has been able to outcompete Delta in South Africa. On Friday, the World Health Organization designated Omicron a “variant of concern,” pointing to its “large number of mutations” as well as how “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection” with the variant. Again: More research — and patience — is needed. Many scientists, while alarmed, are cautioning against dire assumptions while that research is under way over the coming weeks. It’s not yet clear whether the outbreak of Omicron in South Africa will lead to a corresponding spike in hospitalizations, as many of those illnesses are still progressing and most of the new infections have been detected among young people, who tend to experience milder illness from the coronavirus. It’s still far too early to determine how virulent the strain is (despite some anecdotal evidence that Omicron might cause milder symptoms than other variants) and that won’t become clear for another week or two. “One thing to stress is that viruses do not inevitably evolve to become less virulent over time,” University of Washington evolutionary biologist Carl T. Bergstrom pointed out in a Twitter thread on Saturday. And as Stat News’ Andrew Joseph has noted, there are several factors which make it difficult to determine a new variant’s virulence in comparison to previous strains. Indeed, there is still an ongoing debate among scientists about whether or not the Delta variant causes more severe disease. Though the World Health Organization has advised against imposing travel restrictions over Omicron, the U.S. is one of dozens of countries that are banning or restricting travel from southern Africa, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, most European Union countries, the U.K., Russia, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and others. (The WHO has also stated that “persons who are unwell or at risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities (e.g., heart disease, cancer, and diabetes), should be advised to postpone travel.”) The WHO also again advised against blanket travel bans. On Monday, it recommended countries boost their surveillance, testing, and vaccination efforts in light of the new variant, explaining that early data indicates Omicron represents a “very high” global risk. “Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said. On Friday, the WHO’s technical advisers officially designated the strain a “variant of concern” and named it Omicron. The U.S. has prohibited travel from eight countries in southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. U.S. citizens and residents will be exempt from the ban but will need to show proof of a negative COVID test to enter the country. Israel, Japan, and Morocco have banned all foreign travelers in response to the variant. Morocco is also temporarily banning its citizens from returning to the country from abroad. Closing borders did not prevent the spread of the Alpha variant, and travel bans targeting specific countries or regions can take a heavy toll on their economies — let alone lead to stigmatization and other problems. And it has not gone unnoticed, in this instance, that a lot of predominantly wealthy countries have rapidly cut off a region of the world with far less political or economic power and that is much further behind in COVID vaccinations. Scientists have also stressed the need for expanded vaccine distribution to nations which have not yet had widespread access. “Omicron is like a wake-up call, as though we needed another wake-up call, to vaccinate the world,” University of Toronto professor of medicine Peter Singer told CNN. “One of the best ways to keep Americans safe is to vaccinate the world.” Many scientists have again warned that cutting off a country that discovers and reports a new variant might discourage countries from sharing such discoveries in the future. South Africa, in other words, is effectively being punished for giving the world a valuable head start on what could be a significant new COVID variant. It even threatens to hamper the critical research South African scientists are doing to learn more about Omicron: Then there’s the economic damage, as the New York Times pointed out on Saturday: Another issue is how most or all of southern Africa has been targeted by the bans despite the fact that cases of Omicron have only been detected in two countries in the region. That means world leaders are guessing where the variant might already be. Furthermore, the strictness of travel-ban policies varies from country to country, and rapidly enacting the bans often leads to chaos and confusion at airports — including situations in which some travelers and their communities can be put at greater risk of exposure to a variant. Instituting travel restrictions can also be as much about politics as it is about public health, particularly if it only provides a false sense of security. And even if a travel ban slows the arrival of a variant, that only makes a difference if the country imposing it makes good use of that time to prepare — like setting up better airport screening and testing, variant surveillance, and/or quarantine capabilities. As sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains: Unfortunately, it will likely take weeks before scientists have a fuller understanding of Omicron’s potential threat. Science ’s Kai Kupferschmidt spoke with a number of infectious-disease experts to get their opinions on the new variant based on what they do and don’t know thus far. In addition, Kupferschmidt writes, the sudden-seeming spread of Omicron in South Africa could be misleading: Read the rest of Kupferschmidt’s reporting here. Coronavirus vaccines, particularly the ones available in the U.S., like Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines, have all remained effective against all other known variants thus far in the pandemic. The vaccines have been slightly less effective against some variants as opposed to others. It is possible the vaccines will be some degree less effective against the Omicron variant as well, but more research needs to be conducted to confirm that. There have been some reported Omicron breakthrough infections among vaccinated people in southern Africa, but scientists don’t yet know if the B.1.1.529 breakthrough infections are more or less common than breakthrough infections from other variants. As with vaccines, it is not yet clear whether existing and upcoming treatments for COVID will be any less effective against the Omicron variant, though on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its guidance on COVID vaccine booster shots. The new messaging advises that “everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine” — after previously only recommending that adults 18 to 49 could get a booster if they wanted to. CDC director Rochelle Walensky mentioned the Omicron variant in the announcement. “The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” she said. Moderna’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel, for one, said on Tuesday that he believes existing COVID vaccines will offer less protection against the Omicron variant than they have against previous versions of the virus. “I think it’s going to be a material drop,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to. are like, ‘This is not going to be good’.” Bancel specifically cited the large number of mutations that Omicron features on its spike protein as a challenge for the current vaccines. He said it would be several months before Moderna could produce a vaccine tailored to the new variant. Though some experts are more optimistic about protection from the existing stock of jabs, Bancel’s comments helped trigger a selloff in stocks worldwide on Tuesday morning. That’s not yet clear, nor how, if so. Omicron does appear to be driving rapid spread in a country (South Africa) where Delta has been dominant, though a number of factors could have contributed to that spread. In addition, whatever happens with Omicron, Delta is still wreaking plenty of havoc all over the world on its own, especially among the unvaccinated. Omicron might be new, but Delta remains the most dangerous variant in the world. The first known case of the Omicron variant was detected in a COVID test specimen collected on November 9 in South Africa. That does not necessarily mean the variant originated in South Africa, however. Scientists in South Africa reported the variant to the World Health Organization (and the world) on November 24. On Wednesday, Dutch public-health officials stated that they detected Omicron going back 11 days, suggesting that it was spreading in Europe prior to the report from South Africa to the WHO. The Omicron variant has been detected in two COVID test samples taken in the Netherlands on November 19 and 23 — before South African scientists reported the discovery of the variant and Dutch and other European authorities ultimately restricted travel from South Africa and other countries in southern Africa. It’s not yet clear if people who tested positive for the Omicron variant had traveled abroad. Where the variant originated has not been confirmed. This post has been updated throughout.
NIH director says it's 'possible' omicron will not be last emerging variant
thehill.com
e4e3e2705612df30c8d6ca5bfcf770fe
Tunisia records its first case of the omicron variant
wtop.com
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'Omicron won't be more dangerous than other circulating Covid-19 variants'
business-standard.com
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What the Omicron variant means for the holidays
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0.6
Traveler who jumped from taxiing plane ‘thought somebody was after him’
(4.20/20)

The “paranoid” passenger who jumped from a Southwest plane at a Phoenix airport on Saturday feared that he was in danger, according to his worried mother, who hopes her son gets help. “I don’t want him to be portrayed as. some crazy guy that jumped out of the plane,” Theresa Padilla . Daniel Ramirez was hospitalized after leaping from an aircraft and onto a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor around 8 a.m. Saturday. His mom said she was trying to get medical help for Ramirez before he departed Colorado, where he was on a work assignment, but was unsuccessful. The family home is in California. Ramirez, 30, was reportedly acting erratic before departing Colorado Springs. The man’s family kept him on the phone until he boarded the plane. Southwest Airlines reportedly confirmed a passenger managed to open an airplane door after it landed in Arizona. That passenger then scrambled to an airport fire station and locked himself in a dormitory room, ABC reports. “He was running and hiding because he thought somebody was after him,” Theresa Padilla said. Emily Luevano told ABC that she too tried calming her “paranoid” brother-in-law by phone before he made the trip from Colorado to Arizona. Modesto, Calif., councilman Chris Ricci wrote on Facebook that he witnessed the incident. “Flying home from Colorado today. we’re landing in Phoenix. the guy in the row next to me gets up, opens the emergency exit and jumps out of the plane,” Ricci wrote. The plane continued to its gate where the remaining passengers exited without incident. David Ramirez reportedly suffered injuries to his arms and legs. The Ramirez family has a history of schizophrenia. Theresa Padilla hopes her son gets a psychological examination following his behavior over the weekend.
Man who jumped from taxiing plane in Phoenix jailed, ID'd
abcnews.go.com
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Man who jumped from taxiing plane in Phoenix jailed, ID’d
wtop.com
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Man Who Jumped From Taxiing Plane in Phoenix Jailed, ID'd
theepochtimes.com
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Authorities jail man who jumped from taxiing plane in Phoenix
thehill.com
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0.9
Fauci to Sen. Ron Johnson: ‘Preposterous’ to Claim I’m Overhyping COVID
(4.16/20)

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) claim he was overhyping the coronavirus pandemic. Anchor Jake Tapper said, “Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said this week that you have been using coronavirus to keep Americans in fear and maintain control. Take a listen.” During an interview with Fox News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade, Johnson said, “Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS. He overhyped it. He created all kinds of fear, saying it could infect the entire population when it couldn’t, and he’s using the exact same playbook with COVID.” Tapper said, “Obviously, that’s a bizarre and false assertion. President George W. Bush gave you the Presidential Medal of Freedom because of your leadership in the AIDS crisis. I did want to give you an opportunity to respond.” Fauci said, “You know Jake, how do you respond to something as preposterous as that? Overhyping AIDS? It killed over 750,000 Americans and 36 million people worldwide. How do you overhype that? Overhyping Covid? It’s already killed 780,000 Americans and over 5 million people worldwide, so I don’t have any clue what he’s talking about.” Tapper added, “I don’t think he does either.”
Fauci calls Ron Johnson's AIDS comment 'preposterous': 'I don't have any clue of what he's talking about'
thehill.com
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Dr. Fauci Clapped Back At Senator Ron Johnson After He Claimed He ‘Overhyped’ COVID: ‘How Do You Overhype That?’
uproxx.com
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‘How Do You Overhype That?’: Fauci Objects To Ron Johnson Claim That He Wants To Keep People Scared Of COVID
dailywire.com
e83e7803dec89ee92e5e5e6167fe7ae3
Anthony Fauci Rips GOP Sen. Ron Johnson's 'Preposterous' Accusation He's 'Overhyped' COVID
newsweek.com
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0.3
Hippos test positive for coronavirus in Belgium, the first known cases in species
(3.27/20)

Two hippos in Belgium that vets noticed were “expelling snot” have been placed in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, the Antwerp zoo said, in what appears to be the first known case of COVID-19 among the species. It remains unclear how hippopotamuses Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, contracted the virus, but the pair appear to be doing well and have no symptoms other than their runny, sticky noses. “To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species,” the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen, said, according to Reuters. “Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines.” While hippos tend to have wet noses, vets decided to test the pair after they spotted the animals were producing thick mucus. The zoo said that staff, including the hippos’ handlers, had not displayed any symptoms and had tested negative for the infection. The zoo, which is home to more than 5,000 animals, currently operates with a range of measures in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus – which has claimed at least 27,000 lives in Belgium. Visitors must wear a face covering, abide by social distancing measures and all animal feeding demonstrations have been canceled until further notice, according to the zoo’s official website. Staff looking after the infected hippos in Belgium must wear masks, safety glasses and disinfect their footwear before any physical contact with the hippos, the BBC reported. From dogs to tigers, leopards to deer, positive cases of COVID-19 among animals have been recorded during the pandemic, raising questions about how infections are transmitted between humans and animals. In November, three “beloved” snow leopards at a Nebraska zoo died of complications from COVID-19, about one month after testing positive for the virus. Two Sumatran tigers at the same zoo were also infected but made a “seemingly full recovery,” staff said. Officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., said in September that a total of nine animals had tested positive for the coronavirus. They noted that some of the six lions and three tigers who had a positive result were lethargic and wouldn’t eat their meat. In the United States, the Agriculture Department has authorized an “animal specific” vaccine which was given to seven orangutans, and several other primates at the National Zoo in October. Other zoos have also began vaccinating animals against the virus. Comments are not available on this story. Send questions/comments to the editors. « Previous Next»
Maha: Two test Covid positive at Nashik literary meet, contact tracing on
business-standard.com
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Runny-nosed hippos test positive for Covid-19 in Belgium
edition.cnn.com
eba4e92af82c67d81deefcb5399be228
Another passenger from Singapore tests positive for Covid-19 in Tamil Nadu
business-standard.com
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Two relatives of Gujarat’s first Omicron case test Covid positive
siasat.com
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2.6
3 skiers killed in avalanche in Austria
(3.10/20)

Three skiers have been killed and two injured in an avalanche in central Austria, authorities said Sunday. The victims were part of a group of 11 skiers, eight of whom were hit by a roughly 200-meter (655-foot) wide slab of snow as they ascended a slope during a ski tour on Saturday in the Tweng area, in Salzburg province. Three of the skiers were buried by the avalanche, while another two were partly buried and able to free themselves, regional police said in a statement. Rescuers were able to locate two of the others with the help of their search devices; one was already dead and the other later died at a hospital in Klagenfurt. The third buried skier wasn't carrying a search device. His body was located about four hours after the avalanche and recovered. The victims were Austrian men, two of them aged 19 and the other 24. The two injured skiers were taken to a local hospital.
Avalanche in Austria kills 3 skiers, injures 2
wtop.com
1dc7794b7b701c2754243ce91d832dd3
Three skiers have been killed in an avalanche in Austria this weekend
roundnews.com
96ee9b9ee4909b29b93f30c2300a38f2
Avalanche in Austria kills 3 skiers, injures 2
abcnews.go.com
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0.0
Pope Francis: We Live in ‘the Age of Walls and Barbed Wire’
(2.10/20)

Pope Francis lamented Sunday morning that “little has changed with regard to the issue of migration” since he last visited the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016. Progress is being made in the campaign to vaccinate people against the Wuhan coronavirus and even in the fight against climate change,” the pope said during his address at the Reception and Identification Centre on Lesbos, yet “all this seems to be terribly absent when it comes to migration.” Migration is “an issue for the whole world: a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone,” the pontiff stated, and “human lives, real people, are at stake!” The solution to the migration crisis is openness rather than secure borders, Francis insisted. “It is distressing to hear of proposals that common funds be used to build walls and barbed wire as a solution,” the pontiff declared. “We are in the age of walls and barbed wire.” Problems “are not resolved and coexistence improved by building walls higher, but by joining forces to care for others according to the concrete possibilities of each and in respect for the law,” he stated. As he has done on other occasions, the pope criticized nations that do not open their doors to migrants, insisting that such a position reflects a lethal indifference. “On this Sunday, I ask God to rouse us from our disregard for those who are suffering, to shake us from an individualism that excludes others, to awaken hearts that are deaf to the needs of our neighbours,” he said. “I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference that kills, the cynical disregard that nonchalantly condemns to death those on the fringes!” he added. “Let us combat at its root the dominant mindset that revolves around ourselves, our self-interest, personal and national, and becomes the measure and criterion of everything.” The pope again blamed “nationalism” and a lack of multilateralism for the ongoing sufferings of migrants. “History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences,” he said. “It is an illusion to think it is enough to keep ourselves safe, to defend ourselves from those in greater need who knock at our door.” What is needed “are not unilateral actions but wide-ranging policies,” he asserted. “Let us stop ignoring reality, stop constantly shifting responsibility, stop passing off the issue of migration to others, as if it mattered to no one and was only a pointless burden to be shouldered by somebody else!” In Europe, “there are those who persist in treating the problem as a matter that does not concern them. This is tragic,” he said. “The Mediterranean, which for millennia has brought different peoples and distant lands together, is now becoming a grim cemetery without tombstones,” Francis stated. “This great basin of water, the cradle of so many civilizations, now looks like a mirror of death.” “Let us not let our sea ( mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death ( mare mortuum),” he exclaimed. “Let us not allow this place of encounter to become a theatre of conflict.” “Let us not permit this ‘sea of memories’ to be transformed into a ‘sea of forgetfulness,’” he continued. “Please brothers and sisters, let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!” Ironically, for all his dislike of walls, Pope Francis is the ruler of the only completely walled-in country in the world and the smallest independent state by both area and population. The massive, 40-foot-high walls surrounding Vatican City State were built by Pope Leo IV, after Islamic Saracen troops sacked Old St. Peter’s Basilica in 846 AD. The original walls encompassed the entire Vatican hill, surrounding what came to be known as the Leonine City, but were later reduced to circumscribe only the 110-acre Vatican City that exists today.
‘It felt like a wedding,’ says a refugee Francis brought to Rome from Lesbos in 2016.
nytimes.com
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Pope returns to Greek isle at heart of Europe migrant debate
wtop.com
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Pope in Greece Live Updates: Francis Renews Calls to Help Migrants
nytimes.com
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0.8
15-year-old boy shot after argument in Loop
(2.03/20)

A 15-year-old boy was shot Saturday night after an argument in the Loop. About 11:20 p.m., the teen was walking in the 200 block of North Wabash Avenue when he bumped into a male walking in the opposite direction, Chicago police said. Following an argument, the male shot the 15-year-old in the arm, police said. He was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was in good condition, police said. A couple of hours earlier, a CTA bus driver was hospitalized after two people beat him less than half a mile away. About 9 p.m., the driver, a 49-year-old man, was inspecting the bus after hearing a loud noise in the 100 block of North Michigan Avenue when he was pushed and repeatedly punched by an unknown male and female, police said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with bruises to his face and body, and was listed in fair condition, police said. No one was in custody in either incident.
Teen, 15, Shot In The Loop
chicago.cbslocal.com
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Little boy suffers gunshot wound; house shot into
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2.1
Nagaland: Army orders CoI into killing of civilians in operation
(1.32/20)

Kohima: At least 11 civilians were gunned down by security forces in Nagaland’s Mon district, police said on Sunday, adding that it is investigating whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity. Ordering a Court of Inquiry into the incident, Army said that one of its personnel was killed and several others were seriously injured. It said that the incident and its aftermath is “deeply regretted” and the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level. The exact number of fatalities, however, is yet to be ascertained as 11 people died on the spot, and several others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in neighbouring Assam, a police officer said. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio promised a high-level probe into the incident and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain peace. The incident took place between Oting and Tiru villages when some daily-wage labourers were returning home in a pick-up van from a coal mine on Saturday evening, the police officer said. The vehicle was allegedly fired upon by Army personnel, who were conducting an operation in the area after receiving inputs on the movement of militants of Yung Aung faction of proscribed outfit NSCN (K), he said. “An investigation is underway to ascertain whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity. The situation is under control and police is conducting spot verification,” the officer said. Mon shares a porous international border with Myanmar, where the Yung Aung faction of NSCN (K) is based. Official sources said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief Gen M M Naravane have been briefed about the incident. “Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath are deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” a statement issued by the headquarters of the Army’s 3 Corps said. “The security forces have suffered severe injuries in the incident including one soldier who succumbed to the injuries,” it added. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio condemned the incident and assured that it will be investigated. “The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High-level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” he tweeted. Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton promised that justice will be delivered. “Oting’s (Mon) disturbing and tragic incident in which civilians were killed will be thoroughly investigated and justice will be served. Condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. In the wake of the tragedy, I urge peace from everyone!” he tweeted. In protest against the incident, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) urged the six tribes of the region to withdraw participation from the ongoing Hornbill Festival, which is the state’s biggest tourism extravaganza. “While expressing deep sorrow and sadness over the indiscriminate firing by Indian security force where more than 10 daily wage laborers from Oting village were blatantly killed, the ENPO vehemently condemns the barbaric act of the security force,” a release issued the organisation said. The ENPO asked the six tribes to hoist black flags in their respective Morungs at Hornbill Festival venue Naga Heritage Village in Kisama near the state capital against the incident. “It has to be understood by all concerned that this order/move is not against the State Govt., but to show resentment against the security forces who have committed this heinous crime, and to show solidarity of the 6 tribes,” it said. Abu Mehta, advisor to the chief minister, said that two minutes’ silence will be observed and prayers will be held at Kisama for those killed in the incident. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest India updates, download our app Android and iOS.
Nagaland CM condemns 'killing of civilians', announces SIT probe
business-standard.com
cf2da1f5bbc4499b054e006c13f9af90
Nagaland: Public outrage breaks out after army guns down civilians
siasat.com
074e0796c3b7ee3ffe3152c2cd90b342
Nagaland civilian killings: Army ‘misled’ by intelligence agencies
siasat.com
3c4415dc9e19963f7015aaaadd5a4885
Army orders Court of Inquiry into killing of civilians in Nagaland
business-standard.com
aad09724e3803f3c5f68876f70813de9
Nagaland: 13 civilians gunned down by forces; 1 soldier killed in rioting
business-standard.com
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0.1
Telangana prepared for third wave of COVID-19: Health director
(1.10/20)

Hyderabad: Telangana has tripled its oxygen generating capacity and maintained 27 oxygen containers on reserve in anticipation of an increase in Covid-19 infections caused by the new variant, omicron. “Also, 26 PSA oxygen generating units have been commissioned through the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of firms,” stated director of public health Dr G Srinivasa Rao in an interview with the TheTimes of India. In addition, 27 containers with a capacity of 540 metric tonnes (MT) have been provided for the transfer of liquid oxygen. The state’s oxygen generating capacity has been boosted from 135 MT/day to 327 MT/day.” “In addition, 5,200 paediatric oxygen beds have been reserved in various government hospitals for Covid-19.” “We are totally prepared to deal with the scenario if a third wave emerges,” he stated, adding that while a quick spread of the new variant has been expected, it may not be severe, and hence preparations would be adequate to deal with any eventuality. Telangana Super Speciality Hospitals Association (TSSHA) president Dr Bhaskar Rao said efforts have been made not just in the government sector, but also in private hospitals, which have purchased oxygen tankers that can store enough liquid oxygen for three to four days. “There was a tanker shortage for the second wave.” “Most of the corporate hospitals have now put up extra oxygen-producing units, while the smaller and mid-sized ones have made tanker preparations.” So far, 39 PSA plants have been installed in private hospitals. The health department urged the people to use government facilities, and patients with moderate to severe symptoms, whether or not they have a positive Covid report, can go to any of the government-run Covid facilities. At government hospitals, beds would be allocated based on clinical needs, and treatment will be offered at no cost. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest Hyderabad updates, download our app Android and iOS.
Covid-19 cases to increase from January 15: Telangana DPH
siasat.com
bc276024c9ea3d3e13186adb055990a6
Afraid of needles? Here's how to prepare your child for Covid vaccine
business-standard.com
0d04609c59b5f86e89f70154d7a2d366

 

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0.4
Explosion heard near Iranian nuclear site Natanz
(1.07/20)

An explosion shook the area near Iran ’s main nuclear -enrichment plant late on Saturday, prompting conflicting explanations from Iranian officials as Tehran engages in talks with world powers over its nuclear program. The blast was heard in the area of Badroud, around 12 miles from the Natanz nuclear site, according to IRNA, Iran’s state news agency. The incident involved a sound and then a flash of light in the sky, reported Fars News Agency, an organization close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Natanz has been the site of attacks and sabotage in the past, but Iran didn’t immediately place blame on any foreign government and sent differing signals about what happened after reports of the explosion circulated in local media. An Iranian army spokesman played down the explosion on state television, saying a missile system had been test fired and there was no reason to be concerned. A news agency close to Iran’s security forces, Tasnim, cited sources saying that a hostile drone had activated defense systems on Saturday night. Natanz Governor Ramezanali Ferdowsi said the explosion occurred at 8:15 p.m. local time and caused no casualties or financial damage, according to Iran’s official student news agency ISNA. Iran has carried out periodic tests of its defense capabilities in central parts of Iran, including around nuclear sites in Isfahan, Arak, Fordo and Natanz. The U.S. National Security Council declined to comment on the reports. The reports come a day after the latest round of talks in Vienna between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal stalled. The negotiations are intended to agree on the steps Iran and the U.S. will take to return into compliance with the accord, which lifted most international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for strict but temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called on Europe and the U.S. to stop the negotiations and in recent weeks, his government has stepped up warnings that it could act militarily against Iran’s nuclear work. Israel, which views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, opposed the 2015 deal. Iran has accused Israel of sabotaging its nuclear facilities, which Israel hasn’t accepted responsibility for. Mr. Bennett spoke by phone on Thursday with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and urged the U.S. to immediately end its talks with Iran over its "nuclear blackmail", according to the prime minister’s office. Natanz has been targeted before. In April, Iran said saboteurs caused a blackout at the country’s main nuclear-enrichment plant there, which diplomats have said destroyed several thousand centrifuges, machines for enriching uranium. Iran accused Israel of attempting to derail informal talks with the U.S. on reviving the nuclear deal. Last year, an explosion at Natanz caused damage to a building identified by experts and diplomats as an advanced centrifuge assembly plant. The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said that it had been informed about the blast by Iranian authorities who said the cause was unknown. — Benoit Faucon in London and Dion Nissenbaum in Brussels contributed to this article.
Blinken Discovers that Iran ‘Does Not Seem to Be Serious’ About Nuclear Talks
breitbart.com
c3f6e4613807b2ee4c2d7d677e2ca6f9
Israel Coy over ‘Huge Explosion’ at Iran’s Natanz Nuke Site
breitbart.com
f85b2342d1813eacf04c6db335b03fd0

 

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0.5
Biden and Putin to speak this week
(1.02/20)

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a video call on Tuesday, the White House said Saturday. The meeting comes as U.S. intelligence is warning of a as soon as January. "The leaders will discuss a range of topics in the U. S. -Russia relationship, including strategic stability, cyber, and regional issues", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "President Biden will underscore U.S. concerns with Russian military activities on the border with Ukraine and reaffirm the United States' support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." Tens of thousands of Russian troops have amassed at the Ukraine border — months after thousands of troops. But unlike last spring's buildup, which was regarded as a show of force, U.S. intelligence officials are warning that this one could be in preparation for an actual incursion into the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied any buildup and has accused Ukraine of its own troop buildup, according to BBC News. Mr. Biden said Friday that he has been "aware of Russia's actions for a long time." Putin said last week that he had new "red lines" — Washington and its allies must not deploy missiles in Ukraine capable of hitting Moscow. Mr. Biden said Friday that he doesn't "accept anyone's red lines." Psaki on Friday repeated Mr. Biden's earlier remarks that he is putting together a "comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives" to European leaders. She said the U.S. is exploring a "range of options." "We know what President Putin has done in the past, we see that he is putting in place the capacity to take action in short order, and should he decide to invade, that is why we want to be prepared and in an area where we have expressed serious concern about", Psaki said. "So, what he means by a group of- a package is there's a range of tools at our disposal. Of course, economic sanctions are an option." A possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. official confirmed last week to CBS News. The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment, according to an administration official. Roughly 70,000 Russian troops are currently deployed opposite Ukraine, although they lack the support units needed to launch an invasion. That support would come from reservists. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Putin's actions on the border are "very, very concerning" not just to the U.S. but to European leaders as well. Blinken said there would be "high-impact economic consequences" if Putin stages an incursion into Ukraine. "Well, we don't know President Putin's intent", Blinken said. "We don't know if he's made a decision to take renewed aggressive action against Ukraine." In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and amassed troops along the border. that "our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014 when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory, and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked." Olivia Gazis and David Martin contributed to this report.
Biden and Putin to Talk Ukraine
outsidethebeltway.com
c02991c83f4d7714f41d34883072613f

 

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0.4
Artist comes forward about Crumbleys' whereabouts after their capture, lawyer says
(1.01/20)

Detroit — The lawyer for a Metro Detroit artist has identified his client as having a connection with the whereabouts of the parents of the alleged Oxford High school shooter during their disappearance last week. Attorney Clarence Dass said Andrzej Sikora, 65, has contacted authorities in Detroit and Oakland County following the discovery of James and Jennifer Crumbley early Saturday morning in a commercial space in the 1100 block of Bellevue linked to him. “Mr. Sikora has not been charged with any crime,” Dass said in a statement released Sunday. “Nevertheless, upon learning of the Crumbleys’ arrest on Dec. 4, 2021, he voluntarily contacted the Detroit Police Department and Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to provide information. He maintains his innocence throughout this process and is fully cooperating with law enforcement to assist in their investigation.” The Detroit Police Department and Oakland County Sheriff's Office could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday. Police have said they are investigating who helped the Crumbleys, the parents of alleged Oxford High shooter Ethan Crumbley, get into the Bellevue building on Detroit's east side. The parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shootings. Detroit Police Chief James White said in a Saturday morning press conference that the couple had assistance getting into the building shortly after their arrest. “They were aided, and we’re looking into that portion of the investigation, that part is very active now,” said White, adding police know who let them in. Sikora appears to know at least one of the Crumbleys. The artist has been doing a mural of Lyle “Red” Knapp, whose relatives operate Red Knapp’s American Grill in Oxford, as part of a renovation of the place, according to a Nov. 18 story in the Oxford Leader. The cutline for the photo in the story has been erased. But a photo of Sikora for the story was taken by a Jehn Crumbley, according to an archived version of the story. Jehn is Jennifer Crumbley’s nickname. Video obtained by CNN showed the early Saturday morning arrests of the Crumbleys, and Sikora’s name and phone number were listed outside the basement room where they were apprehended. Sikora is a 65-year-old Polish immigrant who lives in Oakland County, according to his lawyer. The phone number outside the room where the Crumbleys were captured is connected to a firm called Decora, which was founded in Detroit in 2011 and listed Sikora as a contact, according to a Dun & Bradstreet database. Police said the Crumbleys were fugitives who hadn’t surrendered to authorities Friday and missed a Friday afternoon arraignment in 52nd District Court in Rochester Hills. The Crumbleys’ attorneys insist Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s office wasn’t communicative and the couple planned to turn themselves in. The Crumbleys' son, Ethan, 15, is accused of killing four students and injuring seven others in a Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School. White in a Saturday morning press briefing at the scene said a tip led police to the commercial building on Bellevue, where police set up surveillance and a perimeter before the couple was taken into custody without incident. Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said that tip came from a business owner who saw a woman near a vehicle believed to be owned by the Crumbleys. The Crumbleys own a 2021 black Kia Seltos that could be seen parked near the building early Saturday morning. Asked if there could be additional charges in the case, White said Saturday it's likely. The department is “working an angle on one other person,” and that Detroit police would work with prosecutors in both Wayne and Oakland counties. White said the couple appeared to be hiding in the building, were not armed when they were arrested and appeared “very distressed as they walked out” of the building. Police found them in the building "locked somewhere in a room, hiding", Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said during their Saturday morning arraignment in 52nd District Court. halbarghouthi@detroitnews.com
Detroit-area artist identified in connection to Crumbley hideout
thehill.com
cc563de7c76d3d7d1f97a690870db8c0

 

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0.8
Farrah Abraham 'Teen Mom' Reunion Show Unfortunately Got Physical
(1.01/20)

Farrah Abraham 's return to the 'Teen Mom' franchise promises to be nothing short of dramatic and, apparently, punchy too. so says the OG herself. We got FA in L.A. talking about the new spinoff she's part of, "Teen Mom: Family Reunion" which is set to premiere next month. Sounds like the time she spent filming with much of her old costars was a bit of a mixed bag -- based on what she's telling us here, anyway. Check it out. Farrah tells us getting back into the 'Teen Mom' world was a bit surreal, because she thinks a lot of the folks who are still partaking are remnants of the past -- something she was trying to propel forward with her appearance. Doesn't sound like that push to embrace growing pains was met with open arms because she tells us things actually got physical at one point. with multiple ladies. It may have made for good TV in the moment, but Farrah tells us she didn't appreciate the squabble in hindsight, due to COVID. and, y'know, generally not wanting to throw hands unnecessarily. Still, she makes it seem like this new season's gonna be chock full of drama and (hopefully) some heart-to-heart talks with the original crop of teen moms. who are all grown up now. The new series premieres on Jan. 11 on MTV.
Farrah Abraham Alleges ‘Teen Mom: Family Reunion’ Gets Violent: ‘People Should Not Physically Attack You’
usmagazine.com
64555f08b00bcb1e917a1e0fdcdad81f

 

 19 /100 

0.2
Dear Abby: Needy friend keeps me on the phone for hours
(1.01/20)

I have a friend, a gay man in his 60s. We met while we worked for the same company 11 years ago, and have stayed in touch even after I moved out of state. He has never had a relationship. He didn’t have a great childhood or upbringing, and his self-esteem is low. Because of his poor eating and living habits, he is now in a nursing home and dependent on others for his care. My problem is, he’s very needy and he calls me regularly to talk. We have little in common (politically, spiritually, emotionally) but he keeps me on the phone for one, two or even three hours — usually late in the evening — until I finally tell him I am sleepy and need to go to bed. I hate to not take his call, but I cringe when I see it’s him calling. Sometimes I tell him I’m watching an important TV program or have to get up early (even when I don’t). I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I have tried to be there for him, although he ignores my advice about anything related to health or finances or being proactive about his care. He’s very self-effacing and doesn’t want to offend anyone. I’m not really helping other than to provide contact. (He has others as well.) Could you tell me what I could say to him without hurting him? — KIND LADY IN THE NORTHWEST DEAR KIND LADY: You need to decide how much time you want to devote to listening to this poor man. Would 30 minutes every few weeks be workable for you? When you see it’s him calling, do not pick up if you don’t feel in the mood for the conversation. DEAR ABBY: I’ve noticed for the past several years that my wife of more than 40 years has been “forgetting” to wear her wedding and engagement rings. Her excuses were that the rings didn’t fit anymore or were causing a rash, etc. I thought she might be embarrassed over the size of the diamond compared to her friends’ rings, so I had the rings resized to fit her finger and offered to buy her a larger diamond ring. She changed her mind about the diamond size after recognizing how much it would cost. Now I’m wondering if I’m being too “controlling” or unreasonable for expecting her to wear her rings. I understand there are times that rings should not be worn for fear of damage. What are your thoughts? — DEVOTED HUSBAND IN THE SOUTH DEAR HUSBAND: Some women no longer want to wear expensive jewelry for fear of being assaulted and robbed. A wedding ring isn’t supposed to function like the brand on a bovine. Not every wife wears one. (Need I point out that many married men forgo wearing them as well?) If someone is married in their heart, they may not feel they need the symbol. Unless you’re worried your wife may be cheating, my advice to you is to ease up. Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby. com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
Dear Abby: Can’t budge lonely, needy friend from the phone
bostonherald.com
083481ad1f1c122a8f516f284ec244af

 

 20 /100 

0.6
1 miner missing, 1 hurt in coal mine accident in Poland
(1.01/20)

Coal mining authorities said Sunday that one miner is missing and one has been rescued with injuries after an earth tremor and a cave-in at a mine in southern Poland. A spokesman for Poland’s Mining Group, Tomasz Glogowski, said that the search continues for the missing miner at the Bielszowice mine, in the town of Ruda Slaska, in difficult conditions. Rescuers reached the injured miner around midnight, and he has been hospitalized. The accident occurred Saturday morning while the men were doing pipeline repair works, some 780 meters (2,600 feet) underground. Poland relies on black and brown coal for almost 70% of its energy and says it cannot phase it out as fast as most European countries are planning. Most mines are located around the city of Katowice, in the south.
1 miner missing, 1 hurt in coal mine accident in Poland
wtop.com
42b15fce18d310de26b13ecefcd77114

 

 21 /100 

0.1
Incoming German transport minister warns against travel over Christmas
(1.01/20)

Germany’s incoming transport minister is advising people against travelling over Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections. F ederal and state leaders on Thursday announced tough new restrictions that largely target unvaccinated people, preventing them from entering nonessential stores, restaurants, sports and cultural venues. In a longer-term move, parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate. Volker Wissing, whose pro-business party has designated him as transport minister in the incoming government, told Sunday’s edition of the Bild Am Sonntag newspaper that “in the current situation, it seems more sensible to spend Christmas in a small group at home and not to plan big trips across the country”. “Winter 2021 will be more dramatic than winter 2020,” he added. The new government under centre-left chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz is expected to take office on Wednesday, subject to the three parties that will form it signing off on their coalition deal and Mr Scholz winning the backing of a parliamentary majority. At least 68.9% of Germans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, short of the government’s aim of a minimum 75% vaccination rate. The shortfall has been blamed as a key factor in a surge of new virus cases in recent weeks. Official figures suggest that the infection rate may now be stabilising, but at too high a level. On Sunday, the national disease control centre reported 42,055 new daily cases and a seven-day infection rate of 439.2 new cases per 100,000 residents. Another 94 deaths in 24 hours brought Germany’s confirmed total in the pandemic to 103,040. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel made a last direct appeal to Germans to get vaccinated on Saturday, saying that a resurgence in deaths is “so bitter because it is avoidable”.
Germany: incoming minister advises against Christmas travel
wtop.com
a37d11b1965f3286f964412070461e83

 

 22 /100 

0.3
What Are the Truly Verifiable Facts Surrounding COVID-19? - Global Research
(0.24/20)

Incisive and carefully researched article by David Skripac, first published on Global Research on August 14, 2020 *** Fact #1: Contrary to what many medical and government officials tell us, there is no evidence to support the claim that face masks—whether N95, surgical, or cloth—protect the wearer from any virus. These so-called “medical experts” usually reference a purportedly scientific publication to support their claim. However, when the studies they point to—namely, in The Lancet and from the Mayo Clinic —are put under closer scrutiny, they fail to pass one crucial test: they never used a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). Reputable scientists consider the RCT the Holy Grail when it comes to conducting a study on a large group of people, because it eliminates the possibility of any population bias in the testing. When we look at trials that have used the RCT method to analyze the efficacy of face masks, we find starkly different results from those that have not. For instance, an exhaustive dental study conducted in 2016 revealed that disposable surgical face masks are incapable of providing protection from respiratory pathogens. Even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done studies on face masks by correctly using RCTs. In one report, titled “Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol.26, No.5” and published in May 2020, the CDC did ten Randomized Controlled Trials before concluding, “Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect against accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids. There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.” As for those people who wear a cloth mask in the belief that “it’s better than wearing nothing,” a RCT conducted in 2015 showed that cloth masks do not work at all. In actuality, a cloth mask puts the wearer at increased risk of respiratory illness and viral infections. In light of the plethora of available science on face masks, it is heartening to see that some governments are making rational decisions based on that science. In the Netherlands, for example, officials are refusing to mandate mask-wearing in public. In the end, the face mask should be viewed as a device used by authoritarians to control the masses and enforce compliance to lawless edicts. The mask lulls wearers into feeling protected from biological harm. Meanwhile, the real harm being done to them is psychological and spiritual. By submitting to mandatory face-covering orders based on flawed science and imposed by either unelected-but-politicized medical officials and technocrats or elected-but-compromised politicians who hold positions in all levels of government—these mask wearers don’t realize that they’re handing over their precious liberties, their individuality, and even, one might say, their very souls to soulless tyrants. Fact #2: To date, not a single team of scientists has isolated and purified the SARS-CoV-2 RNA virus. Some researchers claim to have done so. But when their findings are scrutinized, they fall short. Just as Randomized Controlled Trials are required to do accurate studies of the efficacy and safety of medical devices like face masks or products such as prescription drugs, so, too, is there a major benchmark that must be satisfied if one is to prove that he has indeed correctly identified and isolated a virus. That benchmark has been, since 1890, a set of principals known as the Koch postulates, named after famed German physician and bacteriologist Robert Koch. All researchers must apply his four postulates if they are to prove or disprove a cause-and-effect relationship between a pathogen and a particular clinical disease. For example, in February 2020, Chinese and Dutch researchers published studies purporting to show that they had isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus by satisfying all of the Koch postulates. Four months later, however, freelance writer Armory Devereux and molecular biologist and researcher Rosemary Frei revealed the truth about those studies in an Off-Guardian article. Their heavily investigated and well-documented piece confirms that the Chinese and Dutch researchers did not fulfill Koch’s third postulate, which involves replicating or cloning the DNA to form a new copy of the virus and then injecting that new copy into a significant number of living hosts (usually lab animals) with the intent to reproduce the same discrete diagnostic symptoms associated with the virus. In fact, Frei discovered, after reviewing numerous research papers from all over the world, that not a single group of scientists was able to replicate or clone the DNA to form a new copy of the virus. In short, they failed to meet Koch’s third postulate. Another team of investigative journalists, Torsten Engelbrecht and Konstantin Demeter, wrote an equally comprehensive article on the same subject for Off-Guardian. They, too, concluded that there is not a single research paper out there demonstrating that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been successfully isolated and finally purified. In addition, Engelbrecht and Demeter discovered that “there is no scientific proof that those RNA sequences are the causative agent of what is called COVID-19.” In other words, by not successfully fulfilling all of Koch’s postulates, scientists have thus far not proven the existence of any new coronavirus. This is why molecular biologist Dr. Andrew Kaufman has suggested in numerous interviews—on The Highwire and The Last American Vagabond and elsewhere—that the current coronavirus is not a new disease. Dr. Kaufman submits, moreover, that the particles scientists say they are looking at through their electron microscopes are perhaps not the virus at all but are, rather, exosomes being produced by the body. These exosomes, containing the same genetic material as a virus, are naturally produced by the human body as a defense mechanism in response to an external attack by a toxin emanating from our polluted environment. This would be a possible explanation as to why the “pandemic” started in China’s Wuhan province. This area of China is one of the most polluted places on earth. In Wuhan, the ecosystem in all its glorious biodiversity has been utterly destroyed by man-made pollutants and the heavy use of glyphosate in industrial farming. Besides pollution, there is yet another plausible explanation as to why this particular coronavirus (if it exists, which some reputable experts highly doubt) may have possibly started in Wuhan. The internationally funded Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has proven financial ties to the US government and is known for its poor safety standards, was involved in dangerous gain-of-function research to make bat viruses more lethal to humans. Several disturbing studies conducted by the lab “successfully” combined animal and human virus traits in ways that made them more dangerous to humans. This description of the institute’s research raises many questions. At present, there is not enough evidence to prove whether a pathogen was either intentionally released by the lab or was accidentally leaked into the environment. And, even if a virus was intentionally released into the environment as a bioweapon, the developers of this weapon did not do a good job. As we will see in the last fiction versus fact (below), this coronavirus has had virtually the same global infection fatality rate as the average seasonal flu. If anything, the influenza virus of 2017 was far more lethal than this year’s coronavirus. Finally, this brings us to the multi-billion-dollar question on the virus isolation issue: If scientists have not properly identified the virus or the RNA gene sequences associated with the virus, how on earth are the vaccine companies developing a mRNA vaccine against a novel coronavirus, and what exactly will be in this vaccine? Perhaps this is why the initial vaccine trials conducted by biotech company Moderna, the US vaccine front-runner, and AstraZeneca, which leads the British Oxford Vaccine Group, have been unsatisfactory. Granted, the PCR test is capable of detecting even the minutest piece of DNA or RNA, but this is meaningless if scientists have not determined what specific RNA sequences they are actually searching for. And, in light of Fact #2, which established that no correct isolation and purification of the presumed virus has been executed, the PCR test is scientifically illogical. That the PCR test is being misused, either unwittingly or wittingly hence fraudulently, on COVID-19 diagnoses cannot be overstated. According to the aforementioned Off-Guardian article by Torsten Engelbrecht, “it is worth mentioning that the PCR tests used to identify so-called COVID-19 patients presumably infected by what is called SARS-CoV-2 do not have a valid gold standard to compare them with. This is a fundamental point. Tests need to be validated to determine their ‘sensitivity’ and ‘specificity’—by comparison to a ‘gold standard,’ meaning the most accurate method available.” Engelbrecht makes clear that, to date, there is no valid gold standard for the PCR test because, thus far, no one has isolated and purified the alleged virus. Only unequivocal proof of the existence of a new SARS-CoV-2 can be considered the gold standard. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when we find that the PCR test is plagued with outcomes that can indicate “false negatives” of up to 20 percent or “false positives” of up to an outrageous 70 percent! Both the US CDC and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are well aware that the PCR test has some major pitfalls. The CDC, for instance, states that “this test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens.” Meanwhile, the FDA has reviewed and summarised, for Accelerated Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) purposes, Laboratory Corporation of America’s LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR test and has slapped on it a warning label: “This test has not been FDA cleared or approved.” In the same summary, the FDA explains that “the agent detected may not be the definite cause of the disease.” Given everything we now know about the inaccuracy of the PCR test, why is the World Health Organization (WHO) still insisting that every nation continue testing as many people as possible with this method? Could it be because the entire narrative about the “pandemic” is riding on the distorted PCR test results? Could it also be that the very high “false positive” rate perfectly fits an agenda of inflating the infection case numbers (not the mortality numbers) so as to instill fear into the minds and hearts of as many people as possible? Could it be that injecting fear into the population enables the technocrats and their pawns to continue the draconian stay-at-home lockdowns and economically devastating business shutdowns and the ridiculous containment measures (such as physical distancing) and other punitive restrictions (e.g., fourteen-day quarantines after travel, even when the travel is a simple car trip between adjoining US states)? Could it be that they are purposely placing the lives of millions of people under enormous stress and in precipitous poverty? Is this all part of a behavior modification process that will make it easier for social engineers (technocrats) to completely redesign society so that the distribution of all goods and services to the entire population and the consumption of energy by that population will be orchestrated by a select few self-appointed “experts”? Technocracy News & Trends’ researcher/writer Patrick Wood lays out a plausible explanation for this scenario in his recent interview withDr. Joseph Mercola. In it, Wood notes that the technocracy movement, which started in the early twentieth century, “was always an economic movement, not a political system.” The destruction of the global economy, the removal of everyone’s inherent freedoms, the elimination of national sovereignty, and the accumulation of layers and layers of rules and regulations based on unsubstantiated science are ingredients that constitute the perfect recipe for any technocrat whose goal is to completely redesign society and implement an entirely new economic system. Fiction #4: A “second wave” of new COVID-19 cases has already started in the United States. Fact #4: There is no “second wave” of COVID-19 cases, nor will there be a “third wave.” Sure, at first glance, it would appear that states like South Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California are indeed experiencing a huge surge in new COVID-19 cases. Upon second glance, though, we find two factors that explain this unnatural phenomenon. First, what the media assiduously avoids mentioning is that in June these very same states undertook major campaigns to screen a vast swath of their populace with the PCR test—a viral assay that is employed not as an accurate diagnostic tool but, rather, as a means of inflating positive case counts. While it is true that not all of the positive cases fall into the category of “false positive,” it is equally true, as Fact #2 makes clear, that the PCR assay detects even the minutest particle of RNA associated with any virus. Thus, the test can detect people who have developed antibody T-cells to any previous coronavirus or who are asymptomatic. Either way, these individuals are automatically classified as COVID-19 cases. How convenient for the pandemic-pushers! Such a generous classification means that even those patients undergoing elective surgery who happen to test positive during the hospital admission process are categorised as “hospitalised with COVID-19.” “So, in essence, any person with an influenza-like illness (ILI) could be considered a ‘case’ of COVID-19, even WITHOUT confirmatory lab testing. The CDC has even advised to consider any deaths from pneumonia or ILI as ‘COVID-related’ deaths—unless the physician or medical examiner establishes another infectious agent as the cause of illness. “Now perhaps you see why the increasing number of cases, and even deaths, due to COVID-19 is fraught with misinterpretation and is NOT in any way a measure of the ACTUAL morbidity and mortality FROM COVID-19.” Second, the news media rarely, if ever, mentions the all-important point that, although cases may be on the rise, the rates of mortality allegedly caused by the supposed new coronavirus are actually decreasing in the US, just as they are in the rest of the world. How could that be? Because this non-novel, run-of-the-mill virus is on its way out. In reality, the states that were hit first at the start of the year—predominantly northern states like Washington, Ohio, and New York —were also the first to experience a consistent downward trend in mortality rates, commencing around mid-to-late April. (See the Worldometers website, which, despite its bloated fatality numbers, is nevertheless a good source for interpreting trends in mortality rates.) States in warmer climates, such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are only now, in mid-to-late-summer months, reaching their peak daily death rates. Soon they, too, will begin to show a decline in mortality rates. Why is there a difference in the timing of these peaks and descents among the states? It just means that for any number of reasons—for instance, a variation between individuals in their susceptibility to infection and their propensity to infect others—different regions of the country have reached the Herd Immunity Threshold (HIT) at different times. The HIT is the percentage of the population that needs to be immune in order to prevent the disease from spreading. This value varies among not only regions but nations as well. It is usually around the 10 percent to 20 percent mark for the seasonal flu—meaning that once the HIT value passes 20 percent, the rate of new infections starts to decline until the virus is extinguished. In January 2020, health officials and scientists originally thought that the HIT value for COVID-19 was going to be over 60 percent. But after five months a very different picture emerged. From a team of international research scientists who released a paper on herd immunity in late July, we learn that the global HIT this year was in the aforementioned 10–20 percent range. And thanks to the intrepid research done by J.B. Handley, a frequent contributing writer to the Children’s Health Defense website, we now know that the HIT value for COVID-19 in the US this year has also been in the 10-20 percent range, just like any seasonal flu. Hence, we can conclude from this data that over 70 percent of the population has already developed a natural immunity to the virus from previous exposure to corona-type viruses. All of this proves that our complex and beautifully designed immunity system, which produces killer T-cells and antibodies to fight off all viruses for the purpose of building herd immunity, is doing exactly what it has been doing for the past 200,000 years. Not incidentally, most of those years were before vaccines were dreamed up, developed, and brought to market. Had this not been the case, the human species would have vanished off the face of the earth long ago. Despite the empty rhetoric of our politicians, we now know that the draconian, counterproductive lockdown measures (read: the shutdown of the global economy) imposed by local, state, provincial, and national governments (read: and their technocrat handlers) have nothing to do with defeating the spread of the virus. If anything, the mandatory lockdowns only postpone the day when herd immunity is inevitably reached. Even New Zealand, which completely closed itself off from the rest of the world at the start of the fake pandemic, was simply delaying its day of reckoning. If one wanted to delay a society from reaching herd immunity from the flu for as long as possible, one would do the following to everyone (including healthy people, who have no comorbidities): impose strict, lengthy quarantine measures after travel, isolate even non-travelers in their homes for most hours of the day, enforce physical distancing rules, require the use of face masks, close everything from beaches and amusement parks and stadiums to restaurants and hair salons and, God forbid, churches and temples and mosques! Oh, and shut down schools. As we have seen, this is exactly what the political and medical “rulers”—including fake philanthropists—of most countries did, to their barely suppressed delight and to everyone else’s dismay. A country that stands in stark contrast to this stalling tactic is Sweden. It has refused to participate in the total lockdown strategy. Instead, from the first, it allowed herd immunity to build up naturally. Yet Sweden’s HIT value is at 14 percent—in the same range as the nations that did impose lockdowns. By keeping its economy open and isolating only its vulnerable citizens (the elderly and people with comorbidities), Sweden was the only major economy in the world that grew in the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, according to the data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the US decreased 34.3 percent, or $2.15 trillion, in the second quarter, to a level of $19.41 trillion. This is the most devastating collapse in GDP ever recorded. The GDP drop doesn’t take into account the incalculable human losses—the slide into poverty, the despair, the mental breakdowns, the suicides—that the cruelly counterproductive lockdown has created. Commenting on these detrimental effects, Stanford University’s 2013 Chemistry Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Levitt said in an interview: “There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by the lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor.” (Aside: Jensen’s refreshing candor stands in stark contrast to the apparent go-along-to-get-along mentality of the many doctors who remained silent when he sounded the alarm over the health authorities’ suspicious-sounding instructions. Not that Jensen is without equally courageous colleagues. In fact, he belongs to a new group of more than 600 physicians who call themselves America’s Frontline Doctors and who are calling out US authorities for suppressing information about and access to the coronavirus-slaying drug Hydroxychloroquine. Their July 27 th press conference video from the steps of the US Supreme Court went viral before being banned across all social media platforms.) In the developed world, the Infection Fatality Rate for a seasonal influenza is 0.1–0.2 percent. Bizarrely, the WHO’s initial estimate in March 2020 pegged the IFR for COVID-19 at 3.4 percent. We have since learned, from the meticulous serological studies done by Stanford University epidemiologist and professor of medicine Dr. John Ioannidis (and from many other equally scrupulous scientists around the world), that the global average for COVID-19 is actually about 0.2 percent —in line with the seasonal flu and vastly lower than the WHO’s 3.4 percent gross overestimate. In light of this scientific fact, we must ask the obvious question: Why do we need a global vaccine regimen imposed on everyone for a virus that has the same low fatality rate as the seasonal flu? Cui Bono? From the inception of this manufactured crisis, way back in January 2020—which now feels like a lifetime ago! —the stated purpose for the lockdown measures was to “flatten the curve” so that hospitals everywhere would not be overwhelmed by the inevitable wave of incoming COVID-19 patients. Governments around the world did exactly that: they flattened the curve to the point of destroying the lives of millions of people and ruining their own national economies. Strange, isn’t it, that apparently very few hospitals, including in big cities, have been overrun by patients. Take for example, the Berlin hospital that a German journalist walked through at the height of the pandemic, only to discover, to his surprise, that no one was there. Or check out what citizen journalists were video recording in supposedly maxed-out-with-patients hospitals around the US. Incidentally, this Dana Ashlie video, which can be seen on BitChute, was banned from YouTube for purportedly violating Terms of Service. (Translation: Facts that contradict the pandemic propagandists’ fakery mustn’t be seen or heard by the general public, lest their fear of a virulent, fatal disease be deflated like a popped balloon.) Strange, too, that many so-called COVID-19 cases were anything but. Consider, for example, the situation in Italy, where “only 12 per cent of the death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity—many had two or three.” Strange, too, that in New York State, all the cases deemed to be COVID-19 were elderly patients who were removed from hospitals and dumped in nursing homes, where neglect and overcrowding and even the emotional toll produced by loneliness and fear resulted in many sickeningly sudden and sad deaths. And isn’t it especially strange that one of the most obvious outcomes of flattening the curve was the loss of everyone’s constitutional, civil, medical, parental, and religious rights? It was as if there had been a plan all along to dispense not only with lives, but also with rights—including the right to dissent! Now here we are, months later, still being bombarded by scary scenarios. Every major news outlet pounds us with fear-mongering predictions of second and third waves. The engineered-to-skyrocket cases of COVID-19 in the US are dominating the headlines. Some state governors and state and county health authorities and privately owned establishments are imposing ever-more-onerous rules regarding face masks and physical distancing—rules they realize would never pass the legal smell test in normal times, much less in a court of law. Meanwhile, the same dictators are doubling down on their innocent-sounding “let’s all get tested” message. As the above five facts have shown, all of these public health measures are based on unsubstantiated science. Moreover, we have not even begun to feel the long-lasting economic effects of the “pandemic.” In the coming months and years, our national economies will become much more precarious. Is it possible that we already cash-strapped citizens will be ordered to pay back the billions of dollars that have been divvied out to us by our Big Brother governments? In some places, lockdowns may be gradually easing. But the relief measures being implemented have not helped the countless mid-sized and small business owners who have, one by one, decided to board their doors and close up shop forever. They are suffering twice-over: they must watch their own families be penalized and at the same time feel guilty for having to bid farewell to their employees, who by the millions are looking for non-existent jobs and standing in long unemployment lines. As layoffs keep mounting, nations are facing a massive fiscal crisis at the very time when their badly needed tax revenues are disappearing. In the near future, national governments will be forced to hand over entire sectors of the economy to their creditors, such as Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. In the end, private financial oligarchies will literally own the US and other nations, further eviscerating the concept of national sovereignty. So, why are we being forced to travel down this rocky road? One possible explanation could be that many governments may consider it political suicide to admit that their approach has been wrong. Thus, instead of immediately correcting their course of action, they are incrementally shifting gears. But could there be something far more sinister at play here? Could this entire “pandemic” be a gigantic smokescreen designed to conceal the diabolical actions of the globalist technocrats, whose agenda is to literally create, possess, and control a single worldwide economy and a single worldwide government? If we follow the money trail, we can determine who some of the possible beneficiaries of such a fiendish agenda could be. To begin, let’s look at the financial sector. Since the US mortgage and market crash of 2008, none of the mechanisms that allowed the crash to occur have been removed. True, for the past twelve years, the stock market has appeared to recover. In reality, though, the market is the opposite of healthy. It has been surviving mainly on stock buybacks by companies that have been using some of their profits to buy their own stocks in order to prop up prices. This scheme has provided the illusion that the economy is thriving. But the stock market’s action is not an absolute indicator of the real economy’s production and consumption. Indeed, by the summer of 2019 it had become evident that not even the stock buyback strategy was going to keep the lumbering economy alive. Thus, as a short-term solution, the New York Federal Reserve last September started injecting billions of dollars into the stock market in the form of short-term loans (repos). While the intent was to keep the stock market chugging along, the effect was more like kicking an empty tin can down the road for as long as possible until finally the road ends. Eventually, a long-term solution would have to be found to reset the entire world economy. Enter the “shadow bank” BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with over $7 trillion dollars in assets under direct management and another $20 trillion managed through its Aladdin risk-monitoring software. In a statement released in August 2019 on Bloomberg News, BlackRock observed that “the current policy space for global central banks is limited and will not be enough to respond to a significant, let alone a dramatic, downturn.” To solve this problem, BlackRock hired former central bankers from the US, Canada, and Switzerland. Their orders were to devise a plan that would enable BlackRock to expand its role in the global fiscal and monetary policy arena by blurring the lines between government fiscal policy and central bank monetary policy. The plan was due by the end of August. Are we surprised that the COVID-19 crisis precipitated the very dramatic downturn to which BlackRock alluded mere months earlier? Hardly. Both the pandemic and the ensuing stock market crash have presented the perfect opportunity for BlackRock and other central banks to take full control of global monetary policy. The economic reset that the globalists have been talking about since 2014, both at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) —and, more recently, in June 2020, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) —is now well underway. After the market crashed in late February, the Federal Reserve came out with a $10 trillion USD bailout package, of which $454 billion is to be administered by BlackRock under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). In other words, this money from taxpayers to the government will be used to directly buy stocks, bonds, junk bonds, mortgages, and junk mortgages from Wall Street investment firms. These purchases are designed to inflate the value of stock market assets. In the US, some 85 percent of these assets are held by the richest 10 percent of Americans. BlackRock has also been hired by the Bank of Canada and Sweden’s central bank, Riksbank, to implement their respective stimulus plans. Keep in mind that none of this money will be fueling real economic activity. None of it will be used to help millions of people revive their small businesses and improve their living standards. It is, pure and simple, a bailout package for the players in the global stock market. It provides the illusion that the Main Street economy is on the mend. Governments claim the stimulus money will be used to build the means of production and help small business. Truthfully, the exact inverse is occurring: the largest redistribution of wealth in human history is taking place, which will only increase the gap in income inequality throughout the world. Although there is no “smoking gun” to definitively prove that the COVID-19 pandemic was the preplanned pretext for launching the much-vaunted “Great Reset,” the timing is nonetheless too coincidental to ignore. Now, let’s look at another group that could massively gain from this supposed pandemic: the pharmaceutical industry. If this industry, with Bill Gates at its helm, successfully launches its campaign to vaccinate every person on the planet against SARS-Cov-2, the drug-and-vaccine-makers could potentially rake in tens of billions of dollars. As if further signaling its disdain for WHO, in early June the Trump administration boosted its support for GAVI with a donation of a $1.16 billion USD (again, taxpayer dollars) via the first-ever virtual Global Vaccine Summit. That huge sum stands in stark contrast to the US government’s modest contributions to WHO of $401 million in 2017 and $281.6 million in 2018. During the same summit, GAVI received from many other nations large contributions that totaled $8.8 billion USD. (The Rockefeller Foundation, which has numerous ties to the vaccine agenda, kicked in $5 million of that sum.) These injections of liquidity—ominously reminiscent of the injections of liquid that are known as vaccines—will provide GAVI with all of the funding it needs for the purpose of pushing the global vaccine agenda on governments and for maintaining its role in “public-private partnerships” with governmental bodies and private companies. For those of us who may not be conversant with the lobbying process, here’s how it works across national borders. Because neither Bill Gates nor his foundation can directly lobby a foreign government, being a founding partner of GAVI enables Gates to seek out and hire representatives in targeted nations who will lobby on behalf of his interests. In Canada, for instance, GAVI has hired Crestview Strategy, an Ottawa-based lobbying firm that specialises in shaping government policy by speaking directly to the Canadian government’s key decision-makers and opinion leaders. The government relations page on Crestview’s website defines its mission thusly: “Crestview Strategy effectively represents the interests of corporations, not-for-profits and industry associations to achieve results with governments around the world.” While representing “the interests of corporations, not-for-profits and industry associations” in pushing the vaccine message on behalf of GAVI, has Crestview crossed an ethical threshold? In other words, has there been any collusion between Gates proxy Crestview and the Canadian government? Or is it pure coincidence that Prime Minister Trudeau shares Bill Gates’s view that only a mass vaccination program will allow populations to return to lives of normalcy? It depends who you ask and what they know. Journalists at Canuck Law, an independent media outlet that investigates political corruption in Canada, answer “yes” to collusion and “no” to pure coincidence. Canuck Law researchers dug up the fact that Crestview Strategy employs two former Liberal Party associates, Jason Clark and Zakery Blais, to lobby the Canadian government on behalf of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. These two Liberal Party operatives-turned-lobbyists met with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) staff—the chief of staff, the director of policy and planning, a policy advisor, and a special assistant—as well as with members of Parliament on at least nineteen occasions between March 2018 and January 2020 to push the GAVI vaccine message. Records show that a third Crestview employee, Jennifer Babcock, who has since left the firm, lobbied the government for GAVI just one time. Canuck Law explains: “These are just 20 reports that are on file with the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner. It’s fair to assume that there have been many, many more talks that aren’t documented.” It therefore comes as no surprise that Ottawa has thus far shelled out some $800 million for Gates’s global vaccine agenda and that PM Justin Trudeau constantly refers to society as living in “the new normal until a vaccine is found.” In the US government, the level of corruption among vaccine promoters is more entrenched and insidious. Big Pharma far outpaces all other industries in spending on lobbying in Washington, D.C. In 2019, for instance, it spent twice as much on lobbying as the oil and gas industry and almost three times more than the defense industry. There are more pharmaceutical industry lobbyists than the 435 representatives in the House and the 100 US senators combined. Drug-and-vaccine-makers and their industry associations and paid corporate lobbyists aim to influence any and all related legislation and regulations. They also seek preferential treatment through campaign contributions. No wonder the State of Tennessee has already mandated that students are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. No wonder, too, that the Trump administration on July 31 st handed over $2.1 billion in taxpayer money to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi to expedite further COVID-19 vaccine development. Now that we have seen who some of the financial winners are in this orchestrated pandemic, let’s examine how the know-it-all technocrats and parasitic, predator globalists plan to monitor and track our every move. Their total surveillance grid, hiding in plain sight behind the COVID-19 scamdemic, is being tested in West Africa before it is rolled out in the rest of the world. Here, the Gates-tied GAVI and Mastercard and the AI-powered “identity authentication” company Trust Stamp have joined forces in the effort to link a biometric digital identity system, vaccination records, and a “ cashless ” payment system all into a single platform. Under this alliance, Mastercard’s Wellness Pass program will be integrated into Trust Stamp’s biometric identity platform. The Wellness Pass will thus be capable of providing biometric identity information on any person, even in areas of the world lacking internet access or cellular connectivity. Moreover, the Wellness Pass will also be linked to an individual’s cashless payment system. This could potentially provide authorities with the ability to block a person’s account if he does not abide by certain mandates regarding health measures. Such massive surveillance and control are eerily similar to China’s “social credit” system. This entirely new Trust Stamp platform will be coupled with the COVID-19 vaccination program, if and when a vaccine becomes available, through a COVI-PASS, the brand name for a digital health passport, which authorities will automatically download (push) to your device. The COVI-PASS, which was developed by British cybersecurity company VST Enterprises in partnership with several other tech firms, is slated to be rolled out in fifteen countries across the world, including Canada, Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Panama, South Africa, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands. The pass will contain a person’s COVID-19 test results and vaccination history plus any relevant health information. A truly Orwellian prospect! Gates’s funding is not strictly limited to the field of global health. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in cooperation with GAVI, is also deeply tied to ID2020—a global digital ID system that will combine both birth registration records and vaccination records to create a digital identity for every person on planet Earth. At first glance, ID2020 may seem like it’s the same concept as the COVI-PASS, but it is actually far more. The COVI-PASS, as mentioned above, relates more to one’s health record, whereas ID2020 is a complete identification record of your entire life. It is your driver’s license, passport, work identification pass, building access card, debt and credit cards, transit passes, police record, health records, and more—all wrapped up in one identification system. It is being sold to us by the statists as a new and improved means of “protecting our civil liberties and personal data,” when in reality the exact inverse is true: as with any electronic device, it can and will be used by the-powers-that-shouldn’t-be to monitor a person’s every move, and if necessary, restrict a person’s movements. Although ID2020 was originally formed in 2019, when GAVI joined forces with the Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, Accenture, and IDEO. org, it was put into motion by the globalists at the onset of the supposed pandemic. And it is now being tested in Bangladesh. Once again, as we have already seen in the above-mentioned economic reset, the COVID-19 crisis presents the perfect opportunity to launch the ID2020 system. We must now ask ourselves: Is it merely coincidence that these measures—the economic reset, the implementation of ID2020, the creation of Trust Stamp, and Mastercard’s Wellness program—are all being put into motion, simultaneously, on the heels of the fabricated pandemic? We may never find out if their joint appearance is a coordinated effort by just a few top technocrats or by all the participants in these schemes—the usually compartmentalization of information and tasks keeps the lower-level actors from knowing the real purpose and the high-up players in any scheme of this sort. What is certain, though, is that all of the medical martial law edicts that have been issued in united fashion have been based on unsubstantiated science. Equally clear is that the drive for a global COVID-19 vaccine regimen and the global surveillance grid are moving ahead in concert to transform the world as we know it— if we allow it to happen. As Professor Michel Chossudovsky and others have often said, we need mass movements, such as the #ExposeBillGates movement, to counter and dismantle the technocrats’ diabolical designs on us. When and if our governments ever signal—presumably post-mass vaccination— that it is time to return to normal, beware. We must never go back to the old normal. For it is this old normal—based on a corrupt and broken paradigm—that landed us in pandemic prison in the first place. We must move forward with the new knowledge we have acquired in recent months, and we must build a better paradigm—one based on truth and compassion for all of humanity. Madame Curie was right. Nothing is to be feared, it is only to be understood. We must fearlessly speak out and share this information. * Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. 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Man fires shots at NC State students after trying to rob them on campus, police say
(0.06/20)

Raleigh, N.C. — A man attempted to rob a group of North Carolina State University Students in a car, according to the university's police department. The students were in a car in the parking lot at of the Avent Ferry Complex, which is up-scale university housing. He pointed a handgun at the students and tried to take the vehicle they were inside. The students drove away from the man, and as they did, he fired several shots at the car. No one was injured and nothing was stolen during this incident, officials said. Last month, students reported a similar incident to university police west of the McKimmon Center. Three men drove up next to the student alongside the road and stopped. They pulled a gun on her, and she ran away, police said. One man got out of the car and walked toward the student with a gun, and she ran away, according to police. University police said the suspect fled from the scene and they were not able to find him. Police told students on Saturday that if they ever feel unsafe walking alone to contact Safety Escort Services at 919-515-3000.
Man tries to rob NC State students near residence hall with a gun, police say
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Man tries to rob NC State students near residence hall, police say
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Live updates: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Rams at SoFi Stadium
(0.05/20)

The Rams (7-4) play at home vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) on Sunday Dec. 5 at 1:05 p.m. Keep it here for live updates from reporter Kevin Modesti along with analysis and stats during and after the game. Follow reporter Kevin Modesti and subscribe for Rams updates all season long. Sign up for the Horn Blasts Rams newsletter. A Twitter List by InsideSoCalSpts
Live updates: Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
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Study shows more pregnant women die from homicide than illness
(0.03/20)

[ Editor's note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.] New research published November 1, 2021, in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology has revealed that a leading cause of death among pregnant women is homicide. In fact, the study found that homicide during pregnancy “exceeded all the leading causes of maternal mortality.” Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics 2018 and 2019 mortality files, researchers estimated the two-year pregnancy-associated homicide mortality ratios for females ages 10-44 compared to the homicide mortality ratios among non-pregnant and non-postpartum females as well as to mortality ratios for direct pregnancy-related causes of death. They found that there were 3.62 homicides per 100,000 live births among females who were pregnant or had given birth within one year. This rate is 16% higher than the homicide rate among non-pregnant and non-postpartum women of reproductive age, which saw 3.12 deaths per 100,000 live births in that time period. The researchers concluded, “Homicide during pregnancy or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy exceeded all the leading causes of maternal mortality by more than twofold.” In addition, the risk of homicide was “significantly elevated” among pregnant Black women and among girls and younger women ages 10 to 24 across racial and ethnic subgroups. Homicide has long been considered a leading cause of injury-related death among pregnant women, but until 2003, the United States didn’t require death certificates to include information on whether or not the person who had died was pregnant at the time or had recently given birth. This lack of data meant it was previously impossible to know how many pregnant women were dying by homicide. According to Social Work Today, risk factors for homicide by a partner during pregnancy include the women’s attempt to end the relationship, the abuser’s lack of employment and lack of education, a previous assault with no police arrest, and a child in the home who is not the partner’s biological child. Drug use and access to firearms are also factors. In some instances, the woman or her preborn baby may be targeted by the partner/father if she refuses to have an abortion as he wishes. This was the case for 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang, who was murdered by her baby’s father Aaron Trejo when she was six months pregnant because she waited too long to tell him about the pregnancy to get an abortion. Therefore he said, “I took action… I took her life.” Tassila Kenha, 24, was also murdered by her boyfriend after she refused an abortion. And 35-year-old Jennifer Irigoyen and her preborn child were murdered by the baby’s father as her neighbors heard her scream, “He’s going to kill the baby.” [ Editor's note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.] SUPPORT TRUTHFUL JOURNALISM. MAKE A DONATION TO THE NONPROFIT WND NEWS CENTER. THANK YOU!
Definition of 'fully vaccinated' getting worked over, AGAIN!
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Travis Pastrana Pays Off ‘Airplane Deal’ With Chase Elliott
(0.02/20)

Getty Travis Pastrana paid off a deal that he made with Chase Elliott. Let it be known that Travis Pastrana is a man of his word. The four-time Rally America champion paid off a deal that he made with NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott and jumped out of an airplane while in Florida. The payoff took place on Sunday, December 5, prior to the final day of the inaugural Nitro Rallycross season. Pastrana posted an update on social media that showed him waiting on a runway and wearing a parachute pack. He then showed that Elliott was behind the controls of an airplane. TP is a man of his word 🪂 @chaseelliott| @TravisPastrana pic.twitter.com/USv3HcOkZ4 Nitro Rallycross (@NitroRallycross) December 5, 2021 “Ok, Chase Elliott has landed,” Pastrana said in an Instagram video. “We are race morning for the championship. We’re going to do a skydive, and it’s cool because we can actually land at the track here in Florida.” The Nitro Rallycross Twitter account also posted a video that provided more footage from the morning skydive session. Pastrana explained that he is a man of his word and that had to jump out of a plane that Elliott was flying. The Nitro Rallycross video didn’t show the two drivers in the air, but it focused on Pastrana as the series creator landed back on the grass next to the race track. annnnnd @chaseelliott wants in 👀 pic.twitter.com/OPM9DAAjpR — Nitro Rallycross (@NitroRallycross) October 31, 2021 While there could be questions about why Pastrana had to jump out of an Elliott-controlled airplane, there is a simple answer. The two champions made this deal prior to the Round of Eight cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway on October 31. Pastrana headed out to the short track to accomplish multiple tasks. He took time to chat with Kyle Busch about the two-time champion’s Nitro Rallycross debut at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on November 12-14. He also recruited multiple Cup Series drivers, including Joey Logano, Elliott, and Kyle Larson. Pastrana did not have to put in much work to convince Elliott to join the series and drive the “GoNitro” ZipRecruiter Subaru. The 2020 Cup Series champion said that he wanted to take part but also made a request of Pastrana. “100%. I want in,” Elliott said. “It looks like a blast. Yeah, man, I think it would be a lot of fun. I’m down to do that if I can talk you into jumping out of an airplane. I would love to do that. It’d be a lot of fun.” The Nitro Rallycross season comes to an end with Elliott and Busch both reaching the final races of their respective rounds. However, they were the only Cup Series drivers to compete in the unique series after multiple expressed interest. Logano, the 2018 Cup Series champion, didn’t let Pastrana finish his pitch before telling him to “put me in.” Logano continued and asked if Pastrana was actually making the formal invitation and when he could get in. They did not land on a specific date, but Pastrana told Logano that he has a car available for him and that there are three rounds remaining in the season after the NASCAR Cup Series championship race. Logano did not make an appearance in Nitro Rallycross during the final three rounds, nor did Larson. The reigning Cup Series champion expressed interest in taking part in the series, but he also clarified that his wife said, “absolutely not.” Nitro Rallycross will most likely return for the 2022 season, but will any more Cup Series drivers take part? Both Busch and Elliott made positive remarks about their respective experiences, which should only help draw more talent to the supercars. READ NEXT: 23XI Racing Names Veteran Spotter for Kurt Busch’s No. 45 Unlock the latest NASCAR news, rumors and exclusives — direct to your inbox. ↓
Chase Elliott Reaches NRX Final As Travis Pastrana Wins Championship
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Shell oil and gas exploration fury spreads to UK
(0.02/20)

The countrywide protests aimed at stopping energy giants Shell from blasting the ocean floor off South Africa's ecologically sensitive East Coast in search of oil and gas have spread to the UK. A group of 100 Africans in the UK converged outside the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square on Sunday to fight what they called "the harsh punishment of Africans". In South Africa, protesters took to various shorelines, including Hout Bay and Muizenberg Cape Town, Eastern Cape's Nahoon Beach in East London, and Mbizana's Mzamba Beach in the former Transkei to object to Shell's seismic survey on the Wild Coast. By Sunday, an online petition against the survey had collected 396 000 signatures while two groups had launched urgent High Court interdicts to block Shell. READ| Shell blasted: Public outrage mounting over seismic survey on Wild Coast However, one application has gone unsuccessful while the High Court in Makhanda still needs to decide on the latest one launched late last week. In the UK, the hashtag #stoppunishingafrica demonstration was organised to oppose Shell's seismic survey as well as to reject perceived vaccine apartheid and international travel bans imposed on most African countries in light of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. The organisers of the UK protest said Shell's seismic exploration in the marine protected areas would result in a complete marine ecosystem collapse which would have disastrous effects on marine biodiversity and local indigenous communities, their livelihoods and tourism for the region. The organisers of the UK protest are Africans Hayley Reichert, Paris Oomadath and Kate Swart. Hayley and Paris were born in KwaZulu-Natal and Kate in Pembrokeshire, Wales, but spent most of her life living in the Xhosa villages of the Wild Coast. ALSO READ| This too Shell pass - fight to stop Wild Coast seismic survey is not over The outrage comes after Shell announced it will begin blasting the seafloor of the unspoilt Wild Coast - from Morgans Bay outside East London all the way to Port St Johns - in search of gas and oil deposits. It appointed Shearwater GeoServices to conduct a three-dimensional (3D) offshore seismic survey from Morgans Bay to Port St Johns to map potential oil and gas deposits under the seabed. The survey area is more than 20km from the coast at its closest point, with water depths ranging from 700 to 3 000m, and it covers 6 011 square kilometres. Fish and other marine creatures, including endangered species, may die when Shearwater GeoServices uses a high-powered airgun to blast the sea floor every 10 seconds. The sound waves can reportedly penetrate more than 1 000m into the earth. Environmental, ordinary people and businesses have raised concerns that the blasts will affect sea life - including whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, and crabs.
WATCH| This will affect everyone, says activist as protests against Shell's seismic survey plans intensify
news24.com
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We Are Living Through a Time of Fear – Not Just of the Virus, but of Each Other - Global Research
(0.02/20)

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). *** Police & Crime Bill allows for:- • Gypsy & Traveller vehicles to be seized; • 3 months jail or £2.5k fine for a nomadic life without a travellers passport; • Banning of “disruptive” protests; • Up to 10 years jail for damage to a statue; Dangerous, totalitarian legislation. Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) March 15, 2021 In other words, this is a bill designed to outlaw the right to conduct any demonstration beyond the most feeble and ineffective kind. It makes permanent current, supposedly extraordinary limitations on protest that were designed, or so it was said, to protect the public from the immediate threat of disease. My latest: Trump is not the cause of US political woes, he is one obnoxious symptom. For that reason, banning him from Twitter will not heal the US political divide, it will deepen and inflame it https://t.co/Qe5FYwSICN — Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) January 11, 2021 At what point does the UK officially become a banana republic? At the point when its health secretary awards a massive contract for medical supplies to his former neighbour and pub landlord? https://t.co/9DPlVXj5DB — Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) November 27, 2020 A reactionary police force full of white men picked chiefly for their physical attributes is not only inherently violent, institutionally racist and hostile towards political protest but also anti-women. Now who would have guessed that? https://t.co/PfCYwwmF1N — Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) March 15, 2021 In the spirit of the times, there has been much wider public sympathy for a vigil for a murder victim than there has been for more overtly political demonstrations like those against the Police and Crime Bill. But if health threats are really the measure of whether large public gatherings are allowed – if we “follow the science” – then neither is justified. Decades late we *again* learn that corporations lied to us, knowing they were destroying our health, and regulators failed to act. Decades in the future, we'll learn exactly the same: that these corporations were lying to us right now and got away with it https://t.co/gj3UOqEbZq — Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) March 19, 2021 * Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc. This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog: https: //www. jonathan-cook. net/blog/ Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www. jonathan-cook. net. Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page Become a Member of Global Research
Video: "The Way You Design the World in Your Mind is the Way you Relate to It in the Real World": Dr. Vandana Shiva - Global Research
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1.0
"Don't Look Up," an apocalyptic comedy
(0.02/20)

Can you play an existential crisis for laughs? Correspondent Tracy Smith talks with stars Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, and with writer-director Adam McKay (an Oscar-winner for "The Big Short"), about "Don't Look Up", a satire about Earth's impending collision with a comet that offers a comical analogy to climate change – and mankind's reluctance to deal with it.
"Don't Look Up": Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio in a light-hearted look at the end of the world
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Joanne Shenandoah, Indigenous singer of majestic lyricism, dies at 64

Joanne Shenandoah, a singer and songwriter who received worldwide acclaim for her music that drew on her heritage as a member of the Oneida Nation and made her one of the country’s most honored and popular Indigenous performers, died Nov. 22 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 64. The cause was internal bleeding as a result of liver failure, said her husband, Doug George-Kanentiio. She had been hospitalized with a liver infection in 2016 and recovered after several months. When she became ill this year, her husband said doctors at the Mayo Clinic could not determine the cause of her liver disease, but it was not related to alcohol abuse or hepatitis. Shenandoah, whose father was a chief in the Onandaga Nation and whose mother was from the Wolf clan of the Oneida Nation, grew up in Oneida territory in central New York. Surrounded by music as a child, she was given the name Tekaliwhakwah, which means “she sings.” Before launching her career in music, Shenandoah spent about a dozen years in the Washington area, where she had a computer consulting business and found occasional jobs singing for commercials and as a backup vocalist. “I was working very hard and was doing all the things I thought were important in life,” she told the Associated Press in 1997. “One day I was looking out my office window. This huge tree was being cut down, and something clicked: What am I doing with my life here?” In 1989, she released the first of more than a dozen albums, and the next year she moved back to Oneida territory. She sought out elders to learn more about the history and languages of the Oneida people and other groups in the Iroquois Confederacy, which also includes the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. Shenandoah did not perform traditional Indigenous music but borrowed certain melodic and rhythmic motifs from it as she wrote original songs, sometimes in English and often in Mohawk or other Iroquois languages. “In the Iroquois way,” she said in 2013, “music is a healing force, and the vibration of music lifts the spirit.” Shenandoah, who played guitar, piano, flute, cello and other instruments, gave as many as 200 concerts a year, often with her sister and daughter as backup vocalists. International sales of her recordings were in the millions. She generally used modern instrumentation in her music and sometimes had an electronic, techno sound pulsing beneath her ethereal, soaring voice. Her songs reflected her interests in nature, women’s lives and Iroquois culture. “In all of her music, her voice is always very much an expression of what the Iroquois refer to as ‘the good mind,’ ” Christopher Vecsey, a scholar of Native American studies at New York’s Colgate University, told NPR in 2000. “Her voice never stretches,” he added. “It never goes to edges. It’s always right in the center, beautifully calm, and I think that voice really expresses the message as much as the words express the message.” Shenandoah quickly gained a following that spread far beyond the world of Native American music. Her songs were featured in the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure,” she performed several times at the White House and at inaugural events for presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 1994, Shenandoah sang before a crowd of several hundred thousand at the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival in New York. During the 1990s, she wrote a song with Neil Young and Brian Kirkpatrick, “Treaty,” which addresses the treatment of Native groups by federal authorities: “You can drain all the oceans / and fill them with tears / You will never remove me / I’ll always be here.” Shenandoah sang for the Dalai Lama and South African leader Nelson Mandela, and in 2012 she appeared at the Vatican to honor the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. She shared the stage with such varied performers as Waylon Jennings, Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, John Denver, Willie Nelson, Rita Coolidge and Robbie Robertson – the latter two of whom have Indigenous ancestry. Shenandoah was nominated for several Grammy Awards and sang two of her songs on the 2005 album “Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth,” which won a Grammy for best Native American Music album. (The category no longer exists.) She also received 14 Native American Music Awards, more than any other artist. “Joanne is to contemporary Native American music what Aretha Franklin, Etta James, or Billie Holiday are to their respective genres,” Mohawk musician Ed Koban told Native News Online. Joanne Lynn Shenandoah was born June 23, 1957, in Syracuse, N.Y., and grew up nearby in Oneida territory. One of her ancestors was an Oneida chief known as Shenandoah (there are several spellings of his name), who was a close associate of George Washington and helped to feed his troops during the Revolutionary War. Her father was an ironworker who played jazz guitar. Her mother had a Native crafts business and enjoyed singing. As a girl, Shenandoah often made music with her family at home. “What amazed me when she was young, she could just pick up any instrument and start playing it,” her mother said in 1997. “It was just born in her.” She attended Andrews University in Michigan and Montgomery Community College in Maryland. In the 1990s, Shenandoah and George-Kanentiio, her husband, wrote “Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois,” a book for young people about Iroquois history and culture. She later composed a work of the same name for symphony orchestra and voice. In addition to her music, Shenandoah had an acting role in the 2006 horror film “The Last Winter,” set in the Arctic. She was an activist for Native rights and was often at odds with leaders of the Oneida Nation. During the Obama administration, she was the co-chair, with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, of the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. Her most recent album, “Shenandoah Country” (2020), included songs about violence toward women. Shenandoah’s marriage to Edward Smith ended in divorce. Survivors include her husband of 30 years, George-Kanentiio, a journalist and commentator on Native affairs of Oneida Castle, New York; a daughter from her first marriage, Leah Shenandoah of Oneida Castle; four sisters; and a grandson. Shenandoah and her husband established a foundation that is the repository of the world’s largest collection of recorded Iroquois music. “I really believe that a lot of the music I write and sing is completely ancestrally inspired,” Shenandoah said in 1997. “If I didn’t live here on our ancestral homeland, I truly believe it wouldn’t have come out the same.” Success. Please wait for the page to reload. If the page does not reload within 5 seconds, please refresh the page. Enter your email and password to access comments. Forgot Password? Don't have a Talk profile? Create one. Invalid username/password. Please check your email to confirm and complete your registration. Create a commenting profile by providing an email address, password and display name. You will receive an email to complete the registration. Please note the display name will appear on screen when you participate. Already registered? Log in to join the discussion. Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why. Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code. Send questions/comments to the editors. « Previous

 

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0.1
2021 AI Predictions: What We Got Right And Wrong

In December 2020, we published a list of 10 predictions about the world of artificial intelligence in the year 2021. With 2021 now coming to a close, let’s revisit these predictions to see how things actually played out. There is much to learn from these retrospectives about the state and trajectory of AI today. Outcome: Wrong As of the beginning of this year, no autonomous vehicle company had ever gone public. 2021 is the year that that all changed. TuSimple, Embark and Aurora have all debuted on public markets this year. Argo is deep in preparations to go public. Plus.ai and Pony.ai both announced SPAC deals this year (though Pony.ai has since shelved its plans). Credible rumors are swirling about upcoming public market debuts for other autonomous players. But Waymo and Cruise are not included on that list. Given that Waymo and Cruise are the most well-capitalized of all AV companies, it makes sense that they would not necessarily be the first ones to need to tap public markets for more capital. Still, while our timing proved premature, we expect both of these companies to eventually be publicly traded. Outcome: Wrong Deepfakes, which just a couple years ago were an oddity on the fringes of the Internet, have thrust themselves into mainstream public consciousness in 2021. From an Anthony Bourdain documentary to viral Tom Cruise clips, from a widely condemned new pornography app to a bizarre story about a cheerleader’s vindictive mom in small-town America, deepfakes are rapidly becoming a part of our societal milieu. But no deepfake has yet fooled large numbers of viewers and caused meaningful real-world damage in the realm of U.S. politics. Let’s hope it stays that way in 2022. Outcome: Right(ish) Research activity in federated learning has indeed surged this year. The number of academic research papers published on federated learning grew from 254 in 2018, to 1,340 in 2019, to 3,940 in 2020, according to Google Scholar. In 2021 that number jumped to 9,110, with four weeks still left in the year. In last year’s predictions we specified that this number would surpass 10,000 in 2021—hence the “ish”. This one may come down to the wire. Outcome: Wrong No multi-billion-dollar acquisitions occurred in the world of AI chips in 2021. Instead, the leading AI chip startups all raised rounds at multi-billion-dollar valuations, making clear that they aspire not to get acquired but to become large standalone public companies. In our predictions last December, we identified three startups in particular as likely acquisition targets. Of these: SambaNova raised a $670 million Series D at a $5 billion valuation in April; Cerebras raised a $250 million Series F at a $4 billion valuation last month; and Graphcore raised $220 million at a valuation close to $3 billion amid rumors of an upcoming IPO. Other top AI chip startups like Groq and Untether AI also raised big funding rounds in 2021. Outcome: Wrong In 2021, none of the leading AI drug discovery startups was acquired by a pharma incumbent. Instead, just like the AI chip startups in the previous section, these companies raised record amounts of funding to challenge the incumbents head-on. Several AI drug discovery players completed IPOs in 2021, making them among the earliest AI-first companies in the world to trade on public markets. Recursion went public in April; Exscientia followed it in October. Insilico is slated to IPO soon. Insitro, XtalPi and a handful of other AI drug discovery players raised massive private rounds this year. For most of these competitors, the window for an acquisition has likely passed. Outcome: Right Finally, a prediction that we nailed! For years, U.S. policymakers have been relatively inattentive to the strategic importance of artificial intelligence while more forward-thinking governments like China and Canada have rolled out detailed national strategies to position themselves as global AI leaders. This changed in a big way in 2021, with an explosion of U.S. public policy activity related to AI. At the beginning of the year, Congress passed legislation to promote and coordinate AI research. Numerous additional AI-related bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress this year. A dedicated White House group has been established to oversee the nation’s overall approach to AI. The U.S. military has gone into overdrive in its AI investments. In October, the Biden administration called for an “AI Bill Of Rights” for the American people. The list goes on. It would be going too far to say that the U.S. government has established a cohesive national AI strategy. But in 2021, artificial intelligence rocketed to the forefront of Washington’s policy agenda. Outcome: Right In January 2021, less than a month after we published our predictions, Google announced that it had trained a model with 1.6 trillion parameters, making it the largest AI model ever built. Now the question is—how big will these models get in 2022? Outcome: Right(ish) The crowded MLOps landscape has begun to consolidate in 2021. In several instances this year, large AI platforms have acquired smaller startups building tools and infrastructure for machine learning. Probably the most noteworthy example came in July with DataRobot’s acquisition of Algorithmia, which had raised close to $40 million in venture capital funding. Other examples include HPE’s acquisition of Determined AI and DataRobot’s acquisition of decision. ai. But there was less M&A activity in MLOps this year than we expected. In last year’s predictions, we listed 14 MLOps startups that we saw as potential acquisition targets. Of these, only one—Algorithmia—ended up being acquired. (Several others on that list— Weights & Biases, Snorkel AI, OctoML —instead raised rounds at monster valuations.) Outcome: Right Regulatory momentum for antitrust action against Big Tech has been building for years given the outsize influence that companies like Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook exert over the economy. But over the past year, antitrust regulators have increasingly refined their messaging by focusing on the structural advantages that these giants enjoy in AI. The jumping-off point, almost always, is the companies’ unrivaled data assets and aggressive data accumulation practices. From recent Senate antitrust hearings to presidential Executive Orders, this theme of unfair data advantages translating into unfair AI advantages is becoming an increasingly important dimension of the Big Tech antitrust movement. Last month, for instance, Lina Khan’s Federal Trade Commission appointed prominent AI critic Meredith Whittaker to a special role as the FTC’s senior adviser on AI. As one industry observer put it: “Whittaker's hiring is just the latest evidence of the FTC’s attention on algorithms and algorithmic issues.” Outcome: Right Of the predictions on last year’s list, this one was the most open-ended and least verifiable. Even so, plenty of developments in 2021 point to the continued emergence of biology as the most important and high-impact of all AI application areas. AI is transforming drug discovery, with profound implications for the pharmaceutical industry and the future of human health. AI-discovered therapeutics are now in clinic; AI drug discovery startups are now trading on public markets. DeepMind’s landmark AlphaFold work, which was published in July, is a testament to the almost magical potential for machine learning to uncover fundamental truths about how life works. We have previously argued in this column that AlphaFold is the most important achievement in the history of AI. As Alphabet’s big announcement about Isomorphic Labs last month underscores, AlphaFold is just the beginning. Perhaps more so than any other area of AI, world-class talent and investment dollars are flooding into computational biology. Take, for example, Eric Schmidt’s $150 million donation earlier this year to establish a new center at Harvard and MIT that will “catalyze a new scientific discipline at the intersection of biology and machine learning.” In the years ahead, the application of computational methods and machine learning to biology is poised to transform society—and perhaps life as we know it. Note: The author is a Partner at Radical Ventures, which is an investor in Untether AI.

 

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0.3
Two Lots Of COVID Drug Remdesivir Part Of Safety Recall For Glass Particle Contamination

Banksy 'Charlie Brown' Sells For $4 Million, While Child Prodigy Thrills Crowd With His ArtworkAt Art Miami and its sister fair Art Context, headlines are being made with the $4 million sale of a 'Charlie Brown' Banksy, a 10-year-old child prodigy is wowing the crowds, and there are some stunning new murals at Wynwood Walls. Lisa Petrillo has it all. University Of Florida Awards Late Musician Tom Petty Posthumous PHD For MusicNearly two decades after earning a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than four years after his death, rock icon Tom Petty has been awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Taste Of The Town: Casa Mariano In Doral Delights With A Blend Of Mediterranean and South American FlavorsCasa Mariano in Doral is the ultimate hidden gem. It opened September of 2021 and has found quite the following. CBS4's Lisa Petrillo checks it out in this week's Taste of the Town. Miami Police Department Sees Record Number of Applications In HoursThe Miami Police Department is not hiring, at least not since a flood of applicants forced them to close off the process within hours. The reason? Possibly because of the departments' cult following on social media. Miami Art Week At Miami Design District, Where Art Is Walkable And FreeWe’re walking and talking all around the Miami Design District known as the place where art meets architecture. Our host is the man who had the vision for it all- founder, Craig Robins, and on this art week, art is everywhere “ Free. It’s all free. The idea was that art can also be public. It’s Art, design and architecture. People can experience the best creativity in the world and not have to have it in their home or on the wall, they can just enjoy it, Robins said. 'Video Music Box' Founder, Hip Hop Influencer Ralph McDaniels Shares His Journey In New Showtime Documentary: 'This Music Is Really Powerful'Showtime documentary 'You're Watching Video Music Box' chronicles the evolution of founder Ralph McDaniel's life and career and the atomic impact his show Video Music Box made on American culture.

 

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0.2
U.S. Space Force experimental satellite launch postponed to Tuesday

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 5 A U.S. Space Force plan to launch a cluster of experimental satellites from Florida, including a NASA laser communications spacecraft, has been delayed to early Tuesday morning. United Launch Alliance rescheduled liftoff of the STP-3 mission aboard an Atlas V rocket during a window that starts at 4:04 a.m. EST from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

 

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11.8
Dying Columbia student cried for help after being stabbed by reputed gangbanger

A Columbia University grad student stabbed to death in Morningside Park desperately cried out for help before collapsing, part of a horrifying random attack caught on video, according to new court papers. “Help, I have been stabbed!” 30-year-old Davide Giri exclaimed as he stumbled off after being fatally knifed in the gut, a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court revealed. Chilling surveillance video shows Giri, who was from Italy, being approached from behind and stabbed shortly before 11 p.m. Dec. 2 during a 20-minute rampage that also wounded an Italian tourist, the document says. The new details of the attack surfaced as accused killer Vincent Pinkney, a 25-year-old ex-con, was arraigned on murder, attempted murder, assault and assault charges in the case Sunday and ordered held without bail, authorities said. Pinkney, a reputed gangbanger who has a lengthy rap sheet, also threatened a couple walking their dog before police nabbed him — and eventually found a knife in the pocket of the red hoodie he was wearing, the complaint said. The wounded tourist, Roberto Malaspina, had only been in the Big Apple for one day when he was also attacked but survived and was listed in stable condition. Pinkney, who sources said is a member of the Everybody Killa, or EBK street gang, has 11 arrests dating to 2012 on a variety of charges.

 

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0.4
What Peng Shuai’s rape accusation says about China

The safety and freedom of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai have been in serious doubt since the beginning of November, when she accused a powerful former Chinese Communist Party official of sexual assault. But while her case has garnered international attention, it’s far from an isolated incident — and it speaks volumes about the purpose of political disappearances in China, as well as the country’s treatment of sexual assault. In a November 2 post on Chinese social media app Weibo, Peng accused former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. Within minutes, the post disappeared; shortly thereafter, all mentions of Peng on social media did too. Although she has since reappeared in videos released by Chinese state media, it’s still unclear whether she is safe and able to speak freely, and her case has drawn support from tennis stars like Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic, as well as the Women’s Tennis Association. In the weeks since Peng’s initial disappearance, China’s response to the international outcry over her whereabouts and ability to speak freely has been alarmingly opaque. Among other steps, Chinese state media released a screenshot of an email supposedly written by Peng to Women’s Tennis Association President Steve Simon, which was meant to assure worried spectators that Peng was “fine” and “resting at home,” but did the opposite. Several dubious videos released by Chinese state media also failed to assure most of the international community that all was well. “These photos and videos can only prove that Peng Shuai is alive, but nothing else. They cannot prove that Peng Shuai is free,” Teng Biao, a prominent Chinese civil rights lawyer, told the New York Times last month. High-profile figures have disappeared in China before Although Peng’s disappearance sparked an international outcry, it’s far from the first time China has disappeared public figures. Fan Bingbing, one of China’s most famous actresses; Zhao Wei, a billionaire and actress; and Jack Ma, once China’s richest man and the head of massive e-commerce site Alibaba, have all disappeared for periods in recent years, only to reappear with little explanation. Fan, a massive star who commanded China’s film industry and attracted international attention, was held under house arrest for four months in 2018 on charges of tax evasion — a fairly typical practice in China, as the New York Times reported the following year in a profile of the actress. She reappeared, cowed and praising “the [Communist] party and the state’s good policies.” The disappearances of prominent people who the Chinese Communist Party, and President Xi Jinping in particular, perceive as fundamentally inimical to communist values — either through their outspokenness, as in the cases of Peng, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Zhao; or their public image, like Ma and Fan — serves as a warning to Chinese citizens. In particular, criticizing the state, its policies, or prominent party members can be dangerous, as in the case of real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, who disappeared last year and was later sentenced to 18 years in prison on corruption charges after criticizing Xi’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Given that context, Peng’s disappearance and peculiar reappearance isn’t exactly a surprise; she is the first known person to publicly accuse a member of the Politburo Standing Committee — Zhang was once the vice premier under Xi, making him part of the highest rungs of power — of sexual assault. According to Lü Pin, a longtime Chinese feminist activist, the disappearance wasn’t so much a warning, but a panic response. “Somehow, the Chinese government doesn’t know how to deal with her case,” Lü said. “They don’t have any language to talk about her case, so they have to block messages, they have to block everything because they don’t know how to deal with it in any other ways.” The government censors China’s #MeToo movement Even though Peng is an international figure, with two Grand Slam doubles titles under her belt and the adulation of the Chinese state because of her successful career, accusing a powerful party member of assault was a massive risk on her part — and seen as an unforgivable transgression against the state. Her initial message on Weibo, which was quickly taken down, makes it clear she knew the danger of her decision to speak up: “It doesn’t matter if I’m hitting a rock with an egg, or being a moth that flies towards the flame,” she wrote. “I am telling the truth about what happened between us.” According to a recent piece in Australian outlet The Conversation, “[Peng’s] story directly contradicted the Communist Party’s official narrative of harmonious relations between people and Party. In particular, her allegations contradict the narrative that women, who purportedly ‘ hold up half the sky in China,’ enjoy gender equality under this government.” That narrative, however, isn’t the reality in China. As Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China, argued in a piece in 2018, far from guaranteeing gender equality, Xi’s authoritarian regime in fact depends on enforcing patriarchal norms and depicts him as the head of the “family” that is the nation. That’s only gotten worse as China’s economic boom of the past several decades slows. According to Hong Fincher, “Chinese propaganda under Xi’s leadership has revived sexist elements of Confucianism, in particular trying to push the notion that a traditional family (based on marriage between a man and a virtuous, obedient woman) is the foundation of a stable government.” Given that framework, Peng’s decision to speak publicly against the state, pierces the illusion of a harmonious “family” headed by “Xi Dada” — Big Daddy Xi — and exposes devastating family secrets. “Peng Shuai’s disclosure of being sexually abused by Zhang Gaoli, the former Vice Premiere of the People’s Republic of China, is crucial,” Lü wrote in a November blog post. “Though only the tip of the iceberg, it exposes the real life of Chinese highest cadres, on how their power masked their hypocrisy, and how they are excessively corrupted.” “Every day, there are victims trying to get attention, but most of them cannot get any attention, and they were censored before people can see them,” Lü said in a phone call with Vox. “That’s sad, but only very few people’s voices could be heard in China, could go beyond the censorship.” Despite a handful of high-profile punishments for sexual assault, there is a limit to how far the Communist Party will go in allowing a Western-style #MeToo movement to take hold; previously, China has censored the #MeToo hashtag on social media and detained journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin, who has been deeply involved with the #MeToo movement in China, on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” In China, according to CNN, state outlets publish articles saying sexual assault isn’t a problem, despite evidence to the contrary. Only about 43,000 cases of “crimes against women’s rights” were prosecuted between 2013 and 2017, in a nation of 1.4 billion. And Peng’s censorship indicates that, like many Chinese women without her star power, she’ll be unable to tell her story and the accused won’t face justice. “I doubt that the Chinese government will investigate her accusations,” Lü told Vox over the phone. But, she said, Peng’s case shows the world “the reality of [Chinese] politics”: Though some politicians have been punished by the state for having “affairs,” Lü said, “they never expose the women’s name, and what’s the real experience for them. Were those women raped? Nobody knows.” The world responds to China’s continuing clampdown Peng’s accusation came just as Xi tightens his grip on power; a resolution on the “correct view” of the Communist Party’s history, passed last month, calls on “the entire party, the entire army and people of all ethnic groups to unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core,” according to Agence France-Presse, quoting Chinese state media outlet Xinhua. The new resolution centers Xi as the ultimate arbiter of Chinese political culture, the state, and the history of China’s Communist Party — elevating him to the level of previous Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping — and attempts to justify his crackdowns on pro-democracy activists, Uyghur minorities, and other perceived adversaries. In addition to Xi’s own power play, the February Beijing Winter Olympics will give China an opportunity to show its power and wealth on a global stage, portraying the Communist Party as a viable alternative to American democracy, Atlantic Council fellow Michael Schuman writes in the Atlantic. But Peng’s case throws a wrench in that plan. While the Olympics will probably go off as planned despite a potential US diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights atrocities, the International Olympic Committee’s response to Peng’s disappearance has heightened scrutiny of the Games and the IOC itself. In a statement this month from Human Rights Watch, Andrea Florence, the acting director of the Sport & Rights Alliance, criticized “the IOC’s eagerness to ignore the voice of an Olympian who may be in danger and to support claims of state-sponsored media in China.” In a recently introduced congressional resolution, two US lawmakers have also accused the IOC of “ collaborating with the Communist Party” in covering up Peng’s accusations and disappearance. “The IOC has demonstrated yet again it cares more about appeasing the Chinese Communist Party and the Olympics’ corporate sponsors rather than the wellbeing of Olympic tennis star Peng Shuai who accused a top CCP official of sexual assault,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) said in a statement announcing the resolution condemning the IOC’s actions. The IOC’s response stands in stark contrast to that of the WTA, which unequivocally suspended a lucrative, decade-long contract to hold professional tournaments in China earlier this month. “While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation,” Steve Simon, the WTA president, wrote in a statement announcing the suspension. “If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded — equality for women — would suffer an immense setback.” With such sustained attention on the problem, it’s unclear how long China can keep up the ruse that Peng is fine and able to speak without censorship. But while Peng’s case highlights a multitude of serious problems in Chinese politics and culture, Lü told Vox, it likely won’t change the political structure. “It’s extremely hard. Our government is very much powerful; nobody really creates real crisis to them,” she said. ”I think that’s the truth, we should admit that. Even Biden cannot do anything.” But expecting a case like Peng Shuai’s, explosive as it is, to create systemic change in China, Lü said, is missing the point of the feminist movement. “Our vision is not to overturn the rule of the Chinese government,” she said. “Our goal is to just make women not suffer so much.”

 

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The wreaths need a ride: Vet-honoring Wreaths Across America faces trucking, transport challenges

The remembrance wreaths need a ride. Officials at Wreaths Across America say the effort has been affected by the current challenges faced by the trucking industry. On the third Saturday of each December, the nonprofit coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies to honor and remember fallen military veterans at Arlington National Cemetery as well as at more than 3,100 additional locations in all 50 states. Over 2 million fresh wreaths are set to be transported this year, courtesy of several hundred volunteer trucking companies and professional drivers. But some of the wreaths still need a lift. “Carriers, professional truck drivers are needed to transport remembrance wreaths,” said a message circulated by the Truckload Carriers Association, an industry group based in Alexandria, Va. “The truckload industry is critical in transporting Wreaths Across America loads each December. As of Friday evening, there are numerous routes that still need to be filled.” “This is not a dire situation,” Don Queeney, director of transportation for the organization, told The Washington Times in an interview. “But our events have expanded to so many locations that we need more transportation than ever before.” “So now we’ve got some wreaths looking for a ride. There are already 519 tractor-trailers booked and gone, already transporting those wreaths. But we’re looking for more trucks, and we’re looking forward to meeting those new drivers in the process,” Mr. Queeney said. “In our experience, when we were in need, a lot of good people stepped up,” he added. Interested trucking companies and professional drivers can contact him at dqueeney@wreathsacrossamerica.org

 

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1.3
Crimes against LGBTQ community deserve thorough investigation

I don’t know if Jussie Smollett is guilty. Smollett is on trial in a Cook County criminal court, accused of making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime. The jury may begin deliberating next week. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison. In January 2019, Smollett told Chicago police that he was attacked on the city’s Near North Side by two people. They battered him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a rope around his neck, he claimed. Smollett maintains his attackers yelled “this is MAGA country,” in reference to “Make America Great Again,” then-President Donald J. Trump’s ugly mantra. Smollett, then a star in the Fox TV show “Empire,” is Black and gay. The police launched an intense investigation of the alleged hate crime, but later decided that the evidence suggested that Smollett made up his story. Forget the jury — some have already pronounced Smollett guilty in the sensational saga. “Jussie Smollett definitely faked a hate crime,” Fox News channel Host Tucker Carlson pronounced last week in his televised commentary. “Looking back, in retrospect, it was maybe the most obvious hoax ever perpetrated.” The Smollett saga will inevitably fade, but racism and bigotry will remain, as real and pernicious as ever. Just look at the MAGA movement. It’s a philosophy that’s saturated with hostility to people of color, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. It plays out in Chicago, one of the nation’s most segregated cities. Yet the vast majority of those cases receive only a glimmer of the attention Smollett has received. There have been 78 hate crimes reported to the Chicago Police Department so far this year, compared with 79 in 2020, Chicago Police Department data shows. Most were categorized as either anti-gay or anti-Black. Nationally, at least 49 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means this year, reports the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). That is the highest total since HRC began tracking the trend in 2013. “In previous years, the majority of these people were Black and Latinx transgender women,” according to HRC. At least five Black transgender women have been murdered in the Chicago area in the last year, Block Club Chicago reports. Brianna Hamilton and her younger sister, Janiece Lewis, grew up in Woodlawn on the city’s South Side. They were inseparable, Lewis told Block Club. Lewis admired her sister’s bravery and outgoing personality. “Wherever she went, if I wanted to go, she’d take me with her,” Lewis was quoted as saying about her older sister. “She was my first best friend.” Hamilton, 26, was Black and transgender. On Sept. 17 she was shot to death in the 7800 block of South Bishop Avenue, Block Club reported. Officers responding to a call of a person shot found her lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to her head, police said. Her death was ruled a homicide and is being investigated. Her family and friends believe she was killed because she was transgender. “I don’t know how we can stop this from happening again,” Lewis said. “But I do know I want to help by bringing awareness to it, because Brianna’s life mattered. All their lives mattered.” That matters, no matter what happens to Jussie Smollett. Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

 

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0.4
What To Do If You Are Ghosted After A Job Interview

You did everything right. After meeting a recruiter at a networking event, you landed a job interview and were invited to meet the team in person. With 15 years of experience in the field, you felt like you were a shoo-in for the role. Then a week goes by. And then two. Nothing. You even tried following up via email and phone and received no replies. It's called "ghosting", and now employers are doing it too. Ghosting used to be a term only reserved for the dating world. And yes, prospective employees have been known to do it to employers. The term refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without giving that person any warning or explanation. And recently, the practice has been on the rise. In fact, a survey by job aggregation site Indeed reveals that 77% of job seekers say a prospective employer has ghosted them since the onset of the pandemic. And 10% reported that an employer ghosted them even after the company made a verbal job offer. So, what should you do if it happens to you? Here are some steps to take before and after you are ghosted following a job interview. One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to ask the recruiter for a timetable at the end of your job interview. Find out exactly when you will receive a response either way. Also, confirm whom you should contact if you don't hear anything within a specific timeframe. That way, you will have clear expectations following the interview. If you don’t hear anything after the job interview by the designated timeframe, it is appropriate to follow up with your contact via email. Start by thanking them for their time and reiterating your value to the organization. Then, if applicable, let the employer know you are interviewing with another company and anticipate a job offer. That way, you are being transparent and creating a sense of urgency. If you still don't hear anything after a week or two, try following up again a few more times—but don’t go overboard. You may even want to try contacting them via a different channel like LinkedIn. After the third follow-up, it may be time to move on and focus on other opportunities. If it was a role you were genuinely excited about, you could also try to reach out to a different contact within the organization. For all you know, there may be extenuating circumstances. For example, your primary contact may be on sick leave or taking care of an ill family member. So don’t assume that the lack of communication is always about you. If possible, don’t put all your hopes in one role. It is always a good idea to interview with several employers to create a scenario where you receive multiple job offers. That way, you will have more leverage to negotiate and insurance if one job offer falls through. After doing everything possible, you may want to leave an honest and professional review about your interview experience on a company review website like Indeed or Glassdoor. A review like yours will help not only other job seekers but also employers. According to Sarah Stoddard, a career expert at Glassdoor,” It also benefits employers by helping their recruiters and hiring managers identify opportunities to improve their processes and communication so that future candidates can have a better experience.” If you are ghosted after a job interview, know that chances are there was nothing you could do. In most cases, a hiring manager has changed their priorities or decided to fill the position internally. Whatever the case may be, employers in the private sector are not legally obligated to inform applicants that they were not selected. But while you may never find out why a particular company ghosted you, it could be a blessing in disguise. That just means that there’s a better opportunity waiting for you with an employer that knows your worth.

 

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0.4
To Deny the "Lab Leak" COVID Theory, the NYT and WPost Use Dubious and Conflicted Sources

That COVID-19 infected humanity due to a zoonotic leap from a "wet market” in Wuhan — rather than a leak from a lab in the same Chinese city — was declared unquestionable truth at the start of the pandemic. For a full year, anyone dissenting from this narrative was deemed so irresponsible that they were banned from large social media platforms, accused of spreading "disinformation.” No debate about COVID's origins was permitted. It had been settled by The Science™. Every rational person who believed in science, by definition, immediately accepted at the start of the pandemic that COVID made a natural leap from bats or pangolins; that it may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan which just so happens to gather, study and manipulate novel coronaviruses in bats was officially declared a deranged conspiracy theory. The reason this consensus was so quickly consecrated was that a group of more than two dozen scientists published a letter in the prestigious science journal Lancet in February, 2020 — while very little was known about SARS-CoV-2 — didactically declaring “that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” The possibility that COVID leaked from the Wuhan lab was dismissed as a "conspiracy theory,” the by-product of “rumours and misinformation” which, they strongly implied, was an unfair and possibly racist attack on “the science and health professionals of China.” For months, that letter shaped the permissible range of debate regarding the origins of COVID. Or, more accurately, it ensured that there was no debate permitted. The Science™ concluded that COVID was a zoonotic virus that naturally leaped from non-human animal to human, and any questioning of this decree was deemed an attack on The Science™. That Lancet letter has fallen into disrepute due to the key role in its publication played by one of its signatories, Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance. To say that Daszak had a gigantic but undisclosed conflict of interest in disseminating this narrative about the natural origins of COVID is to understate the case. Daszak had received millions of dollars in grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to conduct research into coronaviruses in bats, and EcoHealth awarded part of that grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab which would be the leading suspect, by far, for any COVID lab leak. Daszak's enormous self-interest in leading the world to believe that a lab leak was impossible is obvious. It would be a likely career-ending blow to his reputation if the Wuhan laboratory to which EcoHealth had provided funding for coronavirus bat research was responsible for the escape of a virus that has killed millions of people around the world and caused enduring suffering among countless others due to lockdowns and economic shutdowns. In July of this year, The Lancet published a new letter from the same group which signed that seminal letter in February of last year. The July 2021 letter included two fundamentally new additions. First, the language about COVID's origins was radically softened from the smug certainty of the February letter that closed debate to humble uncertainty given the lack of proof. While continuing to affirm a belief that COVID was naturally occurring (“our working view” is “that SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated in nature and not in a laboratory"), they moved far away from the definitive posture of that original letter, acknowledging that “opinions are neither data nor conclusions” and urging further investigation on what they called “the critical question we must address now": namely, “how did SARS-CoV-2 reach the human population?” In other words, after telling the world in February that any questioning of the zoonotic origin was a malicious "conspiracy theory,” they now acknowledge it is “the critical question we must now address.” The other major change was that this July Lancet letter included what the February letter shamefully omitted: namely, the key fact that Daszak's “remuneration is paid solely in the form of a salary from EcoHealth Alliance,” and that EcoHealth had received funding from NIH to study coronaviruses in bats, and used some of that funding to support research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This disclosed conflict of interest about Daszak was included in the new July, 2021 letter as well as a separate “addendum” called “competing interests and the origins of SARS-CoV-2.” No explanation was provided about why these "competing interests” on the part of Daszak were not disclosed in that crucial, debate-closing February letter in the The Lancet. The U.S. Government began aggressively distancing itself from EcoHealth this year. In an October 20, 2021 letter to Congress, the NIH argued that while the coronavirus strains studied by the Wuhan lab through EcoHealth's grant “are not and could not have become SARS-CoV-2,” it argued that EcoHealth violated the terms of the grant by failing to notify NIH of “unusual results" from its research that could make the viruses it was studying more dangerous. They also accused EcoHealth of failing to promptly report the ongoing results of their experiments. All of this led to an unraveling of the Official Consensus. In May of this year — fifteen months after The Lancet pronounced the debate closed — Facebook reversed its policy of banning anyone who suggested that the virus may have come from the Wuhan lab. The reversal came, said the Silicon Valley giant, “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin”. This about-face came after The Wall Street Journal reported days earlier that U.S. intelligence sources claim that “three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care.” Weeks later, President Biden “ ordered intelligence officials to 'redouble' efforts to investigate the origins of Covid-19, including the theory that it came from a laboratory in China.” The president's statement noted that “the US intelligence community was split on whether it came from a lab accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal.” Suddenly, mainstream outlets such as The New York Times began publishing claims that, just months earlier, were officially declared "disinformation” and resulted in removal from social media platforms: “some scientists have argued that it’s possible SARS-CoV-2 was the result of genetic engineering experiments or simply escaped from a lab in an accident,” said the Paper of Record in October. The Official Consensus had undergone a 180-degree turn in the course of just over a year. "Lab leak” went from insane conspiracy theory that must be censored to serious possibility that must be investigated. As a result of all this, Daszak's reputation and credibility are crippled, and rightfully so. The once-revered scientist was profiled two weeks ago in Science under the headline “PROPHET IN PURGATORY.” It noted that while his “journey from oracle to pariah has appalled many colleagues,” many scientists — often loath to openly attack each other's ethics — insist that his wounds are both justified and self-inflicted. Even those who believe the vilification of Daszak has been excessive nonetheless acknowledge that EcoHealth was far from honest about questions central to understanding this worldwide pandemic: That Science profile, similar to the one from The New York Times acknowledging that the "lab leak” is a real possibility, noted that documents unearthed by FOIA litigation from The Intercept call into serious doubt the months of denials by Daszak and EcoHealth, as well as from Dr. Fauci, that funding provided by NIH to the Wuhan lab through EcoHealth was used for "gain of function” research — meaning research designed to manipulate pathogens to make them more contagious and/or dangerous to humans: Despite the collapse of Daszak's reputation and credibility — due both to his undisclosed conflicts of interest and repeated deceit and even lying — The New York Times continues to cite him as one of its primary sources on the question of COVID's origins. Just two weeks ago, the paper published an article designed to affirm the claim that evidence had once again emerged showing that COVID was naturally occurring. “The first known patient sickened with the coronavirus was a vendor in a large Wuhan animal market,” wrote the Paper of Record about a new paper in Science, arguing that these findings “will revive, though certainly not settle, the debate over whether the pandemic started with a spillover from wildlife sold at the market, a leak from a Wuhan virology lab or some other way.” It had been previously suggested that the first case of COVID infection was found in an accountant who lived miles away from the wet market, suggesting that the wet market was likely not the source. But this new finding — claiming that the first patient was a wet market vendor, not the accountant — would further bolster the view that it has natural origins. Notably, The Times continues to acknowledge that there is open debate about the origins of COVID, a fact that was deemed off-limits for almost a full year after the pandemic began. “The search for the origins of the greatest public health catastrophe in a century has fueled geopolitical battles, with few new facts emerging in recent months to resolve the question,” it said. But to dismiss the "lab leak” theory as increasingly unlikely, it heavily featured one scientist who insists that this new study provides the strongest evidence yet that COVID was naturally evolving. Who is this source? None other than Peter Daszek. The Times gave Daszak — the completely discredited, conflict-plagued scientist — multiple paragraphs to posture as an objective source to tell readers that the lab leak theory was increasingly unlikely and that the wet market origin was almost certainly true: While The Times noted in one fleeting subsequent paragraph that their featured source Daszak "has been one of the strongest critics of the lab-leak theory ” and that “he and his organization, EcoHealth Alliance, have taken heat for research collaborations with the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” it does not remotely signal to readers just how invested he is in denying the lab leak possibility. Indeed, there are few people on earth more eager to show — for their own selfish reasons — that COVID did not come from the Wuhan lab than Peter Daszak. Despite that, and despite the fact that he has been repeatedly caught misleading, The Times continues to cite him as some sort of credible source to convince readers not to believe the lab leak theory. And that one paragraph about his role in this research does not come close to making clear to Times readers just how devastating it would be for Daszak personally if it turned out that the lab leak theory were true. Of all the scientists in the world, why would The Times possibly rely on one of the most conflicted people on the planet to present as an expert on the validity of these various findings about COVID's origins? A November 18 article from The used similarly questionable tactics for the same goal. The headline of that article tells the story of what The Post set out to do: “Prominent scientist who said lab-leak theory of covid-19 origin should be probed now believes evidence points to Wuhan market.” It begins: “The location of early coronavirus infections in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, suggests the virus probably spread to humans from a market where wild and domestically farmed animals were sold and butchered, according to a peer-reviewed article published Thursday in the journal Science,” citing the same study as the one touted by The Times. The Post acknowledges that there is widespread criticism among scientists of this new study. “'It is based on fragmentary information and to a large degree, hearsay', David A. Relman, a professor of microbiology at Stanford University, said in an email after reading an embargoed copy. 'In general, there is no way of verifying much of what he describes, and then concludes'.” Yet the most definitive view of this new study in the Post article comes from Robert F. Garry Jr., a virologist described as “one of the most vocal proponents of the zoonosis hypothesis.” To Garry, the debate is now closed: “Mike’s piece shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that in fact the Huanan market was the epicenter of the outbreak.” It is remarkable that a scientist like Dr. Garry would be so emphatic that the debate is now closed — the new study “shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that in fact the Huanan market was the epicenter of the outbreak” — given how many scientists continue to insist that the question is far from answered. So who is this Dr. Garry, eager to proclaim the debate closed? The Post does not provide the key facts to enable the reader to assess his credibility. All we know from the Post article is that he is “a virologist at Tulane University and one of the most vocal proponents of the zoonosis hypothesis.” But there is so much more to him than that.

 

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0.5
Space Station Astronauts Squeezed Into A Module To Watch Solar Eclipse

Only a few humans got to witness a total solar eclipse on Saturday (Dec. 4), but some of them happened to be in space. The Expedition 66 crew got a perfect view from a 360-degree window known as the Cupola, and even though their orbit doesn’t take them directly over Antarctica, they were able to just see it from space. On Twitter, NASA astronaut Kayla Barron called the eclipse “an incredible sight to behold” from space. From their perch on the International Space Station, the crew saw a stretched-out shadow from the moon falling across the face of the Earth. The observations from space will be a welcome addition to solar eclipse science given that so few people were able to see Saturday’s eclipse, which was only available in total phase in Antarctica and the surrounding ocean. Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes across the face of the sun, from Earth’s perspective. The moon’s shadow is relatively small and only passes across a fraction of the planet’s surface. Normally, eclipse-chasers would be all over this opportunity, but the combination of the pandemic and the isolated nature of Antarctica (home to research scientists and penguins) meant that far fewer folks saw this eclipse than usual, at least in total phase. Besides the awe-inspiring sight of the corona (the sun’s atmosphere) peeking around the surface, solar eclipses provide a rare opportunity for science because we can learn things about the sun that are not really feasible under normal conditions, according to NASA. “During a total eclipse, the lower parts of the sun's atmosphere, or corona, can be seen in a way that cannot completely be replicated by current human-made instruments,” NASA said in a description of science performed during a 2017 eclipse that set across the United States. Studying the corona, NASA said, “is key to understanding many processes on the sun, including why the sun’s atmosphere is so much hotter than its surface, as well as the process by which the sun sends out a constant stream of solar material and radiation.” Then you can also learn about “Earth under uncommon conditions”, the agency said, such as how the sun’s heat affects the upper atmosphere of our planet and the generation of a magnetic field known as the ionosphere. Far more people will have the chance to view the next total solar eclipses. An opportunity in 2023 will go across south Asia, while the United States and Canada will see a total eclipse pass over part of their large territories the following year.

 

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0.3
Britney Spears Impersonated Some Of The Therapists She Was Forced To See While Under Conservatorship

Now that Britney Spears has finally been freed from her overbearingly abusive and possibly illegal conservatorship, the pop star has been more active than ever on Instagram. Not that she took any breaks before, but now, she’s using the platform to actually express some of the feelings she was having while her life was being controlled by others. One of her most recent posts is a little different than some of the others, where she’s worn revealing outfits or posted about going on trips with her fiance, Sam Asghari. In this video, Britney instead impersonates some of the therapists she was forced to see by her family during her conservatorship. It’s worth noting that she is a pretty damn good actress because the voices she’s doing don’t sound like her at all, and if you’ve been around counselors or healers at all, the scripts she’s using are pretty standard, too. Check out some of her impressions below: A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) The truth is, whether you find a good therapist or not has a lot to do with making a connection — just like in any relationship — and that connection could never happen if you’re being forced to go to therapy against your will. Here’s another reason to celebrate the fact that Britney is now free. Still, according to her caption there’s no real hard feelings on her part: “As much therapy as I’ve had to do against my will… being forced to pay and listen to women telling me how they are going to further my success … it was a joy … no really … 10 hours a day, 7 days a week … no lie … in this beautiful nation it would only be fair for me to dedicate my life to skits to the wonderful therapist,” she wrote. And as far as the end, well that’s just her celebrating: “The end is me celebrating … it’s clearly OVER because my medication is working ‘Murica.”

 

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0.0
Cocaine Evidence Found Near UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Private Office

The United Kingdom’s worsening drug problem intensifies as evidence of cocaine was discovered in toilets near the private office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A recent investigation into 12 locations within the Palace of Westminster found that 11 locations returned positive results for cocaine evidence, including Johnson’s office, according to the Sunday Times. Evidence of cocaine was also discovered in other areas reserved for members of Parliament, including near Home Secretary Priti Patel’s office, a report from The Week added. “[There is] no place in our society for drugs and certainly not in our parliament,” Patel said, according to the Times. “Those who have the privilege to work at the heart of our democracy who are involved in drug use or distribution are utterly divorced from the heartless pain and suffering of the drug trade they are fuelling,” she added. ( RELATED: DOJ, European Authorities Arrest 150 Dark-Web Criminals, Seize Over 500 Pounds Of Drugs). Parliamentary leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey also responded to accusations of internal drug usage among members of parliament. “When thousands of young people are in prison for their drug use, it is outrageous that people are doing cocaine in parliament with impunity,” he said, according to the Times report. “Government ministers cannot talk tough about illegal drugs while turning a blind eye to their mates.” Some members of Parliament recently proposed introducing drug sniffing dogs to Westminster to tackle increasing concerns of drug usage among elected officials. Johnson recently outlined a ten-year plan to stifle a surge in drug transactions between users and dealers he claimed were responsible for a surge in the UK’s crime. He previously admitted to trying cocaine and cannabis joints while studying at university, The Week added.

 

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1.0
Experts Believe Other States Could Switch To Electric Mowers Like California

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Millions of Americans own gas-powered lawn mowers, but that could be changing. California is making the switch to electric mowers and experts believe other states could eventually do the same. David Hernandez is with “Sod and Turf Pros” in Los Angeles and has used gas-powered equipment for years. He understands electric tools are the future but said there are pros and cons. “You won’t be having all that gas up your nose, be inhaling it, because I’ve been there. I’ve done that,” Hernandez said. One trade-off is usage time. Hernandez bought an electric leaf blower but said he has to operate it sparingly. “It doesn’t last as long, right, so we use a battery. It will only last 20, 30 minutes, and then after that go charge it,” Hernandez said. Homeowners are snatching up e-powered products, but it’s a harder transition for lawn care companies running lots of devices all day. In October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law making California the first state to ban the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment by 2024 in an effort to curb emissions. Lawmakers supporting the ban say the gas-powered equipment produces high levels of pollutants that impact human health, emissions that can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems. According to the California Air Resources Board, using a commercial gas-powered lawn mower for an hour creates the same amount of smog forming pollution as driving a car 300 miles from LA to Las Vegas. USC environmental law professor Robin Craig said other states could follow. “We’ll see how manufacturers react. I think the easier the manufacturers make it for other states to adopt the same sort of ban, the more states will do it,” Craig said. Hernandez and consumers can still use their gas-powered lawnmowers in 2024, but any new equipment purchased will have to be electric.

 

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"The organ that makes us human": How skin conditions shape our relationship with the world

There's a fascinating chapter in the book "Skin", by Spanish author Sergio del Molino, about the skin problems of Joseph Stalin. The Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953 suffered from psoriasis his entire life. The extremely unpleasant ailment causes the skin to become inflamed, turn red or purple and feel itchy, scaly and dry. It can cover mere patches or consume the body. Intriguingly, when Stalin carried out his great purge from 1936 to 1938, he entrusted its execution to two other men afflicted with the skin disease, public prosecutor Andrei Vishinski and secret police chief Nikolai Yezhov. In his book, del Molina, who also has psoriasis, speculates about "the likelihood of a dictator with psoriasis recruiting two henchmen with the same illness to carry out his most ambitious extermination plan." Speaking to Salon, del Molino described this section of his book as "poetic suggestion." It is a phrase that accurately describes "Skin" as a whole. Alternating between meditations on his lifelong struggle with psoriasis and the stories of other famous psoriasis-sufferers, "Skin" is engaging on three levels: As a casual stroll through the intrinsically fascinating scientific facts pertaining to our skin; as a look at one man's tongue-in-cheek introspection of his own medical frailty; and as a history of a group of people not commonly thought of as marginalized. The end result is a book that reads more like a series of accessible intellectual essays, stuffed with nuggets about well-known figures from author Vladimir Nabokov and drug kingpin Pablo Escobar to pop singer Cyndi Lauper. "We can't conceive our identity without thinking about our skin", del Molino explained. "The choices we make around it determine our relationship with the whole world. When we think about the body-and-mind dilemma, we are really thinking about the skin-and-mind dilemma. Skin is the only organ that makes us humans for the eyes of others, so it has a deep iconic power that nobody can obviate. That's why you find a rich stream of art, literature and philosophy around the skin." He added, "The rules of every religion contain many indications regarding its cleaning or the ways to show it in public. Almost every religion thinks skin diseases are a form of sin. Purity is linked with health and young skin. We didn't think much about these matters in our daily life, because these matters are second nature." Our skin does not merely determine how we are perceived by others, del Molino's book argues, but also our relationships with ourselves. Take Stalin and his infamous purges. Writing to Salon, del Molino explained his "poetic suggestion" is that there may be "a link between sickness and evilness. Not an obvious link, not in the way I suggested in my book, but tyranny emerges from body discomfort. The conditions that Stalin, Vishinski and Yezhov share make them ideal tyrants. Someone at peace with himself doesn't have dictatorship attitudes." This analysis is echoed in the book, where he writes that "it was all down to a skin irritation, rheumatic pain, shame." Because we are covered by our skin, it is profoundly difficult to compartmentalize or ignore it when it cries out for attention. And because the rest of the world sees more of our skin than anything else, it is impossible to fully disentangle how the entirety of you interacts with the world with how your skin alone does so. Want more health and science stories in your inbox? Subscribe to Salon's weekly newsletter The Vulgar Scientist. "Skin" speaks both to people who have been spared serious skin conditions (and want to learn more) and those who already have them. For the latter, del Molino dives into his own soul to share what he has learned with those who might find value in it. "Most of the time I think the embarrassment is in the sick person's mind itself, not caused by society", Del Molino told Salon. "Sometimes I find myself suffering from an imaginary contempt. Maybe these people had looked at me in an unpleasant way, maybe they were gazing at something else or they were minding their own business without taking care of my presence. Sick and disabled people usually develop some kind of soft paranoia, regardless of how many times they are right." He also warned against misleading advice that, in his analysis, has the effect of blaming patients for their own skin disorders. His criticisms of Lauper, who talks about personal care and practices like meditation and healthy eating when describing skin conditions, stem from concerns that her approach unfairly places the onus on patients and ignores that "the more successful treatments are based on some kind of immunosuppression." "I think that this kind of approach restates a story that blames the patient for his own sickness", del Molino explained. "In short, it says: you can control your sickness, it's up to you. Of course, healthy food and healthy habits can bring comfort, but nobody gets a skin disease by getting stressed at work." Throughout his book, and in our interview, del Molino talks about using science to precisely ascertain the causes of a disease, an approach that far more often than not both helps the sick and clearly establishes that the afflicted do not deserve to feel guilt. If someone has sick skin, the chances are that it isn't because they are immoral or impure, but because they simply have a disease. His advice? "Find a good dermatologist, trust him and don't be ashamed", del Molino explained. "Accept your body and don't hide from the world."

 

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How Do Ocean Microbes Change The Climate? Ask This South African Scientist!

South African researcher Kolisa Yola Sinyanya is exploring the role of marine microorganisms and through that, the ocean's role in the carbon cycle and global climate change. Sinyanya, an Ocean Womxn inaugural fellow at the Fawcett Lab at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, says her work aims to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of how the ocean takes up the nutrients (including nitrogen) essential to the oceanic carbon cycle. "My work involves understanding the chemistry of how phytoplankton communities interact with other microbes and nutrient cycles to increase carbon export potential into the deep ocean", Sinyanya says, "I conduct research that critically examines biogeochemical cycling in the ocean, particularly regions that are currently under-sampled." The work of Sinyanya is particularly timely given that Black in Marine Science Week (#BIMSweek 2021), which ran from November 28 to December 4, 2021, demonstrated the wide range of black marine biology researchers working around the world. Sinyanya grew up in Mthatha, an inland city in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. "My journey started in botany where I was studying the microbes associated with plants", she says, "The discoveries I made with these terrestrial microbes sparked my interest of ocean microbes and that’s how I ended up in my current career path exploring microbial community dynamics and microbe nutrient interactions in the ocean." She says she's always been a science enthusiast. "I often say that I do not remember a time when I wasn’t wanting to be or working towards the path of becoming a world renowned scientist", Sinyanya says, "The biggest challenge so far is the end of the PhD where I am writing up my findings to report in scientific publications. when I started my PhD, a world of opportunities opened up for me." Sinyanya says it’s highly important for scientists from the Global South to be the ones investigating the solutions to global challenges or be part of collaborations working towards these investigations. "This is because our research contributions come from developing research spaces that are not as well funded and therefore lag behind in terms of development. but of course, slow development does not equal to not capable nor does it equate to low quality research", she says. Sinyanya says the Global South produces world-class, cutting edge research that is usually undermined or is not recognized as it should be. "The perspective I bring to ocean science research is firstly one that comes from an indigenous scientist who looks different from the norm (even in the context of the global south), conducts, produces and communicates quality, ground-breaking research", she says, "My work does not just contribute to science but it additionally gives so much hope to many others who for centuries have not seen anyone who looks like them in the field of science that I do." Sinyanya says she has used her science communication to help give rise to spreading interest in ocean science research, not just in her home country, but globally. Another female marine researcher from the Global South is Kenyan marine biologist Nelly Isigi Kadagi. She grew up a rough, 17-hour drive away from the sea, but now she is one of the key figures in the conservation of some of the biggest, most mysterious fish in the sea: Billfish like marlin, swordfish and their close relatives.

 

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0.1
CDC’s Walensky: Recommendations for Masking Have Been ‘Crystal Clear’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that their recommendations for masking had been “crystal clear.” Walensky said, “I think we have so many more tools now than we did a year ago. We have so many things that work against SARS‑CoV‑2, and it’s what causes COVID regardless of the variants we have seen before. I do think that getting a lot of immunity right now will be critically important. Masking up right now, we have 80% of our cases of our counties that are still in higher substantial risk of disease with Delta. Doing all of those things will help prevent a more aggressive Omicron surge.” Anchor Martha Raddatz said, “And the masking, but President Biden made clear, even before we know anything about it, that a mask mandate is not going to come back.” Walensky said, “The CDC recommendations have been clear. We recommend masking in public, indoor settings, in areas that have high or substantial transmission, and that’s over 80% of our counties right now. So, of course, those mandates and requirements are going to happen at the county level, at the policymaker level, but our recommendations have been crystal clear.” Raddatz said, “Would you rather see a nationwide mandate?” Walensky said, “I would rather see people get vaccinated, boosted, and follow our recommendations, and rather not have requirements in order to do so. People should do this for themselves.”

 

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0.7
Stocks This Week: Buy Applied Materials And Thermo Electron

Market forecasting has been difficult recently. The S&P corrected in a time interval that has traditionally been bullish. The coming week has been weak seasonally. Scanning the USA indices, we see that the best performer has been the NY Composite which has risen almost 54% of the time compared to the weakest performer, the Dow Jones Transport index which has been up only about 35% of the time. We skip forward to mid-month. The second half of the month features some of the strongest weeks in the calendar year. In fact, the strongest period of the year in the DJIA from 1915 has run from December 15 th through January 11 th. The index has risen 74% of the time for an average gain of 2%. The annualized return has been 27%. Below, we see a list of US indices and their returns in that period. These numbers are far better than those for the coming week. Thus, we look past this week into that mid-December-early January interval. Here is a screen of S&P stocks that have performed best in that period. To select some stocks for short-term trades, the following strategy is employed. The best-performing stocks in the December 15-Janaury 11 period with at least 20 years of price data are calculated and are presented below. The stocks are ranked by the percentage of time periods in which the stock rose. Invesco has risen 84.0% of the time. The return has been 6.07% and the expected return (the product of the first two numbers) is 5.1%. The stock has been trading for 25 years. Best Performing S&P 500 Stocks from December 15 th to January 11 th From this list, the stocks are screened for relative strength and by dynamic cycles. The latter term refers to the most active cycles that are generating profits now Applied Materials displays rising relative strength. Daily momentum shows a series of higher lows. The average low for the month has occurred in the period from the 12 th through the 14 th. This appears to be a buy point. The $160-$165 area is a likely target by early January. Chart 1 Thermo Electron has exhibited excellent relative strength. Momentum appears to be constructive. The share price is due to rise to new highs above $650 per share. December has been the second-strongest month to hold the stock, up 66% of the time. The 14 th has been the low point for the month. Chart 2

 

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0.2
Vivek Murthy Denies U.S. Back 'at Square One' Amid Omicron, Notes Holiday Travel OK

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Sunday that the nation is not back at "square one" amid fears over the new Omicron coronavirus variant, and assured that Americans can still take steps to gather safely for upcoming holidays. "We've been at this for 22 months as a country and the prospect of another variant I know can be exhausting and frustrating to many people out there. And I get that. What I want to say though to everyone is that we are not back in March 2020. We are not at the beginning of this pandemic, back at square one", Murthy said. "What we do know is that if people use the tools that we have that you can actually gather with much, much less risk", Murthy added. The surgeon general went on to say that those who are vaccinated and boosted, get tested before traveling, or gather in well-ventilated spaces and use masks when necessary will carry a low risk of spreading the virus. "Your risk can be quite low and your holidays can be quite fulfilling. That's what so many families experienced this past Thanksgiving", he said. Murthy's statements come just days after the first known case of the Omicron variant was discovered in the U.S. on December 1. Since then, at least 16 states have reported cases of Omicron, which has been deemed a variant of concern by the World Health Organization ( WHO) after it was initially detected in South Africa last month. Researchers are still discovering information about the new variant, but early data has suggested that it is twice as transmissible as Delta— currently the dominant variant in the U.S. —and that it could be more effective at evading immunity due to its high level of mutations. Vaccine makers are now working to adapt current inoculations to target the Omicron variant specifically but warned it could be months before they become widely available. However, experts believe current vaccines and boosters still provide a level of protection against the virus and have been urging those who have not yet received the jab to do so. "It's critical that people know we do have tools that we can use right now to protect ourselves against this variant and against the Delta variant, which is still the predominant variant in the United States. And those include getting vaccinated, getting boosted. Certainly, if you are eligible, that helps raise your level of protection, using masks in public indoor spaces, gathering in well-ventilated places when you do gather", Murthy added on Sunday. So far, cases of the Omicron variant have been found in California, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Wisconsin and Louisiana. Omicron patients in the U.S. have ranged in age and vaccination status, but have so far displayed mild to moderate symptoms. As of Saturday, there were no hospitalizations among those infected with the variant.

 

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0.1
Poverty ratio 32.75% in rural areas against 8.81% in urban: NITI report

Urban areas, by all accounts, have skimmed off the fruits of development at least during 2015-16, the year of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), on which the NITI Aayog’s multidimensional poverty report is based. While 25.01 per cent of the population was multidimensionally poor in the country, the poverty ratio was as high as 32.75 per cent in rural areas during that year. This was against 8.81 per cent of the population in urban areas. The pattern was the same in states and Union Territories in varying degrees -- a greater proportion of the poor in villages than in urban areas -- except for Delhi, which is predominantly a city state. The report surveyed 175,946 households in urban areas and 425,563 households in rural parts. Taking a household as comprising five members, there were 874,730 people surveyed in urban areas and 2.22 million in rural areas that year. The population of India stood at 1.31 billion in 2015, according to World Bank statistics. Of this, 67.22 per cent were in rural areas and the rest in urban parts. Extrapolating the multidimensional poverty as given by the NITI Aayog would mean that a bit over 288 million people in rural areas and close to 38 million in urban areas were poor in 2015. There is no way to compare the multidimensional poverty ratio given in the report with earlier years since it was the first such report. However, the difference between the poverty ratio in rural and urban areas was not as stark if one looks at the report of the erstwhile Planning Commission and a panel headed by C Rangarajan, who was chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. The earlier Tendulkar method of poverty showed the proportion of the poor in the rural population declined to 25.7 per cent from 33.8 per cent, while that in the urban population came down to 21.9 per cent from 29.8 per cent between 2009-10 and 2011-12. The Tendulkar method took those spending less than Rs 33 a day in urban areas and Rs 27 a day in the rural areas as poor. This had triggered controversy. The Rangarajan-led panel came up with another report. According to it, the poor constituted 30.9 per cent of the rural population during 2011-12 against 39.6 per cent during 2009-10. On the other hand, the urban poverty ratio fell to 29.5 per cent from 38.2 per cent over this period. The report took a person spending less than Rs 47 a day in cities and below Rs 32 a day in villages as poor. This poverty line approach was abandoned by the NITI Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission on January 1, 2015. The current report calculated the ratio on the multidimensional poverty index, which is based on three dimensions -- health, education, and standard of living -- with each having a weighting of one-third in the index. These dimensions are further based on 12 segments -- nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, antenatal care, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts. The Aayog has clarified the NHFS for 2015-16 preceded the full roll-out of flagship schemes of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

 

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0.5
This Dino Species Has 'Something Never Seen Before'

(Newser) – A fossil found in Chile is from a strange-looking dog-sized dinosaur species that had a unique slashing tail weapon, scientists reported Wednesday. Some dinosaurs had spiked tails they could use as stabbing weapons, and others had tails with clubs. The new species, described in a study in the journal Nature, has something never seen before on any animal: seven pairs of "blades" laid out sideways, like a slicing weapon used by ancient Aztec warriors, says lead author Alex Vargas. "It's a really unusual weapon", says Vargas, a University of Chile paleontologist, per the AP. "Books on prehistoric animals for kids need to update and put this weird tail in there. It just looks crazy." The plant-eating critter had a combination of traits from different species that initially sent paleontologists down the wrong path. The back end, including its tail weapon, seemed similar to a stegosaurus, so the researchers named it Stegouros elengassen. After Vargas and his team examined the pieces of skull and did five different DNA analyses, they concluded it was only distantly related to the stegosaurus. Instead, it was a rare Southern Hemisphere member of the tanklike ankylosaur family of dinosaurs. (The stegouros name stuck, though, and can be easily confused with the more well-known stegosaurus.) Vargas calls it "the lost family branch of the ankylosaur." The fossil is from about 72 million to 75 million years ago and appears to be an adult based on the way bones are fused, Vargas says. It was found with its front end flat on its belly and the back end angled down to a lower level, almost as if it had been caught in quicksand, Vargas says. From its birdlike snout to its tail tip, the stegouros stretched about 6 feet but would have only come up to the thighs of humans, Vargas notes. The tail was probably for defense against large predators, which were also likely turned off by armorlike bones jutting out that made stegouros "chewy", Vargas said. Not only is this "a really bizarre tail", but it is from far southern Chile, "a region that hasn't yielded these types of animals before", says Macalester College biologist Kristi Curry Rogers, who wasn't part of the study. "We're just scratching the surface when it comes to a comprehensive understanding of dinosaur diversity. Stegouros reminds us that if we look in the right places at the right times, there is so much more still to discover."

 

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0.8
Notable Deaths in 2021

A look back at the esteemed personalities who left us this year, who'd touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity. By CBSNews. com senior producer David Morgan. The Associated Press contributed to this gallery. The Kansas-born Robert Dole (July 22, 1923-December 5, 2021) was a high school athlete who wanted to be a doctor, but World War II intervened. A young Army Captain, he was advancing against Nazi fortifications in Italy when he was hit by gunfire. He lay on the battlefield for 10 hours. His terrible wounds, from which he spent three years recuperating, would cost him the use of his right arm. The support from his hometown, he told "Sunday Morning" in 2021, was symbolized by a cigar box: "My friends in Dawson's Drugstore in Russell, Kansas, when they heard that I was wounded, they passed the box around and kept it on the counter, and asked people to give money." He said he decided on a life of public service while still recovering from his wounds: "I figured out that lying in bed the rest of my life was not an option", Dole told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver. In 1950 Dole was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, and, after a stint as County Attorney of Russell County, was elected to the House in 1960, and later the Senate. He was President Gerald Ford's VP pick when he ran for election in 1976. They lost that contest, and Dole was unsuccessful when he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and '88. He spent 27 years in the Senate but resigned, quitting his post as Majority Leader, when he ran against President Bill Clinton in 1996, becoming the last presidential candidate to have served in World War II. He lost, but as his wife, Elizabeth (who later became a Senator herself) said, "Bob Dole is a fighter. You can't hold him down. He's going to bounce back. The third day after he had lost the election, he goes on the Letterman show." David Letterman: "Bob, what have you been doing lately?" Dole: "Apparently, not enough, in any event!" Dole nonetheless became a familiar face as a TV pundit, including in 2003 as a dueling commentator with former President Clinton on "60 Minutes." He was also a lobbyist, a fundraiser for the National World War II Memorial, an advocate for people with disabilities, and an unlikely pitchman (for Pepsi, Visa, and even Viagra). Among the honors presented to Dole were the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Dole once said, "My pledge one time was to make a difference in the life of at least one person every day. Now, I probably failed part of that, but I still work at it." The composer and/or lyricist of some of Broadway's most revolutionary and artistically challenging musicals, Stephen Sondheim (March 22, 1930-November 26, 2021) is credited with helping to reinvent musical theater – a giant of the stage whose distinctive artistic temperament would give life to such shows as "West Side Story", "Gypsy", "Company", "Follies", "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", "Sunday in the Park With George", and "Into the Woods." As a youngster, Sondheim and his family were friends with Broadway titan Oscar Hammerstein, who became a father figure and mentor to Stephen. In 2002 Sondheim told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Martha Teichner that if it hadn't been for Hammerstein, he probably would have become a mathematician. But he also took to heart Hammerstein's advice to his protégé: "Don't copy me. Be true to yourself." A graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, Sondheim learned at the knee of Hammerstein, and from avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt, and he brought to his work a playful precision and a love of word games and puzzles that would color his output (including, in 1973, a screenplay for the twisting murder mystery, "The Last of Sheila"). He'd contributed one song to the 1956 play "Girls of Summer" before he began collaborating with composer Leonard Bernstein on "West Side Story", an updated telling of "Romeo & Juliet" via rival street gangs in Manhattan. Sondheim's lyrics for such songs as "Something's Coming", "Maria", "Tonight", "America", "Cool" and "I Feel Pretty" were sharp, pungent and – combined with Bernstein's vibrant music – timeless. He followed with another collaboration, with composer Jule Styne: "Gypsy", starring Ethel Merman. But it was for the 1963 comedy "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", for which Sondheim crafted both words and music, that he won his first Tony Award. Starring Zero Mostel, it would also prove one of the longest-running of his shows, with 964 performances. Though most of Sondheim's musicals were not overpowering box office successes – not of "The Lion King" variety, at any rate – he drew passionate audiences who were not dissuaded by dark properties that commented on race, class or politics, with music that did not bow to Tin Pan Alley traditions. One of his most memorable songs, "Send in the Clowns", from "A Little Night Music", is melancholic to the extreme. (The show was inspired by an Ingmar Bergman film, "Smiles of a Summer Night.") And in the kabuki-style "Pacific Overtures", Sondheim's lyrics offer an acerbic view of the 19th century opening of Japan to the West: In the middle of the world we float In the middle of the sea The realities remain remote In the middle of the sea Kings are burning somewhere Wheels are turning somewhere Trains are being run, wars are being won Things are being done somewhere out there Not here Here, we paint screens Beginning in the 1970s, Sondheim teamed with director Hal Prince on some of his most innovative shows, including "Follies", "A Little Night Music", and "Sweeney Todd", the grimly delicious tale of a murderous barber seeking revenge, and the meat pie baker who helpfully disposes of his victims. Though "Merrily We Roll Along", a story of friends told going backwards in time, would prove a difficult show (it was retooled and re-staged several times), Sondheim followed with "Sunday in the Park With George", a study of the creative process, told through the works of Impressionist artist Georges Seurat and his great-grandson, also an artist. "Into the Woods" presented a fresh take on traditional fairy tales and their unexpected outcomes. Other productions included "Anyone Can Whistle", which opened on April 4, 1964 and closed a week later; "Do I Hear a Waltz?" with composer Richard Rodgers; "Assassins", a revue telling the stories of successful or attempted presidential assassins; "Passion" a story of obsessive love adapted from an 1869 Italian novel; and "Road Show" (a.k.a. "Bounce"), which was workshopped beginning in 1999 but did not play in New York until an Off-Broadway production opened in 2008. His music has also served as the basis of several revues and compilation shows, including "Side by Side by Sondheim", "Putting It Together", "Mostly Sondheim", and "Sondheim on Sondheim." Beyond the adaptation of his works for movies, Sondheim wrote original music for the 1974 Alain Renais drama "Stavisky", and the Warren Beatty films "Reds" and "Dick Tracy", including a song for Madonna, "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man"), which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Sondheim has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2008 received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement – on top of the eight Tonys he'd won. He also received a Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for "Sunday in the Park With George." In his 70s, Sondheim told "Sunday Morning" the challenge of writing was not just to top yourself, but to find something fresh, "something you haven't written before." An act of courage? "It sure is, and it needs more courage as you get older. And that, see, is what I didn't expect." Drummer Graeme Edge (March 30, 1941-November 11, 2021) co-founded The Moody Blues in Birmingham, England in 1964, and performed on their 16 studio albums, from "The Magnificent Moodies" (1965) through "December" (2003), the band's final release. Their evolution as a prog-rock group began with their second album, "Days of Future Passed", which featured the Mellotron (an analog synthesizer which incorporated tape loops). The album included orchestral arrangements of classical compositions, interpolated with rock songs, and merged with the band on "Nights in White Satin." Though released in 1967 (including on quadraphonic reel tape), that song would not reach No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard charts until 1972, helped by heavy FM radio airplay, sparked by the playlists of iconoclastic DJs. In 2018 Edge told Rolling Stone magazine, "Some time later they interviewed the DJ who got it going in Seattle and he said, 'I was on the graveyard shift and I wanted to go out into the car park and smoke my bum and "Nights in White Satin" was long enough to smoke.' If anybody asks me, 'To what do you owe your success?' I say, 'A junkie DJ.'" In addition to drums, Edge contributed poetry to "Days of Future Passed." As he told Rolling Stone, "We had a problem as we were writing the songs. We had 'Dawn Is a Feeling' and 'Peak Hour', but there was a big gap until 'Nights.' Being musicians, we didn't have a lot of experience after dawn and before midday! So, I was trying to write a song that spanned that [period], called 'Morning Glory', with lyrics between morning and evening. Then I went to the guys and said, 'Can you do anything with this?' I spoke the lyric out to them and they looked at me and said, 'There are just too many words. There's no way you can sing this!' Then Tony Clarke said, 'Oh, make it a poem!'" Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight, Red is gray and yellow white, But we decide which is right. And which is an illusion. Other albums, many featuring Edge's poetry, included "In Search of the Lost Chord", "On the Threshold of a Dream", "To Our Children's Children's Children", "A Question of Balance", "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour", "Seventh Sojourn", and "Octave." The group released several more albums in the 1980s and '90s, and had hits with the songs "The Voice", "Sitting at the Wheel", "Your Wildest Dreams", and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." Their 1993 album, "A Night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra", was certified gold. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Georgia native Max Cleland (August 24, 1942-November 9, 2021), an accomplished college swimmer and basketball player, was a U.S. Army captain in Vietnam when, on April 8, 1968, he reached for a grenade he thought had fallen from his belt. "When my eyes cleared I looked at my right hand. It was gone. Nothing but a splintered white bone protruded from my shredded elbow", he wrote in his 1980 memoir, "Strong at the Broken Places." He lost his right arm and two legs. Returning home a triple-amputee, Cleland recalled in a 2002 interview being depressed about his future, but still interested in pursuing a political career: "I sat in my mother and daddy's living room and took stock in my life. No job. No hope of a job. No offer of a job. No girlfriend. No apartment. No car. And I said, 'This is a great time to run for the state Senate."' Cleland won a state Senate seat, then lost a run for lieutenant governor. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter appointed Cleland to head the Veterans Administration. While he was in charge, the VA would recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a genuine condition, and he worked to provide veterans and their families with improved care. In 1982 Cleland was elected Georgia's Secretary of State, and in 1996 he won the Senate seat of the retiring Sam Nunn. In 2002, however, he lost his re-election bid to Saxby Chambliss, when the Republican's campaign aired a commercial questioning Cleland's patriotism, alongside images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Having lost his sense of purpose with his bitter Senate loss, Cleland wound up back at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with PTSD. The loss, he told CBS News in 2009, "threw me right back in war", prompting "massive anxiety… powerlessness and hopelessness" that brought back the sensation of lying bleeding on the battlefield. Cleland recovered, and would serve as a director of the Export-Import Bank. He was later named by President Barack Obama to be secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Beginning his acting career on Broadway at age seven, Dean Stockwell (March 5, 1936-November 7, 2021) would quit show business several times during his life. Yet he kept returning, earning praise as a character actor for his memorable performances in such films as David Lynch's "Blue Velvet", Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas", Robert Altman's "The Player", and Jonathan Demme's "Married to the Mob" (for which he earned his sole Academy Award nomination). He also received four Emmy nominations for his role as Admiral Al Calavicci, who appears as a hologram to aid the time-traveling scientist played by Scott Bakula, in the cult sci-fi series "Quantum Leap." The son of a stage actor, the young Stockwell's role in the Broadway play "The Innocent Voyage" led to an MGM contract, and roles in the films "Anchors Aweigh", "Gentlemen's Agreement", "Song of the Thin Man", "The Boy With Green Hair", "Kim", "Down to the Sea in Ships", "The Secret Garden", and "Stars in My Crown." He quit acting at age 16, but was back on Broadway a few years later, as a young killer alongside Roddy McDowell in "Compulsion." He earned plaudits for his mature roles in the films "Sons and Lovers", the movie version of "Compulsion", and Sidney Lumet's 1962 adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Stockwell was twice awarded best actor at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed a program of Beckett and Ionesco plays in Los Angeles. In the mid-'60s he dropped out of show business again, but was back a few years later, with appearances in "Psych-Out", "The Dunwich Horror", Dennis Hopper's "The Last Movie", "The Loners", and such TV series as "Mannix", "Mission: Impossible", "Night Gallery", "Columbo", and "Police Story." His career again took off in the 1980s with "Dune", "Paris, Texas", "To Live and Die in L.A.", "Blue Velvet", "Gardens of Stone", "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (as Howard Hughes), "Air Force One", and "The Manchurian Candidate." TV roles included "Chicago Hope", "JAG", and "Battlestar Galactica." He reteamed with Bakula as a guest star on "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "NCIS: New Orleans." In 2004 Stockwell told Las Vegas Weekly that he attributed his long career to "good fortune and fate. It amazes me that I'm still alive and that I'm still working." He was featured on what is considered the first standup comedy album, "At Sunset" (1955), and it was, he said, "illegal.… Nobody told us they were recording it. They just recorded it and put it out." That brazen act mirrored the boldness that characterized the humor of satirist Mort Sahl (May 11, 1927-October 26, 2021), whose comedy provided a commentary on politicians and current events that was in sync with an anti-establishment audience during the 1950s and '60s. Sahl did not tell mother-in-law jokes. Instead, he mocked presidents. Reading from a newspaper, Sahl would annotate news stories with cutting comments, often ending his routines by asking: "Is there any group I haven't offended yet?" Sahl gained fame in 1953 at San Francisco's hungry i, a nexus for beatniks and college kids, and soon appeared at nightclubs across the country, and on television as the guest of Steve Allen and Jack Paar. But while he inspired generations of comedians with his pointed observations about the day's events, he did not consider himself a comedian. "I never said I was one", he once noted. "I just sort of tell the truth, and everybody breaks up along the way." Born in Montreal, Sahl, whose family moved to the U.S., served in the Air Force, and earned money writing jokes for comedians. He would take to the stage himself when he realized his clients were "too dumb" to get the humor. The assassination of JFK in 1963 devastated Sahl (he'd even written jokes for the president, as he would for Presidents Reagan and Bush), and his popularity declined when he began using his monologues to read from, and critique, the Warren Commission Report. The loss of his only child, Morton Jr., who died at age 19, led Sahl further into a moribund period, though he continued working the college circuit and small clubs. In 2004 Sahl told The AV Club that, for comedians, having a specific viewpoint is "everything, because you filter the events through it. Otherwise, their stuff is trivial.… After your heart is broken, then you can do the material. When people write comedy from neutrality, it just gets kind of silly." Gen. Colin Powell (April 5, 1937-October 18, 2021) often shared his personal story as that of the only child of Jamaican immigrants, whose not-very-promising start in the South Bronx took a turn when he discovered the ROTC at City College. When he put on his first uniform, he wrote (in his 1995 autobiography "My American Journey"), "I liked what I saw." Powell spent 35 years in the Army, rising to the rank of four-star general. He was one of more than 16,000 military advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John F. Kennedy, receiving a Medal of Valor for going back into a burning helicopter to rescue others. He would serve as a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, commander of the Army's 5th Corps in Germany, and national security assistant to President Ronald Reagan, before becoming the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overseeing the 1991 U.S. invasion of Kuwait led by President George H.W. Bush. He later joined the administration of President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the nation's first Black head diplomat. His tenure at the State Department was largely defined by the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He was the first American official to publicly blame Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, and he flew to Pakistan to demand that then-President Pervez Musharraf cooperate with the U.S. in going after the Afghanistan-based terror group. (It was in Pakistan where bin Laden would be killed nearly 10 years later.) Powell's reputation, however, was marred by his 2003 address to the United Nations Security Council in which he cited faulty intelligence information to claim that Iragi President Saddam Hussein secretly possessed, or was developing, weapons of mass destruction, and posed a major regional and global threat. The following month, President Bush ordered the invasion. Though the Iraqi leader was deposed, the weapons never materialized. Despite the power vacuum created by the invasion, and years of insurgent fighting that killed countless Iraqi civilians, Powell maintained in a 2012 Associated Press interview that, on balance, the U.S. succeeded in Iraq. "I think we had a lot of successes", he said. "Iraq's terrible dictator is gone." Though he worked in Republican administrations, Powell was courted by both Republicans and Democrats to run for president, a position he declined. ("I have no political fire burning in my belly", he told "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley in 1992.) Powell publicly endorsed Democrats in the past four presidential elections, including Sen. Barack Obama (calling him "a transformational figure" who also represented a generational change), and became a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, whom he called "a national disgrace." Powell told Bradley that the U.S. had become more inclusive in the time since he was a young Army recruit stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia, and that the spirit of cooperation with which the Gulf War was fought and won needed to be brought back to America: "That's very difficult, but I think it's a matter of being a lot more tolerant of each other, and recognizing that whatever our racial differences or ethnic differences might be, or even economic differences, we're all Americans, and we all have to live in this home that we call America." The tunes of Oscar-winning British songwriter Leslie Bricusse (January 29, 1931-October 19, 2021) stretched from the factory of Willy Wonka to the spy world of James Bond, and sparked hit records by Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley Bassey, and Anthony Newley. A Cambridge University graduate who was president of the Footlights performance club, he began writing music for the West End and the movies. Working either solo or in collaboration, Bricusse wrote words, music or both, including lyrics for the Bond theme songs "Goldfinger" and "You Only Live Twice" (with music by John Barry), and the Academy Award-nominated score for "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory"; its songs, co-written with Anthony Newley, include "Pure Imagination" and "The Candy Man." Bricusse and Newley also wrote the musicals "Stop the World - I Want to Get Off" (which featured the Grammy-winning song "What Kind of Fool Am I?") and "The Roar of the Greasepaint - the Smell of the Crowd." Bricusse won an Academy Award for his song "Talk to the Animals", from the 1968 musical "Doctor Doolittle." He won a second Oscar for his work, with Henry Mancini, on "Victor/Victoria." Other credits include "Two for the Road", "In Like Flint", "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", "Scrooge", "Revenge of the Pink Panther", "Santa Claus: The Movie", "Sherlock Holmes: The Musical", "Cyrano", "Jekyl & Hyde", and "Sammy." He collaborated with John Williams on songs for "A Guide for the Married Man", "Superman", "Home Alone", "Hook", and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In a 2021 NPR interview, Bricusse ruminated on the lasting appear of his "Willy Wonka" song, "Pure Imagination": "It's a good thought for people, especially young people, to carry with them through life. You'll be free if you truly wish to be, at the end is, to me, the most important line in the film. It's a reflective thought on how to make a life work." In addition to being a jazz musician who performed with the likes of Dizzie Gillespie, Tom Morey (August 15, 1935-October 14, 2021) was an engineer who brought several innovations to the world of surfing, including the invention of the Boogie Board. Born in Detroit, Morey moved to Laguna Beach, Calif., as a kid, becoming an avid bodysurfer. He developed the Concave Nose Pocket and the Wing-tipped Nose, and became a sponsored pro surfer. Employed at Douglas Aircraft (and, later, Boeing), he turned his experience with composite materials into surfboards with his company, Tom Morey Skeg Works. He created the first TRAF polypropylene fin, as well as a three-piece surfboard that folded into a suitcase. In Hawaii, Morey created several air-lubricated surfboards. In 1974 he formed Morey Boogie, and soon began production of Boogie Boards – a large piece of polyethylene foam about half the length and a fraction of the weight of a surfboard, with a rounded nose (he'd used a hot iron to mold its shape), and internal twin fiberglass rods for support. Boogie Boards (or "bodyboards", as sold by competing manufacturers) proved an immensely popular water toy. Morey then founded another company, Starwaves, and sold soft-shell surfboards like the Sizzle, manufactured under his newly-adopted name, simply "Y." In a 2020 interview with Surfer Today, looking back on his life, Morey said, "I realize how complex and vast life is. My role is so tiny.… And yet, my dreams always know where to reach me. I did okay, so dreams are also good. I must be doing some things right.… Although I perhaps could have done more, I helped revolutionize life on this planet – gave billions of hours of pleasure to millions of people." Composer and musician Paddy Moloney (August 1, 1938-October 12, 2021) was a founding member and leader of the Irish musical group The Chieftains. At a young age he was playing a plastic tin whistle, and at eight he was being instructed in the uilleann pipes by Leo Rowsome. After performing with different mixes of musicians, Moloney hit upon what would become the lineup of The Chieftains in 1962, recording their first of 44 albums. Over the next half-century the group would broaden the appeal of traditional Irish music around the world, while receiving six Grammy Awards, with 21 nominations. Moloney also recorded or arranged music for such films as "Barry Lyndon", "The Grey Fox", "Gangs of New York", "Far and Away", and "Two If By Sea." In addition to recording, Moloney managed Claddagh Records for several years in the late 1960s and early '70s, building a catalogue of folk, traditional, classical, and spoken word recordings. In 2012 Moloney collaborated with folk, rock and country artists (including Bon Iver, the Decembrists, Low Anthem, the Civil Wars, Punch Brothers, and Imelda May) on an album, "Voice of Ages", which celebrated The Chieftains' impact on other genres. He described to The New York Times their shared aesthetic: "What's happening here with these young groups is they're coming back to the melody, back to the real stuff, the roots and the folk feeling of them all. I can hear any of them singing folk songs." Born to activist parents, Sister Megan Rice (January 31, 1930-October 10, 2021) became a nun and Catholic peace activist who spent two years in federal prison while in her 80s after breaking into a government security complex to protest nuclear weapons. After joining the Society of the Holy Child of Jesus to become a nun, and later earning degrees from Villanova and Boston University, she taught at elementary schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for more than a decade before being assigned to work in Nigeria. Rice spent 23 years in West Africa, where she learned about the plowshares movement, a reference to a Biblical passage ("They will beat their swords into ploughshares") about the end of war. Her activism was also heavily influenced by her uncle, who spent four months in Nagasaki, Japan, after it and Hiroshima had been leveled by atomic bombs. When she returned to the U.S., Rice began her involvement in anti-nuclear activism. Court records show she already had been convicted four times for protest activities when she (then age 82) and two fellow Catholic peace activists, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012. The trio cut through several fences and spent two hours outside a bunker storing much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium, where they hung banners, prayed, hammered on the outside of the bunker, and spray-painted peace slogans. They were arrested and charged with felony sabotage. Federal prosecutors described Rice and her codefendants as "recidivists and habitual offenders" who would break the law again "as soon as they are physically capable of doing so", according to court records. Rice's attorneys sought leniency from U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, arguing the nun's devotion to Christian nonviolence posed little threat to the public. But the judge was unmoved, telling the defendants their moral beliefs were "not a get out of jail free card." Rice was sentenced to three years in prison, and Walli and Oertje-Obed each received more than five years. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the sabotage charge, and the three were freed in May 2015 after serving two years. They were later resentenced to time already served on a lesser charge of injuring government property. While testifying during her jury trial, Rice defended her decision to break into the Oak Ridge uranium facility as an attempt to stop "manufacturing that… can only cause death", according to a trial transcript. "I had to do it", she said of her decision to break the law. "My guilt is that I waited 70 years to be able to speak what I knew in my conscience." He was a man of letters, music, theater and film, earning the sobriquet "Godfather of Black Cinema" for helping to usher in a wave of "blaxploitation" movies in the 1970s that influenced generations of filmmakers. The best-known work of Melvin Van Peebles (August 21, 1932-September 22, 2021) was the 1971 movie "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song", an indie film that he wrote, produced, directed, starred in and scored. It was a violent tale of a Black street hustler on the run after killing police officers who were beating a Black revolutionary. Despite its low budget and limited distribution (it initially received an X rating), the film became a box office hit, inspiring Hollywood to chase after a lucrative but untapped Black film market. In 2002 Van Peebles complained that subsequent Black films failed to address the political, instead sensationalizing crime: "What Hollywood did – they suppressed the political message, added caricature – and blaxploitation was born. The colored intelligentsia were not too happy about it." His road to making what became the #1 film in America was circuitous. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, he joined the Air Force, then moved to Mexico and worked as a portrait painter, then moved to San Francisco where he wrote short stories and made short films while driving cable cars. The job offers he received in Hollywood didn't rise far above parking attendant, so he moved to Holland, studying astronomy and taking classes at the Dutch National Theatre. In Paris he adapted his work into French, and made a feature film: "La Permission/The Story of a Three Day Pass" (1967), about an affair between a French woman and a Black U.S. soldier. It won a critics' prize at the San Francisco Film Festival. Asked by CBS Station KPIX in 1967 about how one rises from cable car grip man to internationally recognized film director, Van Pebbles said, "Well, you don't pay attention to what people tell you." Van Peebles was hired to direct the satire "Watermelon Man", starring Godfrey Cambridge as a White bigot who wakes up one day as a Black man. The money he earned would bankroll "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (which has recently received a 4K restoration for its 50th anniversary). Refusing to work in movies without control, Van Peebles wrote and produced several plays and musicals on Broadway, including the Tony-nominated "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death" and "Don't Play Us Cheap." He also co-wrote the 1977 Richard Pryor film "Greased Lighting", about Wendell Scott, the first Black race car driver. He penned the screenplay for "Panther", adapted from his novel and directed by his son, Mario Van Peebles. He also recorded several albums. His career path took yet another turn in the 1980s, when Van Peebles became a Wall Street options trader and wrote a financial self-help guide titled "Bold Money." In 2004 Van Peebles discussed with Filmmaker Magazine how his experience with "Sweetback" challenged the film industry: "I did the one thing a Black guy can't do – succeed without a master. When I finished the film, I had to hire me a White guy to pretend he was the boss to sell the damn film! … "When I didn't fail, everybody got pissed off! You dig it? I've not had a real job offer since I made 'Sweetback's.' So, I just went to Broadway and did very well in the theater. But it wasn't a surprise, it wasn't a shock. My feelings weren't hurt. This is what you expect. And hallelujah, that made it possible for someone else." Actor Willie Garson (February 20, 1964-September 21, 2021) played talent agent Stanford Blatch, the devoted and stylish best male friend of Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw, on the TV series "Sex and the City" and in its movie sequels. [He was filming an upcoming series revival for HBO Max called "And Just Like That."] A native of Highland Park, N.J., Garson began studying acting at age 13 at the Actors Institute in New York. Among his hundreds of TV and film appearances were roles in "White Collar" (as the con man Mozzie), "Newhart", "Mr. Belvedere", "Groundhog Day", "The X-Files", "Twin Peaks", "Melrose Place", "Ally McBeal", "Star Trek: Voyager", "NYPD Blue", "CSI: Miami", "Hawaii Five-0", "Two and a Half Men", "Whole Day Down", "Magnum P.I.", and "Supergirl." He played Lee Harvey Oswald three times, in "Ruby", "Quantum Leap", and "MADtv." In 2011 he gave advice to actors in an interview with the Daily Actor: "I actually teach an acting workshop, and my general advice is, bring yourself to the role. No two people are doing the same role the same way and there's a reason for that. You have your reality, your physicality, your hairline, your life experiences, and that is what makes acting interesting. That's what makes people interested in actors, is them bringing what they bring to the role – not to do it like someone else do it." George Holliday (June 1960-Sept. 19, 2021), a plumber, had recently purchased a Sony video camera to document a friend's marathon run when he was awakened by a police helicopter after midnight on March 3, 1991. He stepped outside his San Fernando Valley home to record the beating by several White police officers of a Black man who'd been pulled over on a traffic stop. The victim was Rodney King, who was kicked, punched, tasered and bound. Holliday recorded nine minutes of the confrontation (he'd missed the initial interaction) and turned over his videotape to a local TV station, which later shared it with CNN. The footage became an international sensation, and was a critical piece of evidence in the criminal trial of the officers. When they were acquitted on charges of assault and excessive use of force in April 1992, the outcry led to rioting in the city, with hundreds of businesses looted and burned. More than 60 people died in the violence, primarily in South Los Angeles. Holliday told Britain's Sun newspaper that he later encountered King at a gas station, failing to recognize him at first since he'd recovered from his beating: "He said, 'You don't know who I am, do you?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'Well, you saved my life.'" Holliday, an early example of a so-called "citizen journalist" whose video or photos document important events, attempted to profit from his footage, but saw little after it was widely distributed. He lost a suit against the station that had shared the video, but did license the footage for a music video and also the Spike Lee film "Malcolm X." But the Rodney King tape's role in casting a light on police brutality would be instrumental in inspiring others to use video cameras (and later, smartphones) to record interactions with police, such as Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd. It also helped further calls for police body cameras to document officers' actions. Born Suzanne Burce, Jane Powell (April 1, 1929-Sept. 16, 2021) started performing at age five as a singing prodigy on Portland, Oregon radio. On a trip to Los Angeles, she appeared on a network radio talent show, performing an aria from "Carmen." Her 2½-octave voice won her a contract with MGM, which billed her as "Jane Powell" – the name of her character in her first film, "Song of the Open Road." On screen, Powell quickly graduated to lavish musicals, including "A Date With Judy", "Royal Wedding", "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Hit the Deck." Other films included "Young, Rich and Pretty", "Small Town Girl" and "Three Sailors and a Girl." But as musicals fell out of favor, Powell left MGM, and performed on stage, touring in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" and "I Do! I Do!", and replacing Debbie Reynolds on Broadway in "Irene." Her TV credits included variety shows, a remake of "Meet Me in St. Louis", and guest spots on "Fantasy Island", "The Love Boat", "Murder, She Wrote", "Growing Pains", and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." In 2000, Powell explained to the New York Observer why she abandoned her singing career for more dramatic roles: "I can't hit the high notes, and I won't be second-rate." For the Off-Broadway comedy "Avow", Powell played a devout Catholic who was mother to a pregnant, single woman in love with a priest, and a gay son who wants to marry his lover. "It's the first time in my life a director has said anything to me besides, 'Just be Jane Powell'", she said. Raised in Quebec City, Norm Macdonald (Oct. 17, 1959-Sept. 14, 2021) was a stand-up comedian and a writer for "Roseanne" when he was hired to write and perform on "Saturday Night Live" in 1993. He would become known for his impressions of Bob Dole, Larry King, David Letterman and Burt Reynolds, about whom he told New York Magazine in 2018, "I always loved him. Burt had the timing of a stand-up. When I was doing my impression, I was like, 'I know why I'm getting laughs: because I'm stealing his great work.'" His deadpan style made him a perfect anchorman for "Weekend Update." However, his incessant and cutting jokes about one of his favorite targets, O.J. Simpson, would cost him his job; he was fired mid-season in 1998 by NBC Entertainment executive Don Ohlmeyer, who was a friend of Simpson's. [When MacDonald announced his firing while a guest on Letterman's late-night show, Letterman thought he was putting on an Andy Kaufman-esque act.] After "SNL" Macdonald starred in a sitcom, "The Norm Show" (a.k.a. "Norm"), as a hockey player-turned-social worker; "A Minute With Stan Hooper"; "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald"; "Norm Macdonald Live"; and "Norm Macdonald Has a Show." In addition to countless guest appearances on late-night shows, he also appeared on "Sunnyside" and "The Middle", and provided voicework for "Family Guy" and "The Orville." Of his standup philosophy, Macdonald told The New York Times in 2018 that "Making people laugh is a gift. Preaching to them is not a gift. There are people who can do that better – preachers." Impresario George Wein (Oct. 3, 1925-Sept. 13, 2021) helped found the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, creating the template for such music events as Woodstock and Lollapalooza. A former jazz club owner and aspiring pianist, who also started the Storyville record label in Boston, Wein began the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 with a stellar lineup (which included Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Lester Young) and a drenching downpour of rain. But he was back the following year with Louis Armstrong, and with Duke Ellington and his band in 1956. That first gathering was inspired by a socialite's complaint that summers in Newport, R.I., were "boring." "What was a festival to me?" Wein later said. "I had no rulebook to go by. I knew it had to be something unique, that no jazz fan had ever been exposed to." So, he improvised, combining the energy of a Harlem jazz club with the ambience of a classical concert at Tanglewood. For more than 50 years Wein led the festival, which showcased such artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Dave Brubeck, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. The success of Newport would inspire other jazz festivals across the U.S. and in Europe. In 1959, Wein helped found a companion folk festival, at which Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and the Kingston Trio performed. During the 1963 festival, Bob Dylan turned up with an electric band, and without an acoustic instrument – a landmark music event. In 2005, Wein sold his company, Festival Productions Inc., and took on a more limited role at Newport, later establishing a nonprofit foundation to oversee the events. "I want the festivals to go on forever", Wein told The Associated Press. "With me it's not a matter of business. This is my life." He was the Humphrey Bogart of France – a magnetic and virile personality whose unconventional movie-star looks nonetheless dominated international screens over the course of five decades. Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (April 9, 1933-September 6, 2021) appeared in more than 80 films, by such filmmakers as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Melville, Louis Malle, Claude Lelouch and Agnès Varda, his best-known appearance being the New Wave hit "Breathless" (1960), opposite Jean Seberg. The son of a famed sculptor and a painter, Belmondo in his youth trained as a boxer, but when he switched to acting lessons, one of his teachers mocked the idea that, with his looks, he could ever be a romantic leading man. After work in regional theaters, he was spotted by Godard, who cast him in a short film, "Charlotte and Her Boyfriend." He played a gangster in Claude Sautet's "Classe tous risques (Consider All Risks)", before Godard picked him to star in "Breathless", an international breakthrough for both director and star. The actor who could never be taken seriously as a leading man would, in the next decade, star opposite Anna Karina, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Gina Lollobrigida, Ursula Andress and Genevieve Bujold. His films – comedies, dramas and actioners – showcased his athleticism and projected an alienation that benefited his portrayals of rogue lovers, outcasts, criminals and antiheroes. In the 1980s Belmondo returned to the stage, in a 1987 Paris production of Jean-Paul Sartre's "Kean", and won a Cesar Award (the French Oscar) for "Itinerary of a Spoiled Child." His final film role, several years after suffering a stroke, was in 2008's "A Man and His Dog", a role he took on the condition that he be allowed to show his infirmity. "It's me, without any special effects", he told The New York Times in 2009. "I hope to be an example for all. I hope." Broadcast veteran Willard Scott (March 7, 1934-September 4, 2021) started his 65-year-long career at NBC as a page, the springboard for many television résumés, and in Scott's case that included serving for more than three decades as the weatherman for the network's morning show, "Today." But not many pages could say they'd also dressed up as Bozo the Clown or Ronald McDonald – or as Brazilian singer Carmen Miranda, whom Scott once impersonated as a stunt to raise a $1,000 donation for the USO. His stint as Bozo came after being picked among his station's announcers to attend clown school in California. "I was either going to be a politician when I graduated, or Bozo", he said in 1997. "And I chose the straight life; I chose Bozo." Joining "Today" in 1980, Scott charmed the audience with his self-deprecating humor and cheerful personality, which extended to congratulating viewers who were celebrating their 100th birthdays – 40,000 centenarians, by one count, during his 35 years on the broadcast. A fan favorite of young and old, Scott was covering the parade at President George H.W. Bush's inauguration, when he was greeted by first lady Barbara Bush, who ran over to Scott on the sidelines and planted a big kiss on his lips. "I got a seven-year contract out of that kiss!" Scott said in a 2015 "Today" retrospective. NFL wide receiver David Patten (August 19, 1974-September 2, 2021) caught Tom Brady's first postseason touchdown pass – a leaping 8-yard reception against the St. Louis Rams – to help the New England Patriots win their first Super Bowl title in 2002. He helped the Patriots to two more championships, in 2004 and 2005. During his 12 seasons in the NFL (he also played for the New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, and New York Giants), Patten appeared in 147 games, catching 324 passes for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns. After retiring from professional football, Patten returned to Western Carolina University, his alma mater, to join the coaching staff. In a 2013 interview with the Western Carolina Journal, Patten recounted the rough, early years of his career (being cut loose from the Canadian Football League, ignored during the 1996 NFL draft, and, after a year in the Arena Football League, being picked up, then dropped by the Giants), and how he finally found his footing with Brady and the Patriots. "My dream had come true", Patten said. "Everybody dreams of catching a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl, and I achieved that. It was as if all of the hard work, all of the setbacks had made it that much sweeter. It made it all worth it." Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis (July 29, 1925-September 2, 2021) was renowned for creating rousing music while leading a life of rousing political defiance, which included several years as a member of the Greek parliament. Born on the eastern Aegean island of Chios, Theodorakis began writing music and poetry in his teens, just as Greece entered World War II. His involvement in left-wing resistance groups led to his arrests by Italian and German occupiers, and persecution after the war by the Greek regime. He was jailed, and as a result of severe beatings and torture, including mock executions, Theodorakis suffered broken limbs, respiratory problems and other injuries that plagued his health for the rest of his life. Despite the hardships, he graduated from Athens Music School and continued his studies in Paris. A prolific career as a composer included more than 1,000 songs, as well as symphonies and chamber music, operas, and music for films and ballet. A music series based on poems written by Nazi concentration camp survivor Iakovos Kambanellis, "The Ballad of Mauthausen", described the horrors of camp life and the Holocaust. But it was the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' "Zorba the Greek", in 1964, and Theodorakis' slow-to-frenetic folk music, that made him a household name. PLAY EXCERPT: "Zorba's Dance", from "Zorba the Greek" As Theodorakis' fame grew, political turmoil in Greece led to his compositions being banned by the military dictatorship then in power. Placed in a concentration camp, Theodorakis was ultimately freed following an international outcry, and went into exile in Paris, from which he maintained his activism, his music becoming a soundtrack of resistance. In a 2017 interview with the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Theodorakis talked about facing his torturer in prison, who'd asked him if he knew that his life was worth nothing. Theodorakis responded by humming the theme from "Zorba the Greek." When his torturer asked what it was, Theodorakis replied, "'It's "Zorba"'s music. If I die, every time this is played you will be haunted by "Zorba." Both you and your superiors.'… And that's how I was saved, I think. 'Zorba' must have saved me. Otherwise, I would have been done for." He also contributed the scores for 1969's "Z" (the Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film), and the 1973 Al Pacino police drama "Serpico." For most of the 1980s he was a member of parliament for the Greek Communist Party, but later served in the cabinet of the conservative government. His defenders saw him as a unifier, trying to heal the nation's longstanding political divisions. Gruff and curmudgeonly on the outside, with a gooey center: That was how the character of Lou Grant, the boss of Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", cemented actor Ed Asner (November 15, 1929-August 29, 2021) in the popular imagination. A high school football player who had studied journalism at the University of Chicago, Asner switched to acting, making his debut as Thomas Becket in a campus production of T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral." After a stint in the Army Signal Corps, working at an auto plant and a steel mill, and driving a cab, he appeared at Chicago's Playwrights Theatre Club and the improv troupe Second City, before a trip to Hollywood to appear in the series "Naked City." Asner began amassing more than 400 film and TV appearances, from the John Wayne western "El Dorado", to the Elvis Presley vehicles "Kid Galahad" and "Change of Habit." His other credits included "Route 66", "The Untouchables", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "The Virginian", "Dr. Kildare", "The Outer Limits", "The Defenders", "Slattery's People", "The Satan Bug", "The Rat Patrol", "Gunsmoke", "The Fugitive", "The Wild Wild West", "Mission Impossible", "The FBI", "Ironside", and "They Call Me Mister Tibbs." For seven seasons beginning in 1970, Asner portrayed Mary Tyler Moore's boss at the WJM-TV newsroom. His introduction to us, and to prospective employee Mary Richards, was hilariously pithy: Grant: "You know what? You've got spunk." Richards: "Oh! Well." Grant: "I HATE spunk!" "That audience was like an animal", Asner recalled for "Sunday Morning" in 2012. "Three hundred people, and they went Aaahhhhhhh!!! I felt like I could command them to walk off a cliff!" Then, when Moore's comedy went off the air, he continued in a spin-off series, "Lou Grant", an hour-long drama in which Grant returned to newspaper work as the city editor of a Los Angeles daily. Asner starred in that series for five years, and between the two shows won five Emmys for playing the same character. (He received two more Emmys for the miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots.") Asner served as president of the Screen Actors Guild at the time he starred in "Lou Grant." When he spoke out against U.S. involvement in El Salvador, the furor led to boycotts by advertisers and the series being cancelled. (CBS insisted that declining ratings were the reason.) Other roles included "Fort Apache, the Bronx", "Daniel", "The Bronx Zoo", "JFK", "Mad About You", "ER", "Elf", "The Practice", "Center of the Universe", "The Good Wife", "Forgive Me", "Dead to Me", and "Cobra Kai." Among his numerous vocal performances, the most notable was as the centerpiece of the Oscar-winning Pixar animated film, "Up", as an elderly man whose house takes flight courtesy of balloons. Asner continued to be politically active, publishing "The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs." In 2012 "Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver asked the then-82-year-old about his starring role in the Broadway play, "Grace": "I just think a lot of people as successful as you are, they wouldn't put themselves through this, out there every night." "Well, then, they don't love acting", Asner replied. "I love acting." From childhood Charlie Watts (June 2, 1941-August 24, 2021) was passionate about music, particularly jazz. He taught himself the drums, which he played as a side gig to his day job at an advertising agency. After performing with Mick Jagger in Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, he joined the Rolling Stones, in 1963, and would be their drummer until his death. Watts was ranked among the greatest of rock drummers, as the Stones rose to international superstardom. Self-effacing, Watts largely avoided the drugs and personal dramas that affected other band members, and was a steadying influence for a group known as much for its longevity as for its musical supremacy. Watt's remarkable percussion contributed to the success of such classics as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Get Off of My Cloud", "Gimme Shelter", "19th Nervous Breakdown", "Miss Amanda Jones", "Paint It, Black", "Beast of Burden", "Honky Tonk Women", "Moonlight Mile", and "Tumbling Dice." As a jazz aficionado, Watts recorded several albums, beginning in 1986 with "Live at Fulham Town Hall." He toured and recorded with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and the expanded Charlie Watts and the Tentet. In 1994 Watts told "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, "I always consider myself a drummer, you know? That's to keep the time and help everyone else do what they're doing. I don't really like solo-type things. I mean, I do sort of solo records, but they're sort of jazz-type things, and I do that because I don't do that with the Rolling Stones." Singer-songwriter Micki Grant (June 30, 1929-August 22, 2021) earned two of her three Tony Award nominations for the 1973 musical "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope", a revue in which rock, jazz, soul, gospel and spoken-word told of the Black urban experience in the early '70s. "There was a lot of angry theater out there at the time, especially in the Black community", Grant told The New York Times in 2018. "I wanted to come at it with a soft fist. I wanted to open eyes but not turn eyes away." She also wrote the music for the 1978 adaptation of Studs Terkel's "Working." Grant's other theatre credits included "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God", "Eubie!", "Alice", and "The Prodigal Sister." Her song "Pink Shoelaces", a hit for Dodie Stephens in 1959, would appear in such TV shows as "The Monkees" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." As an actress, Grant appeared on stage in "The Blacks", "The Cradle Will Rock", "Having Our Say", and "Brecht on Brecht", and on TV in the soaps "Another World", "Guiding Light", "Somerset", "The Edge of Night", and "All My Children." Don Everly (February 1, 1937-August 21, 2021) and his brother, Phil, grew up in a musical family, the sons of Ike and Margaret Everly, who were folk and country music singers. In the 1940s, Don and his brother would join their parents on their family's radio show in Shenandoah, Iowa, singing as The Everly Family. In the 1950s, after moving to Nashville, Don and Phil signed with Cadence Records, and began a long streak of hits – poignant pop and country-rock songs with yearning harmonies that spoke to their rural roots. The Everly Brothers had 19 Top 40 hits, including "Bye Bye Love", "Let It Be Me", "All I Have to Do Is Dream", "Wake Up Little Susie", "Cathy's Clown", "When Will I Be Loved", and "Crying in the Rain." In 1973 they broke up, dramatically so, on stage at Knott's Berry Farm in California. Phil threw down his guitar down and walked off, as Don told the crowd, "The Everly Brothers died 10 years ago." Don recorded three solo albums in the '70s, but the duo reunited in 1983, "sealing it with a hug", Phil said. They continued with successful concert tours in the U.S. and Europe, and had late-career success with "On the Wings of a Nightingale" (written by Paul McCartney) and "Born Yesterday." They were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Don Everly said in a 1986 Associated Press interview that he and his brother were successful because "we never followed trends. We did what we liked and followed our instincts. Rock 'n' roll did survive, and we were right about that. Country did survive, and we were right about that. You can mix the two, but people said we couldn't." Country music singer-songwriter and author Tom T. Hall (May 25, 1936-August 20, 2021) was nicknamed "The Storyteller", for songs that spoke of life's joys, slights, and blue-collar travails. Born in Kentucky, Hall wrote his first song by age nine. He would become one of Nashville's biggest songwriters, composing hundreds of songs for himself or others, including Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. A dozen of them became No. 1 hits. Among his biggest were "Harper Valley PTA", "I Love", "Country Is", "I Care", "I Like Beer", "Faster Horses (The Cowboy and The Poet)", and "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine." He recorded more than two dozen albums. A member of the Grand Ole Opry, Hall hosted the syndicated TV show "Pop! Goes the Country." He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Hall also penned several books – songwriting guides, short stories, and novels. And while his songs sold millions of recording, he won his Grammy Award for writing liner notes. Artist Chuck Close (July 5, 1940-August 19, 2021) was an early adherent of photo-realism, who gained international acclaim in 1968 with a huge, nine-foot-tall black-and-white self-portrait. He would spend the next 50 years re-defining just what a portrait was – breaking the human face down into pixelated squares, as he explained to "Sunday Morning" in 2007: "It's a little bit like an architect picking up a brick. You stack up the bricks one way, you get a cathedral. You stack up the bricks another way and you get a gas station." He began his portraits with a photograph, which he divided into squares: "Every square here will become four squares in the painting. There is no drawing on the canvas other than the grid. I never draw a nose. I never draw a lip." In 1988 he suffered a serious spinal injury which left him partially paralyzed, but, fortunately still able to paint. "Thankfully, if I'm only going to be able to still do something that I used to do, I'm pretty lucky that it turned out to be painting", he said. In terms of the content of his artwork, Close said, "What's changed is perhaps a slightly brighter palate, a more celebratory nature to the work. Because I was just so happy to be able to get back to work, and to find a way to work again." In the original "Star Trek" series, "redshirts" referred to the security personnel and other, often nameless Enterprise crewmembers who seemingly always turn up dead from an alien encounter. (You do not want to wear a red uniform when going boldly where no one has gone before!) But Eddie Paskey (August 20, 1939-August 17, 2021) survived the redshirt jinx. With barely any acting experience, Paskey was hired to portray Lt. Leslie on the second "Star Trek" pilot, and eventually appeared (as Leslie, other anonymous redshirts, a sick bay assistant, or just a stand-in) in 62 episodes of the series – more than George Takei or Walter Koenig. Curiously, in a season two episode, "Obsession", Lt. Leslie actually DID die, thanks to a red corpuscle-eating cloud, but Paskey turned up again later in that same episode, and in 20 more, with no real explanation as to why. (It was, after all, a science fiction show.) Paskey would later claim, in a 2004 online post, that the original script had a scene of Leslie being brought back to life, but it was never filmed. As the 1960s series ended its run, Paskey dropped out of acting, but he maintained a "Star Trek" presence with appearances at conventions, and a turn as "Admiral Leslie" in a fan series, "Star Trek: New Voyages." Meanwhile, the term "redshirt" as a trope of expendables has lived on, called out in parodies, video games, and even the 2009 "Star Trek" feature film reboot. Performing since age 12 at coffeehouses, clubs and folk festivals in her native Texas, Grammy-winning folk singer and songwriter Nanci Griffith (July 6, 1953-August 13, 2021) grew her sound from confessional folk singer to a country-folk storyteller in her 1986 album, "The Last of the True Believers", with such songs as "Love at the Five and Dime" (in which lovers slow-dance after hours at Woolworth's), "Lookin' for the Time (Workin' Girl)", and "More Than a Whisper." Her first major label album, "Lone Star State of Mind" (1987), featured "From a Distance" (which was later covered by Bette Midler), "Cold Hearts/Closed Minds" and "Trouble in the Fields", in addition to the title track. Her songs ran the gamut from sentimental odes to love ("Gulf Coast Highway") and its missteps ("If Wishes Were Changes", "Outbound Plane"), to avenues of social commentary, as in "It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go" (which spoke to generational attitudes of racism in America and Northern Ireland) and "Trouble in the Fields" (about the economic hardships facing rural communities). "I wrote it because my family were farmers in West Texas during the Great Depression", Griffith told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. "It was written basically as a show of support for my generation of farmers." Her 1993 album "Other Voices, Other Rooms", on which she sang with Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Arlo Guthrie and Guy Clark, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Philanthropist James Hormel (January 1, 1933-August 13, 2021), the first openly-gay U.S. ambassador, was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1997 to become ambassador to Luxembourg. His nomination was blocked for two years by conservatives in the Senate (then-Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott likened homosexuals to alcoholics, kleptomaniacs and sex addicts), but during a congressional recess Hormel was appointed via executive privilege. "The process was very long and strenuous, arduous, insulting, full of misleading statements, full of lies, full of deceit, full of antagonism", Hormel said during a 2012 book tour for his memoir, "Fit to Serve." He served from June 1999 through 2000. A former dean of the University of Chicago Law School, Hormel (heir to the Hormel Foods fortune) married his college sweetheart, Alice McElroy Parker, and had five children before they divorced in 1965. He later moved to San Francisco, and at age 45 came out publicly as gay. Hormel co-founded the Human Rights Campaign and helped fund many activities geared to arts, education and human rights, including a gay and lesbian center at the San Francisco Public Library; the National AIDS Memorial Grove; the American Foundation for AIDS Research; and the American Conservatory Theater. In 2014 Hormel married Michael P.N. Araque. Two years later, after the Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage legal throughout the U.S., he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "There's still a substantial cadre that would be willing to overturn the marriage-equality ruling. Which is totally bizarre to me. There are still people who are not willing to accept that being gay is not a choice. It's not a choice. You don't choose to be tortured by society." Japanese publisher Maki Kaji (October 8, 1951-August 10, 2021) turned a numbers game into one of the world's most popular logic puzzles. In the mid-1980s, Kaji, founder of Japan's first puzzle magazine, Nikoli, popularized sudoku, a form of numbers game that first appeared in the 19th century, in which a grid of boxes must be filled with digits one through nine. The game took off when it was published in newspapers overseas – and because Kaji neglected to pursue a trademark in the United States, sales of sudoku publications by others generated no royalties for him. In 2007, the "godfather of sudoku" told The New York Times he believed that was a brilliant mistake, allowing the game to flourish: "This openness is more in keeping with Nikoli's open culture. We're prolific because we do it for the love of games, not for the money." The daughter of director Alfred Hitchcock, actress Pat Hitchcock (July 7, 1928-August 9, 2021) made several appearances in her father's films and TV shows, most notably in "Strangers on a Train" and "Psycho" (as a colleague of embezzling bank employee Janet Leigh). She also acted on stage in London and New York, including as the title character in "Violet." She mostly retired from acting to raise a family, but did make a few appearances in the '70s, including the TV films "Ladies of the Corridor" and "Six Characters in Search of an Author." She also co-wrote, with Laurent Bouzereau, "Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man", a biography of her mother. Being the only child of the Master of Suspense, Hitchcock had a unique perspective on her father's proclivities. "My parents were ordinary people", she told The Guardian in 1999. "I know a lot of people insist that my father must have had a dark imagination. Well, he did not. He was a brilliant filmmaker and he knew how to tell a story, that's all." He was also not immune to practical jokes, as when, during the filming of "Strangers on a Train", he bet his daughter (who was afraid of heights) $100 that she wouldn't dare ride a Ferris wheel, and then had the wheel turned off once she'd gotten to the top. "The only sadism involved was that I never got the $100", Pat said. Saxophonist Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas (February 9, 1951-August 7, 2021) was a founding member of the band Kool & the Gang. A flutist and percussionist as well, he also served as the emcee of the band's shows. Thomas was one of seven friends who, as teenagers in Jersey City, N.J. in 1967, created the group's entrancing blend of jazz, soul and funk. Originally the Jazziacs, the band released their first album in 1969, featuring the singles "Kool and the Gang" and "Let The Music Take Your Mind." The group had 11 Top 10 hit singles, including "Jungle Boogie", "Celebration", "Ladies' Night", "Too Hot", "Get Down On It", "Johanna", "Cherish", "Fresh" and "Stone Love." They would release 30 studio and live albums, selling 70 million albums worldwide. They earned three Grammy nominations, and shared the Album of the Year Award in 1978 for their contribution to the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack ("Open Sesame"). Comedian Trevor Moore (April 4, 1980-August 6, 2021) co-founded the sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U' Know, whose unbridled TV series (which ran on Fuse and IFC from 2007-2011) was bloody, vulgar, violent, and relentlessly inventive. Moore and his cohorts (most of whom were graduates from New York's School of Visual Arts) began performing together at SVA and at comedy clubs before winning an award at the Aspen Comedy Festival. Their TV show, filled with blackout bits and songs (and often run uncensored), was more than willing to tackle sex, violence, religion (the Devil turns "Hell's Kitchen" into a five-star restaurant, ticking off God), and other taboo subjects. Even sainted President Lincoln was not immune; Abe's boorish behavior in his box at Ford's Theatre inspires an audience member (Moore) to take matters into his own hands. Moore performed many rap and rock numbers, include songs about Hitler, dinosaurs, religious head coverings, and old folks' homes (where he could score Oxycodone and Percodan). After "WKUK" ended, Moore co-created the Disney XD series, "Walk the Prank", and released a musical album, "Drunk Texts to Myself." On Comedy Central he starred in the series "The Trevor Moore Show", and the musical special "High in Church." He also wrote and co-directed the film "Miss March." Raised in rural Virginia, the child of Christian rock singers Mickey and Becki Moore, Trevor told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that traveling around the country (he would sell merchandise when his parents went on tour) bolstered his comic skills: "How I got into comedy was from that sort of being in a different city every night", he said. "If the pastor of the church, or people who were throwing the festival, had kids my age, then you try to become quick friends for a day – and then you'll never see them again." He had his own public access comedy show at age 16, which was picked up by the Pax cable channel – and then cancelled. Moore told New York Magazine in 2015 that growing up without cable he was forced to be creative out of "sheer mind-numbing boredom" – and as an adult he would return to the topics that surrounded him as a child in rural Virginia, including religion and Civil War history. "I grew up in an area full of Civil War battlefields. I would go out with my grandfather with metal detectors and find cannonballs, sword handles, stuff like that. History was always present." Which might explain his 2011 film, "The Civil War on Drugs", in which stoners believe the War Between the States is really about the legalization of marijuana. In the summer of 1969, at a club in Houston called The Catacombs, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard were auditioning bass players, when Dusty Hill (May 19, 1949-July 27/28, 2021) strolled up. Beard recalled for "Sunday Morning" in 2019 that Hill "strapped on the guitar, and I think we wound up playing one song for about three hours straight!" The hard-driving bluesy country rock band ZZ Top built its following by touring hard – 300 nights a year in the early days, often with elaborate stage shows involving Texas longhorn steers, rattlesnakes and buzzards, not to mention Hill and Gibbons' trademark beards. (Beard himself was beardless.) What blew up ZZ Top into A-List Rock and Roll Hall of Famers was when, in the 1980s, their music videos went into heavy rotation on MTV, featuring a hot rod, a trio of women, and a string of catchy tunes, including "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", "Legs", and "Sleeping Bag." Other ZZ Top hits included "La Grange", "Tush", "Tube Snake Boogie", "Rough Boy", "Stages", "Velcro Fly", "Doubleback", "My Head's in Mississippi", "Give It Up", "Pincushion", "What's Up With That", and "Fearless Boogie." Their 1983 album "Eliminator" is rated 10x Platinum – more than 10 million copies sold. After half a century, ZZ Top was still working hard to make it all look so easy – and Hill was not looking forward to stopping any time soon. "I've told people, I said, 'Look, if I retired after a few months I would be at your house singing you a song or something!'" he told correspondent Jim Axelrod. "I have to perform somewhere!" The king of the TV informercial, inventor and salesman Ron Popeil (May 3, 1935-July 28, 2021) got his start selling his father's creation, the "Chop-o-Matic", to a captive audience: lunch counter customers in a Chicago Woolworth store. But he soon expanded his audience to TV, personally demonstrating his expanding repertoire of household gadgets that people didn't realize they absolutely needed: A smokeless ashtray; the Miracle Broom mini-vacuum ("It's so tough, it eats up nails and tacks"); and most famously, his Popeil's Pocket Fisherman – rod, reel and tackle that could slip into your pocket, ready for any opportunity to go fishing. "I have the product that solves the problem", he'd say, as he hawked inventions from his own company, Ronco. There was the Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler; the Electric Food Dehydrator; Mr. Microphone (which would transmit your dulcet tones to a nearby FM radio); the Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ; and "hair in a can", a spray-on application to cover bald spots. His commercials made Popeil an informercial superstar. "Whether it's 3:00 in the morning or noontime on a Sunday afternoon, I will be there with one of my inventions", Popeil told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Bill Geist in 2000. Civil rights activist Robert Parris Moses (January 23, 1935-July 25, 2021) was shot at and endured beatings and jail while leading Black voter registration drives in the American South during the 1960s. As the Mississippi field director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he worked to dismantle segregation and was central to the 1964 "Freedom Summer", in which hundreds of students went to the South to register voters. "I was taught about the denial of the right to vote behind the Iron Curtain in Europe", Moses once said. "I never knew that there was (the) denial of the right to vote behind a Cotton Curtain here in the United States." Moses' family had moved north during the Great Migration. Born in Harlem, he became a teacher in New York City when, in 1960, he was inspired by the sit-in movement. He traveled to the Deep South, seeking out the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. He soon turned his attention to SNCC. He tried to register Black people to vote in Mississippi's rural Amite County where he was beaten and arrested. When he tried to file charges against a White assailant, an all-White jury acquitted the man. A judge provided protection to Moses to the county line so he could leave. In 1963, he and two other activists were driving in Greenwood, Miss., when someone opened fire on them. In a statement released by SNCC, Moses described how bullets whizzed around them, and how he took the wheel when one of his companions was struck. "We all were within inches of being killed", he said. Disillusioned with White liberal reaction to the civil rights movement, Moses soon began taking part in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. He worked as a teacher in Tanzania, Africa, returned to Harvard to earn a doctorate in philosophy, and taught high school math in Cambridge, Mass. He later taught math in Jackson, Miss., while commuting back-and-forth to Massachusetts on the weekends. In 1982, thanks to a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Moses started his "second chapter in civil rights work" by founding the Algebra Project, a curriculum he developed to help struggling students in disadvantaged schools succeed in math. It would grow to serve 10,000 students yearly in nearly 30 cities nationwide. With regard to the Algebra Project, Moses told The New York Times in 2001, "The legacy that's important is the organizing, the passing on." In the 1940s, to fill vital defense plant jobs left open when many men went off to war, women stepped up, thanks in part to a U.S. government recruitment program featuring a woman in a polka-dotted bandana rolling up her sleeve: "Rosie the Riveter." Some six million women joined the workforce, including Phyllis Gould (1921-July 20, 2021), a welder building warships at the Kaiser-Richmond Shipyards, near San Francisco. She not only followed her husband into the welding trade, she was earning equal pay: $0.90 an hour. After the war, she became an interior decorator, was twice-divorced, had five children and moved around, before settling in Fairfax, Calif. She was "kind of like a hippie, you know, where the wind blows", her sister told The Associated Press. But because women defense workers received little notice or appreciation for their contributions after the war, Gould fought tenaciously to honor them, writing letter after letter to politicians. She helped push for the creation of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, established in 2000. "Something has to be done so there's something tangible after we're gone", she told the Marin Independent Journal in 2019. "There were millions of us, but there's nothing that says we were there." She and other "Rosies" met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in 2014, pushing for the observance of National Rosie the Riveter Day. She also helped in the design of a Congressional Gold Medal, to be issued next year in honor of the women who helped win the war. "I know they're busy with really important stuff, but this is important to us", Gould said. "And time is running out." A Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist for Reuters, Danish Siddiqui (May 19, 1983-July 17, 2021) was killed as he chronicled fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban amid the continuing withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. A native of New Delhi, and a defense correspondent for an Indian TV network, Siddiqui decided to change careers in 2010, beginning an internship with Reuters. A self-taught photographer, Siddiqui told Forbes India in 2018 that he had been frustrated that television news focused only on big stories, not smaller features from the interior of India. Siddiqui was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 2018 for their coverage of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. He has captured searing images of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, unrest in India, and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. "While I enjoy covering news stories – from business to politics to sports – what I enjoy most is capturing the human face of a breaking story',' Siddiqui wrote in a profile on Reuters' website. "I really like covering issues that affect people as the result of different kind of conflicts." Click here to view a gallery of some of Siddiqui's remarkable images. Esther Bejarano (December 15, 1924-July 10, 2021), a survivor of Auschwitz, used the power of music to fight antisemitism and racism in post-war Germany. She was born in French-occupied Saarlouis in 1924; her family later moved to Saarbruecken, which was returned to Germany in 1935. When the Nazis came to power, Bejarano's parents and sister Ruth were deported and killed; Bejarano had to perform forced labor before being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. There, she volunteered to become a member of the girls' orchestra, playing the accordion every time trains full of Jews from across Europe arrived. "We played with tears in our eyes", she recalled in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "The new arrivals came in waving and applauding us, but we knew they would be taken directly to the gas chambers." Bejarano would say later that music helped keep her alive in the notorious German Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, and during the years after the Holocaust. In a memoir, Bejarano recalled her rescue by U.S. troops, who gave her an accordion, which she played the day American soldiers and concentration camp survivors danced around a burning portrait of Adolf Hitler to celebrate the Allied victory over the Nazis. Bejarano emigrated to Israel after the war and married Nissim Bejarano. The couple had two children before returning to Germany in 1960. After once again encountering open antisemitism, Bejarano decided to become politically active, co-founding the Auschwitz Committee in 1986 to give survivors a platform for their stories. She teamed up with her children to play Yiddish melodies and Jewish resistance songs in a Hamburg-based band they named Coincidence, and also with hip-hop group Microphone Mafia to spread an anti-racism message to German youth. "We all love music and share a common goal: We're fighting against racism and discrimination", she told the AP of her collaborations across cultures and generations. Bejarano received numerous awards, including Germany's Order of Merit, for her activism against what she called the "old and new Nazis", quoting fellow Holocaust survivor Primo Levi's warning that "it happened, therefore it can happen again." While addressing young people in Germany and beyond, Bejarano would say, "You are not guilty of what happened back then. But you become guilty if you refuse to listen to what happened." Director Robert Downey Sr. (June 24, 1936-July 7, 2021) was a maverick whose most famous film was the 1969 satire "Putney Swope", in which a Black man ascends to the top of a Madison Avenue advertising agency, which he renames "Truth and Soul, Inc." Born in New York City as Robert Elias Jr., he later changed his surname to Downey as an underage enlistee in the Army. He was a semi-pro baseball pitcher, boxer, and aspiring playwright (in one absurdist show actors portrayed nuclear missiles). He got into experimental filmmaking at the suggestion of a friend who happened to have a 16mm camera, with a series of anti-establishment films, including "Babo 73", "Sweet Smell of Sex", "Chafed Elbows" and "No More Excuses." The films were rough-and-tumble almost by necessity: "It was just fun ", he told the Village Voice's Bilge Ebiri in 2016. "We had no money. My wife would get a check from doing a commercial, and I'd grab it before she even saw it. Later, I'd pay it back. Nobody ever made a dime on these things. We didn't have sync sound, just a spring wind. So, you could only get eighteen seconds, and that was the end of the take, whatever it was. And we put the words in later." "Putney Swope" was the film that no one wanted, until a theatre owner, Dan Rugoff, picked it up and ran it on New York's Upper East Side, where the counterculture tale of an African American rewriting the rules of New York's ad world sold out. Downey recalled a screening of the film at Temple University, where he was greeted by a fellow in a jacket and tie who thanked him for getting him into advertising: "That's when I realized I don't know anything about anything. That guy was serious. Isn't that great? He thought he was going to have that kind of fun." "Greaser's Palace" (1972) starred Allan Arbus as a Christ figure in the Old West. In "Pound", actors play stray dogs. Among the cast: his son, Robert Downey Jr., who appeared in several of his father's films. Downey directed a 1973 television adaptation of David Rabe's Tony-winning play "Sticks and Bones", about a blinded Vietnam veteran, produced by Joseph Papp, which CBS postponed following complaints from affiliates. When it was later rescheduled, without commercials (advertisers weren't buying), more than 90 stations refused to air it. Downey also directed the Mad Magazine comedy "Up the Academy", and worked as a second-unit director on Norman Lear's "Cold Turkey." His final film was the 2005 documentary "Rittenhouse Square", an impressionistic look at a Philadelphia park and its denizens. Downey also appeared as an actor, in "To Live and Die in L.A.", "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia." Actress Suzzanne Douglas (April 12, 1957-July 6, 2021) starred in the TV sitcom "The Parent 'Hood" and in such films as "Tap", opposite Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr., and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." She played Cissy Houston in the 2015 biopic "Whitney." Other credits include "The Inkwell", "Jason's Lyric", "School of Rock", "Against the Law", "I'll Fly Away", "Promised Land", "The Good Wife", "Bull", "Really Love", the 2008 TV remake of "Sounder", and the miniseries "When They See Us." On Broadway she performed in "The Tap Dance Kid", "Into the Woods" and "Threepenny Opera." Other stage credits include "42nd Street", "Les Liaisons Dangereuses", "American Son", "Henry V", "Women of Brewster Place", "Hallelujah, Baby!" and "Wit." As a singer-composer, Douglas also performed jazz and standards regularly with her band, Voba. He made audiences believe that a man could fly, that a cute little boy was the Antichrist, and that William Shatner could witness a monster tearing apart a plane in mid-flight. Director Richard Donner (April 24, 1930-July 5, 2021) ushered in the modern movies' superhero genre with the 1978 blockbuster film "Superman", in which Christopher Reeve vividly brought the Man of Steel to life. Donner also helmed the highly-successful "Lethal Weapon" franchise of buddy-cop films starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as Los Angeles detectives fighting drug traffickers, arms dealers, and underworld figures. Donner originally set out to become an actor, but recalled some telling advice from director Martin Ritt, who said, "Your problem is you can't take direction." He recommended Donner pursue directing instead and hired him as an assistant. Donner built a hefty resume in television, including "Wanted: Dead or Alive", "The Rifleman", "Wagon Train", "Have Gun, Will Travel", "Combat", "Perry Mason", "Gilligan's Island", "The Man from U. N. C. L. E. ", "The Fugitive", "The Wild Wild West", "The Sixth Sense", "Ironside", "Cannon", "The Streets of San Francisco" and "Kojak." He directed six episodes of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone", including the classic "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." His first feature was the 1976 horror film "The Omen", in which an adorable little boy carried the mark of the devil. It won an Oscar for its score and inspired several sequels. After "The Omen", Donner was offered $1 million to direct "Superman", a mammoth superhero origin tale with Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman attached. A tremendous fan of the character (he mourned that his mother had thrown out all his old comic books), Donner pushed for special effects that could make audiences suspend their disbelief, as Reeve carried Margot Kidder (as Lois Lane) high above Metropolis. Far from the parody of TV's "Batman", Donner's film took the superhero from the planet Krypton seriously. In 2016 he told KCRW, "I wasn't going to f*** up Superman." The mammoth production actually shook out into two movies, the second of which saw Donner fired and replaced by producers. Donner followed "Superman" with "Inside Moves", the Richard Pryor comedy "The Toy", the medieval romantic fantasy "Ladyhawke", and the Steven Spielberg-produced kids adventure, "The Goonies." Other films included the Bill Murray comedy "Scrooged", "Maverick", "Conspiracy Theory" and "Radio Flyer." He and his wife, Lauren Shuler Donner, founded Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions (now the Donners' Company), which produced the "X-Men" franchise, "Free Willy", "Dave", and "Deadpool." At a 2017 tribute, Lauren characterized her husband's work: "If you look at Dick's movies, Dick is fun, larger than life, loud, strong, with a big mushy heart." Donner was also known for his kindness and generosity, covering college tuition for one "Goonies" star, Jeff Cohen, and paying for life-saving rehab for another, Corey Feldman, and also for supporting animal rescue efforts. Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel (May 13, 1930-June 26, 2021), who represented Alaska from 1969 to 1981, was an anti-war activist who led a one-man filibuster protesting the Vietnam-era draft. In 1971 he read 4,100 pages of the leaked "Pentagon Papers" into the Congressional Record. He was also instrumental in gaining Congressional approval for the Trans-Alaska pipeline. His reelection bid in 1980 was squelched over anger from President Carter's use of the Antiquities Act to protect public lands in Alaska from development (which later led to the compromise Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act). Gravel's upstart reputation had been cemented from his 1968 campaign against incumbent Senator Ernest Gruening. He created a half-hour campaign film, "A Man for Alaska", which aired in Alaska's major markets, and was flown by bush plane to screen across the state. In 2006 Gravel announced he would seek the presidency, running as a critic of the Iraq War. His campaign was most notable for its David Lynchian ads; in one, Gravel silently stared into the camera for more than a minute, before turning, throwing a large rock into a pond, and walking away. "The point of the spot is not the rock but the ripples it leaves in the water", Gravel told MSNBC, stating that he wished to cause "ripples in society." After he was excluded from Democratic Party forums (in one 2007 debate he asked then-Sen. Barack Obama, "Tell me, Barack, who do you want to nuke? "), he ran as a Libertarian candidate. He briefly ran again for the Democratic nomination in 2020, vowing to slash military spending, after agreeing to the entreaties of two "unbelievably precocious" 18-years-olds whom he put in charge of his campaign. "When I finally succumbed to their pressures, I gave them access to the Twitter and they gave me a veto power, which I've only exercised once, by warning them about rough language", he told CBSN's "Red & Blue." "Other than that, it's been their show." He failed to qualify for the debates, but offered himself as a vice-presidential pick for Bernie Sanders should he win the nomination. "Well, you never know. I'm flexible. If I do get up there, I'm good for a couple, three years", the then-89-year-old said. A longtime New Yorker staff writer and author of several books, Janet Malcolm (July 8, 1934-June 16, 2021) wrote astutely about such topics as psychoanalysis, murder and photography, usurping the traditional view of the journalist as a dispassionate observer or notetaker of facts. Born in Czechoslovakia, Janet's family emigrated to the U.S. when she was five, at the time the Nazis were annexing her homeland. Having written for the University of Michigan newspaper, Janet published little beyond film criticism and poetry, until 1966, when a piece on children's books got the attention of New Yorker editor William Shawn, who gave her a column. Malcolm's style was witty, intellectual and provocative, corralling nonfiction issues and characters with her novelistic flair, and analyzing her subjects with a withering gaze. In her highly-praised first book "Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession" (1981), Malcolm (the daughter of a psychiatrist and a lawyer) explored Freudian theory, the psychoanalyst's techniques, the inner lives of analysands on the couch, and the politics of the psychoanalytic world. She wrote about her first conversation with one of her subjects: "The analysts I had seen so far had dealt with me as they habitually deal with patients on first meeting – courteously, neutrally, noncommittally, reservedly, 'abstinently' – and had also shown a certain wariness over being in the presence of a journalist. With Aaron Green, however, things were different from the start. He subtly deferred to me, he tried to impress me. He was the patient and I was the doctor; he was the student and I was the teacher. To put it in psychoanalytic language, the transference valence of the journalist was here greater than that of the analyst." "In the Freud Archives" roped in the personalities of academics quarreling over the legacy of Sigmund Freud – and triggered a $7 million libel suit from one subject who claimed quotations had been fabricated. The case persisted for years (with Malcolm testifying she had misplaced her notebook). She was ultimately cleared. In Malcolm's serialized New Yorker story, "The Journalist and the Murderer" (later published in book form), she criticized writer Joe McGinniss, who collaborated with accused murderer Jeffrey MacDonald on a book about MacDonald's case (MacDonald later sued McGinniss), opening with a deft piece of self-analysis about her own profession: "Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and 'the public's right to know'; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living." Other books included the revisionist biography "The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes"; "Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey"; "Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice" (A PEN Award winner); and "Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial." Her essay collections included "Diana & Nikon: Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography"; "Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers" (a National Book Critics Circle nominee); and "Nobody's Looking at You: Essays." In a 2011 profile in the Guardian, Malcolm spoke of the "invented I of journalism" as a character within whom she approached her subjects: "It's a construct. And it's not the person who you are. There's a bit of you in it. But it's a creation. Somewhere I wrote, 'The distinction between the I of the writing and the I of your life is like Superman and Clark Kent.'" Actor Frank Bonner (February 28, 1942-June 16, 2021) found his greatest popular recognition for a thoroughly ridiculous character: Herb Tarlek, a brash, flirtatious and not terribly successful radio station ad sales manager with a tendency to wear loud polyester plaid suits, on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati." Bonner would direct several episodes of the series, which led to his career as a TV comedy director, helming episodes for more than a dozen shows, including "Family Ties", "Head of the Class", "Harry and the Hendersons", "The Famous Teddy Z", "The Mommies", "Who's the Boss", "Saved by the Bell: The New Class", and "City Guys." Bonner's first appearance before the camera was in the horror film "Equinox", which grew out of a student production. Thanks to a Satanic book, Bonner turned into a winged demon. He also returned to playing Tarlek in the '90s spinoff, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati." His other TV acting credits included "The Young Lawyers", "Mannix", "Cannon", "Man From Atlantis", "Sex and the Single Parent", "Scarecrow and Mrs. King", "Newhart", "Matt Houston", "Night Court", "Sidekicks", and "Just the Ten of Us." Louisville native Ned Beatty (July 6, 1937-June 13, 2021) spent years performing in regional theaters, in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana and Washington, D.C. (including in "Uncle Vanya" and "Death of a Salesman"), and in New York (in "The Great White Hope"), before auditioning for a role in John Boorman's "Deliverance" (1972). Boorman had already cast the part of Bobby Trippe, one of a quartet of men on a canoe trek through the wilds of Georgia, who is set upon and raped by backwoods villains. But he hired Beatty instead, and the film's critical and commercial success launched him into the tier of most-in-demand character actors whose presence was welcomed in both comedies and dramas for more than 40 years. In "Network", Beatty played the chairman of a communications giant who dresses down TV anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) for attacking the sale of the company to Arab interests. "You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mister Beale!" he bellows, in a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination. Beatty was also memorable as Gene Hackman's idiot sidekick Otis in "Superman"; a political campaigner in "Nashville"; a district attorney in "All the President's Men"; the father of an aspiring Notre Dame football player in "Rudy"; and the voice of the sinister Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear in the animated "Toy Story 3." Other films included "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean", "Wise Blood", "Silver Streak", "Mikey and Nicky", "Exorcist II: The Heretic", "1941", "Hopscotch", "The Toy", "Back to School", "The Big Easy", "Prelude to a Kiss", "Just Cause", "He Got Game", "Charlie Wilson's War", "Rango", and "Rampart." He re-teamed with his "Deliverance" co-star Burt Reynolds in "White Lightning", "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings", "Stroker Ace", and "Switching Channels." Betty's many TV appearances included "The Execution of Private Slovik", "The Marcus-Nelson Murders" (the pilot for the series "Kojak"), "MASH", "Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan", "Friendly Fire", "Last Train Home", "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones", "Streets of Laredo", and "Homicide: Life on the Street", as Detective Stanley Bolander. He returned to the New York stage in 2003 as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", winning a Drama Desk Award. Beatty was rarely the lead in a film (his most notable starring role was "Hear My Song", in which he portrayed Irish tenor Josef Locke, earning a Golden Globe nod). In a 1977 New York Times interview, Beatty explained why he preferred supporting roles: "Stars never want to throw the audience a curve ball, but my great joy is throwing curve balls. Being a star cuts down on your effectiveness as an actor, because you become an identifiable part of a product and somewhat predictable. You have to mind your p's and q's and nurture your fans. But I like to surprise the audience, to do the unexpected." Scholastic, the largest publisher of children's magazines and books, recently marked its 100th anniversary of helping children make sense of the world. Founded in 1920 by Maurice R. Robinson, a freshly-minted Dartmouth grad who began publishing a magazine for schoolchildren out of his mother's sewing room, Scholastic has been led since the 1970s by his son, Richard Robinson (March 15, 1937-June 5, 2021), only the second CEO in the company's history. During his tenure Scholastic grew to annual revenues of about $1.5 billion, producing current-events magazines and educational materials for students in 90% of American schools, without any serious competition. Describing the mission of Scholastic magazines in the wake of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Robinson told "Sunday Morning" earlier this year, "Over the years people have turned to us in important moments like this to explain things to kids and give them a pathway to understand it, and feel better about themselves and their society because of their understanding." Scholastic's book publishing empire includes the Harry Potter, "Hunger Games", "Baby-Sitters Club", Clifford the Big Red Dog and Captain Underpants series, as well as reading clubs and book fairs. Scholastic books were frequently included in the American Library Association's annual "Challenged Books" list that spotlighted books that had been pulled or censored from library or school bookshelves, such as Alex Gino's "George", about a middle-school transgender girl. "We strongly believe our books and magazines need to address tough topics that are relevant, even if we get backlash or boycotted", Robinson told The Associated Press in 2020. Clarence Williams III (August 21, 1939-June 4, 2021) was a Tony-nominated actor whose breakout role was as Lincoln "Linc" Hayes in the TV series "The Mod Squad." The show ran for five years beginning in 1968, and featured Williams (pictured, center), Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton as a trio of young, hip detectives using their counterculture creds to go undercover. A New York native whose family included noted singers, musicians and composers, Williams got his first taste of acting as a teenager, when he won a bit part in a Harlem YMCA production of "Dark of the Moon" – Cicely Tyson's first stage play. After serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, Williams appeared on Broadway in "The Long Dream", "The Great Indoors", and "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground" (for which he earned a Tony nomination), and in the film "The Cool World." Williams followed "Mod Squad" with roles in, among others, "Hill Street Blues", "Purple Rain" (playing Prince's father), "Miami Vice", "52 Pick-Up", "Tough Guys Don't Dance", "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka", "Twin Peaks", "Tales from the Crypt", "Sugar Hill", "Tales From the Hood", "The Immortals", "The Silencers", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", "The Brave", "Half Baked", "The Legend of 1900", "The General's Daughter", "Life", "Reindeer Games", "Law & Order", "George Wallace", "Everyone Hates Chris", "Mystery Woman", "A Day in the Life", "Empire", and an uncredited role in "American Gangster." In 1979 he co-starred with Maggie Smith on Broadway in Tom Stoppard's "Night and Day." Despite his long resume, Williams told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel in 1999 that he did not begrudge his "Mod Squad" fame: "All most people know about me is the two hours they've invested in a movie theater or the time spent in front of their TV. There's so much entertainment out there right now, it's difficult to break through and become part of the national consciousness. It's nice to be recognized, and I have no problem with it at all." Attorney F. Lee Bailey (June 10, 1933-June 3, 2021) made a name for himself in the sensational case of Ohio doctor Sam Sheppard, convicted in 1954 for the murder of his wife, which he'd blamed on an intruder. (His story would inspire the TV series "The Fugitive.") Bailey argued for and won Sheppard's right to a retrial, which Bailey would win in 1966. (He later needled the prosecutor, who was "not on the ball", for neglecting to ask prospective jurors if they watched "The Fugitive", in which the accused man was innocent.) In a career that lasted more than four decades, the bold and brilliant Bailey became one of the most publicly identifiable attorneys in the country, with a client list that included Capt. Ernest Medina, charged in connection with the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War (Bailey won his court-martial case); and Patty Hearst, the kidnapped newspaper heiress who joined her kidnappers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, in robbing banks (a case he lost). Hearst later accused Bailey of bungling her defense and drinking during the trial. He was a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team who argued against the former NFL star's charges of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1995. In his cross-examination of Mark Fuhrman, Bailey painted the Los Angeles police detective as a racist who planted evidence against Simpson. Bailey told CBS Station KDKA in 2017, "I had only one objective: to show him to be a liar about something." Fuhrman denied using racial epithets, but the defense later turned up recordings of Fuhrman making racist slurs, which colored his testimony. The jury acquitted Simpson. Bailey was charismatic, but could also be arrogant and abrasive, and was once censored for what a judge called his "extreme egocentricity." He was disbarred for a year in New Jersey in 1971 for talking publicly about a case. In 1996 Bailey spent almost six weeks in federal prison, charged with contempt of court after refusing to turn over millions of dollars in stock owned by a convicted drug smuggler. The experience left him "embittered" – and in 2001 it earned him a disbarment in Florida (and in Massachusetts the following year). The former Marine pilot who once owned airplanes and several homes filed for bankruptcy in 2016. When KDKA asked Bailey what he wishes people would ask him during interviews, he answered, "What do you want to see on your gravestone?" And what would he like it to read? "That I was a good swordsman and a very nice guy", he replied. Born Allan See, Gavin MacLeod (February 28, 1931-May 29, 2021) took as his stage name a figure from a French film and the last name of an Ithaca College drama teacher who'd encouraged him to pursue an acting career. But in his 2013 memoir, "This Is Your Captain Speaking", MacLeod wrote that losing his hair at an early age had compromised his job prospects: "I went all over town looking for an agent, but no one was interested in representing a young man with a bald head", he wrote. He bought a used hairpiece, and his luck changed "pretty quickly." By the time he reached middle age, the toupee was no longer needed – certainly not to portray the wisecracking news writer Murray Slaughter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", nor Capt. Merrill Stubing on the long-running series "The Love Boat." He would later become an ambassador for Princess Cruise Lines. MacLeod's early credits included the Broadway play "A Hatful of Rain", and the films "I Want to Live!", "Pork Chop Hill", "Operation Petticoat", "High Time", "The Sword of Ali Baba", "Kelly's Heroes", "The Sand Pebbles", and "The Party." His TV roles included appearances on "Peter Gunn", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "The Untouchables", "Hogan's Heroes", and "Hawaii Five-O", and the supporting role of Seaman Joseph "Happy" Haines on "McHale's Navy", for which he dumped the hairpiece for good. "I wore it for one episode", he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013, "but it was so dry it looked like a rat. We threw it on the ground and shot it." MacLeod struggled with alcoholism until he quit, cold turkey, in 1974. He then remarried his second wife, actor-dancer Patti Steele, and became a born-again Christian. He and his wife hosted a Christian radio show, "Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages." "If it wasn't for the Lord, I wouldn't be alive", MacLeod told the L.A. Times. Kevin Clark (December 3, 1988-May 26, 2021) played drummer Freddy "Spazzy McGee" Jones in the 2003 movie "School of Rock." It was the Highland Park, Ill. -native's only film role, which he said he'd landed at age 14 after responding to a local newspaper ad looking for adolescents who can play drums, keyboards and guitar. [Clark is pictured in the film at left, and at right with co-star Jack Black at a "School of Rock" 10th-anniversary reunion.] After the movie, Clark pursued music as a career, playing in the bands Dreadwolf, Jess Bess and The Intentions, and with singer-songwriter Robbie Gold. Republican Senator John Warner (February 18, 1927-May 25, 2021), of Virginia, served five terms, during which his centrist streak often put him at odds with the more conservative GOP leadership. As a teenager Warner volunteered for the Navy in World War II, and joined the Marines during the Korean War. He then earned a law degree and clerked at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, before going into private practice. He later served as a federal prosecutor. A Navy Secretary under President Nixon, Warner helped negotiate a maritime pact with the Soviet Union under President Ford, before running for the Senate in 1978. His high-profile marriage to actress Elizabeth Taylor (he was her sixth husband) burnished his credentials in the public's eye, but the marriage did not survive his first term; they divorced in 1982 (Taylor citied her "intense loneliness" due to his Senate work). Warner served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and was a supporter of President George W. Bush's declaration of war in Iraq, but he also called for the return of troops home, and held hearings into the torture of detainees at U. S. -run facilities. He angered conservatives by supporting gun laws, same-sex marriage, and Roe v. Wade, and by opposing GOP nominee Oliver North's bid to unseat Virginia's Democratic Senator Charles Robb (Warner called the Iran-Contra figure unfit for public office). "I sure risked my political future, that's for sure", Warner said in 1994. "But I'd rather the voters of this state remember that I stood on my principle. That's the price of leadership." Broadway, TV, and movie actor Samuel E. Wright (November 20, 1946-May 24, 2021) brought great humanity to his roles, but he was best known for characters that weren't human – from the grapes on the Fruit of the Loom underwear label come to life, to Sebastian the Crab in the Disney animated musical, "The Little Mermaid." He repeated the role in sequels, spinoffs, and even reggae albums. In 1992 he told "CBS This Morning" that people would stop him in airports just because of the voice: "If they hear the voice, my voice, they say, 'That voice sounds really familiar', or they stop and ask me, 'Weren't you on "America's Most Wanted" or something?'" Wright was featured in "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Two Gentlemen of Verona", and "Over Here", replaced Ben Vereen in "Pippin", and was nominated for two Tony Awards, for "The Tap Dance Kid", and as Mufasa in "The Lion King." He played Dizzy Gillespie in the Charlie Parker biopic, "Bird." Other screen credits include the TV series "Ball Four", "Enos", and "Law & Order." In 1994 he cofounded the Hudson Valley Conservatory, a performing-arts school in Walden, N.Y. Wright told the Los Angeles Times in 1991 that he tried to make every role – even an animated, singing crab – the best role he's ever done. "It doesn't matter if it's a cartoon, Dizzy Gillespie or Othello, I'm going to play it with the same fervor – just in case anybody's watching", he said. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (1969) delighted children and parents with its tale of the metamorphosis of a green-and-red caterpillar into a multi-colored butterfly. Originally conceived by author and illustrator Eric Carle (June 25, 1929-May 23, 2021) as a story about a bookworm ("A Week with Willi the Worm"), the hero was changed to a caterpillar on his editor's advice. It has sold some 40 million copies and been translated into 60 languages. Born in New York to German immigrant parents but raised in Germany, Carle became attracted to the expressionist and abstract art that was banned by the Nazis. He returned to the States and worked as a graphic designer for The New York Times and at an advertising agency, when his artwork attracted the attention of Bill Martin Jr., who needed an illustrator for his book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" Over the next five decades Carle would write and/or illustrate more than 75 books, including "Do You Want to Be My Friend?", "The Grouchy Ladybug", "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" and '"From Head to Toe." One of his last was "The Nonsense Show", which featured a parade of flying fish, cat-taming mice, and circus animals. "The unknown often brings fear with it", he once observed. "In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun." His signature illustration technique used pictures pieced together from tissue paper painted in various colors and textures. "It sounds corny, but I think I connect with the child in me, and I think others do, too", he told The Associated Press in 2003. He said he chose to depict animals in unconventional colors to show young readers that, in art, there is no wrong color. Carle received lifetime achievement awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Library Association. In 2002, Carle and his wife, Barbara Carle, founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Sprinter Lee Evans (February 25, 1947-May 19, 2021), an NCAA champion, set Olympic records in the 400 meter and the 4×400 meter relay at the 1968 Mexico City Games. As a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (formed to combat housing discrimination at his university), Evans had prepared to protest against racism at the Olympics. But after teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos were sent home for raising their fists on the winners' podium, Evans was warned by officials not to repeat their act. Evans told Counterpunch in 2004 that he was prepared to sit out the rest of the Games after Smith and Carlos were ejected. "I wanted to go home. I said I wasn't going to run. But Tommy and John, they came to me and said I better run and I better win." After winning the 400, Evans wore a black beret on the podium, in sympathy to the Black Panther Party. "After what Tommy and John did, what anybody else did was like little or nothing", Evans said. But it was enough to attract death threats. A San Jose State graduate and Fulbright scholar, Evans followed his Olympic success with professional competition, before coaching track teams in Africa (including three Olympic medal winners from Nigeria), the Middle East, and at South Alabama University. He also coached for the U.S. Special Olympics. As class president in fifth grade he was impeached for "talking incessantly." But acting with bone-dry understatement, Charles Grodin (April 21, 1935-May 18, 2021) could steal entire scenes with just a look. His dead-pan humor enriched such films as "The Heartbreak Kid", "Heaven Can Wait", "Real Life", "Seems Like Old Times", "The Woman in Red", "The Lonely Guy", "The Great Muppet Caper", "Movers & Shakers", "Ishtar", and "Dave", as well as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Catch-22." He starred as the father in "Beethoven" and its sequel, "Beethoven's 2nd." Grodin is perhaps best remembered for the action-comedy "Midnight Run", as an embezzling accountant being escorted cross-country by Robert De Niro's bounty hunter, being chased by both the feds and the mob. On Broadway, he costarred with Ellen Burstyn in the comedy, "Same Time, Next Year", and directed the plays "Lovers and Other Strangers", "Thieves" and "Unexpected Guests." He stepped away from acting for a time beginning in the early '90s, and became a columnist and talk-show host on CNBC and MSNBC. He appeared as a commentator on CBS' "60 Minutes II", and shared an Emmy for writing 1977's "The Paul Simon Special." Grodin also wrote several pithy books, including "It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business"; "How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am"; "How I Get Through Life"; and "I Like It Better When You're Funny", describing how his late-night TV "act", in which he brought a cringe-y, combative persona to his conversations with the likes of Johnny Carson and David Letterman, actually played out on "The Tonight Show": "It's not that easy to make America uncomfortable, but I had evidently succeeded to an alarming degree", he wrote. "I had even made my friends uncomfortable when they watched me on the show. They would tell me they'd leave the room when I came on, or stay and watch peeking through their fingers. What was I doing to cause such discomfort? I was kidding around. The problem was that only Johnny and a minority of viewers seemed to know it. So when Johnny would ask, 'How are you?' and I would refuse to answer, because I said I didn't believe it mattered to him how I felt — millions shuddered at the rudeness of it all. Plenty laughed, but more shuddered." Actor Norman Lloyd (Nov. 8, 1914-May 11, 2021) had a career that read like a history of Hollywood. After appearing on Broadway, Lloyd joined Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre acting company in the 1930s. His credits included Welles' anti-fascist modern-dress telling of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." He also appeared in a 1939 NBC broadcast of a play, "The Streets of New York", a reel of which is the earliest-surviving live TV broadcast from Rockefeller Center. In his first Hollywood feature, Lloyd worked with Alfred Hitchcock, playing a Nazi spy in 1942's "Saboteur", famously dangling from the torch of the Statue of Liberty in the film's thrilling conclusion. He also appeared in Hitchcock's "Spellbound", "The Unseen", "A Walk in the Sun", "Limelight", "The Flame and the Arrow", "Audrey Rose", "FM", "Dead Poets Society", "The Age of Innocence", and the TV series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Night Gallery", "Kojak", "The Paper Chase", "Wise Guy", "Home Fires", "Murder, She Wrote", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Seven Days" and "The Practice." He was best-known for playing Dr. Daniel Auschlander on the 1980s medical drama, "St. Elsewhere." Lloyd also produced and directed television, earning two Emmy nominations. Lloyd made his final film appearance, at the age of 100, in the 2015 Amy Schumer comedy "Trainwreck." "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Anthony Mason spoke to Lloyd the following year: "They call you now the oldest living actor – what do you think of that title?" "I don't really relish it", Lloyd replied, "because it infers that it's age that is giving me some dimension, not the skill of acting.… I'd like to find good parts to play. But there are not many parts for 102-year-old men!" "But you're available!" Mason said. "Beautifully put, thank you", Lloyd said. "But acting, well, I'd never stop." Chemist Spencer Silver (Feb. 6, 1941-May 8, 2021) was working at 3M's central research laboratory in 1968, working on chemicals to be used in the production of aircraft, when he discovered a unique adhesive formula. In 2010 Silver wrote in Financial Times that he is sensitive about the word glue: " Glue is a very simplistic term. You boil animal bones down and make something that sticks when it dries. Adhesives are completely different. They rely on a complex structure of molecules to create their tack and elasticity. The size and structure of the molecules will affect how tacky the adhesive is, and how well it can be removed from whatever it is stuck to, known as peel adhesion. I thought of myself as a molecular architect." Silver's find was an adhesive (or acrylate copolymer microspheres) that had high "tack" but low "peel", and was reusable. But he was frustrated in coming up with a proper use for his unique adhesive, and began giving seminars to 3M's product developers. It was, he explained, a "solution waiting for a problem to solve." In 1974, colleague Art Fry came up with the idea of using the adhesive to prevent paper bookmarks from falling out of his hymnal when he sang in his church's choir. His team tested the re-usable note among staffers, and then introduced it in select markets. The product was originally called the Press 'n' Peel memo pad, but in 1980 it was renamed the Post-it Note – a name that stuck. It is now an indelible entry in office supplies, and one of the top-selling items in 3M's consumer products division. During his time at 3M Silver earned 37 patents, and won several awards, including the 1998 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention, according to the company. Born in Germany and a graduate from Technische Hochschule in Munich, architect Helmut Jahn (Jan. 4, 1940-May 8, 2021) moved to Chicago in 1966 to study under modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and would become a leading proponent of postmodernism. Jahn, who taught at the University of Illinois Chicago, Harvard University, Yale University and the Illinois Institute of Technology, began his professional career in 1967 when he joined CF Murphy Associates (which later became Murphy/Jahn). Among his projects were Chicago's McCormick Place, the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport (including a walkway famous for its colorful lighting), and the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI's headquarters, in Washington, D.C. One of his more controversial buildings was the James R. Thompson Center (originally the State of Illinois Center), a glass-sheathed, Illinois government office building in Chicago's Loop that opened in 1985. His later collaborations with engineers evolved into buildings that, he told the website ArchDaily, were the product of what he called archineering – a collaboration from an early stage in which performance and materials were more important than aesthetics. Jahn's work internationally included the 63-story Messeturm in Frankfurt, Sony Center in Berlin, and the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Jahn decried clients who were not supportive of innovation, supposedly because of cost: "Most clients are afraid to run into a risk of making a mistake", he told ArchDaily. "And that's the biggest handicap in terms of making progress. "Architecture", he said, "is all about going with your gut." The Orvis company, founded in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis, was a niche fly-fishing supply company based in Manchester, Vt. (not far from the headwaters of the Batten Kill, a renowned trout stream), when lifelong outdoorsman Leigh Perkins (Nov. 27, 1927-May 7, 2021) bought it in 1965 for $400,000. Over the next 27 years, Perkins transformed it into a global retailer and mail-order supplier of outdoor sports products and apparel, with sales that topped $90 million. In 1966, Perkins began what the company describes as the world's first fly-fishing schools, first in Vermont and then elsewhere, which helped introduce thousands of anglers to fly fishing. Perkins served on the boards of The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, among other environmental organizations. Perkins also directed the company to donate 5% of its pre-tax profits to conserving fish and wildlife. According to Orvis, with its matching grant program, the company and its customers have donated more than $20 million over the past 25 years. Perkins, who'd once been kicked out of boarding school because he'd played hooky in order to go fishing, spent 250 days a year hunting and fishing around the world, even before he retired from the company in 1992. Today, second- and third-generation Perkinses run Orvis, which in 2020 had sales of more than $9 billion. "There is only one reason in the world to go fishing: to enjoy yourself", Perkins told The New York Times in 1992. "Anything that detracts from enjoying yourself is to be avoided." Actress and model Tawny Kitaen (August 5, 1961-May 7, 2021) appeared on the cover of two albums by the heavy metal band RATT, including 1984's "Out of the Cellar", before becoming an early star of music videos on MTV, including the 1987 Whitesnake smash "Here I Go Again", which featured Kitaen performing cartwheels on the hood of a Jaguar. In a 2016 interview with Rock n Roll Junkie, Kitaen described shooting the music video, her first: "They had everything all set up which was like shooting for a major motion picture. Paula Abdul was there with Marty Callner, the director, who had hired her to give me some routines and choreography. I told her I was a ballerina and I was a gymnast, so she asked me to show her what I had. So, I did a few things and she turned around to Marty and said, 'She's got this and doesn't need me', and she left. That was the greatest compliment. So, I got on the cars and Marty would say, 'Action', and I'd do whatever I felt like doing." Other music video appearances, which received heavy play on MTV, included "Still of the Night"; "Is This Love"; and "The Deeper the Love." She also starred opposite Tom Hanks in the 1984 comedy "Bachelor Party." Other credits included the TV movie "Malibu"; "The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak"; a "Seinfeld" episode as Jerry's actress-girlfriend; "Witchboard"; "White Hot"; "Capitol"; "The New WKRP in Cincinnati"; co-hosting "America's Funniest People"; and the animated "Eek! The Cat." She also appeared on reality shows, including "The Surreal Life", and "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew." Singer-songwriter Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933-May 3, 2021) was more than just an early star of rock 'n roll, bringing the sound of New Orleans jazz and blues to the top of the R&B charts, and crossing over to White audiences with hits such as "Personality" and "Stagger Lee." Known as "Mr. Personality", he was also a maverick in the industry, running his own label, KRC Records, before stars such as Frank Sinatra did the same; holding onto his publishing rights; and serving as his own agent and manager. Born in Kenner, Louisiana, one of 11 siblings, Price taught himself the piano as a youngster, and in his teens wrote his first hit, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", while working in his mother's restaurant, Beatrice's Fish 'n' Fry. Recorded with Fats Domino on piano, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" sold more than 1 million copies, and sat at #1 on the R&B chart for seven weeks. It would later be covered by such stars as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, The Beatles and Joe Cocker. He recorded "Ain't It a Shame", "Restless Heart" and "Tell Me Pretty Baby" before performing military service. He returned with the 1957 ballad "Just Because", and hit #1 with his rendition of the folk song "Stagger Lee", about a fatal barroom fight over a dice game. Pressed to sing a less violent version for Dick Clark's "American Bandstand", Price revised the lyrics – the two men work out their differences amicably. "I had to go make up some lyrics about Stagger Lee and Billy being in some kind of squabble about a girl", Price told Billboard magazine in 2013. "It didn't make any sense at all. It was ridiculous." Other hits followed, including "Personality", "I'm Going to Get Married", "Come Into My Heart", "Lady Luck" and "Question." As the pop music scene in the '60s changed, Price's career in music continued. He helped found the Double L Records label that gave an early break to Wilson Pickett, and ran a New York nightclub. He migrated to Nigeria following the 1969 murder of his longtime business partner, and helped stage championship bouts between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, and Ali and George Foreman. In the '80s he returned to the States, where he become a favorite on oldies tours, performing with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others. In a 1998 interview with Larry Katz, Price credited clean living and a steady focus for his endurance. "I never drank, smoked, used drugs or had bad habits", he said. "I never was starstruck. I had 23 hit records and I never looked for the next record to hit. I never had that need that they had to be somebody. I just wanted to be." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In his 2015 memoir "sumdumhonky", Price wrote about the transitions he'd seen over eight decades: "Time brings about change, and the change of my generation was about one thing: music. It brought people together like nothing had ever before." Put into dance class by his mother at the age of seven to keep him off the streets, Jacques d'Amboise (July 28, 1934-May 2, 2021) was just 15 when George Balanchine recruited him for the New York City Ballet. He performed on its stage for almost 35 years. He also appeared in the movies (in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Carousel") and on Broadway (in "Shinbone Alley"). D'Amboise devoted his later years to giving kids the same chance he had, through the National Dance Institute, which he founded in 1976. His classes extended the rigors and joys of dance to children who were deaf or blind as well. A 1983 documentary about d'Amboise and the Institute, "He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'", won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, as well as a Peabody and four Emmy Awards. A MacArthur Fellow, d'Amboise was a Kennedy Center Honoree and a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts. As an educator he was motivated, he told "Sunday Morning" in 1980, by one compelling idea: "The arts, all of them, should be part of the curriculum of the schools and should be part of our life – the center of our life, not the periphery." He worked at his dad's service station on Route 66 and raced jalopies at a New Mexico speedway. He would become part of a premier racing family that has taken home the Indianapolis 500 trophy nine times. Bobby Unser (Feb. 20, 1934-May 2, 2021) notched three of those victories, in 1968, 1975 and 1981. Unser was one of six members of the Unser family to race in the Indy 500 (an older brother, Jerry, died after a crash preparing for the 1959 race). Bobby's brother, Al, won four times, while his nephew, Al Unser Jr., won in 1992 and 1994. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Bobby's racing career would bring him a record 13 wins at the Pikes Peak International in Colorado. He was the first driver in Indy car competition to record a 200-mph qualifying average speed. He notched 35 career Indy car wins, and four International Race of Champions (IROC) wins. His final Indy 500 victory was disputed. Unser won from the pole and beat Mario Andretti by 5.18 seconds in a Penske PC-9B, but officials ruled Unser passed cars illegally while exiting the pit lane under caution – drawing a penalty that docked him one position, and moved Andretti to winner. Unser and the Penske team appealed, and the penalty was rescinded in October of that year. Though fined $40,000, Unser was declared winner, for the 35th, and final, victory of his career. Unser moved from the driver's seat to the broadcasting booth, winning an Emmy Award as part of ABC Sports' coverage of the 1989 Indianapolis 500. He was also broadcasting when the checkered flag was waved on both his brother and nephew. In 1993, at the Bonneville Salt Flat, he clocked 223.709 mph, a land speed record that stood for 18 years. In later years Unser was a driver coach who assisted on race strategy in 1998 and 1999 when his son, Robby Unser, finished fifth and eighth. In addition to racing, Unser was also a pilot, buying his first Cessna in the late 1950s, and commuting by air to races and endorsement events. He told Plane and Pilot Magazine in 2016 that flying initially scared the daylights out of him: he is afraid of heights, and is horrified at the notion of a stall. "Stalls petrify me. It's serious, even to this day", said the man who drove a car at 223 mph. Actress Olympia Dukakis (June 20, 1931-May 1, 2021) won an Academy Award for her performance as the mother of Cher in "Moonstruck" (1987), but she admitted at the time that her ambition had never been to win an Oscar. It was, she said, "to play the great parts." The Massachusetts native's love of theater drew her to the stage even after her Greek immigrant parents had dissuaded her, pressing upon her the importance of an education in a more practical field. Olympia got a degree in physical therapy, and worked at hospitals in West Virginia and Boston, before going on to study drama at Boston University. After appearing in summer stock in Williamstown, Mass., she won an Obie Award for her off-Broadway performance in Bertolt Brecht's "A Man's a Man." The lure of "great parts" would lead her to performing in or directing productions of Strindberg and Chekov, Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, and modern classics, including "Mother Courage and Her Children", "Long Day's Journey into Night", "The Rose Tattoo." "Titus Andronicus", "Peer Gynt", "The Memorandum", and "Curse of the Starving Class." When she and her actor-husband Louis Zorich moved from New York City to Montclair, N.J. to raise a family, they co-founded the Whole Theater Company there, specializing in classic dramas. Dukakis was artistic director. Her screen credits in the 1960s and '70s were limited (she was a police officer in the Charles Bronson revenge flick "Death Wish"), but she won her "Moonstruck" role by the fluke of having been cut from the movie "Heartburn." Its director, Mike Nichols, made it up to her by casting Dukakis in Broadway's "Social Security." Director Norman Jewison saw her in the show, and cast her in "Moonstruck." Her Oscar win brought her roles in such films as "Look Who's Talking", "Steel Magnolias", "Dad", "The Cemetery Club", "I Love Trouble", "Mighty Aphrodite", "Mr. Holland's Opus", "Picture Perfect", "Cloudburst", and "Away From Her." Her TV credits include "Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City" and its sequels, the mini-series "Sinatra", "Lucky Day", "Joan of Arc", "My Beautiful Son", "Bored to Death", and "Center of the Universe." She was the subject of a recent documentary, "Olympia", in which she recounts her career, accepts honors, meets fans in a supermarket, visits her ancestral home on the Greek isle of Lesbos, and talks of the lineage of female power. In 2015 Dukakis talked to the AV Club about her desire for "extraordinary experiences" in plays: "It was kind of a way of finding out who I was. The play was the vehicle through which I found out who I was. I got to tap into whatever the play was asking me to tap into. So, it became a way to self-discovery." Student reporter Damon Weaver (April 1, 1998-May 1, 2021) was just 11 years old when he gained national acclaim for interviewing President Barack Obama at the White House in 2009 – one of the youngest people ever to have interviewed a sitting president. Weaver, who got his start in journalism in fifth grade when he volunteered for the school newscast at K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary in Florida, asked questions that focused primarily on education – funding of schools in poorer communities, lunch programs, bullying, conflict resolution, and how to succeed. Weaver then asked Mr. Obama to be his "homeboy", saying then-Vice President Joe Biden had already accepted. "Absolutely", the president smiled, shaking the boy's hand. Weaver later told CBS' "The Early Show", "The president is a normal person." Weaver used that meeting to later interview Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Caroline Kennedy, Samuel L. Jackson, and basketball player Dwyane Wade. Last year he graduated from Albany State University in Georgia, remarking on Instagram that, "At 22 I have beaten so many statistics against Black men raised without a father. Challenged by so many things I still did it!… this is not much compared to what I will do in the future!" When President John F. Kennedy called for "landing a man on the moon", he added the directive, "and returning him safely to the Earth", which may have been the more difficult part of the Moon Shot. And no one person was perhaps more responsible for the success of that than astronaut Michael Collins (October 31, 1930-April 28, 2021), who flew Apollo 11's command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the moon's surface in the lunar lander. In 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, Collins told "Sunday Morning", "I felt that we were fulfilling, if successful, [Kennedy's] mandate. And I was just thrilled to be a piece of the whole thing." After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1952 (a year behind Aldrin), Collins became a fighter pilot and test pilot with the U.S. Air Force, and applied to NASA following John Glenn's successful Mercury flight. He first flew in space as part of the two-man Gemini 10 mission, in 1966, during which he and crewmate John Young performed a spacewalk, retrieved an experiment left behind in orbit by a previous Gemini flight, and practiced docking maneuvers necessary for a moon landing. During his spacewalk, Collins lost a camera, an early example of "space debris." In July 1969, while Armstrong and Aldrin were putting their footprints on the lunar surface, Collins circled the moon aboard Columbia. As his craft flew around the far side he was completely out of touch with NASA – and further away from Earth than any human had ever been. "When I was behind the moon I later discovered I was being described as, oh, lonely, lonely, lonely", he said. "I was happy back there. I had my own little domain. And actually, going down and touching the moon, eh, that was not high on my list." Collins would be responsible for successfully docking the orbiting command module with the lander once Armstrong and Aldrin had blasted off from the Sea of Tranquility. Collins told "Sunday Morning" he was delighted to be reunited with them: "I was about to kiss Buzz Aldrin on the forehead, and I decided maybe no, no, I think the history books wouldn't like that! It was a wonderful instant in time." Upon returning to Earth, Collins was met with adulation the world over. "I was flabbergasted", he said. "I thought that when we went someplace they'd say, 'Well, congratulations. You Americans finally did it.' And instead of that, unanimously the reaction was, 'We did it. We humans finally left this planet. We did it.'" After Apollo 11, Collins joined the State Department as assistant secretary for public affairs. He then joined the Smithsonian Institution, leading a team planning the National Air and Space Museum, eventually becoming its director. In a preface to his book for young readers, "Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story", Collins urged more spending on space exploration, including a crewed mission to Mars. "I am too old to fly to Mars, and I regret that", he wrote. "But I still think I have been very, very lucky. I was born in the days of biplanes and Buck Rogers, learned to fly in the early jets, and hit my peak when moon rockets came along. That's hard to beat." The son of a Methodist minister and a music teacher, Vice President Walter Mondale (January 5, 1928-April 19, 2021) served in the Army during the Korean War before becoming a lawyer in Minneapolis. Entering politics in 1960, he was appointed the state's Attorney General before being appointed to the Senate in 1964, filling the seat vacated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He advocated for social issues, such as education, housing, migrant workers and child nutrition, and was an outspoken supporter of civil rights. Selected as Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter's running mate in 1976, Mondale would go on to reinvent the role of vice president, becoming more of a senior adviser and governing partner to the president, rather than a constitutional afterthought. The first VP to occupy an office within the White House, Mondale was heavily involved in foreign policy and frequently traveled overseas. He was part of the 1978 Camp David Accords that led to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. He ran for president against incumbent Ronald Reagan in 1984, and made history by choosing a female running mate, New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro. President Reagan trounced Mondale in a historic landslide, after the Democrat said he would raise taxes as president. Mondale accepted the blame for the historic loss himself, adding, "You know, I've never really warmed up to television. In fairness to television, it never really warmed up to me." Years later, Mondale said his campaign message had proven to be the right one. "History has vindicated me that we would have to raise taxes", he said. "It was very unpopular, but it was undeniably correct." Mondale returned to practicing law and served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan during the Clinton administration. In 2002, he was asked by Minnesota Democrats to run for the Senate again, stepping in after Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash days before Election Day. He narrowly lost to Republican Norm Coleman. He was gracious to the end: "We fought the good fight, and every one of us should feel good about that", he said. Grammy-winning composer Jim Steinman (November 1, 1947-April 19, 2021) penned hits for Meat Loaf, Celine Dion, Air Supply, Barry Manilow and Bonnie Tyler. Steinman wrote the music for Meat Loaf's classic debut album, "Bat Out of Hell", including the songs "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)", "Heaven Can Wait", "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Released in 1977, it became one of the top-selling albums of all time. Sixteen years later, Steinman composed a sequel album, "Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell" (which featured the hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) ") , and, later, "Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose." Steinman's other hits included Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", and Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All." Dion's 1997 album "Falling Into You" (which included Steinman's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now") won the Grammy for Album of the Year. Steinman also contributed songs to the soundtracks of "Streets of Fire" ("Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" and "Nowhere Fast") and "Footloose" ("Holding Out for a Hero"). The sweep of his rock ballads stemmed from his early fascination with opera. While at Amherst College in the late 1960s he composed and starred in "Dream Engine" (which he later described as "a three-hour rock epic with tons of nudity"). It got him noticed, and led to work at Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York (including "Kid Champion", starring Christopher Walken), and his first commercial release. He also cowrote "Rhinegold", a take on Wagner's Ring Cycle. He returned to the theater, collaborating with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the musical "Whistle Down the Wind", writing the music for Roman Polanski's "Dance of the Vampires", and creating a stage show based on "Bat Out of Hell." He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. On his website, jimsteinman. com, the composer of "Wagnerian rock" was quoted about music genres: "I think rock and opera are probably closer to each other than to other musical forms. Rock and opera both make huge gestures, they're both about extremes in content and form. Each puts incredible physical demands on a performer. And each of them has a great mix of the sublime and the ridiculous, heroism and humor. Seems to me that people's barriers to enjoying both have more to do with sociology than actual music and performances." Actor and stuntman Felix Silla (January 11, 1937-April 16, 2021) was most famous for playing a character which made him virtually invisible: the hairy Cousin Itt on TV's "The Addams Family." Silla (who stood 3'11") was covered with a floor-length hairpiece, sunglasses and a bowler hat. He proved memorable even though he had no dialogue (at least nothing that was decipherable by a non-Addams). Born in Italy, Silla was a trapeze artist, acrobat and horse rider who toured with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, before beginning a Hollywood career as a stuntman, often doubling for children (including in "The Towering Inferno", "The Hindenburg" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"). Silla also portrayed a robot on the TV series "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"; an Ewok in "Return of the Jedi"; and a computer-sired baby in "Demon Seed." Other credits included "The Black Bird", "Battlestar Galactica", "Spaceballs", "The Golden Child", "Poltergeist" and "Batman Returns." In-between film appearances, he performed with his musical combo, The Original Harmonica Band. Academy Award-winning costumer designer Anthony Powell (June 2, 1935-April 16, 2021) earned his first Oscar with his second film assignment, 1972's "Travels With My Aunt", starring Maggie Smith. He followed with a magnificent range of historical and fantasy assignments: "Papillon"; "Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson"; "Sorcerer"; two more Oscar-winners, "Death on the Nile" and "Tess" (pictured); "Priest of Love"; "Evil Under the Sun"; "Ishtar"; "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"; "Hook"; "101 Dalmations" and its sequel; "The Avengers"; and "Miss Potter." He won a Tony Award in 1963 for "The School for Scandal" and was nominated in 1995 for the musical "Sunset Boulevard." Other stage credits include "Amadeus", "Private Lives", "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "My Fair Lady", and "Singin' in the Rain." In 2016 he talked with the British Film Institute about his initial fears of doing a Roman Polanski project (which fell apart before filming) set in ancient Pompeii, featuring a cast "wrapped in sheets." "When I got the script, most of it seemed to happen in the sewers of Pompeii with Roman sewer workers, and I was flummoxed. I didn't know how to make it interesting", Powell said. "So I went to see Roman and I said, 'Look, I don't know how to do it.'… And afterwards I realized I'd absolutely panicked. Any job, even if you think you can't do it, once you start working on it, something happens." For more than seven decades, through socio-economic upheavals, wars, a dwindling of empire, and withering family scandals, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (June 10, 1921-April 9, 2021), husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was Britain's longest-serving consort. He provided support to the woman who began her reign at the age of 25, through a period of history when the British royal family was forced to reinvent itself to accommodate the public's more inquisitive view of the monarchy, as well as the British press' increasingly skeptical view of the House of Windsor. The queen referred to Philip as "her rock", and her "strength and stay." Born into the Greek royal family, with ancestors of Danish, German and Russian extraction (he was himself a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria), the athletic Philip gave up a promising naval career when Elizabeth became queen, but nonetheless fulfilled more than 22,000 royal engagements during his career – promoting U.K. industry and science, advocating for the environment, serving as patron for hundreds of charities (including outdoor programs for children), and traveling widely to boost British interests abroad. He worked for decades to support the World Wildlife Fund, and served as its international president from 1981 to 1996. And while he always walked a step or two behind his queen, Philip played a prominent part in raising their four children, including his eldest, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne. He managed the royal estate, painted, and collected modern art. But he once said, "the arts world thinks of me as an uncultured, polo-playing clot." In his later years, Philip acquired the image of an elderly, philosophical observer of the times, who maintained a military bearing while speaking his mind. Blunt, impatient and demanding, he was occasionally criticized for making racist or sexist remarks. To a friend's suggestion that he ease up a bit on his royal responsibilities, the prince is said to have replied, "Well, what would I do? Sit around and knit?" But in 2011, when he turned 90, Philip told the BBC he was "winding down" his workload, reckoning that he had "done my bit." Earl Simmons, who performed under the name DMX (December 18, 1970-April 9, 2021), was the Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist behind the songs "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" and "Party Up (Up in Here)." Using a trademark delivery often paired with growls, barks and "What!" as an ad-lib, DMX built a multiplatinum career as one of rap's biggest stars of the late 1990s and early 2000s. But he also struggled with drug addiction, and spent about 30 stints in jail, beginning at age 10. His first studio album, 1998's "It's Dark and Hell is Hot", debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and featured such hits as "Get at Me Dog", "Stop Being Greedy" and "How It's Goin' Down." His next four albums – ". And Then There Was X", "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood", "The Great Depression" and "Grand Champ" – each topped the charts as well, followed by "Year of the Dog… Again", which reached #2. DMX also charted an acting career, starring in the 1998 film "Belly" and appearing in "Romeo Must Die", "Exit Wounds" and "Cradle 2 the Grave." In a 2019 interview with GQ magazine DMX talked about his relationship with his mother, who had violently abused him as a child: "I think a lot of people struggle with forgiving their parents. In fact, I personally struggle with forgiving my parents. But until you learn how to forgive others, you can't forgive yourself. You can't forgive yourself if you don't know how to forgive." An original writer for "Saturday Night Live", Emmy-winner Anne Beatts (February 25, 1947-April 7, 2021) was the first female editor of National Lampoon magazine, and a lyricist for the Off-Broadway musical parody of Woodstock, "National Lampoon's Lemmings." She worked from the launch of "SNL" in 1975 to 1980, helping to create such characters as the nerds Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca; oily toy salesman Irwin Mainway; and "Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute." [Pictured: Anne Beatts in 2015, with a photo of her with head "SNL" writer and then-boyfriend Michael O'Donoghue.] She was a co-writer of Gilda Radner's stage show, "Gilda Live", before becoming one of TV's first female show runners on the CBS sitcom "Square Pegs." The cult comedy (which sadly lasted only one season) was a rarity for presenting a teenage girl's perspective – and for hiring an almost exclusively-female writers' room. Beatts also served as a producer for "A Different World", "The Stephanie Miller Show", and "John Waters Presents: Movies That Will Corrupt You", and wrote episodes of "Murphy Brown", "Faerie Tale Theatre", and "Committed." She also co-edited the 1976 collection of humor by women, "Titters", and lectured at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. In 2015 Beatts told writer Joy Press (author of a book on women in television, "Stealing the Show") that working in the male-dominated worlds of comedy and TV was an exercise in self-defense: "I was going to work harder and stay up longer", she said. "Essentially you find out that if you try to be one of the guys, you just end up being a slightly defective guy.… "One of the issues in Hollywood is there are girls and ladies but there weren't a lot of women. Just to be a regular woman was not a role that was recognized. A man has to invade a small country to be called aggressive, but with a woman, if she hangs up the phone on someone, that's it." A founding member of the Latin-funk group War (or ***, as it came to be referenced owing to a trademark dispute with their manager), vocalist and bassist Morris "B.B." Dickerson (August 3, 1949-April 2, 2021) played on a dozen of the group's studio album releases and co-wrote some of their most memorable songs. The musicians of War, who'd played with former quarterback and R&B singer Deacon Jones, originally partnered with Eric Burdon (former lead singer of The Animals) to release their debut album in 1970 (which featured the single "Spill the Wine"), and shared the stage with Jimi Hendrix in London in what was the guitarist's final public performance. After Burdon and War parted ways during a 1971 European tour, War continued with such hits as "Why Can't We Be Friends", "Slippin' Into Darkness", "Low Rider", "Cisco Kid", "Summer", and "The World Is a Ghetto." In 1972, following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Dickerson explained the ethos of the group, which was multi-ethnic and blended multiple genres of music, to the New York Post: "We contribute to each other spiritually, and that's what we are trying to project – the dude in the street selling papers, the dude working at the steel mill, again, everybody." Years after leaving War in 1979, Dickerson reunited with other founding members to tour under the name Lowrider Band. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry (June 3, 1936-March 25, 2021) wove tales of the American West both historic and contemporary, which depicted characters who were often shaped by the rugged, hard-scrabble landscapes of the frontier, their personas worn down into raw, unguarded emotions. Born into a family of ranchers, McMurtry wrote his first novel at the age of 25. "Horseman, Pass By" would be made into a film starring Paul Newman, retitled "Hud", that won three Oscars. Others from among his dozens of novels included "Leaving Cheyenne", "The Last Picture Show", "The Desert Rose", "The Last Picture Show", "Moving On", "All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers", "Terms of Endearment", "The Evening Star", and "Texasville." His Pulitzer-Prize winning epic "Lonesome Dove", about former Texas Rangers leading a cattle drive across the Great Plains during the 1870s, was turned into an Emmy-winning CBS miniseries that starred Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Angelica Huston. "'Lonesome Dove' was an effort to kind of demythologize the myth of the Old West", McMurtry told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview. The book launched a series of novels that included "Streets of Laredo", "Dead Man's Walk" and "Comanche Moon." As a screenwriter he shared an Academy Award nomination for the script of "The Last Picture Show", based on his coming-of-age novel set in a small Texas town, and shared an Oscar for the script of "Brokeback Mountain", the 2005 film, based on an Annie Proulx short story, that starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys who fall in love. His most recent novel, "The Last Kind Words Saloon", was published in 2014. In 2006 McMurtry explained to "Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver his method of working – banging away on one of his nine Hermes typewriters, every day, regardless of weekend or vacation. "You know, I have no ideas until I sit down at this machine", he said. "I can't talk abstractly about anything. I don't think about it. I do it at the same time every day, and whatever process I have starts when I hit the keys and stops when I get to the end of five pages." He told Braver he wasn't bothered by fans who might object to the spinner of western tales writing about gay cowboys. "It doesn't present any kind of agenda, any politics at all, one way or the other at all", McMurtry said. "It just says life is not for sissies. You know, you need strength. Love is not easy. If you find it, it's not easy. If you don't find it, it's not easy. It's not easy if you find it, but it doesn't work out… The strong survive, but not everybody is the strong, and many people don't." Author Beverly Cleary (April 12, 1916-March 25, 2021) was something of a late starter, writing her first children's book, "Henry Huggins", when she was in her early 30s. "I was a children's librarian", Cleary told "CBS Evening News" correspondent John Blackstone in 2010, "and a little boy said to me, 'Where are the books about kids like us?' Well, there weren't any." For the next five decades, Cleary contributed more than three dozen children's and young adult novels about "kids like them", that were both reminiscent of her childhood in Portland, Ore., and fantastical ("The Mouse and the Motorcycle" told of a mouse who delivers life-saving medicine on a toy motorcycle). Cleary wrote two long-running series, each featuring Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby (who appeared in the first Huggins novel, and would star in eight books of her own). In 1981, "Ramona and Her Mother" won the National Book Award. "Dear Mr. Henshaw", the touching story of a lonely boy who corresponds with a children's book author, won the 1984 John Newbery Medal. "Ramona and Her Father" and "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" were named Newbery Honor Books. And she was awarded a National Medal of the Arts by President Bush in 2003. Cleary also wrote two autobiographical books for young readers: "A Girl from Yamhill" (about her childhood), and "My Own Two Feet" (about the years leading up to her literary career). "I seem to have grown up with an unusual memory", Cleary told the Associated Press. "People are astonished at the things I remember. I think it comes from living in isolation on a farm the first six years of my life where my main activity was observing." The resume of Emmy-winning actress Jessica Walter (January 31, 1941-March 23, 2021) was characterized as that of a character actress, although she excelled in the lead role of a psychotic radio station caller in the Clint Eastwood thriller "Play Misty for Me." More in line with her comic agility was her turn as scheming Lucille Bluth, mother of a dysfunctional family, on TV's "Arrested Development" In a 2012 interview with the AV Club, Walter said playing "difficult" roles was more fun: "They're juicy, much better than playing the vanilla ingénues, you know – Miss Vanilla Ice Cream." A graduate of New York's High School of the Performing Arts, Walter had established a stage career by her early 20s, making her Broadway debut in "Advise and Consent", and appearing most recently in the 2011 revival of "Anything Goes." She starred in the soap opera "Love of Life" from 1962 to 1965, and appeared in numerous TV series, including "Naked City", "Route 66", "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "The Fugitive", "Flipper", "The FBI", "Medical Center", "Love, American Style", "McCloud", "The Streets of San Francisco", "Wonder Woman", "Trapper John, M.D.", "90210", "One Life to Live", and "The Big Bang Theory." Walter won an Emmy in 1975 starring in "Amy Prentiss", a spin-off of the San Francisco cop show "Ironside." Film roles included "Lilith", "The Group", "Grand Prix", "Bye Bye Braverman", "Number One", and "The Flamingo Kid." With her second husband, actor Ron Leibman, she starred on stage in Neil Simon's "Rumors", and they shared voice work as husband and wife on the animated series "Archer", parents of the eponymous spy. "I've played lots of mothers from Hell", Walter said, commenting on her character Malory Archer. "Or maybe, for instance, with 'Arrested Development', Lucille really does believe that she's being a good mother. It's interesting and challenging to find the levels that make them characters you love to hate." He was best known as a comic actor playing lovable jerks, as well as a banjo player, strumming with the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band. But George Segal (February 13, 1934-March 23, 2021) earned his Oscar nomination for Mike Nichols' bitter drama, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Segal had worked with Nichols on Broadway in "The Knack", and when Robert Redford turned down the role of a young professor in "Virginia Woolf", he asked Segal. "We rehearsed for about a month", Segal recalled to Film Talk in 2016. "So, we could have opened that on a stage. By the time we were shooting, we were all very comfortable in our roles." A student of Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, Segal appeared on Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh", before being drafted into the Army. After his discharge in 1957, he returned to the stage and began getting small film roles, including "The Young Doctors", "The Longest Day", "Ship of Fools", and "King Rat." Segal followed his "Virginia Woolf" success with the dramatic ("The Quiller Memorandum", "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre", "No Way to Treat a Lady", "The Terminal Man"); the comic ("Bye Bye Braverman", "Where's Poppa", "The Owl and the Pussycat", "The Hot Rock", "A Touch of Class", "The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox", "Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?", "Fun With Dick and Jane"); and a very '70s mix of the two ("Loving", "Blume in Love", "California Split"). His later TV career would capitalize on his gift for lighthearted comedy, playing magazine publisher Jack Gallo on "Just Shoot Me", and Albert "Pops" Solomon, the grandfather on "The Goldbergs." In 2017 Segal told Variety, " I've always considered myself to be a lucky person. When I'm asked about the ups-and-downs of my career, I mainly see a lucky guy." Glynn Lunney (November 27, 1936-March 19, 2021), who had helped devise the complex flight rules used to govern America's space missions throughout the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and who became NASA's fourth flight director, went on duty moments after the Apollo 13 spacecraft exploded on its way to the moon in 1970. He would play a pivotal role in bringing the three-man crew safely back to Earth. He also led the flight control team when Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin blasted off from the moon; managed the first joint U. S. -Soviet flight, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project; and served as the space shuttle program manager in Houston. After retiring from NASA, he worked for Rockwell International, builder of the space shuttle, and later served as vice president of United Space Alliance, the company that serviced and maintained the shuttle for NASA. In an interview with CBS News on the eve of Apollo 11's 50th anniversary, Lunney talked about President John F. Kennedy's 1961 call for Americans to land astronauts on the moon before the end of the decade. He described the declaration as "semi-crazy." "When we were having a beer talking about that, we didn't think it could be done", Lunney said. "We were working on Mercury, of course, at the time. Mercury was a 2,000-pound ship. And you know, what we had to deal with was getting 200,000 pounds in Earth orbit to get started." But, he said, "people stepped up to it. It was a wonderful thing to see because everybody in the program knew what their job was, and they knew they had to make it work. That happened everywhere. And it was a wonderful thing to see how well Americans did pooling together our resources and our talents and inventing a whole new world of space operations." A descendent of Cameroonian royalty on his father's side, the Bronx-raised Yaphet Kotto (November 15, 1939-March 15, 2021) brought a charisma and air of gravitas to his film and TV roles. Familiar for playing law enforcement officers in such films as "Across 110th Street" and "Midnight Run" and the TV series "Homicide: Life in the Street", and for his Emmy-nominated performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 1977 TV movie "Raid on Entebbe", Kotto was best remembered for two roles in which he rubbed against authority: the drug dealer Kananga in "Live and Let Die"; and Parker, the chief engineer of the ill-fated space tug Nostromo in the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic "Alien." In 2015 Kotto told The Big Issue he tried to avoid playing the part of the Bond villain as a stereotype: "That was the danger of that role. When I read that script, I said, man, if this is played the wrong way… I had to play Kananga in a way that was so believable you became mesmerized. You see a guy who is completely together – almost as together as James Bond himself." Of his time shooting "Alien", Kotto recalled the scene in which an alien creature incubating inside John Hurt's chest suddenly makes an appearance. He had a forewarning that something dramatic was planned when the crew showed up wearing head-to-toe protective gear. Of the terror he expressed, he said, "I would like to take credit for that acting, but I was in shock." Kotto made his stage debut in a Boston production of "Othello", and in 1969 he replaced James Earl Jones on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning boxing drama "The Great White Hope." His other film roles included "Nothing But a Man", "The Thomas Crown Affair", "5 Card Stud", "The Liberation of L. B. Jones", "Report to the Commissioner", "Blue Collar", "Brubaker" "Othello", and "The Running Man." But it was his groundbreaking performance in "Alien" – a Black actor with a heroic role in a big-budget science-fiction film – that left the biggest mark for Kotto. At the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival he recalled revisiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington where he had witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech, when a tour bus of Japanese schoolchildren pulled up. They recognized the actor, shouting "Alien." "And it was so spooky because I realized that the dream had come true. I was now known throughout the world. The movie opened the door up for women – never before in the history of movies had we seen a heroic woman do what Sigourney [Weaver] did.… It was the first time that an African American had been seen in a role like that. And so today, we see women and African Americans in those heroic roles." One of the great middleweights in boxing history, Marvelous Marvin Hagler (May 23, 1954-March 13, 2021) fought on boxing's biggest stages against its biggest names, as he, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran dominated the middleweight classes during the 1980s. Quiet with a brooding public persona, Hagler fought 67 times over 14 years as a pro out of Brockton, Mass., finishing 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts. He fought with a proverbial chip on his shoulder, convinced that boxing fans and promoters alike didn't give him his proper due. He was so upset that he wasn't introduced before a 1982 fight by his nickname of "Marvelous" that he went to court to legally change his name. "If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove", Hagler once said. "That's all I am. I live it." Hagler once stopped Hearns in an epic 1985 fight at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that still lives in boxing lore despite lasting less than eight minutes. Two years later he was so disgusted after losing a decision to Leonard (stolen, he claimed, by the judges) that he never fought again. He moved to Italy to act, and never really looked back. "I feel fortunate to get out of the ring with my faculties and my health", he said a year later. During more than 30 years on network television, starting with CBS in 1961, veteran newsman Roger Mudd (February 9, 1928-March 9, 2021) covered Congress, elections and political conventions and was a frequent anchor and contributor. He shared a George Foster Peabody Award for the 1970 CBS documentary "The Selling of the Pentagon", which looked at the military's public relations efforts during the Vietnam War, and received another Peabody for his November 1979 special "CBS Reports: Teddy", which aired just days before Sen. Ted Kennedy announced his attempt to challenge then-President Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination. In that report, Mudd asked the Massachusetts senator a simple question: "Why do you want to be president?" Kennedy was unable to give a focused answer or specify what he personally wanted to do. As Mudd told viewers: "On the stump Kennedy can be dominating, imposing and masterful, but off the stump, in personal interviews, he can become stilted, elliptical and at times appear as if he really doesn't want America to get to know him." Mudd frequently substituted for Walter Cronkite on the "CBS Evening News", and anchored the Saturday evening news broadcasts from 1966 to 1973. He then joined NBC News (as a co-anchor of the "Nightly News" and "Meet the Press"), before working with PBS, on the "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour." Mudd left the "NewsHour" in 1992 to teach journalism at Princeton University, and to serve as a host and correspondent for The History Channel. He wrote a memoir, "The Place To Be", and in an April 2008 "NewsHour" interview he said he "absolutely loved" keeping tabs on the nation's 100 senators and 435 representatives, "all of them wanting to talk, great access, politics morning, noon and night, as opposed to the White House, where everything is zipped up and tightly held." Six decades ago, two housemates in Brooklyn Heights, New York, dreamed up a children's adventure story about a bored boy named Milo, "who didn't know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always." The fantastical adventure "The Phantom Tollbooth", overflowing with witty wordplay, became a classic. Author Norton Juster (June 2, 1929-March 8, 2021), joined by his friend, the Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Jules Feiffer, told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver in 2012 that back in 1961 no one expected "Phantom Tollbooth" to materialize into anything: "'The vocabulary's too difficult'", Juster recalled the attitude. "'The ideas were too complex. Kids would not get any of the word play and punning'. and to top it all off, 'It's not really a children's book.'" Or how about: "'Fantasy is bad for children because it disorients them'?" Juster dreamed up the story while working at an architectural firm, and even after writing "Phantom Tollbooth" stuck with architecture and urban planning, co-founding the firm Juster Pope Associates, in Shelburne Falls, Mass., and teaching at Hampshire College. But his stories managed to combine the precision and structure of engineering with his love for the absurd. "The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Mathematics" is a love triangle involving a straight (and straight-laced) line, a dot, and a squiggle. It was adapted by Chuck Jones into an Oscar-winning animated short. Other books included "Alberic the Wise and Other Journeys", "Otter Nonsense", "Stark Naked: A Paranomastic Odyssey", "The Hello, Goodbye Window" (a Caldecott Medal winner for its illustrations), "Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie", and "The Odious Ogre" (also illustrated by Feiffer). A planned book on urban planning, which was supplanted by his work on "Phantom Tollbooth", never materialized. "The funny thing is that many of the things I was thinking about for that book did find their way into 'The Phantom Tollbooth'", he once wrote. "Maybe someday I'll get back to it when I'm trying to avoid doing something else." Frustrated with handling loose spools of recording tape, Dutch engineer Lou Ottens (June 21, 1926-March 6, 2021) tasked his product development team at Philips to develop a contained cartridge for tape that could be recorded and played back without spilling its contents. One directive: the player had to be small enough to fit in a pocket. The result: the compact cassette, whose small size allowed players to be portable. "It was a breakthrough because it was foolproof", Ottens said in an interview for the Philips Museum. Introduced in the early 1960s, cassettes became a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 100 billion sold, both pre-recorded and blank (on which fans could record their own music mixes). Eventually, with Dolby processing, cassettes could beat other music technologies, like 8-track tapes, in fidelity. But its popularity would falter upon the introduction of another technology that Ottens helped develop: the digital compact disc. Mark Pavelich (February 28, 1958-March 4, 2021) was an All-America selection at the University of Minnesota Duluth before joining the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, whose victory match over the Soviet Union earned the title "Miracle on Ice." The Soviet team, predominantly quasi-professional players, had won four consecutive Olympic Golds, and were heavily favored in their medal round match against what were, comparatively, a bunch of kids – college players and amateurs with an average age of 21. In a pre-Olympic exhibition game, the Soviets trounced the U.S. team 10-3. On February 22, 1980 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Americans held down the Soviets early, and tied the game 2-2 in the last seconds of the first period. The Soviets, having replaced their goalkeeper, kept the Americans scoreless and led 3-2 by the end of the second. Then, on a power play, the Americans tied the game and, with Pavelich's assist, Mike Eruzione shot what would be the winning goal of the 4-3 match. The U.S. team completed its round robin medal play with a victory over Finland to capture the Gold. Pavelich, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound center, would spend five seasons with the New York Rangers (and later with the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks), finishing with 137 goals and 192 assists in 355 NHL regular-season games. In a 1983 game against Hartford, Pavelich scored five of the Rangers' 11 goals. Though the "Miracle on Ice" team won fame, Pavelich balked at celebrity and guarded his privacy. When Eruzione, who became a Rangers broadcaster, asked Pavelich to do an interview for his many fans, he reportedly replied, "Rizzo, you know that's not important." The career of British-born humorist Tony Hendra (July 10, 1941-March 4, 2021) ran the gamut from standup comedian, writer, author and actor to editor of the humor magazines National Lampoon and Spy. Initially interested in becoming a monk, Hendra accepted a scholarship to Cambridge University, where he participated in satirical revues by the Footlights theatrical group, performing alongside future Monty Python members John Cleese and Graham Chapman. With his comedy partner Nick Ullett, Hendra opened in New York for Lenny Bruce, and appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." After fitful years as a comedy performer and writer, Hendra became a contributor and then managing editor of The National Lampoon. He expanded Lampoon's scope beyond magazine stands to albums and the stage, producing and directing the Off-Broadway revue, "National Lampoon's Lemmings", a parody of Woodstock, which featured future "Saturday Night Live" stars John Belushi and Chevy Chase, Alice Playten and Christopher Guest. Hendra most memorably appeared with Guest in the 1984 mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap", playing the heavy metal band's manager, Ian Faith, who wielded a cricket bat at opportune moments, and who asserted to his touring band members that Boston was "not a big college town." In a 2000 Associated Press interview Hendra said he often did not understand people who would quote dialogue from "Spinal Tap" to him, as he didn't remember his own lines – a lot of the script was improvised. Civil rights activist, attorney and Washington insider Vernon Jordan (August 15, 1935-March 1, 2021), who grew up in the segregated South, took a strategic view of race issues: "My view on all this business about race is never to get angry, no, but to get even", he told The New York Times in 2000. "You don't take it out in anger; you take it out in achievement." As a young clerk for civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell, Jordan – an imposing 6 feet 4 inches – could be seen in an iconic photo holding back a White mob that was trying to prevent the integration of classes at the University of Georgia. Jordan served as field secretary for the Georgia office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In two years Jordan built new chapters, coordinated demonstrations, and boycotted businesses that would not employ Blacks. After entering private practice, Jordan became director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council, registering Black voters and helping elect Black officeholders. In 1970 he became executive director of the United Negro College Fund, raising funds to aid students at historically Black colleges and universities, and soon after became president of the National Urban League (the first lawyer to lead the organization). During his tenure, the Urban League added 17 more chapters, and broadened its focus to include voter registration drives and conflict resolution between Blacks and law enforcement. In May 1980 he survived a murder attempt when a racist shot him in the back with a hunting rifle in Fort Wayne, Ind. Jordan had five surgeries during his months of recovery. "I'm not afraid, and I won't quit", Jordan told Ebony magazine after the shooting. His long friendship with Bill Clinton, which began in Arkansas in the 1970s, landed the Washington lawyer and influencer the position of "first friend" when Clinton became president. While turning down the opportunity to become the nation's first Black attorney general after heading the Clinton transition team, Jordan served as an unofficial advisor and confidante – a role that was tarnished during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when Jordan testified that his efforts to find the former intern a job were not in connection to the White House sex scandal. In a 1978 speech at the National Press Club, Jordan addressed some pundits' suggestions that civil rights advocates – those protesting against the immorality of injustice – ought not raise their voices about other issues (like the environment, tax cuts or national economic policies) that were, supposedly, outside their wheelhouse. "Civil rights don't take place in a vacuum", Jordan said. "They are meaningful only in the real world – the world where people have to survive to work, to raise their families, to instill in their children hope for the future and the skills to function in a society where a broad back and the desire to work are no longer enough. That is why we are concerned with tax cuts, with energy, with a multitude of issues some White people think are not the concern of Blacks. That is why we see our present efforts as being the logical outcome of those struggles for basic rights of the 1960s. And that is why we insist there is a vital, moral component to the current struggle." Electronics engineer and Navy veteran Kenneth C. Kelly (1928-Feb. 27, 2021) was awarded more than a dozen patents for innovations in radar and antenna technology in the 1950s. His early work at Hughes Aircraft helped create guided missile systems and the ground satellites that tracked NASA space missions. But in the early 1960s, he could not buy a house in the middle-class suburb of Gardena, Calif., without having a White friend buy it for him before transferring the mortgage, because Blacks were excluded. Kelly and his wife Loretta later moved near California State University-Northridge, to be closer to his job, and again, the real estate agent wouldn't sell him the lot, so he had to repeat the demeaning experience of having White friends front the purchase. Kelly would become president of the San Fernando Valley Fair Housing Council, lobbying authorities and going to court to prevent Whites-only advertising. He also became a realtor himself, helping many Black families move into suburbs in the 1970s. Still, the engineer who couldn't buy a house on his own fostered advances in antenna designs that contributed to the race to the moon, made satellite TV and radio possible, and helped design robotic antennas for the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. His two-way antenna designs are featured in the massive Mojave Desert radiotelescopes that search for signs of extraterrestrial life. He also formed a society of Black scientists and engineers who launched science fairs and outreach programs to minority students in Los Angeles, which was booming with Black people fleeing the South in the post-war period. More down-to-Earth was his influence on the comic pages, corresponding with "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz to promote the inclusion of a Black character, Franklin, in the strip to promote racial harmony. Kelly urged the cartoonist to treat the Black character as just another member of the Peanuts gang. The same persuasiveness had driven a young Kelly to successfully petition the Navy to allow him to take the engineering exam, despite being told Blacks could only serve as stewards to White officers. "I think I'm a crazy optimist", Kelly said in an oral history. "I'm definitely the half-full glass person. I meet lots of people who are so pessimistic. I always thought I could." Writer, activist, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919-February 22, 2021) was a San Francisco institution. His influence extended from the beginnings of "Beat" poetry as a publisher (he claims to have served as a "soul mate" for the movement), to running one of the world's most famous bookstores, City Lights. Ferlinghetti was himself a poet, playwright, novelist, translator and painter. His 1958 compilation, "A Coney Island of the Mind", sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the U.S. alone. He called his style "wide open", and his work, influenced in part by e.e. cummings, was often lyrical and childlike. This despite the traumas of his childhood, his father dying five months before Ferlinghetti was born, his mother suffering a nervous breakdown two years later, eventually dying in a state hospital. A haunting sense of loss followed him as he spent years moving among relatives, boarding homes and an orphanage, before he was taken in by a wealthy New York family, for whom his mother had worked as a governess. He would study journalism and literature, and served as a Navy commander stationed in Japan in 1945. He recalled witnessing the horrors of Nagasaki following the atomic bomb blast there, which he said made him an "instant pacifist." Settling in San Francisco, he helped establish a meeting place for the city's literary movement. Ferlinghetti published Ginsberg's "Howl and Other Poems" in 1956, inviting arrest on an obscenity charge. Ferlinghetti won the case in court, and continued releasing works by Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Lew Welch, Diane di Prima and others. In his 2007 poem "Poetry as Insurgent Art" Ferlinghetti called on fellow writers and thinkers to create work capable of answering "the challenge of apocalyptic times": I am signaling you through the flames. The North Pole is not where it used to be. Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest. Civilization self-destructs. Nemesis is knocking at the door. What are poets for, in such an age? What is the use of poetry? The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it. A former Navy sailor, Merchant Marine and self-described "beach bum", Bruce Meyers (March 12, 1926-Feb. 19, 2021) attended art school and built boats, learning to design with fiberglass. In the early 1960s, after watching heavy, "ugly" cars try to maneuver sandy beaches, Meyers designed an off-road vehicle that became an icon for California surfers, beach mavens and off-road racers: The dune buggy (pictured). Constructed with a lightweight fiberglass body atop four over-sized wheels, with a pair of googly head lamps and a place to stash a surfboard, the Meyers Manx was an instant hit, and became even more so when Meyers' first dune buggy, dubbed Old Red, won a 1,000-mile off-road race in Mexico in record time. More than 6,000 Meyers Manx dune buggies were built by B.F. Meyers & Co., while a quarter-million copycat dune buggies were built by competitors. According to the Historic Vehicle Association, the Meyers Manx is the most-replicated car ever. In 1976 Road and Track Magazine called the Manx "one of the most significant and influential cars of all time… recognized as a genuine sculpture, a piece of art." After losing a court case to protect his design, Meyers shut his company in 1971, frustrated with his creation being ripped off, and operated a trading post in Tahiti for many years, before running a car company. In 2019 Meyers described to Automobile magazine an invitation to France in 1994 where he was asked to attend a parade of dune buggies (including many Manx copycats). When he objected, explaining the pain of losing his patent in court, a car expert upbraided him: "He says, 'You've gotta change focus. You're worried about something that's happened a long time ago and it's killing you. There's a chemical in your body that will make you die sooner: anger.… Every dune buggy has a couple of smiling faces. You put 'em there. They're yours. Stop thinking about that [other stuff], think about the smiling faces.'… "He shut my mind down, he was so right. I took his other advice and we started the Manx Club… Every dune buggy is a piece of fun, and all the dune buggies, good or bad, they're part of the club – we allowed all copies in. For my enemies are now my friends. Not being pissed at all those people who you were pissed at is the greatest feeling. Unload it. Throw it away. 'Cause it's all in your mind. [Instead I'm] thinking on this happiness that I've caused." Cardiologist Dr. Bernard Lown (June 7, 1921-February 16, 2021) earned renown as creator of the first effective heart defibrillator, a device which applied a jolt of direct-current electricity to a patient experiencing abnormal heart rhythms. But he won a Nobel Prize for Peace in 1985 as co-founder of the group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which protested against the Cold War arms race and the testing of nuclear weapons. He also founded a nonprofit, SatelLife USA, that launched a satellite to improve communications and training of medical personnel in Asia and Africa; and ProCor, an email and web network expanding medical information to developing nations. In 2014 Lown discussed with U.S. News & World Report what he believed contributed to the crisis in medical care: "In my view the lost art of listening is a quintessential failure of our health care system. I think that you cannot heal the health care system without restoring the art of listening and of compassion. You cannot ignore the patient as a human being. A doctor must be a good listener." Created in 1964, Fania Records, which produced albums by such artists as Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Rubén Blades and Hector Lavoe, became known as "the Motown of salsa." Its co-founder, Johnny Pacheco (March 25, 1935-February 15, 2021), was a Dominican-born bandleader, songwriter and arranger, who led the supergroup Fania All-Stars. His collaborations with Cruz (including their first breakout album, 1974's "Celia & Johnny", which went gold) brought forth a new genre that was international in scope, yet decidedly particular to a nation of immigrants. In 2014 Pacheco talked with WNYC Radio about creating this hybrid form of Latin music: "When I was rehearsing the band, I saw that we had Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and two Jewish fellows. When you make a sauce, you have different ingredients. And when I saw the band and the singer I thought, this is what we got. We got salsa." A virtuoso keyboardist, Chick Corea (June 12, 1941-February 9, 2021) pushed the boundaries of numerous musical genres – jazz, fusion, Latin, classical – while working both with acoustic and electronic instruments. A prolific artist, Corea recorded nearly 90 albums, winning 23 Grammy Awards (the most by any jazz artist) and four Latin Grammys. Born just outside Boston, the son of a trumpeter and bandleader, Corea dropped out of both Columbia and Juilliard, and refused to be pigeonholed into any one category, as he told "Sunday Morning"'s Billy Taylor back in 1990: "If I can conceive of something with my imagination, why can't I do it?… Where's the law written that I can't play Latin music, or I can't play blues, or I can't be what I want to be, basically?" Corea performed with Herbie Mann and Stan Getz, before joining the Miles Davis Quintet in 1968. He played on several of the group's albums, including "In a Silent Way", "Bitches Brew" and "On the Corner." He then formed the free jazz group Circle, recorded solo albums, and founded the jazz fusion group Return to Forever. A string of bands in various musical styles followed: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, the Chick Corea New Trio, the Five Peace Band, Chick Corea & the Vigil. He was named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master in 2006. In 2020 he talked with Jazz Times about the sense of fulfillment he experienced as a musician and composer as compared to many other professions: "Most people can't tell how their effort is being received. I can see if I'm bringing people pleasure, if I'm inspiring anybody. When you do that, you're putting something good into the world. I believe that." A founding member of the Supremes (along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard), Mary Wilson (March 6, 1944-February 8, 2021) was part of a Motown Records powerhouse, which had a dozen #1 hits during the 1960s. Their elegance, fashion and powerful voices helped define the style of the iconic record label. (Pictured: Mary Wilson, center, with Ballard and Ross.) The three singers, who had all grown up in Detroit, were still in their teens when they were signed by Berry Gordy in 1961. Within three years, The Supremes had their first chart-topper, "Where Did Our Love Go?" Other hits included "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again." Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong by 1967, and Ross left the group in 1970, leaving Wilson as the sole original member by the time The Supremes broke up for good in 1977. Wilson followed up with two solo albums, and wrote several books, including the bestselling "Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme." Her last book, "Supreme Glamour", co-written with Mark Bego, was released in 2019, the same year she competed on the TV series "Dancing with the Stars." In 2019 Wilson told The Guardian, "We, the Supremes, can't take all the credit. The writers and producers at Motown gave us the music and sound that people loved. And then there was the glamour. My whole life is like a dream. I tell you – if I were not a Supreme, I would want to be a Supreme. I'm living the dream." George Shultz (December 13, 1920-February 6, 2021) held numerous government positions throughout his long career that spanned academia, business, policy think tanks, and Cabinet posts in Republican administrations. After earning an economics doctorate at MIT, Shultz served as a senior staff economist with President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisers. He would later hold the office of dean of the University of Chicago's business school, and was president of the construction and engineering company Bechtel Group from 1975-1982. Shultz was Labor Secretary, Treasury Secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Richard M. Nixon, and – for six years – Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan. After the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 soldiers, Shultz worked tirelessly to end Lebanon's brutal civil war in the 1980s. He spent countless hours of shuttle diplomacy between Mideast capitals trying to secure the withdrawal of Israeli forces there. The experience led him to believe that stability in the region could only be assured with a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he set about on an ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful mission to bring the parties to the negotiating table, shaping the path for future administrations' Mideast efforts by legitimizing the Palestinians as a people with valid aspirations and a valid stake in determining their future. Shultz also negotiated the first-ever treaty to reduce the size of the Soviet Union's ground-based nuclear arsenals despite fierce objections from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. The 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was a historic attempt to begin to reverse the nuclear arms race. A rare public disagreement between Reagan and Shultz came in 1985 when the president ordered thousands of government employees with access to highly classified information to take a "lie detector" test as a way to plug leaks of information. Shultz told reporters, "The minute in this government that I am not trusted is the day that I leave." The administration soon backed off the demand. Shultz retained an iconoclastic streak, speaking out against several mainstream Republican policy positions. He created some controversy by calling the war on recreational drugs, championed by Reagan, a failure, and raised eyebrows by decrying the longstanding U.S. embargo on Cuba as "insane." Since his retirement, Shultz advocated for an increased focus on climate change. Following last November's presidential election, Shultz wrote in a op-ed, "Dec. 13 marks my turning 100 years young. I've learned much over that time, but looking back, I'm struck that there is one lesson I learned early and then relearned over and over: Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details." Canadian actor Christopher Plummer (December 13, 1929-February 5, 2021), the great grandson of a former prime minister, caught the acting bug early, and earned praise for his stage roles while still in his teens. He made his film debut in 1958's "Stage Struck", appeared in a TV adaptation of "A Doll's House", and played the emperor Commodus in "The Fall of the Roman Empire", before taking on what would be his signature movie role: Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." The picture's success launched him into film stardom, with roles in "Inside Daisy Clover", "The Night of the Generals", "Battle of Britain", "Waterloo", "The Return of the Pink Panther", "The Man Who Would Be King", "The Silent Partner", "Murder by Decree", "Eyewitness", "Malcolm X", "Twelve Monkeys", and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (as a Shakespeare-quoting Klingon). But for years his career remained focused on the stage, performing in "Henry V", "Julius Caesar", "Hamlet", "Twelfth Night", "Macbeth" and "Becket." He won a Tony Award in 1974 as Cyrano de Bergerac, and another in 1997 playing John Barrymore. His other Broadway appearances include "J.B.", "The Good Doctor", Iago in "Othello", "King Lear", "No Man's Land" and "Inherit the Wind." He saw a resurgence in film work beginning in 1999 with his portrayal of "60 Minutes" journalist Mike Wallace in "The Insider", followed by a psychiatrist in "A Beautiful Mind", a mystic in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", a colonist in "The New World", Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station", the voice of an explorer in the Pixar film "Up", and a family patriarch in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." In "Beginners" he played a man who, at 75, comes out as gay. His performance earned him an Oscar, making him, at 82, the oldest Academy Award-winning actor ever. "In many ways it feels like you're kind of in the prime of your movie career", correspondent Anthony Mason told Plummer in 2011, in an interview for "Sunday Morning." "Yes, it's extraordinary to wait this long", he replied. "I've worked harder and more frequently now that I'm in my eighties than I ever did before." He was not just in demand, but extraordinarily nimble. In 2017, when accusations of sexual predation led to the cutting of Kevin Spacey from the film "All the Money in the World", Plummer stepped into the role of J. Paul Getty, with just one month before the movie's L.A. premiere. Director Ridley Scott spent nine days reshooting all of Spacey's scenes with Plummer, who wound up earning his third Oscar nomination. And in 2019 he starred in the comic thriller "Knives Out." In 1978 Leon Spinks (July 11, 1953 – February 5, 2021), a gold medalist from the 1976 Olympic Games and a former Marine, was an unranked boxer who'd only had seven professional fights when he faced off against Muhammad Ali, who'd picked Spinks as an easy opponent. Promoter Bob Arum told the Guardian that he thought Spinks was out-matched. But Spinks shocked the boxing world by beating Ali by split decision in a 15-round fight, winning the heavyweight boxing title at age 25. "I'm not The Greatest", Spinks said afterward. "Just the latest." In a rematch seven months later, before a record indoor boxing crowd of 72,000 at New Orleans' Superdome and a national TV audience of an estimated 90 million, Ali regained the title. Spinks, with a big grin that often showed off his missing front teeth, was popular among boxing fans for both his win over Ali and his easygoing personality, and he continued fighting into the mid-1990s, ending his career with a 26-17-3 record. But he burned through his earnings quickly, and at one point after retiring was working as a custodian, cleaning locker rooms at a Nebraska YMCA. He later was part of a group of ex-fighters who had their brains studied by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Spinks was found to have brain damage caused by a combination of taking punches to the head and heavy drinking, though he functioned well enough to do autograph sessions and other events late in his life. "He was happy-go-lucky, the salt of the earth", Arum said. "Leon was nutty but you couldn't get angry at the guy. He never meant any harm to anyone." In 1968 Rennie Davis (May 23, 1940-February 2, 2021), a longtime peace activist, was a national director for the anti-war group Students for a Democratic Society, coordinating protests to be held at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He was among the 3,000 demonstrators who faced off against police and Illinois National Guardsmen in a bloody confrontation that an investigation later described as a "police riot." Beaten on the head by cops, Davis (pictured here center, with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin) was taken to a hospital to get 13 stitches. He told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Tracy Smith in 2020 that he was hidden by medical staff: "The police realized that I was in the hospital because they knew I had been clubbed. And so, they started a search of the hospital, room by room by room. And most of the nurses – they could end their careers by what they did – they put me on a trolley cart and covered me with a sheet and moved me from room to room, to hide [me] from the police." Ultimately, during the "Chicago Seven" trial in 1969-70, Davis and four co-defendants (Rubin, Hoffman, Tom Hayden and David Dellinger) were convicted of conspiracy to incite a riot, convictions that were late overturned by a federal appeals court. By the early 1970s Davis became disillusioned with the more violent course the anti-war movement had taken. He moved to Colorado, where he studied and taught spirituality and entered the business world, selling life insurance and running a think tank that developed technologies for the environment. He became both a venture capitalist and a lecturer on meditation and self-awareness. When she was five years old, Millie Hughes-Fulford (December 21, 1945-February 2, 2021) was watching "Buck Rogers" and decided she wanted to be Wilma Deering, a female astronaut who piloted a spaceship while wearing pants. "It was a life's dream, and not many of us get our life's dream", she said in an interview with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014. Studying biology and plasma chemistry, Dr. Hughes-Fulford, a U.S. Army Medical Corps Major, was chosen by NASA to become the first female scientist to fly aboard Spacelab in 1991. After spending nine days in orbit, she participated in a week-long study of how the body readjusts to gravity. She also oversaw space experiments in the late '90s investigating the causes of osteoporosis occurring in astronauts during space flights. Hughes-Fulford later lobbied for the International Space Station, and worked on experiments in space that studied T-cell dysfunction in microgravity. A molecular biologist at the VA medical center in San Francisco, she became director of the laboratory that bears her name. Last year as health care workers began battling the COVID pandemic, World War II veteran and former motorcycle racer Capt. Tom Moore (April 30, 1920-February 2, 2021) set out to raise £1,000 for Britain's National Health Service by walking 100 laps in his backyard – this as he turned 100 years old. For three weeks in April, daily videos showed Captain Tom, stooped with age, doggedly pushing his walker in the garden, maintaining a sunny attitude in the middle of a pandemic lockdown. "Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day", Moore said in an interview – words that became his trademark. Captain Tom became a viral sensation, and a true inspiration, with donations pouring in from across the U.K. and around the world, raising about £33 million ($40 million). When he finished his 100th lap on April 16, a military honor guard lined the path. World War II-era fighter planes flew overhead in tribute on his birthday. "I felt a little frustrated and disappointed after I broke my hip and it knocked my confidence", he said after completing his trek. "However, the past three weeks have put a spring back in my step. I have renewed purpose and have thoroughly enjoyed every second of this exciting adventure." He was made an honorary member of the England cricket team, had a train named after him, and in July, while wearing his wartime medals, Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, in a socially-distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle. "I have been overwhelmed by the many honors I have received over the past weeks, but there is simply nothing that can compare to this", he tweeted after the ceremony. "I am overwhelmed with pride and joy." He dedicated his autobiography, "Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day", to "all those who serve on the front line of any battle – be it military, psychological or medical." Actor Dustin Diamond (January 7, 1977-February 1, 2021) was best known for playing the nerdy character of Screech on the sitcom "Saved By the Bell", and its related shows, including "Good Morning, Miss Bliss", "Saved by the Bell: The College Years", and "Saved by the Bell: The New Class." His other credits included "Big Top Pee-wee", "The Wonder Years", "Celebrity Fit Club", "The Weakest Link", "Celebrity Boxing 2", and "Celebrity Big Brother." Actress Cicely Tyson (December 19, 1924-January 28, 2021) grew up in Harlem with a very religious mother who thought the world of modeling and acting was a den of iniquity – so much so she kicked Cicely out of the house after her daughter landed her first role. "My mother didn't talk to me for two years", Tyson told "Sunday Morning" correspondent Lee Cowan in 2013. Though the impasse was hard, she said, "I also knew that what I was feeling was so compelling that nothing was going to stop me." And nothing did. As an actress she became a beacon of social conscience, rarely taking on roles unless she felt they contributed to the national dialogue on civil rights. "I wanted to address certain issues, and I chose to use my career as my platform", Tyson said. Her performance as the wife of a Southern sharecropper in "Sounder" (1972) earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. And in the landmark TV miniseries "Roots", she played Kunta Kinte's mother. When asked to describe the impact "Roots" had, she replied, "Wow. I don't even know if I could verbalize it. It is the one thing I believe that has touched every single culture or race." Tyson's most indelible role was in the TV film, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman", playing a former slave who lived to the age of 110 – old enough to take a stand in the civil rights movement. The performance won her two Emmy Awards in 1974. Other film appearances include "Odds Against Tomorrow", "The Last Angry Man", "The Comedians", "A Man Called Adam", "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", "The Blue Bird", "The River Niger", "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich", "Bustin' Loose", "Fried Green Tomatoes", "The Grass Harp", "The Help", and "Diary of a Mad Black Woman." On TV she appeared in "East Side, West Side", "King", "The Rosa Parks Story", "Wilma", "A Woman Called Moses" (as Harriet Tubman), "The Marva Collins Story", "Sweet Justice", "A Lesson Before Dying", "House of Cards", "Cherish the Day", and "How to Get Away With Murder." She earned a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." She would become the oldest Tony-winner for Best Actress, at age 88, for the 2013 revival of Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful." She returned to Broadway in 2015 for a revival of "The Gin Game", co-starring James Earl Jones. She also taught master classes in acting at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, N.J. Tyson received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2015, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, and an honorary Oscar in 2018. When asked if she believes she has made a difference, Tyson said, "I hope I have. I hope so. I'm told so every day. And that's very rewarding. It's very satisfying." Actress Cloris Leachman (April 30, 1926-January 27, 2021) initially made her mark in drama, and won an Oscar for her mesmerizing portrayal of a lonely, adulterous housewife in "The Last Picture Show" (1971), a role she would repeat in the 1990 sequel, "Texasville." Her early credits include "Kiss Me Deadly", "The Rack", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Lovers and Other Strangers", "WUSA", and such TV series as "Actors Studio", "Suspense", "Lassie" (playing Timmy's mother), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "One Step Beyond", "The Twilight Zone", "The Untouchables", "77 Sunset Strip", "Dr. Kildare", and "The Virginian." But her power and versatility as a dramatic actress would become overshadowed by her unparalleled comedic chops, first on television and then in the movies of Mel Brooks. Leachman won two of her nine Emmy Awards playing Mary Tyler Moore's neighbor, Phyllis Lindstrom, on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", and would go on to headline her own spin-off TV series. Then, in Brooks' 1974 classic "Young Frankenstein", she played Frau Blücher, whose very name would cause horses to whinny in terror. When "Sunday Morning" correspondent Tracy Smith asked Leachman in 2015 the story behind the horses, Leachman said, "I asked Mel a few years ago, and he said, 'Blucher means glue.'" She returned to work with Brooks in "High Anxiety", as a villainous nurse in a mental institution, and in "History of the World: Part I." Other films and TV credits include "Crazy Mama", "Daisy Miller", "Promised Land", "The Facts of Life", "The Ellen Show", "Touched by an Angel", "Raising Hope", "Dancing With the Stars", "Malcolm in the Middle" (for which she won two Emmys), "Mad About You", and the animated "The Croods." She continued working up to the very end. In 2016, the then-90-year-old was asked by The Hollywood Reporter if she ever thought of retiring. Her reply? "F***." Broadcaster Larry King (November 19, 1933-January 23, 2021) conducted nearly 60,000 interviews during the course of his six-decade radio and TV career, asking questions of the famous and infamous. Describing his style to "60 Minutes", King fell back onto his Brooklyn roots as someone who was "No baloney… I'm a guy who asks questions, that's all. I'm a guy who's curious." Born Lawrence Zeiger, the son of Jewish immigrants, he moved in 1957 to Florida, where he'd heard broadcasting jobs were available. Sweeping floors at a small radio station in Miami, he was put on the air when the DJ suddenly quit, and was given a new name by the station manager who decided Zeiger was "too Jewish" sounding. King bounced around to other radio stations during the '60s, and acquired a newspaper column. But financial setbacks and a lawsuit pushed him off the air for several years, until the late '70s, when he began hosting radio's first nationwide call-in show on the Mutual Network. "The Larry King Show" would expand to more than 300 stations. When he joined CNN in 1985, his nightly conversations on "Larry King Live" became a staple of the cable TV medium (as did his trademark suspenders). King had a penchant both for inviting newsmakers and making news. In 1992 Texas businessman Ross Perot was coaxed by King to announce on his show he'd consider running for president. King's 1994 interview with Marlon Brando grabbed headlines, as much for the fact that the reclusive movie star actually gave an interview as for the kiss he planted on King's lips. He said that he did not adhere to prepared questions but primarily listened to what his subjects said, and jumped off from there, creating a conversational and friendly atmosphere that attracted politicians and dictators, musicians and movie stars, murderers and crime victims (and earned King two Peabody Awards). And the friendly tone invited humor, such as when the Dalai Lama complimented King on one of the broadcaster's many wives: "Looks like your daughter!" he laughed. In 1992 the curious King told "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace that his only worry was dying. "What are you worried about? You're a boy!" Wallace said to the then-59-year-old. "This universe has been around a long time, it's going to be around for a long time, and I'm here for a blip of it", King said, "and I want to see it all." Baseball's one-time home run king, Hank Aaron (February 5, 1934-January 22, 2021), endured virulent racism as he chased Babe Ruth's home run record of 714, long held to be an insurmountable target. Aaron became a target himself, of hate mail and racist threats, forcing the Atlanta Brave to have bodyguard protection. He kept the hateful letters, he said, as a reminder of the abuse he bore. Nevertheless, Aaron matched Ruth's record on April 4, 1974, and topped it with homer no. 715 four days later before a sold-out Atlanta Stadium and a nationwide TV audience. (The unlucky pitcher: Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.) Home runs were only part of his game. Aaron remains baseball's all-time RBI leader (with 2,297) and leader in total bases (6,856). He ranks second in at-bats (12,354); third in games played (3,298) and hits (3,771); fourth in runs scored (tied with Ruth at 2,174); and 13th in doubles (624). He won two National League batting titles, was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and recorded more than 20 stolen bases in seven seasons. His sole National League MVP Award came in 1957, when the Braves beat the New York Yankees to win the World Series (the only championship of Aaron's career). After 21 years with the Braves, he ended his career with two years back in Milwaukee, as a designated hitter for the Brewers. (He was traded after refusing to take a front-office job with a significant pay cut.) He added 22 homers to his lifetime total, finishing with 755, a record that would stand for 33 years (until Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, surpassed it). "I just tried to play the game the way it was supposed to be played", Aaron once said. After his retirement in 1976, the Hall of Famer's status as one of the game's all-time greats, and as a civil rights hero, philanthropist, supporter of the NAACP, and an advocate for increased diversity among major league baseball's coaching staffs, would lead boxer Muhammad Ali to describe Aaron as "the only man I idolize more than myself." Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda (September 22, 1927-January 7, 2021) bled Dodger blue for more than seven decades as part of the Los Angeles baseball team's organization. Earning notice in the minors as a strikeout hurler (once recording 25 KOs in a 15-inning game), he was brought up to the majors in 1954. But in his first start, in 1955, he threw three wild pitches against the Cardinals and was called from the mound after the first inning. During three seasons in the majors (with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Kansas City Athletics) he achieved a 0-4 record with a 6.48 ERA and 37 strikeouts. Lasorda then became a scout and coach and, later, the Dodgers' manager for 21 years. During that time, his gregarious leadership skills helped the team to two World Series championships (in 1981 and 1988), in addition to four National League titles and eight division titles. He also managed the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. Just as evident as Lasorda's enthusiasm for the game was his waistline: "When we won games, I'd eat to celebrate", he once explained. "And when we lost games, I'd eat to forget." In 1964 British filmmaker Michael Apted (February 10, 1941-January 7, 2021) was a 22-year-old researcher working on a documentary for U.K. television. His assignment: find a cohort of seven-year-old schoolchildren from across socio-economic lines for a film about London youth, inspired by the adage, "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man." "Seven Up!" was a success, capturing the hopes and dreams of young Britons, affluent and poor, Black and White. Apted subsequently directed follow-up visits to the same schoolchildren, filmed at seven-year intervals, beginning with "14 Up" and "21 Up", all the way through "63 Up", released in 2019. For Apted, the series became his life's work – a living document of humanity probing the joys and sadness of growing up. In 2013 "Sunday Morning" correspondent Lee Cowan asked Apted what made the Peabody Award-winning series so compelling. "Well, 'cause I think people identify with it", Apted replied. "You see 13, 14 stories up there, and there's elements in some of them that hit home on every life. Everybody who watches it can identify with something." In addition to capturing real life, Apted also directed biopics ("Coal Miner's Daughter", "Gorillas of the Mist"), comedies ("Continental Divide"), dramas ("Agatha", "Thunderheart", "Nell", "Enigma") thrillers ("Gorky Park", "Blink"), fantasy ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"), concert films (Sting's "Bring on the Night"), and even a James Bond movie ("The World Is Not Enough"). Apted said he hoped to keep the "Up" series going as long as his interviewees were willing and healthy. ("63 Up" included the passing of one subject, Lynn.) His goal: to keep it going until his film family are in their 80s – which would put Apted at nearly 100: "I figured out when I do '84', I'll be 99. So, that could be a nice swan song, shouldn't it?" he laughed. A war correspondent for United Press International and The New York Times in the early years of the Vietnam War, Neil Sheehan (October 27, 1936-January 7, 2021) was a national correspondent for the Times based in Washington when he obtained from Daniel Ellsberg, a former consultant to the Defense Department, a history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Sheehan broke the story of the Pentagon Papers in his articles for the Times, beginning in June 1971, which exposed widespread government deception, by political and military leaders, about U.S. prospects for victory. The soon followed with reporting of its own. In an interview published posthumously in the Times (Sheehan had asked that it not be printed until after his death), the writer revealed that Ellsberg did not give him the Pentagon Papers (as was widely believed), but that Sheehan had deceived his source and taken them. Admitting he was "really quite angry" by what the papers revealed, Sheehan decided that "this material is never again going in a government safe." He smuggled the documents from the Massachusetts apartment where they had been kept, and copied thousands of pages to take to the Times. "You had to do what I did", Sheehan said. "I had decided, 'This guy is just impossible. You can't leave it in his hands. It's too important and it's too dangerous. '". The Nixon administration sought a restraining order against publication, argued on national security grounds. But on June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of allowing the Times and the Post to continue revealing the Pentagon Papers' contents. The coverage won the Times the Pulitzer Prize for public service. The Nixon administration tried to discredit Ellsberg after the documents' release, including orchestrating a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's Beverly Hills psychiatrist to find information with which to discredit him. When evidence of the break-in and government wiretaps surfaced, Ellsberg's trial for theft, conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act ended in a mistrial. When Ellsberg bumped into Sheehan and accused Sheehan of stealing the papers, the journalist replied, "'No, Dan, I didn't steal it. And neither did you. Those papers are the property of the people of the United States. They paid for them with their national treasure and the blood of their sons, and they have a right to it.'" Sheehan's 1988 account of the war, "A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam", won him the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. He also authored "After the War Was Over: Hanoi and Saigon." In a 1988 C-SPAN interview Sheehan said, "Vietnam will be a war in vain only if we don't draw wisdom from it." Bronx, N.Y. native Tanya Roberts (October 15, 1955-January 4, 2021) studied acting under Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, but her earliest jobs were in modeling and commercials that highlighted her beauty. Even her first big break, replacing Shelley Hack on the TV series "Charlie's Angels", was more glamorous than substantive. Roberts would star in the films "The Beastmaster", "Sheena: Queen of the Jungle" and "Hearts and Armour", before being picked to star opposite Roger Moore in his last appearance as James Bond, in 1985′s "A View to a Kill." In a 2015 interview with London's Daily Mail, Roberts admitted that she was cautious about accepting the role in a Bond film: "I remember I said to my agent, 'No one ever works after they get a Bond movie', and they said to me, 'Are you kidding? Glenn Close would do it if she could.'" After "A View to a Kill", Roberts made few film appearances. Her most notable role was in the sitcom "That '70s Show" as Laura Prepon's hippie mother, Midge, who embraced the women's liberation movement. "I've made a lot of good choices and a lot of bad choices and that's part of life", Roberts told the Daily Mail. "Whether you're really successful or moderately successful… You can't go through life defeated. It's just trial-and-error." Bestselling novelist Eric Jerome Dickey (July 7, 1961-January 3, 2021) was a software developer and aspiring actor and stand-up comic when he began writing fiction in his mid-30s. His first book, "Sister, Sister", was celebrated for its depiction of Black sisterhood. His witty and conversational prose style punctuated such novels as "Friends and Lovers", "Milk in My Coffee", "Cheaters", " Liar's Game", "Thieves' Paradise", "The Other Woman" and "Genevieve", and the "Gideon" crime fiction series, which included "Sleeping With Strangers" and "Resurrecting Midnight." Dickey wrote 29 novels in all, with more than seven million copies in print worldwide. His final novel, "The Son of Mr. Suleman", is due in April. He also contributed to anthologies such as "Mothers and Sons" and "Black Silk: A Collection of African American Erotica", and wrote a comic book miniseries for Marvel featuring the characters Storm and Black Panther. In 2016 he talked with the Washington Independent Review of Books about how he "reinvented" himself by attending UCLA: "Studied, studied, studied, read, read, read, wrote, wrote, still rewriting what I wrote, wrote, wrote. At UCLA, I started with all the 101 classes, learned what I could from the ground up. My best approach to anything, no matter my level of experience or education, has always been with an empty cup. You never know everything."

 

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COVID physician suing hospital 'to bring medicine back to doctors'

A physician and medical researcher who is suing his Virginia hospital for preventing him from treating COVID-19 patients with effective drugs that have become politically charged said his effort is on behalf of physicians across the United States and around the world whose relationship with their patients has been sabotaged. Dr. Paul Marik, a professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, said it's "completely outrageous" that the hospital in Norfolk where he serves as ICU director is telling physicians what they can prescribe and not prescribe, violating the doctor-patient relationship and the Hippocratic Oath. "This is really unprecedented in the world", he said in a podcast interview with Dr. Mobeen Syed. "The doctor at the bedside decides what's best for his or her patient. He takes responsibility or the patient. He understands the patient. He individualizes the patient." Ultimately, he said, hospital administrators "who have limited or no experience with COVID, are telling an experienced clinician how to practice medicine." And unfortunately, Marik, continued, his experience is "becoming widespread in the U.S. and across the world." "So, I'm doing this, obviously because I had no option, and I'm doing this for doctors across the world and in the U.S.", he said. "Because we need to bring medicine back to doctors." Earlier this month, as WND reported, Marik was greeted by supporters outside a courthouse in Norfolk where he testified in his lawsuit to force Sentara Norfolk General Hospital to allow him to treat COVID-19 patients with off-label drugs, such as ivermectin. See the interview: Marik's lawsuit argues Virginia’s Advanced Directive statute gives hospitalized patients the right to choose what treatment they receive as long as a doctor determines it to be appropriate. The statute does not say "as determined by the hospital", the complaint says, it expressly says "as determined by (their) attending physician." Sentara Healthcare said in a statement that it "follows evidenced-based protocols as recommended by trusted agencies including CDC, NIH, and FDA." "All of these agencies currently do not recommend the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 due to a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy." Marik acknowledged that the NIH doesn't recommend ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, but he argued in an interview with a Norfolk TV station that "if you look at the statement these are guidelines and not rules, and the physician needs to use his clinical judgment on how to treat the patients." Further, as WND reported, ivermectin is featured on the NIH website as a treatment for COVID-19 that is "under evaluation." In fact, ivermectin is the second drug listed – under the highly touted, expensive COVID-19 drug with many side effects, remdesivir – on the NIH page, which is titled "Antiviral Agents That Are Approved or Under Evaluation for the Treatment of COVID-19." Marik was a co-author of a peer-reviewed study published in February by the American Journal of Therapeutics that found that ivermectin reduces coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths by about 75%. Ivermectin, in more than 30 trials around the world, causes "repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes’ at all stages of the disease", according to the study. The evidence is so strong, the researchers believe, the anti-parasitic drug should become a standard therapy everywhere, hastening global recovery. Marik said at the time that the data are "overwhelming." "We are in a pandemic, and this is an incredibly effective way to combat it", he said. "If we use ivermectin widely, our societies can open up." Marik is a founding member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), a team of doctors that formed at the beginning of the pandemic to develop protocols to treat COVID-19 patients. He developed a protocol to treat septic shock that became the basis for a COVID-19 treatment developed by FLCCC co-founder Dr. Pierre Kory, who testified of its effectiveness to a U.S. Senate committee. Ivermectin is approved by the FDA for other treatments and has been successfully used off-label for COVID-19 patients. From 10% to 20% of all prescribed drugs are used off-label. Ivermectin has been shown to be effective as a preventative and early- and late-stage treatment in 130 studies, with 84 peer-reviewed, including 66 with results comparing treatment and control groups. Studies have demonstrated its ability to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 as well as its strong anti-inflammatory properties. But many pharmacists and doctors, along with Marik, have disclosed that health-care management is barring them from prescribing ivermectin. And the drug recently was the target of a media and government disinformation campaign, dismissing it disingenuously as "horse dewormer." The FDA's official Twitter account posted a caption above a photo of a horse: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it." NIH points out on its "antiviral agents" page that among the serious side effects seen in patients who take remdesivir are severe renal failure and liver damage. Ivermectin, on the other hand, is "generally well tolerated." The World Health Organization, in November 2020, recommended against the use of remdesivir in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The WHO said at the time that there was "no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients." Meanwhile, ivermectin, whose inventors won a Nobel Prize, has a better safety record than several vitamins, with an average of only 160 adverse events reported every year. It has been safely administered several billion times around the world, virtually eradicating diseases such as river blindness in Africa. The ivermectin side effects observed, according to the NIH, include "dizziness"; "pruritis", which is an irritating sensation that creates an urge to scratch; nausea and diarrhea. The NIH said unspecified "neurological" adverse effects have been seen in the treatment of parasitic disease, but it's unclear if they are connected to the drug or to the underlying conditions. In September, more than 8,600 scientists and physicians from around the world signed a declaration condemning public policy makers of "crimes against humanity" for restricting life-saving treatments such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine while quashing debate and scientific inquiry. EDITOR'S NOTE: Last year, America's doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they're all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It's already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of "yesterday’s heroes" are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: 'We will not comply!' COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance." SUPPORT TRUTHFUL JOURNALISM. MAKE A DONATION TO THE NONPROFIT WND NEWS CENTER. THANK YOU!

 

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Illumina CEO explains what scientists are studying to determine if Omicron variant is more transmissible

Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina, a company that identifies and tracks COVID variants through genomic sequencing, said Sunday that "we are in a lot different position than we were at the beginning of the pandemic" in figuring out where the virus and variants are.

 

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Not in favour of cut-off based admission system: DU Vice Chancellor

The current cut-off based admission system puts students from the boards where the marking is "strict" at a disadvantage, Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh said here and expressed the hope that this would change in a year. Singh said he has constituted a committee to look into the admission data and the recommendations of the panel will be deliberated upon in the coming Academic Council meeting on December 10. "We have many options for admission - to continue with the existing system, the second could be normalisation of marks of various boards, third could be an entrance test and the fourth can be giving 50 percent weightage to entrance test and 50 percent to (board) marks. Let the academic council and executive council take a call", he told PTI in an interview Talking about his personal view on the continuation of the cut-off (merit-based) system, Singh said he is "not for it". Explaining the reasons, he said the students from the boards which have a "lenient" marking system have an advantage over others in the current system, "while those from strict boards are suffering". "For instance, UP Board students are not getting admissions in Delhi University. Some boards are not lenient. Even students from Haryana Board and neighbouring states are not getting admission here but we are getting a large number of students from Kerala, but not from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh", Singh said. "It is a good thing we are popular in Kerala, but we need to resolve this (the other board students not getting admission to DU)", he said. Stressing that the time has come to relook at various processes that are in place, he said things will change in a year's time. Asked about the various admission criterion under consideration, he laid down the pros and cons of every possible system that could be implemented. "If the student has cent percent marks, what will normalisation do? Even if we take out some average, it will be high. The entrance test is also not a fool-proof system. "People say it encourages coaching and causes unnecessary stress for students. Then Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET, the union government has decided to conduct it) is also an option", he said. Till the fifth cut-off this year, 74,667 students had secured admissions against 70,000 undergraduate seats with some colleges like Hindu College seeing over-admissions. Once a cut-off percentage is announced by a college, all applicants who fulfil the condition have to be given admission even if the number of seats for the course are less. Last year, till the fifth cut-off, 67,781 students had secured admissions against 70,000 seats. Across the student groups, there has been a demand for the reopening of campus and the varsity authorities were considering it. However, the vice-chancellor said, their confidence has gone down after the emergence of Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus, and the university will wait for a month before taking any decision. "The university is open but only. Ph.D. students are coming to campus. The practicals for final year students are happening. How can I reopen campus till the time Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) allows 100 percent seating capacity", he said. Singh said that a classroom has a capacity of 60 students but the admissions are close to 120. "The DDMA mandates that the seating capacity has to be 50 percent of the classroom capacity, which means I can call 30 students. I will have to leave out 70-80 students. How is it possible? Then there is the issue of hostels where already there are space constraints", he said. "We have students from various states and coronavirus is still there in other states. We had planned to reopen but the latest situation has dampened our confidence. We will wait. ", he said.

 

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0.3
Restoring election integrity: The one and only way to save America from tyranny and destruction

One year before the 2022 midterm elections, the United States of America, long the freest, most powerful and most successful nation on earth, is on the brink of total meltdown. Power-obsessed politicians in thrall to a bizarre, quasi-religious ideology, seemingly oblivious to the destruction and suffering they’re causing, daily implement new agendas that crush America’s great middle class, her economy and her most hallowed institutions. Staging this revolution from behind their shockingly senile puppet president, Joe Biden, they have fomented a full-scale invasion of the U.S. mainland, mandated that tens of millions of citizens be injected with an experimental new drug or lose their livelihoods, and heedlessly created Third World-style inflation, shortages, poverty, drug addiction and runaway crime. And they’re just getting started. Ironically, America’s current ruling elites hate the very nation they govern, daily condemning it as irredeemably racist, when in reality it is indisputably the least racist nation in human history. Ignoring reality at every turn, they manifest an abiding contempt for biology, the lessons of history, the fundamental laws of economics, the transcendent value of human life, and especially, for God and His laws. On top of all this, their current figureheads – Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – are unlikable, meanspirited, pathologically dishonest, and in Biden’s case cognitively disintegrating in real time before the entire world. Harris is so singularly repellant that the Biden administration has essentially kept her hidden since Day 1 and her top staffers are quitting in droves. So phantasmagoric has 2021 become, Team Biden appears to be engaged in an “Alice in Wonderland”-type intramural competition to determine who in the administration can be the most deranged: Biden is winning, with his straight-faced claims that his planned multi- trillion -dollar spending orgy “costs zero dollars” and will reduce inflation. But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is giving him stiff competition with his assertion that many of America’s highways and bridges are racist, as is Vice President Kamala Harris, who recently asked NASA if it can possibly “track trees” by race to assure “environmental justice.” No wonder every recent poll shows voters of both parties are running away, as fast as possible, from Biden and Harris. As USA Today reported in early November, “The approval ratings for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have reached dismal new lows, according to a stunning, just-released poll. In a survey published Sunday by USA Today, the president’s approval rating stands at just 38 percent.… The vice president fared equally poorly in the new poll. USA Today found that just 28 percent of those surveyed approve of Kamala Harris at the moment.” Thus, for the ascendent Democratic Party, every bit as addicted to power as a drug addict is to heroin or fentanyl, the only question is: How can Democrats possibly retain their power in light of the growing awareness among the American electorate that their current leaders are basically insane? How, they ask themselves, can they not only avoid losing control of the U.S. Congress in the November 2022 election, but also continue to elect and re-elect Democrats as governors, state legislators, secretaries of state, mayors, Soros-funded district attorneys and other vital down-ballot positions? In light of voters’ ever-decreasing approval of them, there’s only one conceivable solution for Democrats. Cheating. That’s right: Rigging elections. Voter fraud. Changing the rules. Big Tech censorship. Demonizing Voter ID laws. Exploiting every conceivable opportunity to enable, abet, promote, excuse and encourage election-related fraud and abuse in its myriad and ever-expanding forms, all the while vehemently denying it even when caught red-handed, and simultaneously accusing everyone demanding fair elections of being “white supremacists” and “violent extremists” intent on “voter suppression” and implementing “Jim Crow 2.0.” And yet, for leaders of today’s Democratic Party, every bit of this – from outright fraud to the demonization of opponents – is perfectly moral, according to their worldview. That’s because, in the inverted moral universe of the far left, everything is its opposite, just as in Orwell’s “1984” where “WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY” and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” In Biden’s 2021, men are women, concerned parents speaking up at school-board meetings are terrorists, and color-blind meritocracy is systemic racism. But most essential to the Democrats’ secret love affair with election fraud, Donald J. Trump – who accomplished more good for the nation and its people than any president in a generation, restoring America’s economy, getting control of its southern border, defending life in the womb, and courageously deterring aggression in an increasingly treacherous world – is the new Adolf Hitler in their eyes. It matters not that Hitler murdered 11 million and Trump murdered zero. For four years, top Democrats and their media mouthpieces continually likened Trump to “Hitler,” his administration to “the Third Reich,” ICE officers to “Nazi guards,” border detainment facilities to “concentration camps,” and the National Guard soldiers to “stormtroopers” and “the Gestapo.” Why? Because if one were truly fighting Hitler, then cheating, lying, deception and even stronger measures would not only be morally permissible, they would become a moral imperative. This, then, is the key to understanding how Democrats can feel morally justified in enabling and encouraging election fraud – which is both a crime, and a mortal assault on the most essential foundation of a civilized society: They literally regard their opponents as evil. As legendary columnist Charles Krauthammer put it, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” To sum up: As evidenced by the outcome of the recent elections in Virginia, today’s radicalized Democrats are now recognized by a majority of voters to be so dangerous to the republic that there is no way they can stay in power without cheating. If they remain in power, America will rapidly become even more unrecognizable, a nightmarish shadow of the magnificent, powerful and liberty-loving nation it once was. Here’s the good news: If America can manage to assure that elections are truly fair going forward, the maniacal Marxist revolutionaries will have to go away and the nation can then return to sanity and healing. Thus, election integrity is more important than any other issue. It is literally the singular key to whether America lives or dies. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says an electoral “tsunami” is coming next year. Maybe. But only if the elections are fair. IMPORTANT NOTE: The November 2021 issue of WND’s critically acclaimed Whistleblower magazine – titled “AMERICA’S FATEFUL CHOICE: RESTORE ELECTIONS OR KILL THE REPUBLIC” – is entirely focused on how, specifically, America can and must assure that the elections in 2022, 2024 and beyond are fair, honest, transparent and trustworthy. “AMERICA’S FATEFUL CHOICE: RESTORE ELECTIONS OR KILL THE REPUBLIC” is available both in Whistleblower’s much-loved print edition and in state-of-the-art digital form. Better yet, SUBSCRIBE TO WHISTLEBLOWER (print edition) and get 12 powerful issues plus FOUR FREE GIFTS, or else get an ANNUAL DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION.

 

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Chicago organizations look for Type One diabetes cure

CHICAGO Approximately 1.6 million Americans are living with Type One diabetes. About 200,000 of those are under the age of 20. Type One diabetes is an auto-immune disease: "The body has identified its own parts as foreign and attacks them. At least that's what we think in Type One diabetes", said Dr. Louis Philipson, an endocrinologist at UChicago Medicine and a leading expert on diabetes. "So people who have that tend to be younger, but recent studies have shown that you can have Type One diabetes at any age, and in fact half of everyone who has Type One diabetes is actually above the teenage years", he said. For now, there is no cure. JDRF helps fund research to help find a cure. "The way research happens is with financial support. Right now we're funding 150 research projects and 70 clinical trials", said Mimi Crabtree, the executive director of JDRF Illinois. And she sees momentum in that research. "What's new? Well, a lot is new. The interesting thing about the last couple years in research is we've had a lot of advancements including devices that are updated", Crabtree said. "You know, a child used to prick themselves every couple hours; now we have devices that can do that without that pain and difficulty. We've got insulin changes we're making it to make it one, more affordable, more accessible but also different versions. "And as Crabtree explained, JDRF's work isn't just about research, but about helping people here and now. "Our effort here at the local level here in Chicago is to engage those dealing with the disease. Not just the individual, but the communities, the nurses, the employers, everyone that's touched by this. Because as you know, this is a lifelong disease And every day is a challenge for these individuals. ""Typically we think about increased thirst, increased urination and weight loss", said Philipson. "And those things can be so subtle. I've seen parents bring a child in who's lost maybe 5 pounds or 8 pounds over the course of six months and it can be so subtle and so gradual that they don't realize it."The upcoming JDRF One Dream Gala will focus on raising much needed funds for research to one day find a cure. And after being virtual last year, it is back in-person on Saturday at McCormick Place. For more information on JDRF & the upcoming One Dream Gala, visitor

 

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Study finds increased consumption of eggs in children decreases egg allergy

Illinois: According to a recent study, children should be introduced to eggs at an early age to decrease egg allergy. This study was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting. “We examined infant feeding and food allergy data from birth to 6 years, collected by 2237 parent surveys in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II conducted by the CDC and US-FDA,” said Allergy and Immunology Fellow Giulia Martone, MD, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. 1379 participants had completed food allergy data to 6 years. “We found that children who hadn’t had egg introduced by 12 months were more likely to have egg allergy at 6 years,” Martone added. 14 of 2237 surveys (0.6 per cent) reported egg allergy at one year and 11 of 1379 surveys (0.8 per cent) reported egg allergy at 6 years. Children with an egg allergy at 1-year-old and 6 years old had less frequent egg consumption at 5, 6, 7 and 10 months of age. “Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy throughout the world,” said Xiaozhong Wen, MD, PhD, senior author and principal investigator of the study. “Current evidence suggests that early introduction of the egg during infancy, followed by consistent and frequent feedings, seems protective against the development of egg allergy. We are still investigating optimal timing of infant egg introduction and frequency of feeding,” Wen added. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest Health updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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Study finds sense of unreality in mothers after uterus transplantation

Gothenburg: According to a study by the University of Gothenburg, new mothers have a feeling of unreality after giving birth due to getting a uterus transplant which wasn’t possible for a decade. The research has been published in the ‘Human Reproduction Journal’. The first author was Stina Jarvholm, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg and a clinical psychologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Jarvholm belongs to the uterus-transplantation”>uterus transplantation research group that has attracted international attention for its medical advances and has also distinguished itself for its research and publications on the long-term psychological impact of transplantation on donors, recipients, and partners. The present study comprised seven women who had either lacked a uterus since birth or needed to have it surgically removed. All seven had lived in the belief that they would never be birth parents. When they received a uterus transplant in 2013, their average age was 29 years. The results, based on annual interviews with the women up to 2018, clearly showed that in many ways they experienced their situation similar to most other mothers. Becoming a mother felt both thrilling and challenging, and couple relationships were put to the test. Simultaneously, the women had worries connected with the actual procedure. Some had fears about the baby being adversely affected during the pregnancy, and some felt the pregnancy was not truly their own, given the extensive medical supervision they were under. “I wonder if you love your child in a different way, for the very reason that it came into being as it did,” one woman reflected in an interview. Another woman laughed a little when she related how sometimes when she was out shopping with her child, she would suddenly think, “What have I done?” and “What if people around me knew?” “Psychologically, becoming a mother after a uterus transplant seems to be a mixture of feeling just like anyone else and, at the same time, struggling with a sense of unreality,” stated Stina Jarvholm. The uterus transplants from living donors in 2013 were part of the world’s first systematic, science-based research project in this area. It was led by Mats Brannstrom, the University of Gothenburg Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy and Chief Physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. After the first birth in Gothenburg in 2014, another seven births followed before a woman outside Sweden gave birth to a child after a uterus transplant. To date, 12 babies have been born within the framework of the Swedish research project, while the worldwide total is about 40. Jarvholm emphasized that transplanting the uterus is an advanced form of infertility treatment that extended over many years and included recipients, parties and donors alike. “The findings help us to provide psychological support at times when the women are under extra strain — when, for instance, they are repeatedly attempting to get pregnant without success or having miscarriages — and for those who need to leave the project without becoming parents in the way they’d hoped,” Jarvholm said. “The knowledge we’ve gained is also useful for people who meet these women while they’re pregnant. It helps them to provide good support based on the women’s specific needs and to understand that what was previously impossible is becoming a reality,” she concluded. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest Health updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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Nashville mom arrested for bringing loaded gun into high school during fight, police say

A Nashville mom was arrested Thursday after carrying a loaded semi-automatic handgun into a high school during a physical fight between students, authorities said. Barquita Williams, 38, was found with the nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun on her person after walking onto the grounds of East Nashville Magnet School, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said. The incident unfolded when two female students, who had argued earlier in the day, engaged in a physical altercation upon seeing each other in a stairwell after school was dismissed, according to police. During the fight, authorities said other students became involved in the altercation. Williams and other parents who were waiting outside to pick up their children heard about the fight and began entering the school, police said. After officers broke up the fight, other parents told officers that Williams had a gun. Williams denied having a firearm, according to police, but consented to a search. A School Resource Office recovered the loaded handgun. Williams was taken into custody and later released on $1,000 bond. Police did not immediately detail the charges against Williams or say whether Williams had a license to carry a firearm. Metro Nashville Public Schools released a statement to FOX17 Nashville, saying that it remains committed to the safety and education of all students. "MNPS Security will be working with the principal to do a security assessment to determine if any changes to procedures need to be made to prevent future incidents like this from happening again", the statement said in part.

 

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0.7
Data Driven Decisions And Forecasting At Shopify

Just a few decades ago shopping was done by physically going into retail stores or shopping through mail order magazines. Then, the shopping experience was revolutionized with the internet, and always connected mobile phones. Artificial Intelligence is now making significant changes in the way people buy and sell online, from creating more personalized experiences to targeted marketing, crafting tailored messages to be delivered at the right time and through the right channel or AI enabled chatbots to interact with customers at any time of the day. At an upcoming Enterprise Data and AI event on January 6, 2022 Ella Hilal, Head of Data Science, Engineering, Revenue and Growth at Shopify shares how AI and ML are being used to enhance offerings and create new experiences for their merchants as well as share key tips on how you can apply machine learning for anomaly detection and forecasting at scale. In this interview, Ella explains innovative ways Shopify uses AI, ML, and advanced data analytics, the large role that data plays at Shopify, as well as some of the opportunities and challenges AI can present. What are some innovative ways you’re leveraging advanced data analytics to benefit Shopify? Ella Hilal: At Shopify, we have over 1.7 million merchants across over 175 countries, with hundreds of millions of consumers shopping at their stores. We’re focused on leveraging the scale of our data to not only empower Shopify, but to create new experiences for our merchants that are impossible without data. Entrepreneurship can be challenging and many entrepreneurs struggle to get their businesses effectively off the ground as quickly as they hope to. We’re really focused on putting the power of data back into the hands of our merchants. My team specifically builds data-informed products that enable merchants to start and grow their businesses on Shopify. Experiences like personalized onboarding for the merchants as they are starting their business on Shopify, or building an intelligent ad tech platform to help them effectively join Shopify, or even a data-informed business name generator to name their business. In our daily operations at Shopify, we are also highly data-informed. Some of the ways we’re leveraging advanced analytics is by building an anomaly detection engine that allows us to process over 300,000 metric/segment combinations, while focusing attention on what is important in less than 30 seconds. We are also empowering our teams in all the markets around the world to support merchants through a localized data-informed understanding of the market’s needs. How do you identify which problem area(s) to start with for your data analytics and cognitive technology projects? Ella Hilal: At Shopify, we take a merchant-first approach to identifying problem areas. The problems we’re trying to solve aren’t about how we can build more deep learning models (although we have them in production). The problems we’re focused on solving are removing the barriers to success for our merchants. So first we identify the merchant problem, then we identify how we can use data to solve that problem. We definitely prioritize by analyzing the scale of the problem and the size of the merchant base that it will help. For example, one barrier to success for a lot of entrepreneurs is funding, so we created a product called Shopify Capital that uses machine learning to provide funding to merchants. To date, we’ve extended over $2 billion to merchants through Shopify Capital. What are some of the unique opportunities you have when it comes to data and AI? Ella Hilal: The scale of our data provides us with a deep view into the commerce landscape, which enables us to create new experiences for our merchants. Experiences like offering funding to merchants without them having to apply, or using machine learning to categorize billions of products to ensure better product discovery for our merchants. In 2020, we saw the unique opportunity data provided during the pandemic. By tracking, learning from, and putting our insights into action, we were able to steer not only our company, but our 1.7 million merchants through an unprecedented time. We were able to use data to pivot our product strategy and offer experiences like buy online, pick up instore and extended Shopify Capital funding that enabled our merchants to not only survive, but thrive. Can you share some of the challenges when it comes to AI and ML adoption? Ella Hilal: When it comes to implementing and scaling AI/ML at Shopify, we take several approaches to ensure easy adoption and avoid challenges from the get-go. First, we ensure what we’re building is solving a merchant problem and that we have enough data to create a solution. Second, we need to build a deep understanding of the data available related to the problem space, understand its statistical distribution and its mix over time. Third, we start simple. If a regression model will solve our merchant’s problem, that’s where we start. This doesn’t mean we avoid building complex models, it just means that we first prove how a baseline algorithm can solve the problem and such models allow for high explainability of the model’s performance. Then, we iterate by building complex models. These three steps are key in demonstrating the impact that AI/ML can have, which ensures we get stakeholder buy-in. We’ve got more tips that you can check out here. How do analytics, automation, and AI work together at your company? Ella Hilal: I think all of them are parts of the same coin. I strongly believe that no one can build an effective AI model without doing a deep analysis on the data to understand the behaviour, the trends, and their changes over time. And as I mentioned, it all comes back to our merchants. Our data team is not focused on using the fanciest technology, but on solving the merchant problem. That’s why we hire full-stack data scientists. We don’t hire specific machine learning specialists or analysts. Our data scientists own solutions from inception to production, and are empowered to use data to find the best possible solution. A lot of times that means using a combination of analytics, automation, and AI. So what that might look like is our data scientists working to investigate the data to truly understand the merchant problem, figuring out how we can use AI or automation to solve that problem, and identifying what our success metrics look like. How are you navigating privacy, trust, and security concerns around the use of your data? Ella Ella Hilal: Prioritizing the privacy and security of our merchant data is central to how we work and develop at Shopify. We are dedicated to designing all of our products with privacy in mind as a first class citizen and not an afterthought, being transparent about how we collect and use data, and returning the value derived from that data through improvements to our platform’s features and functionality to benefit all merchants. What are you doing to develop a data literate and AI ready workforce? Ella Hilal: At Shopify, we like to say we’re data-informed, not data-driven. This means that everyone at Shopify should feel empowered to make decisions based on data. We do this in three ways: First, we’ve embedded our various data teams within the different areas in the company. We’ve done this so that our product, commercial, and service teams can easily incorporate data in their decision making process, and our data teams have the context to help make those decisions. Second, we have a centralized and searchable data portal that allows anyone in Shopify to search for any data dashboard or data report to learn or investigate any data question. Third, we’ve created data literacy programs that teach our non-data employees how to work with data, like how to run a simple SQL query or work in mode. What AI technologies are you most looking forward to in the coming years? Ella Hilal: I’m excited about the future democratization of AI. Specifically how we can put these advanced technologies into more hands, whether it be small businesses, philanthropies, etc. The more people who have access to these technologies, the more innovations we’ll see in how we use AI to improve our experiences in the world. Ella Hilal digs deeper into these topics at the upcoming Enterprise Data and AI event on January 6, 2022 with a special focus on how Shopify makes data driven decisions and applies machine learning for anomaly detection and forecasting at scale.

 

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1.2
Listen to 'On The Line': A gunman inside a Michigan school

Apple Podcasts| Spotify| Stitcher| Google Podcasts On The Line On this episode: Their names were Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling. Those are the students who were killed Tuesday in a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County. Now, the surviving shooting victims, fellow students and community members are left to grapple with the loss, their own lives forever changed. Host Cary Junior II talks with Free Press reporter Lily Altavena, who was on the ground reporting in the aftermath. The two take listeners to a vigil held hours after the shooting, hear from students who were on the scene, and explore what's next for the alleged shooter, Ethan Crumbley. Extra episode: Listen to Free Press Editor Peter Bhatia explain how we're covering the Oxford shooting. For more: Apple Podcasts| Spotify| Stitcher| Google Podcasts Become a Free Press subscriber.

 

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0.4
Police: 18-Year-Old Shot To Death After Argument At East Harlem Deli

23rd Annual 'A Home For The Holidays At The Grove' Comes To CBS On Sunday, December 5thCBS presents the 23rd Annual A Home For The Holidays At The Grove, featuring uplifting stories of adoption from foster care and raising awareness of this important social issue. Keri Hilson Says 'Hip Hop Family Christmas' Is All About 'Honoring Your Family, Not Living For The World'Keri Hilson discusses her new movie, 'Hip Hop Family Christmas', coming to VH1 on Monday, December 6th at 9PM ET/PT. Ravens-Steelers Preview: Pittsburgh 'Just Not That Dominant Team On Sunday', Says CBS Sports' James LoftonThe Ravens lead the AFC North after a series of close wins, while the Steelers continue to struggle. Liana Wallace On 'Survivor' All-Black Alliance Falling Apart: 'Just Wanted Us To Make Top 8, Then We Can Have World War II''Liana Wallace discusses her 'Survivor' experience. 'Survivor 41' Episode 11 Recap: Do Or DieThe 41st season definitely throws out every expectation you've had of Survivor. This week's episode brought in an entirely new twist, with some unpredictable outcomes. Trevor Noah To Host 'The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards' On CBSCBS and the Recording Academy announced today that Trevor Noah, Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning “The Daily Show” host and comedian, will return as master of ceremonies for the GRAMMY Awards.

 

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0.4
Omicron variant may have picked up a piece of common-cold virus: experts

The Omicron variant may have fragments of another virus, possibly the one that causes common cold in humans, researchers said. Researchers from Nference, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based data analytics firm, found a piece of genetic code in Omicron that is present in the virus that can bring about a cold, according to a pre-print study shared Thursday. By mutating to include this piece into itself, Omicron might be making itself look more accustomed to being found in humans, helping it evade attack by the immune system, said Venky Soundararajan, a biological engineer who co-wrote the study. “By virtue of Omicron adopting this insertion… it is essentially taking a leaf out of the seasonal coronaviruses’ page, which [explains] … how it lives and transmits more efficiently with human beings,” he said. the reported. Researchers in the study said it’s possible that COVID-19 picked up the genetic sequence from the other virus when a person was infected with both pathogens. The mutation could mean the virus transmits more easily, while only causing mild or asymptomatic disease, according to the study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed. It is unclear whether Omicron causes more severe illness, such as hospitalization. Health experts have raised concerns that it could be more infectious than other variants. In South Africa, where Omicron was first detected, it has become the dominant variant, accounting for 74 percent of samples sequenced last month, the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.

 

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0.7
Man Who Helped Catch Suspect In Deadly Morningside Heights Stabbing Recalls ‘Unbelievable’ Encounter With Alleged Killer

The man who helped police catch the alleged killer of a Columbia University student is now describing his own terrifying encounter with the suspect. CBS2’s Nick Caloway spoke with Harlem resident Greg Johnson by phone about the close call. Johnson was walking in Central Park with his girlfriend and dog late Thursday night when the unthinkable happened. “We heard someone running up behind us. As I turned around, this guy just swung some kind of knife at me,” Johnson said. “And I kind of jumped back to avoid it.” He said his attacker didn’t say anything, just kept trying to stab him. “Then he just kept swinging at me with the knife as I kind of just kept hopping back,” he said. Somehow, Johnson and his girlfriend escaped injury. They ran out of the park toward 110th Street and Central Park West Where he flagged down some police officers. “And I told them some guy just tried to stab me in the park. They told me to hop in, so I jumped in the back of the police cruiser,” Johnson said. They drove into the park, and Johnson spotted his attacker. It was later that Johnson learned that police believe Pinkney stabbed two other men earlier Thursday night. Thirty-year-old Davide Giri, a Columbia University graduate student from Italy, was killed after he was stabbed in the stomach near Morningside Park. A short time later, an Italian tourist was also stabbed near the same park. He survived. “That was even more shocking and… kind of added to the sense of just unbelievableness to what had happened,” Johnson said. Cops say the alleged attacker is a gang member who has been arrested 16 times and was out on parole after serving four years in prison for gang assault. Around Morningside Park, the recent violence has neighbors on edge. “It doesn’t really feel comfortable and safe anymore if this keeps happening,” Morningside Heights resident Eileen Hsu said. The NYPD has had a heavy police presence in the area ever since those stabbings took place. Columbia University has also added more safety patrols near campus and around Morningside Park. Police say Pinkney is charged with murder, attempted murder and other counts. CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report, which first appeared on Dec. 4.

 

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0.5
Why An Eric Gordon Trade Could Be Difficult To Construct

On Friday, Rockets guard Eric Gordon had one of his best games of the season, scoring 24 points on 10-14 from the floor, and 4-6 on 3s, leading the Rockets to defeat the Orlando Magic and improve their now league-leading winning streak to five games. Gordon’s production was particularly crucial in light of a thigh injury suffered by Kevin Porter Jr. which led the team’s starter at point guard to miss the second half. Gordon, 33, the sole holdover from a Rockets team that went toe to toe with the Golden State Warriors dynasty, is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 13.6 points on 46.5% shooting from the floor and 43.4% from deep on 5.2 attempts per game. That latter shooting figure is the best in Gordon’s career, dating back to 2014-2015 when he shot 45% from 3. Gordon is one of the best floor spacers in the league and living up to it again this season. Most importantly, Gordon is healthy again. The burly shooting guard has appeared in 19 of the team’s 22 games to date. After enjoying relatively good health early on in his Rockets career (he appeared in 75, 69, and 68 games in his first three seasons), injuries had really taken a toll on Gordon during the latter half of his stint with the team. In 2019-2020, the last season the Rockets had title aspirations, Gordon appeared in just 36 games, and appeared incredibly limited - he shot just 36.9% from the floor and 31.7% on 3s that year. Gordon’s rebound season right now is an incredible waste on a Rockets team in the midst of an organizational rebuild. His skillset could vastly benefit a contender: he can handle the ball, spread the floor, and most importantly, defend multiple positions. And he has always raised his level of play in the postseason, most notably during the team’s runs against the Warriors. The problem for the Rockets is that Gordon earns $18.22 million this season and is still owed $19.57 million next season, in 2022-2023. (His contract is non-guaranteed in 2023-2024 when he would be slated to earn $20.92 million). Gordon had signed a four-year, $75.57 million contract with the Rockets back in 2020. That is a lot of money not only owed but needing to be matched in outgoing salary by a recipient team in a trade, per the league’s collective bargaining agreement. As a non-taxpaying team (as their team salary currently stands), the maximum amount of incoming salary the Rockets could receive in a trade for Gordon is Gordon’s $18.22 million salary plus $5 million, or rather, $23.22 million. (A non-taxpaying team sending out between $6.53 million and $19.6 million can take back at a maximum, the outgoing salary plus $5 million). The maximum incoming salary a taxpaying team may take back in a trade is 125% of the outgoing salary, plus $100,000. The problem is that very few contenders—the subset of teams who would have interest in acquiring Gordon’s services—have large amounts of tradable salary available, at least in the form of players the Rockets would not mind taking back in a trade. For example, the most logical fit for Gordon would be the Phoenix Suns who could have used an extra shot-creator on Friday when they lost to Golden State with Devin Booker sidelined. A possible deal could be centered around Jalen Smith—still just 21 years old—and a future pick (the Suns have their first rounder in 2023). But as far as piecing together the other salaries to approach Gordon’s $18.22 million salary, Phoenix would likely not want to part with standout reserve Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne cannot be traded until March 3. It’s quite a shame. One can imagine Gordon really helping someone down the stretch of a playoff run but getting the math to work on a deal will be a challenge. The likeliest outcome is that Gordon finishes his season with the Rockets.

 

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0.1
Traditional Chinese medicine leading to destruction of African biodiversity: Report

Beijing: China is systematically destroying the biodiversity and pursuing growth of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCMs) in Africa, said a Canada-based think tank. In its report, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said China has managed to stop the exploitation of its own biodiversity for the sake of TCMs and other wildlife-based products and started to explore other countries for the same. TCM is a range of medicine practices sharing common concepts, including various forms of herbal medicines, exercises and dietary therapies. It was developed around 2500 years back in China. Many TCM formulations require animal tissues such as tiger bones, scales of pangolins, antelopes, buffalo or rhino horns, deer antlers, testicles and penis of the dog, bear or snake bile, the report said. China is promoting traditional medicines, as its soft power and as an alternate medicine system, the think tank said. “China, thus, started exploitation of the African Biodiversity for the growth of TCMs and other wildlife-based products at a colossal scale in the last decade through illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and an aggressive Foreign policy Strategy,” IFFRAS reported. China is pursuing growth of TCMs in Africa for achieving its ambitious targets, it has established TCM companies and clinics in many African countries. According to the think tank, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania and Togo signed agreements with China to develop TCM. TCM products are now openly available in retail outlets across Africa. China has deployed over 2000 TCM practitioners in 45 African countries, the think tank said. According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020, there is an alarming 65 per cent decline in population sizes of mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles in Africa over the years. These declines are largely driven by increasing demand of natural resources to support a growing population and global patterns of unsustainable consumption and production that lead to widespread habitat loss (45.9%) and over exploitation of species (35.5%), IFFRAS reported. Africa thus needs to aggressively pursue policies to stop the exploitation of species for the gains of the other countries, the think tank added. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest World updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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0.0
Seaweed may help stop coronavirus from infecting human cells: Study

Jerusalem: A substance extracted from edible marine algae may help stop the spread of coronavirus, according to a study. Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) said ulvan, the major water-soluble polysaccharide extracted from the cell wall of green seaweed, could help stop coronavirus from infecting human cells, Jerusalem Post reported. “The lack of access to vaccines takes the lives of many victims and even accelerates the creation of new variants,” said TAU’s Prof. Alexander Golberg. “The study is still in its early stages, but we hope that the discovery will be used in the future to develop an accessible and effective drug, preventing infection with the coronavirus. Our findings at this stage arouse cautious optimism,” he added in the study published in PeerJ — a peer-reviewed science journal. Because other research showed that certain seaweed compounds had antiviral properties, the team decided they wanted to evaluate them against Covid. They then decided to test ulvan because it could be extracted from common seaweed. “Ulvan is extracted from marine algae called Ulva, which is also called ‘sea lettuce’, and is food in places like Japan, New Zealand and Hawaii,” Golberg said. “It has previously been reported that ulvan is effective against viruses in agriculture and also against some of the human viruses – and when coronavirus arrived, we asked to test its activity.” They grew Ulva algae, extracted the ulvan from it and sent it to the Southern Research Institute in Alabama. There, the US team built a cellular model to assess the activity of the substance produced in Golberg’s laboratory. The cells were exposed to both the coronavirus and to ulvan. It was found that, in the presence of ulvan, the coronavirus did not infect cells. “In other words,” he said, “ulvan prevents the cells from being infected with coronavirus.” He stressed that the best thing would be to vaccinate the world. However, it has become clear that this is unlikely to happen — at least quickly. “As long as billions in the low-income world do not have access to the vaccinea the virus is expected to develop more and more variants, which may be resistant to vaccines – and the war against the coronavirus will continue,” Golberg said. “For this reason, it is very important, for the sake of all mankind, to find a cheap and accessible solution that will suit even economically weak populations in developing countries.” Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest Science updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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1.0
Why VR still isn’t as immersive as it should be

One of my most immersive experiences was set in a forest. Daytime, the sky a clear blue with large white clouds floating over, pine trees stretching up, orange needles covering the ground with a smell of sap. On the ground a man is dying, but preparing for his last action, an ambush to cover the escape of his dear friends, fighters for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. The man thinks long about death and eternity and everything he could not do, the horror of finitude. I finish the book and throw it across the room. The experience was too real for me. Reading a novel, such as Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, is an immersive experience. Never did I think that I was actually Robert Jordan, that I was actually speaking Spanish among Republican guerrillas, nor did I feel exactly what he felt blowing up a bridge, or having a tank shell explode below my horse. But I still know this world, know what it looks like, smells like, feels like. I know many of the characters better than people I’ve met in person, I know the geography of the world, I know what matters and doesn’t matter to each of them. So even if I don’t inhabit the body of Robert Jordan, I do know what it feels like to be him. I know his knowledge, and I think his thoughts. Different media excel at different experiences, and VR and books should never try to replace each other. But there is much that this new medium can learn from older ones, and hopefully guide it away from some key errors. Much of the excitement for VR comes and came from the promise for immersion, feeling like you are actually there in an experience. VR has the highest visual fidelity of an actual physical environment ever experienced and allows for realistic head and body movements. But even with directly photographed content and big budgets, VR content has not grabbed people like the great works of other media. VR experiences are often neat — short and compelling but not particularly memorable. Those initial few minutes are incredible, immersing you quickly, but the effect and its novelty fade before long. In contrast, a book can be extremely hard to begin and get into, but after 400 pages from a skilled author, the immersion can be just as deep if not deeper. VR should be capable of doing much more than this, but so far it has failed to. Books, movies, games, and all other media usually become more immersive the more time you spend with them. As you get to know the world better and accept it, the thoughts of the characters become your own. Usually such immersions break apart only when something goes wrong, where the creator makes some key mistake that ruins the suspension of disbelief and forces the audience to think about the media rather than within it. A huge plot hole, a broken boss fight, or poorly written dialogue all pull a user out of immersion. But with VR, people aren’t yet going deep enough for these to be a real problem. What is missing from VR? It has incredible visuals, issues with motion comfort are improving, sound is improving, there is experimentation with haptics, but none of these improvements seem to be getting VR closer to enabling true immersion. The chains of persuasion that help us feel a place is real still seem to be missing some crucial link. This is because the key ingredient that makes both physical and virtual experiences real is meaning. If I am in a familiar room, it is not the visuals or sounds that make it feel real, but what I can do in it. I know where my chair is; I reach for my glass, knowing its exact weight and shape as I lift it, knowing it contains the water I got from the sink behind me. This background knowledge is what immerses me, not the direct perception of these objects. Meaning is how other media work with immersion. Books are thick with meaning, and the more time you spend immersed, the more real the characters, locations, and logic of the world all become in a way that is deeper than the senses. Video games have deeply internalized this lesson. When computers were still simple and slow, games could simulate action far better than they could simulate visuals, and so game designers focused on making worlds full of meaningful action. Text adventures drew from the descriptive power of books but allowed for interaction and exploration. Because they require reading, it takes time and dedication to become immersed in such a low-resolution experience, but it can be highly rewarding. Once games were able to simulate 3D graphics and movement, developers pioneered kinaesethetic experience design, allowing for complex motions and environments. Many of the best VR experiences to date are works like Half-Life: Alyx and Resident Evil 4, which fully borrow the meaning structures of video games but deepen the experience with VR features. When I control Mario, I am immersed. It doesn’t matter that it is on a small screen separate from my face, the graphics are blocky, the sound non-spatial, or that I control him through button presses, because I have learned this world and what I can do in it. Just as I do not think to myself “extend arm” when reaching for a glass, I never think “press A” but only “jump” “jump” “triple jump,” moving nimbly through this world. Kinaesthetic experiences are highly absorbing, requiring great concentration, which in turn facilitates greater immersion in the world. Simulating actions simply is also more realistic to the experience of meaning than simulating them in detail. If you asked me to punch rather than pressing a button for a game of Street Fighter, I would punch poorly. My form would be completely wrong, I would fail to extend correctly, my muscles not used to the movement. I would have to be thinking every moment about the unfamiliar act of punching and what exactly I’m doing right and wrong. But for a martial arts master such as Ryu, punching is second nature, his body and mind trained to make it subconscious. He would not think “extend arm” but would think “punch,” which is also what I think when pressing the button on my controller. Simulating an action exactly can be a highly valuable design tool, but an action that fails even one tenth of the time destroys immersion in a way that an abstracted button press would not. Immersion should give you the feeling of being in a world, and no world will feel right without consistent control of your actions. This careful attention to the meaning of actions should also extend to the meaning of the environment. If there is nothing to do in a world, then it does not feel real, just a series of unrelated images. Good experience design teaches a user how to navigate a space based on goals and actions. Playing an RPG like Dark Souls, I know there is a shortcut below a shrine unlocked by a key I’ve gotten from an enemy, but getting there means I’ll have to face several other enemies. Every decision requires strategy and thought, but I am fully thinking within the world itself — my thoughts are the same as the character’s. I know where I am and what I am doing. Even if it looks to an outsider like I am just pressing buttons, because I am immersed my sword strikes carry meaning, moving towards the goals of this fictional world I inhabit. VR represents an enormous leap forward in media technology, which will undoubtably deliver the best visual, aural, and haptic experiences. But more fundamental to immersion is the meaning within a world, the meaning of movement and navigation and objective. To create the best immersion, VR needs to build on a foundation of carefully designed meaningful interaction that guides the player into making the virtual world their own. Ethan Edwards is a Creative Technologist at EY.

 

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0.7
Mahanadi Coalfields to set up 50-MW solar plant in Odisha's Sambalpur

Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) will set up a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur district at a cost of Rs 301.92 crore as part of its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. This project will reduce carbon dioxide emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, the public sector unit said in a release on Saturday. The Sambalpur-headquartered MCL has placed an order with a Chennai-based firm, which will establish this green energy project within 10 months. The plant will cater to the captive power requirement of the MCL, which had earlier set-up a 2-MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The MCL has set a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net-zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production. The subsidiary of Coal India had earlier introduced environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects.

 

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0.3
Scientists who study boredom can help you channel your feelings into something productive

As pandemic lockdowns swept the world, those who were stuck at home reported feeling increased levels of boredom. Our collective boredom was reflected in online kvetching and solace-seeking; the phrase "I'm so bored I wish I was hungry" became a meme, as did the idea that boredom can spur culinary exploration. Experts say the sustenance parallel is apt: Boredom functions like pain or thirst, signaling us that something needs to change. But the theory that boredom spawns creativity turns out to have "pretty slim" evidence to support it, according to James Danckert, Ph.D., a cognitive neuroscientist who co-authored " Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom." Though the direct experience may be dull, the scientific study of boredom is full of surprises. For starters, boredom isn't the low-motivation state most of us see it as. Rather, being bored means wanting to connect and interact with someone or something, but finding no outlet for that activation energy. Seen this way, boredom's dissatisfied, itchy feeling comes from having extra capacity, not too little. Thus, the adage "only boring people get bored" couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, pretty much everyone experiences boredom. What differentiates us is how often and how intensely we perceive it, and to what end. Understanding boredom's eccentricities reveals why some common attempts to deal with it backfire, while other coping strategies turn itch into opportunity. The essential feeling, and origin, of boredom We all know what boredom feels like, and yet, there's disagreement over what boredom really is. Why do some people prefer to administer an electric shock to themselves, as one study demonstrated, rather than be unstimulated for 15 minutes? Why did 32% of participants in another say they cheated when asked to entertain themselves with their thoughts for that long? (They listened to music or checked their phones.) At base, it's about a search for personal meaning, said Lars Svendsen, Ph.D. author of "A Philosophy of Boredom." He defined boredom as "ultimately about not caring for whatever is around you" and placed it among the seven deadly sins. "Sloth" is apparently a mistranslation: "When you read these descriptions of acedia, it's patently clear that what these early Christian writers are writing about, it's boredom. The things they have around them are deprived of all life, of all substance. They find nothing in them." The literal meaning of acedia, derived from Greek, is something like "not caring", which explains why "boring" is subjective. Watching ballet may be riveting for some, while it makes Svendsen yearn for an early demise. "Sometimes people say boredom is about not having enough to do", he said, "That is silly, because you can really work your butt off and be so bored." The "people" he's talking about could very well be Danckert and his co-author John D. Eastwood, Ph.D. In "Out of My Skull", they concluded, "[A] lack of engagement is more central to boredom than a lack of meaning." Their case for that stance? "Just as we feel hungry when our body is malnourished, we feel emotional discomfort when our mind is undernourished." Want more health and science stories in your inbox? Subscribe to Salon's weekly newsletter The Vulgar Scientist. And that comes to pass when our strengths lay untapped, such as when we're assigned easy, redundant tasks. Yet too much information and stimulation can leave us overwhelmed and paralyzed. There's a Goldilocks zone, "where the match between the challenge level and our own skill set is 'just right' to push our limits and lead us away from boredom." Sandi Mann, Ph.D. doesn't seem to think much of this debate. "Regarding engagement versus meaning, I think they are both the same thing", said the author of "The Science of Boredom: Why Boredom is Good." "We are often more engaged with something that has meaning to us." Knowing what boredom is not could help pin things down. For starters, it's not apathy. As Danckert and Eastwood put it, "When apathetic we do not care, but when bored we care deeply." It's not ennui. "Ennui might be a learned helplessness in response to boredom or failure to deal with boredom", Danckert said, "but it's not boredom." And it's not depression, though again, it's related. Mann explained: "Remember, boredom is a search for neural stimulation. If we're not searching for that stimulation anymore, then that's probably more depression." The experts also seem to agree about smartphones. Since they bring the potential for meaning and connection to our fingertips, you might expect phones to be a boredom slayer. Instead, they instill a mindset that begets more boredom: "The belief that we are entitled to and capable of engendering a constantly changing, endlessly stimulating and compelling experience dooms us to continual struggles with boredom", Danckert and Eastwood wrote. Imagine you're watching a typical couple sitting on the couch. When one person leaves for the bathroom, Svendsen said, "How many times out of 10 does the person who remains seated go for their phone immediately rather than endure those dreadful two and half minutes of nothingness?" Who experiences boredom most? So is boredom increasing as tech permeates our lives? The answer to that question remains unclear, but we do know a bit about who experiences it most often and most intensely. Traditionally, psychology researchers divided boredom into "trait" boredom — specifically, those who are boredom prone — and "state" boredom, the temporary variety owing to one's situation. More recent iterations of boredom theory use a "person-environment fit model", which is a fancy way of saying it's usually some of both. Still, some psychologists think boredom is more about what's going on in your life than who you are, while others disagree. In one study of nearly 4,000 adults, survey participants reported boredom only about 3% of the times they were asked, but over a 10-day period, 63% said they'd felt bored at least once. Though there's no definitive proof that the difference is innate rather than socialized, men have consistently been shown to be more prone to boredom than women. (In the electric shock study, 67% of men gave themselves at least one shock, while only 25% of women did.) Research also suggests that those who are open to new experiences and lower in neuroticism tend to experience lower levels of boredom. Poor emotional awareness has also been linked to more boredom, and Danckert and Eastwood think that is likely because avoiding feelings often means avoiding experiences. Levels of boredom change over the course of the human lifespan. Because boredom strikes the "underchallenged and unaroused", and because boredom has also been tied to a lack of agency and a feeling of being entrapped, it makes sense that it plagues adolescents and the elderly most. Teenagers have increased cognitive capacity, a relative wealth of free time, and desire to explore, but they're constrained by parental and institutional rules. "Under these circumstances", wrote a different set of scholars, "the sense of having a direct and immediate impact that derives from knocking over someone's mailbox is at least a bit easier to comprehend." Boredom levels rise in the mid-teen years, and then start to drop off in the late teens to early twenties. In middle age, boredom levels are quite low, as, in Danckert and Eastwood's words, a "set of responsibilities descends on us. With careers, spouses, children, and mortgages there may simply be less opportunity to feel bored in our middle decades." Boredom continues to decline into our 50s, but beyond the 60s, with new physical constraints, retirement, and losses of opportunity, "boredom levels started to gradually rise again, particularly in women." I can't help thinking of my own grandmother and how losing her driver's license put an end to post office trips, volunteer work, and pretty much all social engagement. This variation over time, Danckert and Eastwood conclude, suggests that boredom is ultimately more about our circumstances than our personalities. Is boredom to be avoided? Think back to a time when, in a brief moment of solitude, you found yourself reaching for your phone. "If you are constantly reaching for all those stimuli", Svendsen said, then paused. "I mean, I'm not condemning it on moral grounds. I'm just saying you are living your life as a junkie, always going for the next fix. Of course, you can do that, but it's probably not a brilliant recipe for the good life." Indeed, being bored can lead to lapses in judgment, inability to engage in goal-directed planning, poor risk assessment, procrastination, trouble focusing, agitation, and losing control of our emotions. Being chronically bored has been tied to a laundry list of additional bad outcomes including loneliness, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and poor school and work performance. We saw rising levels of pretty much all of these starting in the spring of 2020. And guess who violated quarantine regulations more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic? The boredom-prone, just as they did during the SARS outbreak of 2003. Professor Danckert told me we all probably get the boredom signal with similar frequency. How deeply we feel it and how much boredom affects us largely owe to how we respond to it. There are three choices, really, and the first is just to suffer. You can lurk in an uncomfortable limbo state, feeling at loose ends. The other two options both involve taking action. The "maladaptive" response to boredom includes impulsive behavior, risk-taking, and misuse of drugs and alcohol. These folks are finding a sense of purpose; it's just not one society considers ideal. Others can be so adept at responding to the signal in quick, prosocial ways that they barely even register feeling bored. Experts say that's easier for individuals who already have high levels of self-control, but it's a skill that can be developed. Since psychologists tend to focus on pathology, Danckert said, maladaptive responses like avoidance and aggression get loads of study, but research on positive responses is less plentiful. Still, we know that certain feelings are "in some way incompatible with boredom", including connection, curiosity, interest, relaxation, control, and " flow " (that "in the zone" feeling of complete absorption where you lose track of time and place). The most obvious boredom coping mechanisms are self-motivating tactics that spur you toward productivity. For example, you can keep handy a list of little tasks for when boredom strikes — like, say, reorganizing a kitchen drawer. But some common self-control strategies, like rewarding oneself with a handful of M&Ms for every page of homework completed, don't work as well as others to alleviate boredom, research suggests. The more effective type of self-motivation enhances autonomy. If work feels like a slog, think about what new task or role would be most energizing and rewarding. Svendsen, the philosopher, went so far as to say, "You can see boredom as a voice of conscience." As things lose significance to you, he said, "you will be thrown back upon yourself" in a man-in-the-mirror sort of way, forced to face the questions, "What do I care about? Do I care about what I should care about?" When you figure that out and then deploy your skills and talents to their optimal capacity, right in that Goldilocks zone, you lose yourself. For some, that type of flow can be found during a run or other physical activity. For others, a cognitive challenge is the ticket. Sometimes it's one, and other times the other. And sometimes it's using a scalpel to perform a "c-section" on an orange, like one med student did at the outset of the pandemic. In a study published in 2000, socializing effectively warded off boredom for college students. Deep learning is another "antidote to boredom", Dr. Mann said, saking as it does our needs for curiosity, meaning, and flow. Reading for enjoyment has also been found to ward off the pitfalls of monotony. Or you can be like David Morgan, the Brit who leaned into his traffic cone fascination, acquiring a cone from about two-thirds of all styles ever made. Notice what's not included in this list? So-called " situation-irrelevant activities ", like turning to Netflix. People who are bored don't need to be entertained; they need to be engaged, Danckert said. "There is nothing wrong with watching TV, but it's a really, really temporary solution", Svendsen agreed. Anyone who has engaged in a cycle of rumination — where thoughts run on a loop in your head, getting more intense, convincing, and dramatic with each iteration — knows it's neither fun nor fruitful. So you would assume thinking about how bored you are would be a big no-no. And yet, "the more we fear and attempt to flee from boredom, the more distressing it becomes", Danckert and Eastwood wrote, while "accepting a boring situation gives us what we need to be free of it — the chance to identify our desires and goals." At least one pandemic-era study suggests they're right. "What you should do is not just escape from boredom", Svendsen said, "but rather do something slightly insane: embrace it. Let boredom hit you."

 

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Is Gene Editing the New Name for Eugenics? "Enter Bill Gates" - Global Research

*** The scientific magazine, Nature Studies, has published two studies that suggest that gene-editing techniques may weaken a person’s ability to fight off tumors, and “could give rise to cancer, raising concerns about for the safety of CRISPR-based gene therapies.” The studies were done by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and by the pharmaceutical firm, Novartis. Cells whose genomes are successfully edited by CRISPR-Cas9 have the potential to seed tumors inside a patient the studies found. That could make some CRISPR’d cells ticking time bombs, according to researchers from Karolinska Institute and, in a separate study, by Novartis. “it’s something we need to pay attention to, especially as CRISPR expands to more diseases.” Given the stakes that is a notably nonchalant response. The issue of gene editing to cut or modify DNA of a plant, animal or potentially human beings is by no means mature let alone fully tested or proven safe as the two new studies suggest. CRISPR, far the most cited gene editing technology, was developed only in 2013. In 2015 at a London TED conference geneticist Jennifer Doudna presented what is known as CRISPR-Cas9, an acronym for “Clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats.” It’s a gene-editing platform using a bacterially-derived protein, Cas9 that supposedly allows genetic engineers to target and break the DNA double strand at a precise location within a given genome for the first time. The technique also has significant problems. It has been shown repeatedly that only a small minority of cells into which CRISPR is introduced, usually by a virus, actually have their genomes edited as intended. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.” “Just a few engineered organisms could irrevocably alter an ecosystem.” Esvelt’s computer gene drive simulations calculated that a resulting edited gene “can spread to 99 percent of a population in as few as 10 generations, and persist for more than 200 generations.” Despite such warnings and problems, the US Department of Agriculture has endorsed gene editing, without any special testing, for use in agriculture crops. The Department of Agriculture has decided that genetically edited plants are like plants with naturally occurring mutations and thus require no special regulations and raise no special safety concerns, despite all contrary indications. And the Pentagon’s DARPA is spending millions of dollars to research it. “It would be a tragedy to pass up the opportunity,” he wrote. In point of fact, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which among other projects is working to spread GMO plants into African agriculture and which is a major shareholder of Monsanto, now Bayer AG, has financed gene editing projects for a decade. Gates and his foundation are not at all neutral in the area of Gene Editing and definitely not in the related highly controversial Gene Drive applications. In December 2916 in Cancun Mexico at the UN Biodiversity Conference, more than 170 NGOs from around the world including the German Heinrich-Böll Stiftung, Friends of the Earth, La Via Campesina and others called for a moratorium on gene drive research. However, inside the UN at their dedicated website the online discussion is dominated by something called the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology (AHTEG), a UN-approved “expert group” on synthetic biology. AHTEG is indirectly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the PR company, Emerging Ag which wages an intense pro-Gene Drive lobby campaign within the UN. Emerging Ag has recruited some 60 biology researchers including from Bayer Crop Sciences to promote the high-risk gene drive technology. They advocate US-level non-regulation of gene editing and gene drive as does Gates, and they vigorously oppose any moratorium. In his Foreign Affairs article Gates argues, “Gene editing to make crops more abundant and resilient could be a lifesaver on a massive scale… For a decade, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been backing research into the use of gene editing in agriculture.” He adds, without proof, “there is reason to be optimistic that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes will not do much, if any, harm to the environment.” With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the USDA and the Pentagon DARPA all involved energetically advancing gene editing and especially the highly-risky Gene Drive applications in species such as mosquitoes, one has to ask is gene editing becoming the new name for eugenics in light of the fact that GMO technologies have been so vigorously opposed by citizen groups around the world. Honest scientific research is of course legitimate and necessary. But unregulated experimentation with technologies that could wipe out entire species is definitely not the same as planting a variety of hybrid corn. * List Price: $25.95 This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.” This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms. The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is. Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page Become a Member of Global Research

 

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Ocean resources key to India's future economy, says Jitendra Singh

Stating that marine minerals from coastal and ocean resources will be key to India's future economy, Union Science and Technology Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh on Sunday said metals such as nickel and cobalt play an important role in promoting renewable energy technologies needed to fight the climate change challenges. Steps are being taken for close coordination and collaboration between Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology (IIMT) and National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai (NIOT) for accelerated progress in developing India's blue economy and harnessing its ocean resources, he said after inaugurating the new building facilities at the CSIR-IMMT at Bhubaneswar. "Efforts are on for development of suitable technologies for effective mining of some of the deep-sea mineral resources and exploitation of gas hydrates resources", he said, according to a release from the Ministry of Science & Technology. Asserting that India has emerged as one of the frontline nations in marine scientific research and now actively engaged in exploring the resourceful ocean bed for meeting the country's future energy and metal demands, he said: "The 'Deep Ocean Mission' initiated by the Modi government heralds yet another horizon to various resources to enrich the 'Blue Economy'." The Common Research and Technology Development Hub (CRTDH) has been established at CSIR-IMMT by the joint effort of the CSIR-IMMT and the Ministry's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in order to provide, technological solution, to mentor entrepreneurs/start-ups, alongside facilitating incubation of start-ups. Its primary objective is to nurture and promote innovations in MSMEs and provide them R&D or knowledge-based support in the area of new materials and chemical processes, the release added. --IANS niv/vd

 

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Study Reveals Why Astronauts Age Faster in Space

It's long been known that exposure to radiation damages DNA, but a new study has found an additional risk for astronauts: DNA replication is more prone to errors in microgravity. Scientists tested whether enzymes accurately copy DNA in cells during microgravity — the weightlessness produced during the freefall of a jet on a parabolic flight pattern. When the so-called "vomit comet" descends more than 2 miles in 20 seconds, the near-weightlessness replicates conditions in space. Accurate DNA replication in space is crucial for astronauts and the future of space travel. "So-called DNA polymerases are essential enzymes that copy and repair DNA. Inevitably, they aren't perfect: even under optimal conditions, they sometimes make mistakes. Here, we show that DNA polymerases derived from the bacterium E. coli are considerably more prone to errors under microgravity, such as occurs in space", said Aaron Rosenstein of the University of Toronto, corresponding author of the study published in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. Scientists are already aware that DNA undergoes a higher rate of mutation when exposed to cosmic rays and solar particles. Space radiation causes substitutions of single nucleotides, crosslinks, inversions and deletions, which increases the risk of cancer, genetic defects in a developing fetus and future offspring and the degeneration of tissues and cataracts. Until now, it was not known whether human DNA replication is affected by weightlessness. If DNA polymerase copies are less accurate, the high mutation rate will increase each time the DNA is copied, resulting in a higher incidence of cancer. In 2020, scientists at the University of Rome Tor Vergata found that exposure to cosmic radiation damages cells and causes the onset of diseases normally associated with aging. The authors of the new study showed for the first time that the error rate in DNA polymerases in E. coli bacteria is higher during weightlessness. Using a semiautomatic mini-laboratory, they observed a single round of replication of a 1000-nucleotide-long DNA fragment during the parabolic flight of a jet, which simulated space flight conditions. The scientists faced challenges in using their mini-laboratory during flight conditions that ranged from weightlessness to hypergravity, or two times the gravity on the Earth's surface. The dual phenomena of cosmic radiation and inaccurate DNA replication during weightlessness, the authors concluded, pose dangers to astronauts' health during future missions to the moon and Mars. The study emphasized the need for future spaceships to generate artificial gravity to prevent possible negative health effects for astronauts in deep space. "We have shown that DNA polymerases similar to those found in mitochondria — the cell's powerhouses — make more errors in microgravity", said co-author Virginia Walker of Queens University in Ontario, Canada. "The combined effect of greater damage and decreased replication accuracy could lead to premature aging in astronauts." This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

 

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Put a price on carbon

The recent spike in gasoline prices has shown one drawback of relying on fossil fuels for transportation. Imagine, instead, that it is 2030, and half of U.S. cars are electric vehicles. Imagine further, that the cost of carbon-free electricity, generated by wind and solar, has dropped way below the current price, and our home electricity bills have dropped by an average of $500 a year. Sound unlikely? Not when you notice that the price of solar has consistently fallen faster than expectations, due largely to increasingly efficient and cheaper solar panels and lower capital costs for building solar farms. Here in Illinois, Exelon already has a small solar farm in West Pullman. Imagine more Chicago vacant lots covered in solar panels. A price on carbon would make dirty electricity more expensive, and solar- and wind-generated electricity relatively cheaper. To help consumers afford the transition, each household could receive a monthly check as their share of the carbon price paid by polluting corporations. A price on carbon would also stimulate innovation and create new jobs. Contact your elected U.S. representatives to let them know you want a price on carbon included in the Build Back Better Act. Don Wedd, Hyde Park One huge issue in the Mississippi abortion case revolves around the principle of stare decisis, or letting previous decisions stand. During oral arguments, Justice Brett Kavanaugh cited many cases in the Supreme Court’s history in which the high court overturned previous laws and negated traditions, implying that overturning “Roe v. Wade” would not be so uncommon. But each case he mentioned focused on a particular constitutional right that a state or multiple states were denying, such as interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, the right to an equal education, the right to counsel in a criminal case, the right to remain silent, etc. In each case, some states allowed these rights, while others denied them. The 14th Amendment states that no state can deny a citizen equal protection under the law. If Illinois allows abortion until the fetus is viable (about 24 weeks) but Texas cuts off that right at six weeks, how is that equal protection? Kavanaugh also implied that the Court should remain neutral on abortion rights and let the people vote for state representative to make these decisions. All nine justices take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution. When state laws fail to uphold the 14th Amendment, the justices on the highest court in the land have a duty to ensure no state passes a law that violates the equal protection clause. Jan Goldberg, Riverside

 

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Could 118 lives have been saved in Chicago if vaccines were distributed more equitably?

Nearly a year ago, after the first shipments of vaccine arrived in Chicago, city officials rolled out a strategy to get extra doses into South and West side communities identified as most vulnerable to COVID-19. “Equity is not only part of our COVID-19 strategy, equity is our strategy,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in January while announcing the Protect Chicago Plus initiative. Since then, public health experts have collected and analyzed data over time to answer the question: Did Chicago go far enough? According to one provocative finding, the answer is no. Even as the city celebrates a recent milestone — 77% of Chicagoans 12 and up at least partially vaccinated as of late November — that number conceals a persistent divide. New research and modeling by the University of Chicago’s Healthcare Ethics and Allocation Lab argues the city could have gone further, suggesting that a better vaccine rollout might have saved more than 100 lives during the deadly spring wave earlier this year. Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, dismissed some of the underlying assumptions of the study and its conclusions. “I think it’s a little bit simplistic to say that there were distribution strategies that led to those outcomes,” she said in an interview. “Everything we did was to try to decrease that inequity.” To get a closer look at vaccination rates across Chicago, WBEZ teamed up with Documenting COVID-19, a journalism collaborative started at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University, and MuckRock, a non-profit that promotes government transparency and accountability through public records requests and investigative journalism. In addition to reporting on the study and interviewing public health experts on the initial vaccine rollout, the reporting team compiled various public health metrics by ZIP code and community area to measure the impacts of disparities over time. The data show how, despite the city’s efforts to improve vaccine equity, the initial phase of Protect Chicago Plus did not prioritize some vulnerable communities. The University of Chicago study details how, despite the city’s efforts to target vulnerable areas, “white and high-income communities were often the first people to receive vaccines” across the country during the earliest phases of the rollout. By April, the ZIP codes with the lowest vaccination rates were largely clustered on the South and West sides. “Places like St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood should have just had as many doses as they could administer. That wasn’t the case,” said Dr. William Parker, an assistant professor of pulmonary critical care medicine who is also assistant director for the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Medical Ethics. “The places that do exist that are serving only disadvantaged communities need to get more doses.” Parker led the research team in analyzing where and how Chicagoans got vaccinated, and why vaccine hesitancy wasn’t the only factor in the disproportionately low vaccination rates of some of Chicago’s predominantly Black and Latino ZIP codes. The study, “Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Inequity in Chicago,” estimates that 118 additional deaths could have been avoided in the spring of this year if the least vaccinated group of Chicagoans had the same access to vaccines as the most vaccinated group. The researchers conclude that the inequitable vaccine allocation in Chicago “exacerbated existing racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality.” Viewable on the preprint server medRxiv, the study is currently under peer review, which allows experts to evaluate the methods and findings of other researchers. The University of Chicago’s research arrived at the conclusion using a difference-in-differences analysis method, which compares the changes in outcomes over time between areas with low and high vaccination rates. The estimate of 118 unnecessary deaths over 11 weeks between late March and mid-June 2021 makes a number of assumptions: Controlling for all other factors, including co-morbidities, and treating vaccination rates as the same in these two different groups. When examining ZIP codes, it’s clear that specific neighborhoods bore the brunt of the pandemic, including those in Little Village, Brighton Park, Austin and West Garfield Park community areas. The study’s findings align with Chicago vaccine supply data, which was obtained through a public records request by the Documenting COVID-19, MuckRock and WBEZ. The data show that, of the 738 locations where vaccines were shipped in Chicago since Jan. 1, the communities that received the most doses of vaccine were largely North Side and Near West Side neighborhoods — Lakeview, Logan Square and Lincoln Square. The Near West Side received at least 510,500 doses while at least 322,700 doses have been sent to the Back of the Yards community. West Englewood, a neighborhood that received very few vaccine shipments in the initial months of the vaccine rollout, has since been able to administer more than 70,000 doses, ranking the neighborhood 15th in comparison to 75 other communities accounted for in city data. Arwady noted that the city made extra doses available to residents of the 15 communities identified as highest risk based on its COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index. The index ranked all 77 Chicago community areas based on four factors, including sociodemographic, epidemiological and occupational risk factors, as well the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths occurring in those communities in the first year of the pandemic. Of the 24 Chicago communities recognized as highly vulnerable, only the top 15 were included in the Protect Chicago Plus, a city initiative designed to saturate communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccine during late winter and early spring of this year. Auburn Gresham, for example, was deemed “high risk,” ranking 23rd on the city’s vulnerability index. But it wasn’t high enough to be included in Protect Chicago Plus. Since late March, Auburn Gresham has seen one of the highest per-capita COVID mortality rates in Chicago, according to an analysis of Cook County Medical Examiner data compiled by South Side Weekly. By summertime, canvassing teams fanned out block by block to get the word out in the neighborhood and to administer vaccinations in homes as needed. Today, Auburn Gresham’s vaccination rate stands at 51%. Parker’s study shows a grouping of under-vaccinated ZIP codes that led to a sizable increase in deaths during the spring wave. That’s despite the fact that Illinois has a higher vaccination rate than the national average, with 71% of residents 12 or older fully vaccinated, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Previously hard-hit areas on the city’s South and West sides that were under-vaccinated as of January and February became even more susceptible to greater numbers of deaths when the fourth wave hit in March and April, Parker said. For example, the total number of doses administered in Auburn Gresham hovered around just 1,388, among the lowest in Chicago, according to Chicago Department of Public Health records through Sept. 29. Existing issues with access to general medical care and COVID-19 testing availability early on in the pandemic continued to play a role in vaccination rates in some areas of the county. “The characteristics of places are still the same,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern. “We still see areas where public transportation is limited, less well-resourced schools, where housing is challenged.… We’ve got a lot of social engineering that needs to happen.” During the first phase of the vaccine rollout that started in December of 2020, when demand vastly exceeded supply, shots were being sent to the hospitals that were prepared to use all of their inventory every week. But poorly-vaccinated areas remained stagnant in part because the South and West sides house fewer hospitals that could provide vaccine clinics. In the third wave, from March 28 to June 13 of this year, all areas of the city saw a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths, though the highly vaccinated areas were the most well-off. The fourth wave, driven by the onset of the delta variant this summer, did not significantly impact the most vaccinated groups of the city, Parker said. But the rise in cases and deaths in poorly-vaccinated areas, according to the research, was preventable had the city’s vaccine distribution been more intentional and equitable. For the city’s part, Arwady said public health officials distributed doses as widely and equitably as possible when supplies were tight. Where vaccination rates plateaued, the city shifted tactics to reach out to those hesitant to get the shot. “There are different strategies and needs based on points in time that we tried to do based on data,” she said. “I would not do it any differently.” Kyra Senese is a Chicago-based freelance reporter who worked with the Brown Institute for Media Innovation’s Documenting COVID-19 project from 2020 to 2021. Smarth Gupta is a data research fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation’s Documenting COVID-19 project and a graduate student at Columbia University.

 

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Stunning photos show total solar eclipse over Antarctica

These stunning photos show the moment the sun is completely covered by the moon in an amazing solar eclipse. The phenomenon saw the sun completely disappear – however was only properly visible over Antarctica. However, those in the Southern Hemisphere may have caught a partial eclipse. Parts of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile might have been able to catch a glimpse of the striking change in the sky this morning. And the pressure was on to see the stunning event, with the next solar eclipse is expected April 8, 2024 for those in the US. Meanwhile, there are no eclipses expected in Europe for the rest of the 21st Century. Thankfully, even if you couldn’t make it to Antarctica, you could still watch today’s eclipse online. NASA livestreamed the spectacle, showing the moon slowly but surely cover the sun. NASA said: “The eclipse will occur before, during and after sunrise or sunset. “This means viewers will need to get a clear view of the horizon during sunrise or sunset.” Watching the solar eclipse online means no safety required – just enjoy the magic via your screen. If you’re lucky enough to see the eclipse in person, you should follow NASA’s advice. “When viewing a partial solar eclipse, you must wear solar viewing or eclipse glasses throughout the entire eclipse if you want to face the Sun,” NASA says. “Solar viewing or eclipses glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the Sun. “If you are in the path of a total solar eclipse, you can take off your solar viewing or eclipse glasses only when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun.” This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

 

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Welcome to ‘Web3.’ What’s That?

The DealBook newsletter delves into a single topic or theme every weekend, providing reporting and analysis that offers a better understanding of an important issue in the news. If you don’t already receive the daily newsletter, sign up here. At the start of 2020, a Bitcoin was worth just over $7,000. Today, it’s trading at about $50,000, and the value of all cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin is one among many, is some $2.3 trillion. This rise has led many to envision a radically different future for finance and to question long-held beliefs about value. Bitcoin, the original established cryptocurrency, was devised as electronic money for direct exchange between people who need not trust each other, or anyone else, and instead put their faith in the blockchain — a public ledger maintained by decentralized, open-source networks of computers. There are now thousands of different blockchain-based tokens, circulating continuously on venues with varying degrees of regulation and oversight. This is what is known as “web3,” the name adopted for a decentralized internet run on crypto tokens. Supporters say it will democratize everything, reshaping art, commerce and technology; displacing intermediaries; and putting people more directly in control of their destinies. If that sounds far-fetched, consider that venture capitalists have invested more than $27 billion in crypto and related projects this year, more than the previous 10 years combined, according to PitchBook. The biggest investors and industry players are also lobbying in Washington to influence rules that would favor their futuristic view of tokenomics, which can already be seen in some burgeoning communities where web3 is not some abstract concept but a feature of daily life. Inside the NFT economy Take nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, which are unique bits of code on a blockchain associated with an image, a video, audio or some other thing. In October, Cam Rackam, an artist, sold 10,000 NFTs linked to images based on memes from Reddit’s Wall Street Bets message board, making $2.5 million. As a “relatively successful” painter over an 18-year career, Mr. Rackam was “never welcomed” at the Art Basel fair in Miami Beach, he said. But this past week he was there, saying NFTs created a lot of buzz and traditional artists were “feeling a little left out.” So far in 2021, about $27 billion worth of crypto has been spent on major NFT platforms, according to Chainalysis. That’s up from $114 million in all of last year. What are people getting? The NFT confers public proof of ownership and authenticity of an item, which may or may not include copyright — just as in the physical world an artist may sell a work but retain the intellectual property, said Frank Gerratana of Mintz, a law firm. Last month, Miramax sued the director Quentin Tarantino over his proposed auction of “Pulp Fiction” NFTs, which were linked to high-resolution scans from his original handwritten script. The company said using the film’s branding and imagery violated its rights. This is one of the first cases associated with NFTs, Mr. Gerratana said, and how it plays out may prove significant. He said his corporate clients were still trying to figure out what an NFT was and why people were buying them: “They are wondering, ‘Is this the future? Are we going to have to do this?’” For Mr. Rackam, the revolution has already arrived. “The joke is always on the boomers who don’t get it,” he said, referring not to the older generation but a dated mind-set that rejects new ideas about art and value. He noted that people had struggled with Andy Warhol’s prints of common commercial imagery like Campbell’s Soup cans, too. Speaking out on decentralized social media Another web3 concept that challenges conventions is decentralized social media, where users earn and trade crypto. On DeSo, a network for blockchain-based apps, users are paid for popularity, participation, posts and work. Its founder, Nader Al-Naji, a former Google engineer, believes that internet users will want to bypass the likes of Twitter and TikTok, which make money by serving them ads, and capture this worth directly for themselves instead. Mr. Al-Naji’s first crypto project was Basis, a “decentralized Bitcoin” endeavor that he halted on regulatory concerns, returning funds it had raised from major venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Mr. Al-Naji’s next project, BitClout, is an app where people trade personalized tokens linked to likenesses of one another and pop culture figures, whose values rise and fall based on use. It generated controversy when it was launched in March, with some calling it a “ dystopian social network.” But the developer of the app, and the wider network it belongs to, said there was a “renaissance” in money afoot. Any users can be rewarded for their musings, music or mere presence via tokens or “frictionless tipping,” with a diamond button that allows others to send a bit of crypto their way in appreciation of whatever they do or say. “The vast majority of the benefits go to the smaller creators who people have always wanted to support,” Mr. Al-Naji said. “Here you just throw them some diamonds, you know, or buy their coin, which is an investment.” Is this allowed? At the Securities and Exchange Commission, it’s Gary Gensler’s job is to ensure that crypto companies operate within a regulatory framework. To the chagrin of many web3 supporters, Mr. Gensler, who is the chair of the agency, believes that the old rules still apply to new tools. That implies that many, if not most, crypto assets are securities and must be registered with the S.E.C. to ensure adequate disclosures and investor protections, with all the costs and scrutiny this entails. And regardless of their legal status, the utility of some blockchain-based systems is up for debate. “Usually there’s a reason people want to have a central ledger,” Mr. Gensler told DealBook in an interview, noting that distributed ledgers maintained by thousands of computers have “costs.” On currency, generally, “I associate myself more with Plato’s view of money than Aristotle’s,” he told DealBook. Aristotle, he said, believed money had four features — portability, durability, divisibility and intrinsic value. Plato accepted the first three, Mr. Gensler said, but thought it had no inherent worth and was “just a symbol.” When he taught courses on crypto finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology just before leading the S. E. C. , Mr. Gensler told his students to ask, “Where is the value proposition?” Are all of the crypto tokens that are competing with the dollar, or forming the basis of an app, valuable? “The answer might be maybe,” he said. “But is there room for 6,000 of them? Highly unlikely.” What do you think? Let us know: dealbook@nytimes.com.

 

 78 /100 

0.5
Antarctica was once a rainforest. Could it be again?

Not far from the South Pole, more than half a mile below the ocean in a region that was once covered by ice, a layer of ancient fossils tells a surprising story about the coldest continent on Earth. Today, the South Pole records average winter temperatures of 78 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. But roughly 90 million years ago, the fossils suggest, Antarctica was as warm as Italy and covered by a green expanse of rainforest. “That was an exciting time for Antarctica,” Johann P. Klages, a marine geologist who helped unearth the fossils, told Vox. “It was basically the last time the whole continent was covered by vegetation and probably also wildlife — dinosaurs, and all that.” Intrepid polar scientists like Klages, who works at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, are revealing new sides of the Antarctica we know today. In the April 2020 issue of the journal Nature, he and 39 colleagues described networks of fossilized tree roots that they pulled up from the seafloor in 2017. They’re a sign of just how much the polar climate has changed since the “supergreenhouse” of the Cretaceous period — and perhaps how much the climate could change again. Even since that paper, the Antarctic surprises have kept coming. In October, a Brazilian research team announced that it found 75-million-year-old pieces of charcoal on James Ross Island, hundreds of miles south of South America. In the journal Polar Research, the researchers concluded that “paleofires,” which were common in the rest of the prehistoric world, also scorched the Antarctic Peninsula. “That’s exciting work,” Klages said. “It’s the first evidence for these wildfires.” As climate change warms Antarctica and shrinks its enormous ice sheet, many scientists are wondering whether history could repeat itself. But relatively few research teams have the tools to work in a place where Titanic-sized icebergs pepper the ocean. I sat down with Klages at the Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin to talk about how his team conducted research from the RV Polarstern, a research icebreaker that translates “North Star” and regularly carries around 50 scientists and 50 crew members to the Arctic and Antarctic. He told me about the place where his team drilled into the seafloor — an area where geology somehow brought layers of 90-million-year-old sediment, or “strata,” within reach of their enormous and powerful drill. The layers, he said, are like the pages in a book. “You walk along the pages; you walk along history,” he said. Our conversation has been edited and condensed. Can you tell me a little bit about the 2017 voyage itself? All Antarctic expeditions I’ve been a part of are extremely exciting because everywhere you go, usually, it’s for the first time. It’s like this white spot on the map. Every time we go there we discover new things. Polarstern is one of the largest research icebreakers in the world — it can break through thick ice. That makes it possible to reach locations that are usually not reachable for other ships. In the Northern Hemisphere summer, it’s usually in the Arctic, and in the Southern Hemisphere summer, it’s usually in the Antarctic. This particular cruise was exciting because we tried this special seafloor drill rig for the first time. It’s huge. It’s almost 10 tons. It needs seven 20-foot containers of equipment to be shipped. There are only two of them available on the planet right now. They were developed and built in Bremen, Germany, at the Institute for Marine Environmental Sciences. For this drill rig, you need special conditions. It sits on the seafloor and it’s connected with a long cable, in this case about 1,000 meters, for power supply and a glass fiber cable that ensures the communication. We have 20 HD cameras that are observing each step. We the scientists are standing behind the technicians, because they are the specialists, in the communication container with all the screens that show you what’s going on. It must look like a cockpit of an airplane. Yeah, or like in Houston when rockets go up. It’s very exciting. We know, when we drill, that no one has seen this material before. It’s also extremely exciting because sea ice drifting toward the ship would be the end of the cable. Canceling the drill takes five to six hours. Therefore, we have a joint collaboration with the German aerospace center, and every day we get high-resolution imagery of the particular location where we drill. Then we have two helicopters on board. We fly around the ship to make sure there is no sea ice. You need around 30 to 50 hours of operation time on one particular location. So for this time window, you have to make sure that everything runs relatively smoothly. We had to drill through 25 meters [82 feet] of sandstone, which is always the worst to drill, especially when there’s water involved, because it crumbles and falls apart. It’s really annoying. The drilling crew wanted to cancel the drill because of the sandstone and because ice was coming. We had to decide. I think the ice was eight or nine hours away. Why did you drill there? Because during past expeditions, with geophysical methods looking deep into the seafloor, we saw that the geological strata were kind of tilted. And that signals just how old it is. Exactly. If you have tilted strata, some kind of bigger tectonic process brought it up. Then the ice eroded into it, so that these strata are so close to the surface — just a few meters below the surface. Is the drill sort of like a straw, in that it holds the sediment in place as it drills down? Yeah, you have an inner and outer barrel. At the bottom, you have a diamond drill head. The seafloor drill rig has two magazines in it — one with empty barrels and one with filled barrels. You pull out the inner barrel every 3.5 meters. We then go and get the material from the technicians. That was the first moment we realized we have something very special because it had a color that we never saw before in Antarctica. Very dark brown, and very fine-grained. At the surface, every once in a while, you could see these black spots. We were all wondering, what are these black spots about? Must be something organic. We decided to drill one more section, which means 3.5 meters, and then go away. And in those 3.5 meters, there were those exciting strata. If we hadn’t, there would have been nothing exciting, really. That made the difference. It’s always a combination of knowledge and good conditions, but then there are two more things: luck and intuition. If you don’t follow them, you shouldn’t go there in the first place. We came home. The cores came home a couple of weeks later, shipped home on Polarstern. Then we decided to go to a hospital we have a collaboration with that has these human computed tomography (CT) scanners. When we first saw the CT data, that was the moment we realized we have something very special. It was this interconnected network of fossil roots. Was there evidence of plant life in Antartica before you came along? Yes, but all of that evidence is 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers [about 600 to 900 miles] farther north. There was no evidence from near the South Pole. We reconstructed this environment only 900 kilometers away from the South Pole. No one really knew what the climate was like during the “supergreenhouse” period near the South Pole. But this is actually what you need when you want to know the severity of a particular climate in Earth’s past. [The poles are currently warming much more quickly than the rest of the planet, and as polar ice melts, global warming accelerates.] This is what we could reveal with this study. The problem in Antarctica is, right now, is the ice sheet. The particular site where we drilled was covered by grounded ice for millions of years, but since we are in an interglacial period right now, the ice retreated to a point that it just made it possible to get to it and drill into it. Could you describe what was happening in the atmosphere at the time that could have created these conditions? That was the final question we asked ourselves. Such a diverse environment with such mild temperatures — temperatures that today you have in northern Italy, for example. What is necessary to maintain that for a long stretch of time 90 million years ago? Therefore, we invited some climate modelers into our team. They came up with [a carbon dioxide concentration of] at least 1,100 parts per million CO2, which is four times preindustrial [the CO2 concentration before the Industrial Revolution]. This was needed, at least, to meet the conditions we reconstructed. We knew this period was the warmest in the last 145 million years. Now we had much better numbers on the CO2 content. The model still has a problem: It can’t really simulate well enough the gradient between lower latitudes and high latitudes. We now know that the gradient was very shallow. So it’s likely that the climate was hotter but more even at the time. Yeah! This is something that models can’t do right now properly — to simulate this gradient. So there is a bug with the modeling. This is now what brings it to the significance for the future of the climate, if we drift into a high-CO2 future. We are doing that right now. We are 420 parts per million CO2, something around that. If we go to this high-CO2 future, we know that models struggle. This is a chance to use moments in Earth’s past to calibrate those models, to improve their predictive capabilities for tomorrow. And the predictions your colleagues are starting to make suggest that it’s very concerning — but the presence of the ice sheet itself could protect us? Yes. We are quite lucky now that we have ice, and that two big areas of our planet are covered by permanent ice mass: Greenland and Antarctica. You have this self-cooling process. You have a gigantic mirror that sends short-wave radiation that comes in, back into space. If this is gone, this is transformed into heat. This is something that we should not take for granted. Ice is vanishing. Every year we go there, we see. [We think] “Oh my gosh — it’s really going quickly now.” The rapid changes going on are unprecedented, as far as we know so far from the geological past. We are doing a big experiment right now. We take fossil fuels from the Earth’s crust that were deposited over millions of years, and usually would have been released back to the atmosphere over millions of years — but we did it within 150 years. Boom. That has never happened before. That has a massive impact. This is something we need to incorporate when we talk about the future — to start learning what the planet already went through in its history. It’s the only chance we have. It’s not about environmental protection — it’s about human protection. It’s about us. When you set out to become a marine geologist, did you ever think you’d end up researching something so pressing — the future of our climate? No. You drift into things. I was just fascinated by the planet and by its history. We are lucky to be part of it. But this particular discovery — if someone would have told me the story like three years ago, I would have laughed. I never thought it would have such an impact.

 

 79 /100 

0.2
'Red Rocket' Is a Study in Shamelessness

Mikey Saber, the preening, confident chump who’s the ostensible hero of Sean Baker’s new film, Red Rocket, enters on-screen to a loud and familiar tune: “Bye Bye Bye,” by *NSync. The song is a piece of mainstream pop from yesteryear (it’s a shiver-inducing 21 years old), and its usage in this arty indie film seems laced with irony. Baker knows, though, that for all its non-subtlety, “Bye Bye Bye” is still as catchy as it was the day of its release, and he uses it to suggest the same of Mikey (played by Simon Rex): He’s his own kind of relic, rolling back into his hometown after a failed career in Los Angeles, but he’s still got a glint of charm to him. Baker has always told small-scale stories set on the margins of America—2015’s Tangerine was a bittersweet Christmas tale about trans sex workers, and 2017’s The Florida Project was about “hidden homeless” families living in a motel. Both of those films were empathetic works about people enduring incredibly challenging circumstances—Baker, who often casts first-time actors in his work, is a master of displaying unvarnished truth on-screen. Red Rocket is far more sour than sweet, but that’s part of the point; Mikey is a reprehensible fellow, but he’s clawed his way through life by sheer force of will, and as such, the camera simply can’t look away. Mikey is a former porn star given to bragging about his many accolades in the industry, but he has fallen on hard-enough times to have to return to his birthplace of Texas City, Texas, and knock on the door of his estranged wife, Lexi (Bree Elrod). Despite obvious enmity from Lexi and her mother (Brenda Deiss), Mikey somehow talks them into letting him crash, and from there he gets busy with a few foolish schemes—dealing drugs, hooking up with old high-school friends, and trying to worm his way into the affections of a pretty 17-year-old he meets at a local doughnut shop. Red Rocket is set in the months leading up to the 2016 election—occasional snippets overheard on TV news discuss Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—and Baker clearly wants the viewer to draw a connection between the outsize personalities of the former president and his witless but street-smart protagonist. Any audience member likely knows that Mikey is bad news, as do all the people in his life, but he’s still mesmerizing as he fires up his motormouth and lets another self-aggrandizing monologue loose. Rex, a former MTV VJ, rapper (he went by the moniker Dirt Nasty), comedian, and actor, is an inspired casting choice. He’s a product of the early 2000s, maybe best remembered for his role in the Scary Movie franchise or for his modeling gigs. That long gap since he was last relevant means Rex has exactly the right desperate, sweaty edge to portray Mikey, a man with no money in his pockets and few appreciable skills (except for those one might employ on a porn set). Watching him scramble back to his feet is undeniably thrilling, even though Mikey’s chronic nervous energy suggests he knows that a ton of bricks could fall on him at any second. His connection with Strawberry (Suzanna Son), the cashier at the doughnut shop, seems powered half by horniness and half by a creepy business sense—Mikey begins to operate as a “suitcase pimp,” proposing to mold her as a new porn talent that might help him launch himself back to stardom in L.A. Strawberry is on the verge of turning 18, and she’s both wildly naive and remarkably self-possessed. (Son is one of many amateur actors in the film, but you wouldn’t know it.) Her genuine attraction to Mikey keeps the audience on their toes—Mikey’s selfishness is almost indistinguishable from his pure id, which is part of his charm and also why he’s doomed to crash and burn once again. Their romance might sound ridiculous on paper, but it works on-screen. Baker is depicting an America filled with characters who plainly present as buffoons, but seem to skate through life nonetheless. Mikey is one of Baker’s most thought-through creations, and Rex brings him to life with terrifying honesty. Through him, Red Rocket is issuing a challenge to the audience. Are they rubbernecking, watching this car wreck of a person stumble through life, horrified by his sheer shamelessness? Or are they along for the ride, enjoying themselves in spite of his profound flaws? Baker wants the viewer to ponder these questions, and their own complicity in his ill-advised adventures.

 

 80 /100 

1.4
Opinion: Clean energy focus in Build Back Better would create jobs, invest in everybody

The Build Back Better Act makes our country better. More specifically, it continues the transition towards renewable energies and away from fossil fuels. That transition makes a special kind of sense for us in Iowa. We don’t have access to coal. We have no natural gas production. The nearest oil field is almost a thousand miles away. If we want to be efficient, if we want to be energy independent, if we want to save money, then we should use the resources at our disposal. And, what natural resources does Iowa have in abundance? Sunshine, wind, and water. Many have recognized the potential of clean energy and the electric vehicles it can power. GM expects its entire fleet to be electric by 2035. Nationwide, jobs in solar energy fields have almost doubled since 2010, and, anecdotally, 1 Source Solar in Ankeny has basically tripled its number of employees in the last three years. Almost 60% of Iowa’s electricity generation came from wind last year, and that percentage will only increase. Our federal legislators have recognized the need to build on this success. Clean energy infrastructure was a key part of the bipartisan infrastructure package voted for by Rep. Cindy Axne and Sen. Chuck Grassley that was recently signed into law, and it’s an even bigger part of the Build Back Better Act that recently passed the House with Axne’s vote. $555 billion. That’s the amount of money in the Build Back Better Act going to climate priorities. If the bill becomes law, residential solar will become more affordable by about 30%. Investments in renewables in our electric grid will reduce consumer prices and make our electricity more reliable. Electric vehicles made in America with American materials and union labor will become cheaper by $12,500. Because of the investments into EV charging infrastructure and road maintenance in the bipartisan infrastructure package, those same electric vehicles will be easier to drive long distances. Together, both packages are a historic investment — not only in clean energy, but for our country as a whole. One of us owns a unionized T-shirt store, gets all his products from the US, and prints them here in Des Moines. From experience, we know how important these packages’ investments in the American supply chain are. The more we manufacture and produce in Iowa and in the US more broadly, the less beholden we are to outside forces. Paying fair wages and buying locally and nationally reinvests money into our communities, making it easier for our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens to find employment, security, and fulfilment. These packages help businesses support their employees and our planet. They provide the structure we need to grow our economy, reduce inflationary pressures, and protect our environment for the next generation. We appreciate the work our members of Congress have done to pass them and look forward to seeing the benefits they’ll bring to our communities. Mike Draper is the owner and founder of Raygun, a regional printing, design, and clothing company based out of Des Moines. Andrew Fisher is a solar energy & electric vehicle consultant with 1 Source Solar, a solar energy installer serving agricultural, commercial, and residential clients across Iowa.

 

 81 /100 

0.2
Eskom to suspend load shedding

Eskom will suspend load shedding from 21:00 on Sunday evening, it announced late on Sunday morning. This is because emergency generation reserves have adequately recovered. Eskom on Saturday implemented stage 2 load shedding and said it will last until 05:00 on Monday. Eskom is anticipating to return to service approximately 4 100MW of generation capacity by Monday evening, which will further ease the capacity constraints. At Medupi power station the coal supply has normalised and a generating unit has returned to service. While the Kendal ash plant has returned to full operation, unfortunately the station has suffered failures of two generating units. We have had further breakdowns of a unit each at Kriel, Komati and Arnot power stations, as well as a delay in returning a unit to service at Tutuka. Total breakdowns amount to 13 634MW while planned maintenance is 6 348MW of capacity as we continue with the reliability maintenance. While load shedding will be suspended for now, Eskom appeals to all South Africans to continue using electricity sparingly and to switch off non-essential items. It will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the power system.

 

 82 /100 

0.9
Criminal investigation underway at University of New Haven

A criminal investigation is underway at the University of New Haven following a robbery that took place earlier this morning. According to University of New Haven’s Chief of Police Adam Brown, around 12:20 a.m. this morning a car pulled into the university’s main campus. The car stopped near the C-store when a man got out of the backseat of the passenger’s side and approached two students who were walking on campus. The man robbed one of the students at gunpoint, stealing a purse and then leaving in the same car according to Brown. The man was described as a dark-skinned man around 5’8” medium build, wearing dark clothing and a black ski mask. Police describe him as being 18 to 20 years old. University of New Haven Police and West Haven Police responded to the scene immediately. Police say that a criminal investigation is currently being conducted by the West Haven Police Department Detective Division. University of New Haven Police Department says they are increasing security patrols on and around the University. Officers are asking members of the community to be always vigilant. Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to call the University of New Haven Police Department at (203) 932-7014. University of New Haven Police say emergencies can be reported by calling 911, using the LiveSafe App, or by contacting their emergency line at (203) 932-7070. Stay with as we learn more about this story.

 

 83 /100 

0.3
4,669 hectares of fields in Himachal Pradesh covered with solar fencing

For preventing the crop damaged by wild animals, the Himachal Pradesh government is implementing the Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana. Under this scheme, 4,669.20 hectares have been protected by installing solar power fences, officials said on Sunday. About Rs 175.38 crore has been spent under the scheme that has benefitted 5,535 farmers. As per the government, the crop in several areas has been affected by stray and wild animals. Under the scheme, the state government is providing subsidies to the agriculturists for setting up solar power fences. A provision of 80 per cent subsidy is for setting up solar power fences at an individual level and 85 per cent subsidy at the community level. The solar powered fencing helps keep away even the monkeys. As per the demand, the state has made a provision of 50 per cent subsidy on barbed wires and chain link fencing along with 70 per cent subsidy on composite fencing. Officials told IANS an increase in beneficiaries of the scheme has been recorded in the past few years. The provision of barbed fencing along with solar fencing has proved beneficial in protecting the crop. The monkey menace across the state has caused crop losses worth hundreds of crores of rupees in recent years. With the mass surgical sterilisation of monkeys or rhesus macaque has been undergoing since 2007, the state believes their select killing on the demand of the farmer lobbies will somehow help pacifying their anger over the vast crop depredation. Himachal Pradesh has declared nine species of wild animals as crop damaging animals. Besides the monkey, they are the wild boar, blue bull, porcupine, jackal, chittal, sambar, hare and the parrot. All of them are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the state with 90 per cent people living in the rural areas and 70 per cent directly dependent on farming. --IANS vg/dpb

 

 84 /100 

3.9
Florida history: Remembering the Everglades ValuJet plane crash

Find some wood and knock on it. Florida has gone 25 years without a major fatal commercial air crash. But it’s hard not to remember ValuJet. On May 11, 1996, Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592, a fire blazing in its hold, nose-dived into the Everglades, killing 110 passengers and crew. It remains the deadliest plane crash in Florida history. Investigators quickly determined the direct cause. But there was a larger conclusion that the people died because they selected an airline offering lower prices by cutting corners in an industry that, since deregulation, had made that the norm. ValuJet contracted out critical aspects such as cargo. The outside company’s employees saw volatile chemical oxygen generators, yanked out of another plane because they had passed their expiration date, and presumed they were empty. That’s what they marked on the manifest. The canisters were loaded onto Flight 592. Moments after takeoff, investigators believe, the canisters activated in the cargo, sparking or feeding a horrific fire that brought down the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the crash reflected failures “up and down the line” – complacency, rushing and a bottom-line mentality in the airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration. Today in aviation: ValuJet 592 – Could it happen again? 13 plane crashes that changed aviation: These tragedies triggered major technological advances that keep us flying safe today Read the report: The NTSB Aircraft Accident Report on Valujet Airlines Flight 592 It made no fewer than 33 recommendations; the FAA adopted 29. Since then, accidental air deaths have dropped dramatically. But critics say too many airlines, especially with fuel and other costs continuing to rise, still focus more on revenue than safety, and the government is stretched too thin to keep them honest. In the ensuing decade, the numbers say the skies are safer. Four planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 227, but those were not accidents. A plane accidentally crashed in New York two months later, killing 251. Even factoring that in, that’s 10 fatal incidents in 25 years, with 488 deaths. By comparison, Florida motor crashes in 2019 alone killed 3,210. In 1997, a year after the crash, ValuJet bought Florida-based AirTran Airways and took its name. It later was acquired by Southwest. SabreTech, the maintenance firm that investigators say loaded the oxygen canisters on Flight 592, initially was charged with 110 counts of murder (later dropped). The company was convicted on 11 federal charges of failing to train employees in handling hazardous materials that were on the jet, and on a state charge of failure to handle hazardous waste properly. But it was acquitted of the 14 most serious counts, including conspiracy, false statements and placing an incendiary device on a plane. Two of three employees who were federally charged were cleared; a third, who became a fugitive, was never tried. An appeals court later overturned all but one of the federal charges. The firm was ordered to pay $500,000 in 2001, but by then it was out of business. A monument later was erected at a spot along Tamiami Trail, where authorities had operated a command post for search and rescue efforts. The monument, designed by University of Miami architecture students with the input of relatives, displays 110 stone obelisks forming an arrow that points to where the plane slammed into the Everglades. The arrow’s tip has a marker bearing the names of the victims. Florida Time is a weekly column about Florida history by Eliot Kleinberg, a former staff writer for three decades at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, and the author of 10 books about Florida (www.ekfla.com).

 

 85 /100 

0.8
Asteroid twice the size of pyramids heading near Earth at end of year

Known as 2017 AE3, the asteroid has an estimated diameter ranging between 120 meters and 260 meters. It likely won't hit Earth, which is good, because the outcome would be catastrophic.

 

 86 /100 

0.6
ED records statement of ex Mumbai CP Singh in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate has recorded the statement of suspended Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in the Maharashtra police establishment, official sources said on Sunday. The statement was recorded on December 3 at the agency's office in south Mumbai under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). They said the 59-year-old was quizzed for about five hours with questions on different aspects of the case including the allegations he made against his then boss, former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. Singh was summoned at least three times in the past by the ED but he never deposed. He may be summoned again. The 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was suspended by the Maharashtra government few days back following registration of police FIRs against him and some other police personnel on charges of extortion. Sources said his statement was "vital" to take the investigation in the case forward. Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and his aides have been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in this case. Singh had in March levelled allegations of corruption and misuse of official position against Deshmukh after he was shunted from the post of the Mumbai police commissioner in the aftermath of Antilia bomb scare incident. He had accused Deshmukh of asking police officers to collect Rs 100 crore a month from restaurants and bars in Mumbai, a charge which the NCP leader denied. Singh, declared absconding by courts in Mumbai and Thane, surfaced in public late last month after being underground for over six months. After he moved the Supreme Court, he was granted temporary protection from arrest. The IPS officer is facing at least five extortion cases in Maharashtra and has similarly deposed various state police investigation units over the last few days.

 

 87 /100 

0.3
A Bitcoin Boom Fueled by Cheap Power, Empty Plants and Few Rules

A bitcoin mining operation is opening northeast of Niagara Falls this month on the site of the last working coal plant in New York State. Across the state, a former aluminum plant in Massena, already one of the biggest cryptocurrency sites in the United States, is expanding. And in Owego, a metal-recycling mogul with 11.3 million Instagram followers is making a gritty start-up with banks of computers in shipping containers next to a scrapyard. Soaring Bitcoin values may be the investment talk of Wall Street, but a few hours north, in upstate New York, the buzz is about companies that are scrambling to create the digital currency by “mining” it virtually with all types and sizes of computer farms constantly whizzing through transactions. In just a few years, a swath of northern and western New York has become one of the biggest Bitcoin producers in the country. The prospectors in this digital gold rush need lots of cheap electricity to run thousands of energy-guzzling computer rigs. The area — with its cheap hydroelectric power and abundance of shuttered power plants and old factories — was ripe for Bitcoin mining. The abandoned infrastructure, often with existing connections to the power grid, can readily be converted for Bitcoin mining. The companies say they are boosting local economies by bringing industry back and creating a crypto vanguard north of New York City, where Bitcoin stock, though unpredictable, hit record highs on Wall Street this year and which the incoming mayor, Eric Adams, envisions as a cryptocurrency hub. But the surge of activity has also prompted a growing outcry over the amount of electricity and pollution involved in mining for Bitcoin. Globally, cryptocurrency mining is said to consume more electricity annually than all of Argentina. China, once home to perhaps two-thirds of all crypto mining, banned the practice this year to help achieve its carbon-reduction goals, driving some miners to New York. As a result, environmental groups say, the Wild West-style scramble, coupled with a lack of restrictions on Bitcoin mining, is threatening the state’s own emission-reduction goals, which call for more renewable power and rapid reductions in fossil-fuel emissions. Bitcoin mining companies often require only basic building or planning permits from local governments, many of them faded industrial towns eager for any new business-tax revenue they can generate. In the Finger Lakes region, a former coal plant on pristine Seneca Lake has been converted into the Greenidge Generation natural gas-burning plant, which now powers Bitcoin mining on site. Near Buffalo, a Bitcoin company is seeking cheaper electricity by taking over a part-time gas-fired power plant and revving it up for round-the-clock use. The resulting uptick in greenhouse gas emissions will hasten the impact of climate change, say environmental groups like Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, which are monitoring the upstate New York’s many old natural-gas plants that could be readily repurposed as Bitcoin mining operations. Plants that buy renewable energy from the grid have also drawn complaints. Since a large Bitcoin mining plant can use more electricity than most cities in the state, environmentalists warn that crypto mining will leave other areas dependent on fossil fuel power. The abundance of hydroelectric power and other kinds of renewable energy upstate helps large mining companies that buy it in bulk promote themselves as environmentally conscious. The plant opening northeast of Niagara Falls this month, in Somerset, N.Y., is part of a $550 million project by Terawulf, a Bitcoin mining company. The project also includes a proposed 150-megawatt data center at a former coal plant on Lake Cayuga in the Finger Lakes. Paul Prager, Terawulf’s chief executive, said the Somerset plant would make use of hydroelectric power salvaged from the falls that is otherwise difficult to send to other locations because of grid congestion. And because the plant would comply with state environmental rules and not cause air pollution, he said, “we look at regulations as a really good thing.” But despite requiring companies that engage in many aspects of Bitcoin activity, including trading the currency, to obtain a license, New York places no restrictions on mining. Some municipalities, including Plattsburgh and Massena, two early Bitcoin-mining destinations near the Canadian border, have resorted to moratoriums on the practice. The bans have since been lifted, but some lawmakers want to make New York one of the first states to prohibit certain types of Bitcoin mining. In June, the State Senate approved a bill that would have imposed a statewide moratorium on some fossil-fuel-powered mining; the legislation died in the Assembly. “It has been easy for these companies to fly under the radar because the whole industry is confusing to understand, at first,” said Assemblywoman Anna R. Kelles, a Democrat who represents the Ithaca area and sponsored the bill. “It’s too new of an industry not to be regulated federally or statewide in respect to greenhouse gas emission and the effect on water and air.” (Ms. Kelles said she planned to revive the bill next year.) For the same reason, some environmental activists have urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to issue an executive order to ban some crypto mining. In 2017, the shuttered coal plant on Seneca Lake was converted into the Greenidge natural gas-burning plant by Atlas Holdings, a private equity firm with $6 billion in holdings. Greenidge now promotes itself as the first publicly traded company with a bitcoin mine integrated as a part of a power plant. The plant has a 106-megawatt capacity, allowing it to generate enough electricity to power around 85,000 homes. Atlas’s chief executive, Dale Irwin, said in a statement that the plant was “creating a new economic engine bringing a piece of the world’s digital future to upstate New York.” But the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased along with its mining activity, and so has opposition from some local residents who call the plant an environmental threat to this rural stretch of vineyards, farm stands, pristine waterways and world-class gorges. A local blogger has reported on Greenidge’s permit to draw more than 100 million gallons of water a day from Seneca Lake for cooling purposes and to then return it at warmer levels to a nearby trout stream tributary. Mr. Irwin said the outflow posed no danger and that lake temperatures, measured daily by independent sources, had not been affected. And although the plant’s emissions have increased since 2019, he said, they were still well below state-permitted levels. The plant poses no environmental threat, he insisted. Greenidge is applying to the state to renew air emissions permits, and opponents see an opportunity for the state to curb the company’s expansion. Elected officials, including U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, have asked state and federal regulators to review the plant’s application closely. With political and public pressure mounting, Basil Seggos, the state’s environmental conservation commissioner, wrote on Twitter in September that “Greenidge has not shown compliance with NY’s climate law.” He urged residents to participate in the public comment period regarding the permit renewal. To build several structures at the plant, Greenidge obtained local planning board approval in April from the town of Torrey. Patrick H. Flynn, 79, a farmer and the Torrey town supervisor, called Greenidge a boon to the area and said that renewable energy was “overrated.” “We can’t restrict a business,” he said. “Whether they’re making Bitcoin, it’s no different than raising cattle or pigs or chickens.” Yvonne Taylor, the vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, a local conservation group, accused state officials of failing the public by not requiring an environmental review before issuing permits to Greenidge, and by essentially leaving approvals to local governments. “It can’t be a town-by-town fight,” said Ms. Taylor, a speech pathologist whose family has lived on Seneca Lake for generations. “We need the governor to step in. If she wants to be a champion on climate, she needs to adopt a moratorium on this type of energy-intensive cryptocurrency, or we’ll never achieve our climate goals.” Greenidge’s case is not unique. Digihost, the Bitcoin company in Buffalo that is reviving a gas-fired power plant, has faced criticism that the increased gas emissions will affect areas long plagued by industrial toxins. Among them is Love Canal, the Niagara Falls neighborhood that became infamous for the toxic landfill that harmed of hundreds of residents. But local officials approved Digihost’s plans largely because the environmental toll of the new operation seemed minimal compared with the benefits the company was expected to bring, including new jobs and up to $1 million in annual fees for municipal water to cool the plant, said Robert Pecoraro, the president of the common council in North Tonawanda, where the plant is. Digihost officials say the plant will operate within state emissions limits, begin shifting to more renewable energy sources over time, feed the grid when needed and help western New York keep up with the tech industry while creating at least 30 permanent jobs. Mr. Pecoraro stood outside the gas plant recently and watched workers build a large shed to house the new servers. He said he did not understand the opposition to Digihost and the economic boost it would bring to the area. “A lot of industry has left over the years” he said. “And here we are trying to bring Digihost in and people are fighting us on that.”

 

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Some see animal welfare problems with plan for tiger sanctuary near the Strip

Three tigers could be calling Las Vegas home for a year, living in a temperature-controlled sanctuary with waterfalls and swimming pools on a parking lot just off the Strip, if an illusionist gets the necessary permits for his magic show. But he must pass the scrutiny from both the county and animal advocacy groups, assuring them that both the public and the tigers will be safe. Magician Jay Owenhouse is looking to bring a magic show and tiger sanctuary near Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive, but he first must get the approval of the Clark County Commission later this month. The Winchester Township Advisory Board last week voted to recommend the commission not approve the proposal. The sanctuary would consist of two 900-square-foot containment areas, each with a sleeping cave and a ground pool, and it would be secured by a 10-foot-high wooden security fence, with an additional foot of barbed wire and a wire roof enclosure. Owenhouse did not return a call for comment, but at the Winchester Town Advisory Board meeting last week said he was a “passionate animal advocate” and that his tigers were a part of his family. He says he has never purchased a tiger but has adopted ones that needed homes. The tigers lived with him at his house in Montana for their first six months before they moved outside to his tiger sanctuary that he started 26 years ago, he said. “Our tigers don’t live in cages,” he said. The sanctuary on site will be climate controlled and will allow them to live and “walk to work” instead of having to deal with the stress of traveling, he said. He also added that the three tigers would each only be on stage for four minutes during the show. He intends to operate the show for one year in a tent that’s 82-feet high and 2,352-square feet. The lot on which the animals would be housed is owned by the World Buddhism Association Headquarters. Clark County staff expressed concern about the proximity of the show to adjacent properties, which include family residential developments, according to the Winchester Town Advisory Board agenda packet. Clark County Animal Control said Owenhouse was not eligible for an exotic or wild animal permit unless the operation was temporary and less than 20 days. If Owenhouse’s request is approved, Clark County Animal Control recommends a time limit of 20 days. Should the county commission approve the request, Owenhouse must prove that the areas around the property will not be negatively affected and that the facility would be supervised 24 hours a day. The tiger enclosure must have a double-door system to prevent escape. He must also immediately notify Metro Police and the Clark County School District Police if any animal escapes. He must also provide Animal Control with information about the animals, including their ages, health and history of aggression, and a current color photograph of each animal. An animal control officer also will inspect the premises before the show opens to the public as well as at any reasonable time. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and CompassionWorks International have expressed opposition, and asked that the county deny Owenhouse’s application. “Tigers are solitary hunters who should be swimming in jungle streams, not pacing inside parking lot cages,” Rachel Mathews, PETA Foundation director of captive animal law enforcement, said in a statement. “PETA is calling on officials to make Jay Owenhouse’s bid for an out-of-touch magic show and tiger tent disappear.” The groups are concerned about the tigers being in the parking lot during the hottest part of the summer, subjecting the tigers to “oppressive heat” as well as noise from the monorail station, a condominium complex and busy intersections. Others at the advisory board meeting brought up concerns about public safety and were worried that a tiger could hurt someone. “The safety of the animals and the safety of the public is something that is our top priority,” Owenhouse said. “I have a perfect safety record. I’ve never had any of my animals hurt anyone, and they’ve never attempted to hurt anyone.” Owenhouse, a part-time Las Vegas resident, has one of the largest touring illusion shows in the country with his “Dare to Believe” show, and his performances include illusion acts originally done by Harry Houdini. Owenhouse’s shows often also feature his children and his tigers, which he reportedly got from breeder Doc Antle, who was featured in Netflix’s docuseries “Tiger King.” The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service conducts at least once-a-year inspections on Owenhouse’s sanctuary, and the last inspection conducted on July 28, 2021, found nothing out of compliance. Of 13 USDA inspections conducted at Owenhouse’s sanctuary since 2014, only one was found to be noncompliant. On May 3, 2019, a video showed that there was not enough distance or barriers in place between a tiger and the public, according to the USDA inspection report. “Because of the strength and speed of tigers, there is an inherent danger present for both the viewing public and the exhibited animal where there is any chance that the public could come into direct contact with juvenile or adult tigers,” the report says. USDA Animal Care inspectors ordered that Owenhouse make sure from that point forward that all animals are exhibited with barriers and/or sufficient distance from the public. “Tigers have complex, species-specific needs that Jay Owenhouse seems unwilling to meet,” said Carrie LeBlanc, the executive director of CompassionWorks International, in a statement. The commission is scheduled to hear Owenhouse’s request at its Dec. 22 meeting.

 

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L&T winning more orders overseas than in India, says A M Naik

India’s largest construction and engineering player, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has lost 14 large orders in India as companies that don't have adequate technical expertise and experience won the projects by bidding lower. L&T, however, made up for the loss of such business by winning projects overseas where it has acquired a sizable market share amid tough competition from large global players, A M Naik, non-executive chairman of L&T, said. “Today, L&T does 60 per cent of its work outside India but here we have lost 14 out of 14 tenders. Of this, we lost seven tenders to.

 

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California’s economic recovery lags Nebraska

It’s time again for some fun with numbers. When the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment and unemployment numbers for October, they revealed a huge disparity. Nationally, the unemployment rate had dropped to 4.6%, virtually identical to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic eviscerated the economy 21 months ago. But state jobless rates ranged from a low of 1.9% in Nebraska to 7.3% in California and Nevada. Nebraska’s unemployment rate was not only the nation’s lowest in October but the lowest rate recorded by any state since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking job numbers in 1976. “Nebraska has struggled with a chronic worker shortage since even before the pandemic, and it has driven up wages and made it difficult for employers to hire and expand,” the Associated Press reported. “Earlier this month, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a survey of its members where 92% said finding skilled workers was a top priority.” “We have a lot of manufacturers across the state that are finding it difficult to expand their operations” in the face of rising consumer demand, Bryan Slone, the chamber’s president, told the AP. Unemployment rates were even lower in Nebraska’s two largest metropolitan areas — 1.7% in Omaha and 1.3% in Lincoln. Let’s put that in context vis-à-vis the California economy. In October, 19 million Californians, just under half of the state’s population, were counted in the labor force and 17.6 million were employed, while 1.4 million were jobless. That resulted in the 7.3% unemployment rate, nearly twice as high as it was before pandemic struck. While Nebraska’s major urban areas are thriving, California’s largest — the Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Anaheim region — has the highest jobless rate of the nation’s major metro areas. If California had Nebraska’s 1.9% unemployment rate, 1.1 million more Californians would be working, supporting their families, enhancing the state’s economic production, and paying taxes. Even if California were to get back to the 3.9% unemployment rate it had before the pandemic, it would mean about 650,000 more Californians would have jobs. Were California to match the national rate of 4.6%, a half-million more would be working. Let’s look at the October job numbers in an even larger context, that of political orientation. Eight of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates in October, including Nebraska, voted Republican in the 2020 presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The only exceptions were Vermont and New Hampshire. Conversely, nine of the 10 of the states with the highest jobless rates, including California and Nevada, voted Democratic. The only exception was Alaska. Related Articles The political implications of the Omicron variant for President Biden and Democrats UFOs only love Anglophones, and vice versa CalPERS gambles with taxpayer money once again How Congress can help reduce the West’s wildfire problem Congressional proposal to legalize marijuana would be a boost to California It could just be coincidence, of course, but maybe those red states with low unemployment rates have regulatory and tax policies that encourage job-creating investment and maybe California and the other blue states with high jobless rates are perceived as being hostile to business. Certainly they tend to be states with relatively high tax burdens — not only California, but New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. If nothing else, this exercise in numerology is a reminder that California, for all its Hollywood glitz and its Silicon Valley flash, is a state with a fundamental socioeconomic problem. We have way too many workers without jobs and way too many families living in or near poverty, unable to pay the high costs of housing, utilities, fuel and the other necessities of life. Or to put it another way, the “California comeback” that Gov. Gavin Newsom often touts is way short of what it needs to be. The folks in Nebraska are enjoying the real comeback. CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary

 

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On This Day: NASA test launches Orion spacecraft

Dec. 5 On this date in history: In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at William and Mary College in Virginia.

 

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Taj Mahal is losing its sheen. Blame the pollution in Yamuna, not just industrial emissions

Over the years, visitors to the Taj Mahal have been complaining of a foul smell that is ruining their experiences at the majestic 17th-century Mughal architecture listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The gas responsible for the odour may in fact be doing greater harm – it is likely the culprit behind the discolouration of the Taj’s glorious white marbles. The stink coming from the black waters of the Yamuna river that flows prompted a group of scientists to explore if the gas that was responsible for the odour – hydrogen sulphide – also had corrosive effects. They found that the gas released from polluted Yamuna water had a more corrosive impact than sulphur dioxide released by industrial pollution in Agra city. The findings assume significance, as initiatives around protecting the Taj from being affected by pollution have largely been concerned with tackling industrial and vehicular pollution, while Yamuna pollution has not got as much attention until five years ago. For over three decades now, sulphur dioxide has been considered to be the main pollutant behind the decay in the glorious white marbles. Yamuna pollution was also blamed for the impact on the marble structure, in a 2016 report of the Archaeological Survey of India submitted before the Supreme Court of India, but from a different perspective – it highlighted the growth of the insect of the genus Goeldichironomus, in stagnant Yamuna water devoid of aquatic life and blamed the insect excreta for the green and brownish patches on the Taj marbles. The recent study, however, indicates that the polluted Yamuna might be harming the Taj in more than one way. “We tried corrosion deformation studies using various air pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. Most interestingly, hydrogen sulphide was found to be the most problematic among all. Our preliminary investigation establishes that river Yamuna, which carries untreated wastewater of the entire Agra, was responsible for the generation of hydrogen sulphide,” Dipankar Saha, a former additional director of the Central Pollution Control Board and one of the co-authors of the paper, told Mongabay-India. “Hydrogen sulphide gas is acidic and corrosive therefore much attention is needed to clean river Yamuna,” added Saha, who had also served as head of the Central Pollution Control Board’s air laboratory for 12 years. Published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, the study also noted, “The wind rose diagram developed during the period of the study suggests that the direction of the wind opposed the industrial pollutants moving towards the monument” and that “hydrogen sulphide emitted from the polluted Yamuna River… has a dominant role”. The study titled Role of air pollutant for deterioration of Taj Mahal by identifying corrosion products on the surface of metals, is co-written by four others, apart from Saha – Achal Pandya, head of the conservation unit at Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts, New Delhi and Jitendra Kumar Singh, Sharma Paswan and DDN Singh from the Corrosion and Surface Engineering Division of the National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur. Pandya told Mongabay-India that it was necessary, for the protection of the Taj from discolouration, that the Yamuna is cleaned and the city’s sewage is allowed into the river only after treatment. “It is no longer a river, its water is unusable,” Pandya said. “But we should remember that the Yamuna included the original Taj Mahal landscape. The river was very much part of the planning of the entire premises.” The corrosion deformation study was conducted on metals – samples of carbon steel, zinc and copper left exposed at the Taj Mahal premises – and the report concluded that “all evidence suggests that hydrogen sulphide emitted from the polluted Yamuna river flowing very close to the exposure site (the premise of Taj Mahal) has a dominant role on the corrosion rate of metals”. “The finding of this study leads to the conclusion that the fading of white marbles of the Taj Mahal may be due to the corrosive effect of hydrogen sulphide emitted from the polluted Yamuna River,” the report said. According to Agra-based environmentalist Sharad Gupta, the findings of the study are not surprising. “The whole city’s sewage and industrial waste, including solid waste, flow into the Yamuna mostly untreated,” he told Mongabay-India. “There are 90 nullahs in Agra, of which the water of only 25 get treated by four plants but these plants do not function at night. The sewage of 65 other drains flows into Yamuna untreated. The materials include leather and synthetic leather waste from about 3,000 shoe factories and these leather wastes help form many gases.” He added that acids used for washing in the imitation jewellery industry of Agra are also released into the drains untreated. The impact of Yamuna pollution on the Taj has remained little discussed, though not entirely ignored. The focus of Taj-protection initiatives has mostly been on the industrial units, resulting in a series of measures since the 1980s to curb Agra’s industrial pollution, including the relocation and closure of some polluting industrial units. The battle to save the Taj from the impact of pollution has been ongoing since the 1970s, and particularly since 1984 when environmentalist MC Mehta approached the Supreme Court of India, drawing its attention to the yellowing and blackening of the Taj marbles in several places, suspected to have been a result of “acid rains” caused by sulphur dioxide emissions. “It is inside the Taj that the decay is more apparent,” the petitioner told the court. “Yellow pallor pervades the entire monument. In places, the yellow hue is magnified by ugly brown and black spots. Fungal deterioration is worst in the inner chamber where the original graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal lie.” This case resulted in the apex court’s landmark judgment of 1996 and many other orders over the next two and a half decades. The recent paper on corrosion questioned the popular theory that blames sulphuric acid-induced “acid rain” – caused by the sulphur dioxide emitted by the Mathura refinery and the local industries in and around Agra and Firozabad – for the corrosion on the gleaming white marbles. It cited a 2008 paper that revealed that the corrosion rate of steel exposed at Agra recorded an almost similar rate of corrosion as recorded at the other distant places considered to be free from industrial pollution and added, “Had the sulphur dioxide evolved from refineries and foundries a dominant role, the steel exposed at Agra should have shown a much higher rate of corrosion than at the other locations having comparatively lower industrial pollution in the atmosphere.” The analysis presented in the paper is based on a study conducted at the Taj Mahal site between 2006 and 2010 and, subsequently, an analysis of the retrieved samples was performed at the National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur. The corrosion products on the metals were analysed using Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction and oxides and sulphides were found to be the main constituents. The researchers argued that reaction with acid rain would have formed sulphates and nitrates, but not sulphides. Agra’s climatic data for the period was also taken into consideration. The authors, however, said the study needed to be further extended, “Exposing the samples of marble having similar composition, structure and porosity as used for the erection of the monument at the premise of the Taj Mahal.” Since the process of the formation of tarnished patina on the surface of marbles is very slow, it is recommended that the duration of exposure should be long enough – about 10 years – to have meaningful findings and reach a definitive conclusion. Study co-author Pandya said that since the Taj Mahal is quite tall (73 metres), metallic samples should also be placed at a higher elevation while conducting further studies to estimate the impact of the gas at different heights. “If a scientific study claims Yamuna pollution is affecting the Taj Mahal, then it is a serious claim and this needs to be thoroughly investigated with further studies,” said Anurag Sharma of water conservation group, Jaladhikar Foundation, Agra. While answering a question in the Lok Sabha in February, Prahlad Singh Patel, who at that time was the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, said that the Archaeological Survey of India’s recommendations for ending the insect menace included scientific cleaning and preservation of the monument fabric, de-silting of Yamuna river, increase the water flow, prevent stagnation of the water and cleaning and removal of vegetation growth from the river banks. This article first appeared on Mongabay.

 

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Discoms' outstanding dues to gencos rise 1.3% to Rs 113,227 cr in December

Total outstanding dues owed by electricity distribution companies (discoms) to power producers rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,13,227 crore in December. Discoms owed total Rs 1,11,762 crore to power generation firms in December 2020, according to portal PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators). Total dues in December 2021 also increased sequentially compared to Rs 1,13,081 crore in November this year. The PRAAPTI portal was launched in May 2018 to bring in transparency in power purchase transactions between generators and discoms. In December 2021, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 45 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at Rs 1,01,436 crore as against Rs 98,334 crore in the same month a year ago. The overdue amount stood at Rs 1,00,417 crore in November this year. Power producers give 45 days to discoms to pay bills for electricity supply. After that, outstanding dues become overdue and generators charge penal interest on that in most cases. To give relief to power generation companies (gencos), the Centre enforced a payment security mechanism from August 1, 2019. Under this mechanism, discoms are required to open letters of credit for getting power supply. The Centre had also given some breathers to discoms for paying dues to gencos in view of the COVID-19-induced lockdown. The government had also waived penal charges for the late payment of dues. In May 2020, the government had announced a Rs 90,000-crore liquidity infusion for discoms under which these utilities got loans at economical rates from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC Ltd. This was a government initiative to help gencos remain afloat. Later, the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore and further to Rs 1.35 lakh crore. Discoms in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu account for the major portion of dues to gencos, the data showed. Overdue of independent power producers amounted to 51.18 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 1,01,436 crore of discoms in December 2021. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 23.95 per cent. Among the central public sector gencos, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 4,344.75 crore on discoms, followed by NLC India at Rs 2,772.47 crore in December 2021. Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 25,141.73 crore to Adani Power, followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company at Rs 4,503.45 crore in the month under review. The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 20,318.79 crore in December 2021.

 

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Omicron: India’s genome consortium backtracks on booster dose advice, says need more experiments

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium said on Saturday that more scientific experiments are needed to assess the impact of booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines, a week after advising that it may be considered for people above 40 because of the new Omicron virus variant. Booster shots are jabs given to ramp up the number of antibodies provided by vaccines that wane over a period of time. In a bulletin dated November 29, the genome sequencing body had said: “Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk/high-exposure may be considered, since low levels of neutralising anti-bodies from current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron.” But in a document released on Saturday, the consortium said its earlier statement was “not a recommendation or suggestion for booster dose in the national immunisation program”. The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in November and has appeared in nearly two dozen countries. So far, India has confirmed five cases of the variant. It is still not clear whether, or to what degree, Omicron may evade protection conferred by the vaccines. The genome consortium said on Saturday that immunity and protection from Covid-19 is “multifactorial”. “Many more scientific experiments are needed to assess the impacts of booster dose, which are being guided and monitored by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19,” it added. “The recommendations and suggestions regarding vaccines, schedule, and roll out comes under expressed mandate of NTAGI and the NEGVAC.” The Centre has emphasised that its priority is to first vaccinate all eligible Indians with the first two doses of the vaccines. On Thursday, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union health ministry, had said that scientific rationale for administering booster doses was still under examination. Almost 40 countries, mostly the rich and developed ones, are allowing citizens to get inoculated with a third vaccine dose.

 

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Spurt in sale of agricultural land in Telangana

Hyderabad: The Telangana state witnessed record sales of agricultural lands during the current fiscal year. Around 60,000 land transactions are taking place every month. The Government treasury earned Rs.939.98 crore income during the current financial year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the property income dipped in the month of March. From April the state’s treasury is getting Rs 117 crore per month on average. The agricultural lands are being sold through the Dharani portal which was launched on November 2 last year. The buyers and sellers can book their slot through mee-seva to avail the services of registration, mutation, gift deeds, change of inheritance, GPA and other transactions through the tahsildar and joint sub registrar offices. There are 594 Tahsil offices across the state. And Dharani registration services are available in 574 offices. Moreover, from the September of the current year, the valuation of the land has been increased in keeping with survey numbers which led to increase in the taxes. July was the best month in terms of tax revenue as it touched Rs 15 4.4 crore Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest Hyderabad updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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Arianna, 14, loves being ballet dancer

Arianna is a sweet and likable girl who likes to dance. She especially loves ballet and participates in ballet recitals every year. She does very well with her peers and is able to build and maintain healthy relationships. Legally freed for adoption, Arianna would thrive in a family of any constellation, either with or without other children in the home, that is able to provide her with a stable and consistent environment. An ideal family for Arianna will be able to continue the services she has in place to address her academic and social/emotional needs. Arianna has established a supportive relationship with her maternal aunt, which a family must help maintain after placement. Can you provide the guidance, love and stability that a child needs? If you’re at least 18 years old, have a stable source of income and room in your heart, you may be a perfect match to adopt a waiting child. Adoptive parents can be single, married or partnered; experienced or not; renters or homeowners; LGBTQ singles and couples. The process to adopt a child from foster care requires training, interviews and home visits to determine if adoption is right for you, and if so, to help connect you with a child or sibling group that your family will be a good match for. To learn more about adoption from foster care, call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange at 617-964-6273 or go to mareinc. org. The sooner you call, the sooner a waiting child will have a permanent place to call home.

 

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JNU admin advises students’ union to cancel screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’

The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Saturday “firmly” advised the students’ union to cancel the screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ documentary, saying “such an unauthorised activity may disturb communal harmony and peaceful environment” of the campus. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), however, said that it will go ahead with the screening at 9 pm on Saturday. The maker of the documentary film, Anand Patwardhan, also sent a solidarity message to the students and said they have full right to show the film since it has a ‘U’ certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). In a circular, the JNU registrar said, “It has come to the notice of the undersigned that a group of students have in the name of JNUSU released a pamphlet for screening a documentary/movie ‘Ram Ke Naam’ scheduled for tonight at 9:30 pm in Teflas (student union hall).” The university administration said no prior permission for the event was taken from it. “This is to emphasise that such an unauthorised activity may disturb communal harmony and peaceful environment of the university campus. The concerned students/individuals are firmly advised to cancel the proposed program immediately failing which a strict disciplinary action as per the university rules may be initiated against those responsible for this event. The students are also instructed not to get provoked by this pamphlet, which is unauthorised and unwarranted,” the circular read. ‘Ram ke Naam’, a 1992 documentary by Patwardhan, explores the campaign to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya. JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, in a Facebook post, said they have scheduled a screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ at the union hall. “So the puppet body of this RSS-BJP has come out with a circular that this documentary screening is unauthorised and might disturb the communal harmony. ‘Ram ke Naam’ shows the truth, what is BJP doing in this country and how communal hatred is spread in this secular country by the right-wing fundamentalists,” she alleged. “The JNUSU will not back out at any cost. This screening will happen and we request the JNU student community to participate in huge numbers at 9 pm for watching this documentary,” she said. JNUSU vice president Saket Moon said the university administration cannot decide what the students will watch. “December 6 will be the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. We decided to hold the screening of the documentary. The university administration cannot decide what students will watch. The documentary is in the public domain, freely available on Youtube and has also won awards,” he said. Ghosh shared a video message from Patwardhan. “I would like to congratulate JNU that their students have decided to go ahead with the screening of ‘Ram Ke Naam’ despite the administration asking them not to. You have full right to showcase the film. The film has ‘U’ certificate from CBFC. It won the National Award in 1992 for Best Investigative documentary,” Patwardhan said in his message in Hindi. “It was telecast on Doordarshan at prime time 9 pm after the High Court ordered it. One more channel showed it after the Allahabad High Court judgement. Everyone in the country has watched this film. Maybe the new generation might not have seen it. This film cannot be stopped. It can be stopped if the country is overtaken by fascism. Till now fascism has not come in the country fully and the film screening cannot be stopped,” he added. Get the news updates on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. For all the latest India updates, download our app Android and iOS.

 

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Venus' 'greatest brightness' visible on Dec. 8: PAGASA

Stargazers are in for a treat as the planet Venus will be visible in the sky for the most part of December, reaching its "greatest brightness" this coming Wednesday. There will also be a couple of Moon-planetary conjunctions, in which the moon will appear to be close with other planets, this week, PAGASA said in its astronomical diary on Sunday. "For the whole month of December, Venus can be observed in the southwestern part of the sky after sunset. However, in late December, Venus may be already difficult to observe as it is just a few degrees above the horizon", PAGASA said. The agency said "the close pairing" between Venus and the Moon will be visible in the southwest horizon from around 5:41 to 8:13 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7. At midnight on Dec. 8, "Venus will reach its greatest brightness", according to PAGASA. On the same day, there will also be a Moon-Saturn conjunction in the southwest horizon from 5:42 to 9:17 p.m., PAGASA said. PAGASA added that there would also be a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in the southwest horizon on Dec. 9, visible from 5:42 p.m. onwards. "These Moon-planetary conjunctions can be seen through the naked eye or using a pair of binoculars", it said. "Please do note that the separation of the above-mentioned conjunctions is too wide to fit in the field of view of a telescope." RELATED VIDEO

 

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BYU women hold off Utes’ rally to stay undefeated

As a way to drum up support and build an environment like the University of Utah sees at its Pac-12 Conference road games, the Utes gave all fans dressed in red free entry to Saturday evening’s game against rival and 21st-ranked BYU. All of the blue-clad fans had to pay, but they got their money’s worth as Paisley Harding scored 33 points to help the Cougars stayed undefeated so far this season by holding off the Utes 85-80. “It’s been flowing for us all season,” said Harding, who had 19 points by halftime en route to her career high. “We got tired at the end, but we pulled it out.” Harding made 14 of 20 shots and added four 3-pointers. She was the key reason the Cougars shot 59 percent from the field and had built a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter. BYU also got 22 points from Shaylee Gonzalez, and teammates Tegan Graham, Sarah Hamson and Emma Calvert made timely baskets and added a few defensive stops as the Cougars improved to 8-0. BYU coach Jeff Judkins, a Utah grad and former men’s assistant coach on the hill, kept his game face on and only smiled after the clock struck zero. While his bench was filled with eligible players, only seven players got onto the court. Four players, including all-league forward Lauren Gustin, stayed in Provo reportedly dealing with illnesses. Harding’s effort kept their invisibility from being the game’s most-important story. Harding had 28 points in a game twice last year. Afterward on Saturday, she admitted she was “feeling it” more than usual and the Utes couldn’t find an answer. “This year’s BYU team is legit,” said Utah coach Lynne Roberts. “This is the best team ‘Juddy’ has had since I’ve been here. They have a real chance to win their league and go far in the (NCAA) tourney.” The Utes might, too, if they can learn from this game. Roberts substituted freely, even into the fourth quarter when she found her hottest shooters to cut into BYU’s lead. Eleven players got court time, and eight were on the floor at least 17 minutes. Gianna Kneepkens led with 29 points and helped the Utes blister the nets with five treys in the final 10 minutes. Roberts also praised guard Dru Gylten, who had seven points and found the open shooters (eight assists), especially in the final quarter. Roberts said the Utes’ preseason schedule, which has included BYU, Gonzaga and a pair of team-building games at Hawaii, should be helpful as they prepare for their grueling Pac-12 schedule. Utah has just three more games before traveling to play at Oregon, and she expects most Pac-12 opponents to have more than twice as many fans as the estimated crowd of 3,000 that were dressed in red (and blue) in this game. “We’re trying to build something,” she said. “It starts with the product you put on the floor. I want women’s basketball to matter and I want people to care.” Start your day with the top stories you missed while you were sleeping. Check your inbox for a welcome email.

 

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Signature of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry becomes first living NFT at Art Basel

Where no one has gone before! The authentic signature of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry has been coded into the DNA of a living bacterial organism, and was on display at Art Basel, the world-renowned, next-level art fair, in Miami this weekend. It’s not quite as science-fiction based as it might sound. The art piece’s creators merely put the signature into the bacteria’s DNA code via an NFT, or non-fungible token, the kind of digital art form that’s popularly bought and sold using cryptocurrency. The piece is dubbed the “first living, eco” NFT, as the art-infused bacteria was “created and stored on organic material” and “promises a net-zero” potentially “carbon negative environmental categorization,” according to a news release. The Roddenberry signature used in the NFT was originally inked on his 1965 contract with Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions, which launched the popular sci-fi series. On top of the bacterial cell originally implanted with the signature, the bacteria is living, meaning the cell can “double at a rate that will create over a billion copies” of the NFT, according to the news release. “To be able to responsibly do so, in such a unique fashion, during the year of Gene’s Centennial celebration, is beyond exciting,” said Trevor Roth, COO of Roddenberry Entertainment. “Like ‘Star Trek,’ it speaks to the world around us, acknowledging today’s constant convergence of life and technology.”


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Created at 2021-12-06 03:31