Science

Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Second Lowest Level on Record

From the bridge of the Arctic Sunrise, an old ice-breaking fishing trawler turned research vessel now plying the polar waters between Greenland and northern Norway, Laura Meller has an unparalleled view of our planet’s future. It is both gorgeous, and terrifying. The early autumn sunlight bathes the scattered icebergs in soft pink and orange hues that glimmer with the gentle swell.

“It is so soft and quiet out here that it’s difficult to remember that we are literally looking at a climate emergency unfolding before our eyes,” she says by satellite-enabled WhatsApp. Meller is a polar advisor for a Greenpeace expedition plying the edge of the polar ice cap to document the minimum extent of sea ice this year, a potent indicator for overall global climate health. The prognosis is grim.

On Sept.21, scientists at the United States-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), announced that Arctic sea

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West Coast wildfire smoke crosses Atlantic to Finland

Smoke in the upper atmosphere from wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington has crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Finland, satellite images show.

The World Meteorological Organization posted a satellite image Monday to Twitter showing particulate matter from the fires streaming across the ocean over Scandinavia and Finland, with another swirl over Great Britain.

But the particulates are probably too high in the atmosphere to be noticed from the ground, KRON reported. That wasn’t the case on the West Coast, where choking clouds of smoke blanketed several states for days.

Hundreds of deadly lightning-sparked wildfires have torched millions of acres, forcing mass evacuations in California, Oregon and Washington since August.

The National Weather Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have released earlier satellite photos showing smoke from the blazes drifting across the U.S. and being sucked into a swirling Pacific storm.

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Don Sweeney has been

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U.P. snags space ground station, on short list for command center

KINCHELOE, MI – A space command and control center could be coming to the Upper Peninsula where work is underway on a ground station and there are plans for two satellite launch sites.

Kincheloe is on the short list of possible locations for a new Oakman Aerospace command and control center to support satellite launches and daily operations, according to an Oakman news release. Colorado-based Oakman named six finalists.

The Eastern U.P. community is already chosen for Oakman’s Homestead ground station, which is being assembled at the Chippewa County International Airport, the release states. It is expected to be finished in early 2021.

Together, the control center and ground station would enable U.S. government, commercial and academic satellite missions, according to the release.

“We know the hardworking people of Michigan and its growing space ecosystem are poised to make the state a future leader of the U.S. space industry,” Stanley

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Army gives green light to shape vehicle electrification requirements

The directorate will begin drafting a requirements document for Tactical and Combat Vehicle Electrification (TaCVE) and will host an industry day Oct. 20 to share its electrification initiatives with industry.

CALSTART, an organization that focuses on clean technology transportation, and the Ground Vehicles Systems Center will cohost the event.

The electrification effort aims to decrease the Army’s reliance on fossil fuels. “The requirement also aims to increase operational reach across all maneuver formations through electric propulsion, which offers a variety of operational and tactical benefits,” a statement from the directorate read.

The Army launched an earnest effort into electrifying the brigade earlier this spring.

Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, then-director of the Futures and Concepts Center within AFC, told Defense News at the time that the effort is easier said than done and doesn’t just just focus on simply powering a vehicle electrically. Instead, it would attempt to work out how

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Education Taskforce Releases Report Highlighting COVID-19 Inequities in School

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An education task force released a report Monday highlighting the urgency for every San Diego County student to have equitable access to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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For distance learning to be equitable, teachers must have training, parents and caregivers must have resources and students have supportive learning environments, according to the Equitable Distance Learning Taskforce — a countywide group of school districts, education experts, nonprofit organizations and community leaders.

The report says that technological devices and sufficient connectivity are a necessary educational investment, but not enough to promote equity in learning.

“We all have a responsibility and role to play in supporting San Diego’s children, youth and families,” said Erin Hogeboom, director of San Diego for Every Child — a nonprofit dedicated to cutting child poverty in San Diego County by 50%

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Sheldon Whitehouse’s crusade against the little guy

In its 2001 Palazzolo v. Rhode Island decision, the Supreme Court expanded the power of landowners to sue governments over regulatory restrictions. It was a big victory for the little guys: Anthony Palazzolo, owner of a modest tow truck business, had purchased the parcel at the center of the dispute in 1959. The ruling was also a small setback for big government, and the “big guy” who lost the case? Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, at that time the attorney general of Rhode Island.

Seventeen years later, Palazzolo was living rent-free on property inside Whitehouse’s skull. During a 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Whitehouse referenced Palazzolo and the Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm that jumped in free of charge to help Palazzolo fight against the Rhode Island attorney general’s effectively limitless legal resources. Still out of sorts because simple citizens had won from him a

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6th-gen takes to the air: The fastest, stealthiest, most lethal aircraft ever?

Now that the Air Force has officially announced that it has built and flown a new sixth-generation fighter jet, many might wonder: Could it be the stealthiest, fastest and most lethal aircraft ever to exist? What if it were built to be as stealthy as a B-21 bomber?

A new generation stealth fighter, to come after the F-35, was not expected until possibly 2030, yet Air Force Acquisition Executive William Roper has announced the services have “flown” a 6th Gen aircraft, a platform referred to by the Air Force as Next Generation Air Dominance.

Granted, very little is known about what the actual design may look like, or which vendor built it, yet Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed have all been working on early sixth-generation fighters to some extent. While no vendors have announced any details about an actual plane, some have each released images, or renderings of what their

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270 Pilot Whales Have Been Stranded In Tasmania. The Race Is On To Save Them : NPR

Pilot whales lie stranded on a sandbar Monday near Strahan, Australia. Marine conservationists have been deployed to the scene on Tasmania’s west coast to try to rescue the whales.

Brodie Weeding/AP


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Brodie Weeding/AP

Pilot whales lie stranded on a sandbar Monday near Strahan, Australia. Marine conservationists have been deployed to the scene on Tasmania’s west coast to try to rescue the whales.

Brodie Weeding/AP

Along the western coast of Tasmania, marine conservationists are gathering to conduct a massive operation: the rescue of some 270 pilot whales that have been stranded on sandbars there.

Tasmania is an island state of Australia, about 150 miles south of the mainland. The whales were first reported stuck on Monday morning.

Nic Deka of Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service told the Australian broadcaster ABC that government marine conservation experts planned to start the rescue operation on Tuesday morning, and that it

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FedTech teams with NASA on program that aims to help entrepreneurs turn research into startups

The camera on the back of your cellphone got its start in the sky. The same goes for many of the baby formulas for sale today, and for the technology behind laser eye surgery.

Those disparate products and processes — and many, many more — have their roots in technology developed by NASA.

“Of all the research labs out there, NASA just has one of the most unique histories of creating spinoffs that end up being commercial products,” said Ben Solomon, founder and managing partner of Washington, D.C.-area venture accelerator FedTech.

FedTech works with entrepreneurs to commercialize technology from federal agencies like the departments of energy or defense.

“With FedTech, the reason we exist and the reason that we work every day is we look at what’s next,” said Solomon, who grew up in Northeast Ohio.

While the company typically works with a variety of agencies, it recently worked with

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PUSD updates return-to-schools plan | Youth Of Today

On Friday, Sept. 4, Dr. Jason W. Reynolds, the new superintendent of the Peoria Unified School District, sent an update to families of 37,000 students in Glendale and Peoria.

The updated plan is to have the youngest students return to classrooms Sept. 21, followed by all students returning to schools five days per week Sept. 28.

“We are pleased that the most recent benchmarks from Maricopa County show our district’s data continues to trend in the right direction. According to the most recent update, we are excited to share that we have a target to move directly into Stage 4 of our Return to School Plan,” Reynolds said.

He said PUSD is “targeting” Monday, Sept. 21, for kindergarten through second-graders (“our youngest, most vulnerable students”) to return to classrooms. 

“If the positive trend in our data continues, we will invite the remainder of our students to return on Sept. 28,”

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