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September 26, 2018

Study suggests Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years

Study suggests Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years

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  • 26 September 2018: Study suggests Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years
  • 20 September 2018: NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet
  • 31 July 2018: Total lunar eclipse occurs in July 2018
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
  • 7 May 2018: NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

In a new study announced on Monday and available in the current volume of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, an international team led by scientists from Brown University in the United States said the planet Mars once had the right water and temperatures to host simple life forms — just not on its surface. Mars’s rocky, subterranean layer once, for some hundreds of millions of years, had enough water and reductants to support some of the same kinds of microbial communities seen on Earth.

“We showed, based on basic physics and chemistry calculations, that the ancient Martian subsurface likely had enough dissolved hydrogen to power a global subsurface biosphere,” reported lead author and current Brown graduate student Jesse Tarnas. The paper does not claim life on Mars did exist but rather that conditions suitable for life are very likely to have lasted for an extended time. This habitable zone, located beneath Mars’s then-frozen surface, would have reached several kilometers into Mars’s surface, potentially protected by ice above.

The study showed that, during Mars’s Noachian period (4.1–3.7 billion years ago), radiolysis, the process by which radiation splits water molecules apart, produced enough hydrogen gas (H2) for microbial organisms to live on so long as they remained within the area just beneath the cryosphere, the SHZ (subcryospheric highly-fractured zone). The concentration of hydrogen in the groundwater could have ranged from about 35 to about 55 millimolars depending on whether ancient Mars was warm or cold, respectively, and higher if the subsurface medium also contained enough salt. The researchers determined this by establishing three factors. First, they examined data from the gamma ray spectrometer aboard NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, from which they inferred how much of various radioactive elements would have been present in Mars’s crust during the Noachian, and therefore how much radiation would have been available to split water and so produce hydrogen. They then built on existing models of water flow on Mars to determine how much groundwater would have been present. Third, they used climate and geothermal modeling to determine how much of that water would have been in liquid form and at a suitable temperature for living things.

In subterranean environments on Earth called subsurface lithotrophic microbial ecosystems, or SLiMEs, ecosystems sustain themselves not on plants that harness sunlight through photosynthesis but on microbes that harvest electrons from nearby molecules. Molecular hydrogen is an especially good electron donor.

One of the study authors, Brown Professor John Mustard, is on the team designing the next Mars Rover mission, scheduled for 2020. He and Tarnas recommended the Rover examine the sites of meteorite crashes, which may have excavated rocks from this possibly habitable depth that may hold traces of ancient life.



Related news

  • “NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars” — Wikinews, May 7, 2018
  • “Curiosity Rover analysis suggests chemically complex lake once graced Mars’s Gale crater” — Wikinews, June 4, 2017
  • NASA announces water on Mars” — Wikinews, October 1, 2015

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 25, 2018

Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years, say scientists

Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years, say scientists

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  • 20 September 2018: NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet
  • 31 July 2018: Total lunar eclipse occurs in July 2018
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
  • 7 May 2018: NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars
  • 21 April 2018: NASA launches exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

In a new study announced on Monday and available in the current volume of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, an international team led by scientists from Brown University in the United States said the planet Mars once had the right water and temperatures to host simple life forms — just not on its surface. Mars’s rocky, subterranean layer once, for some hundreds of millions of years, had enough water and reductants to support some of the same kinds of microbial communities seen on Earth.

“We showed, based on basic physics and chemistry calculations, that the ancient Martian subsurface likely had enough dissolved hydrogen to power a global subsurface biosphere,” reported lead author and current Brown graduate student Jesse Tarnas. The paper does not claim life on Mars did exist but rather that conditions suitable for life are very likely to have lasted for an extended time. This habitable zone, located beneath Mars’s then-frozen surface, would have reached several kilometers into Mars’s surface, potentially protected by ice above.

The study showed that, during Mars’s Noachian period (4.1–3.7 billion years ago), radiolysis, the process by which radiation splits water molecules apart, produced enough hydrogen gas (H2) for microbial organisms to live on so long as they remained within the area just beneath the cryosphere, the SHZ (subcryospheric highly-fractured zone). The concentration of hydrogen in the groundwater could have ranged from about 35 to about 55 millimolars depending on whether ancient Mars was warm or cold, respectively, and higher if the subsurface medium also contained enough salt. The researchers determined this by establishing three factors. First, they examined data from the gamma ray spectrometer aboard NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, from which they inferred how much of various radioactive elements would have been present in Mars’s crust during the Noachian, and therefore how much radiation would have been available to split water and so produce hydrogen. They then built on existing models of water flow on Mars to determine how much groundwater would have been present. Third, they used climate and geothermal modeling to determine how much of that water would have been in liquid form and at a suitable temperature for living things.

In subterranean environments on Earth called subsurface lithotrophic microbial ecosystems, or SLiMEs, ecosystems sustain themselves not on plants that harness sunlight through photosynthesis but on microbes that harvest electrons from nearby molecules. Molecular hydrogen is an especially good electron donor.

One of the study authors, Brown Professor John Mustard, is on the team designing the next Mars Rover mission, scheduled for 2020. He and Tarnas recommended the Rover examine the sites of meteorite crashes, which may have excavated rocks from this possibly habitable depth that may hold traces of ancient life.



Related news[]

  • “NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars” — Wikinews, May 7, 2018
  • “Curiosity Rover analysis suggests chemically complex lake once graced Mars’s Gale crater” — Wikinews, June 4, 2017
  • NASA announces water on Mars” — Wikinews, October 1, 2015

Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 21, 2018

First academic year of female Cub Scouts for Boy Scouts of America begins

Filed under: Disputed,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

First academic year of female Cub Scouts for Boy Scouts of America begins

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  • 18 August 2018: Singer Aretha Franklin, ‘queen of soul’, dies aged 76
  • 23 July 2018: US director James Gunn fired from Marvel Studios for decade-old offensive tweets
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
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Friday, September 21, 2018

This week, as the new school year begins, girls across the United States, including over 100 girls in western Washington State alone registered to become Cub Scouts, form dens and begin their activities as part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Last year, the Boy Scouts decided to admit girls to their organization in response to a poll of Cub-Scout-aged girls and to a multi-year trend of decreasing enrollment in Scouting.

“I wanted to be a scout because I wanted to do everything my brother did,” said 7-year-old Marlee Perez.

“She’s growing up and she’s getting these skills she probably wouldn’t get anywhere else. It’s just amazing to watch her grow and smile and have a good time and make friendships, some friendships for life,” said Marlee’s father, Lee Perez. “I look at it is this way, what part of the scout oath, scout law can any youth not learn from, whether it be a boy or a girl, you talk about scout oath scout law, you talk about being reverend, being kind obedient, cheerful, being kind, those are great things that even our young ladies can learn.”

Last year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) polled girls aged 6 to 10 and 87% of these respondents expressed interest in joining the Boy Scouts. “Families with both boys and girls want something where they can participate as an entire family,” says Brian Falin, senior district executive of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Sequoyah Council. “Families want their daughters to be able to earn BSA rank awards, even to the Eagle Scout level.” The Boy Scouts have a history of including girls in some of their events, but only official members are eligible to earn badges or awards.

In October of last year, the Boy Scouts of America announced that their board of directors had unanimously decided the century-old children’s organization would begin accepting girls as Cub Scouts and allow them to apply for and earn Eagle Scout status. This has raised questions about the future of an independent but related organization, the Girl Scouts.

A young man at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor in 2006. The Boy Scouts of America have announced they will begin allowing girls to earn this award starting in 2019.
Image: Tom Anderson.

The decision does not mean there will be mixed groups, called dens, of male and female Cub Scouts: “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls,” the Scouts said in a statement, and it will be up to local scouting organizations to decide whether to establish girls’ dens. These dens can be combined with others to create larger groups, called packs.

The Boy Scouts already admit girls to some of their programs but this move would allow them to become full members of the organization, so long as they are young enough to become Cub Scouts. A new program, slated to begin in 2019, is designed to allow older girls earn the Eagle Scout Award, which is the Boy Scouts’ highest honor.

“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” aspiring Eagle Scout Sydney Ireland told NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.” Ireland has been an unofficial member of her local Boy Scout den since she was four and authored a Change.org petition requesting that the organization admit girls.

The National Organization for Women approved of the decision but the Girl Scouts of America did not. Membership in both the Boy and Girl Scout organizations has dropped by millions since the early 2000s, and this measure may bolster membership in the Boy Scouts. The president of the Girl Scouts has accused the Boy Scouts of poaching girls in the past.

“We’ve had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space,” Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, told the press. “So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls.” Margosian also said the Girls Scouts were “blindsided” by the Boy Scouts’ announcement.

“The problem with the Girl Scout curriculum is that it’s very focused on who your leader is for your particular troop,” said Rebecca Szetela, one mother of four from Michigan. “If you have a mom who’s really into crafts and girlie stuff and being a princess, then that’s what your Girl Scout troop is going to be like. If you have a daughter who’s more rough and tumble, it’s not going to be a good fit.”

Girl Scouts working on the Mission Ocean Challenge during the USS California Science Experience at Naval Surface Warfare Center in 2010.
Image: U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko.

A 2011 study in the journal Gender and Society found the Boy Scouts were less likely to engage in artistic projects and the Girl Scouts less likely to engage in science, though the Girl Scouts have made attempts to foster science programs since then.

“I wanted to join Cub Scouts because they didn’t do the same things as Girl Scouts. I wanted to do more camping and stuff like that,” said Remi Stewart, age 8, who told the press this week she plans to participate in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts this year.

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in 1910 and the Girl Scouts shortly later. The organizations also differ from each other with respect to politics and progressivism. “In some very fundamental ways the Boy Scouts was always backward-looking. It harkened back to a time when men were men, when they were apt in the woods, when they were muscular and strong,” says Arizona State University women’s studies professor Mary Logan Rothschild. “[With Girl Scouts] all the things they were doing were not backward-looking, but forward-looking. These were new things for girls: to be adept at making fires, marching, and doing all these outdoor things. […] It’s my profound belief, based on academic research, that they really have fundamentally different visions.”

Earlier in 2017, the Boy Scouts announced they would accept trans boys as members. In 2013 and 2015, it lifted its ban on openly gay members and leaders, respectively, after years of public debate. The organization still bars entry to atheists and agnostics, and about 70% of Boy Scout organizations are affiliated with religious groups of some kind. In 2015, a Washington State Girl Scout troop returned a $100,000 donation because the donor had stipulated it could not be used to support trans girls.

“The Girl Scouts see it as a threat to their territory and the Boy Scouts are saying ‘we are offering another option,'” New York Times reporter Niraj Chokshi told NBC News shortly after last year’s announcement. “Depending on how it plays out, we will see how targeted it was at the Girl Scouts.”



Sources[]

External links[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 20, 2018

NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet

NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet

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  • 20 September 2018: NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet
  • 31 July 2018: Total lunar eclipse occurs in July 2018
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
  • 7 May 2018: NASA’s InSight lander and MarCO craft launch in new mission to Mars
  • 21 April 2018: NASA launches exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

In findings released to the public on Monday through online site arXiv.org, astronomers reported they have already used data from the first photograph taken by National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to locate an exoplanet. The planet, called Pi Mensae c, was spotted as it was transiting in front of its star, Pi Mensae (HD 39091). The paper describing the findings was being submitted to AAS Letter but had yet to be published in full.

“Here, we report on the discovery of a transiting planet around [Pi Mensae], exactly the type of planet TESS was designed to detect,” states a portion of the paper available to the public.

Scientists say the planet is roughly twice the diameter of Earth but about four times as massive. Findings for Pi Mensae c indicate it may contain helium, methane, hydrogen, and water but is deemed unlikely to support life because it is so close to its star.

TESS, which launched last April, created the light image over the course of 30 minutes on August 7, using four optical telescopes to photograph a small portion of the night sky. Its mission is slated to last two years and reports anticipate it could discover thousands of exoplanets.

This week in an unrelated project, researchers from the University of Florida spotted a planet circling a star named 40 Eriadni A (HD 26965). In the fictional universe of Star Trek, this star system is the home of the Vulcans like Mr. Spock. The exoplanet, officially called HD 26965b, has been nicknamed “Vulcan,” after this fictional planet.



Related news

  • “NASA launches exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS” — Wikinews, April 21, 2018

Sources

  • Chelsea X. Huang (MIT), Jennifer Burt, Andrew Vanderburg, Maximilian N. Günther, Avi Shporer, Jason A. Dittmann, Joshua N. Winn, Rob Wittenmyer, Lizhou Sha, Stephen R. Kane, George R. Ricker, Roland Vanderspek, David W. Latham, Sara Seager, Jon Jenkins, Douglas A. Caldwell, Karen A. Collins, Natalia Guerrero, Jeffrey C. Smith, Sam Quinn, Stéphane Udry, Francesco Pepe, François Bouchy, Damien Sé gransan, Christophe Lovis, David Ehrenreich, Maxime Marmier, Michel Mayor, Bill Wohler, Kari Haworth, Edward Morgan, Michael Fausnaugh, David Charbonneau, Norio Narita, the TESS team. “TESS Discovery of a Transiting Super-Earth in the Π Mensae System” — arXiv, September 16, 2018
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September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence results in mass flooding in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence results in mass flooding in North Carolina

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  • 6 November 2017: U.S. government report says climate change is human-made
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Weather in Wilmington, NC, over the last several days. Data from the National Weather Service, United States.

Wind speed and pressure within the hurricane over several weeks in September. Data from the National Hurricane Center, NOAA, United States.

Florence 2018 track, colored by its category. The category of a hurricane is an indicator of its size or strength. Tracking data is from from the National Hurricane Center or the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Views of Hurricane Florence at Landfall, view from International Space Station. September 14.

On Tuesday, the remnants of Hurricane Florence brought heavy rain and gusts of 112 km per hour (70 miles/hour) to the US state of Massachusetts.

Florence originated from a tropical wave over Western Africa in late August. On September 1, the National Hurricane Center assigned the name Florence to the system. Over the next two weeks, favorable conditions allowed the system to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Last Friday, Florence entered the shore of North Carolina, United States. Several days since severe rainfall has occurred in the area. Flooding was ongoing with approximately 24 inches of water being accumulated in Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the official weather data. The hurricane has been responsible for at least 34 deaths in three states so far, with 25 deaths in North Carolina.

Tens of thousands of homes were damaged, with 900 thousand homes without power at the early stages of the hurricane.

Floodwaters were continuing to rise and fill more streets and homes through the area. Wilmington, a town with 120 thousand residents, was isolated by water, with only one road being intermittently available for food supply. Officials were giving away free food to the residents.

According to the official data provided by United States, in the Wilmington area, the rainfall reached a maximum of ten inches on Friday. The rainfall has receded, however, water continued to accumulate and reached 24 inches on Sunday. This figure has continued to be steady for another day til Monday. The hurricane was observed to have wind speed up to 200km/h, a figure that has decreased since the Friday as it hit the land and was unable to maintain its high speed. The landfall of the hurricane was also observed from the International Space Station on Friday.

Gallery[]

Officials and volunteers from other states have provided rescue services to the area, including road closures, rescue operations on helicopters and boats in the areas which were hit the most. As it can be clearly seen from the images, it was impossible to move in the area by car. An incident has been reported when a mother was driving and holding her young son, however, as she was unable to hold the grip, the son was swept away by the water flow and has died. Officials warned residents to stay away from flooded areas and to stay safe.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 9, 2018

Boy Scouts of America to begin accepting girls, which raises issues with Girl Scouts

Boy Scouts of America to begin accepting girls, which raises issues with Girl Scouts

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  • 23 July 2018: US director James Gunn fired from Marvel Studios for decade-old offensive tweets
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  • 14 June 2018: Football: Canada, Mexico and US wins joint bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup
  • 6 June 2018: Microsoft announces plan to acquire GitHub for US$7.5 billion
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Sunday, September 9, 2018

This week, the first official female Cub Scouts formed dens and commenced earning badges as part of the Boy Scouts of America.

In October of last year, the Boy Scouts of America announced that their board of directors had unanimously decided the century-old children’s organization would begin accepting girls as Cub Scouts and allow them to apply for and earn Eagle Scout status, a unanimous decision by their board of directors. This has raised questions about the future of an independent but related organization, the Girl Scouts.

A young man at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor in 2006. The Boy Scouts of America have announced they will begin allowing girls to earn this award starting in 2019.
Image: Tom Anderson.

The decision does not mean there will be mixed groups, called dens, of male and female Cub Scouts: “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls,” the Scouts said in a statement, and it will be up to local scouting organizations to decide whether to establish girls’ dens. These dens can be combined with others to create larger groups, called packs.

The Boy Scouts already admit girls to some of their programs but this move would allow them to become full members of the organization, so long as they are young enough to become Cub Scouts. A new program, slated to begin in 2019, is designed to allow older girls earn the Eagle Scout Award, which is the Boy Scouts’ highest honor.

“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” aspiring Eagle Scout Sydney Ireland told NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.” Ireland has been an unofficial member of her local Boy Scout den since she was four and authored a Change.org petition requesting that the organization admit girls.

The National Organization for Women approved of the decision but the Girl Scouts of America did not. Membership in both the Boy and Girl Scout organizations has dropped by millions since the early 2000s, and this measure may bolster membership in the Boy Scouts. The president of the Girl Scouts has accused the Boy Scouts of poaching girls in the past.

“We’ve had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space,” Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, told the press. “So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls.” Margosian also said the Girls Scouts were “blindsided” by the Boy Scouts’ announcement.

“The problem with the Girl Scout curriculum is that it’s very focused on who your leader is for your particular troop,” said Rebecca Szetela, one mother of four from Michigan. “If you have a mom who’s really into crafts and girlie stuff and being a princess, then that’s what your Girl Scout troop is going to be like. If you have a daughter who’s more rough and tumble, it’s not going to be a good fit.”

Girl Scouts working on the Mission Ocean Challenge during the USS California Science Experience at Naval Surface Warfare Center in 2010.
Image: U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko.

A 2011 study in the journal Gender and Society found the Boy Scouts were less likely to engage in artistic projects and the Girl Scouts less likely to engage in science, though the Girl Scouts have made attempts to foster science programs since then.

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in 1910 and the Girl Scouts shortly later. The organizations also differ from each other with respect to politics and progressivism. “In some very fundamental ways the Boy Scouts was always backward-looking. It harkened back to a time when men were men, when they were apt in the woods, when they were muscular and strong,” says Arizona State University women’s studies professor Mary Logan Rothschild. “[With Girl Scouts] all the things they were doing were not backward-looking, but forward-looking. These were new things for girls: to be adept at making fires, marching, and doing all these outdoor things. […] It’s my profound belief, based on academic research, that they really have fundamentally different visions.”

Earlier in 2017, the Boy Scouts announced they would accept trans boys as members. In 2013 and 2015, it lifted its ban on openly gay members and leaders, respectively, after years of public debate. The organization still bars entry to atheists and agnostics, and about 70% of Boy Scout organizations are affiliated with religious groups of some kind. In 2015, a Washington State Girl Scout troop returned a $100,000 donation because the donor had stipulated it could not be used to support trans girls.

“The Girl Scouts see it as a threat to their territory and the Boy Scouts are saying ‘we are offering another option,'” New York Times reporter Niraj Chokshi told NBC News. “Depending on how it plays out, we will see how targeted it was at the Girl Scouts.”



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 8, 2018

US rapper Mac Miller dies at home Los Angeles

US rapper Mac Miller dies at home Los Angeles

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  • 23 July 2018: US director James Gunn fired from Marvel Studios for decade-old offensive tweets
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
  • 14 June 2018: Football: Canada, Mexico and US wins joint bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup
  • 6 June 2018: Microsoft announces plan to acquire GitHub for US$7.5 billion
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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mac Miller in 2017.
Image: Nicolas Völcker.

On Friday, rapper Mac Miller was found dead in his bedroom at home in San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California, United States, according to reports. He was 26.

According to news website TMZ, a friend called emergency services from Mac Miller’s apartment, in regard to a cardiac arrest. According to the coroner, Mac Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigation was ongoing to identify the cause of the death.

Reports said Mac Miller previously abused drugs, which reportedly affected his two-year relationship with singer Ariana Grande. They broke up in May this year.

Mac Miller was an US rapper, singer and record producer. He was born Malcolm James McCormick in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US in 1992. In 2007, at the age of fifteen, he released his first mixtape under the nickname “EZ Mac”. He later switched to name “Mac Miller”.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 5, 2018

First year of female Cub Scouts for Boy Scouts of America begins

First year of female Cub Scouts for Boy Scouts of America begins

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  • 18 August 2018: Singer Aretha Franklin, ‘queen of soul’, dies aged 76
  • 23 July 2018: US director James Gunn fired from Marvel Studios for decade-old offensive tweets
  • 19 July 2018: US astronomers announce discovering ten tiny Jovian satellites
  • 14 June 2018: Football: Canada, Mexico and US wins joint bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup
  • 6 June 2018: Microsoft announces plan to acquire GitHub for US$7.5 billion
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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

This week, as the new school year begins, girls across the United States, including over 100 girls in western Washington State alone registered to become Cub Scouts, form dens and begin their activities as part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Last year, the Boy Scouts decided to admit girls to their organization in response to a poll of Cub-Scout-aged girls and to a multi-year trend of decreasing enrollment in Scouting.

“I wanted to be a scout because I wanted to do everything my brother did,” said 7-year-old Marlee Perez.

“She’s growing up and she’s getting these skills she probably wouldn’t get anywhere else. It’s just amazing to watch her grow and smile and have a good time and make friendships, some friendships for life,” said Marlee’s father, Lee Perez. “I look at it is this way, what part of the scout oath, scout law can any youth not learn from, whether it be a boy or a girl, you talk about scout oath scout law, you talk about being reverend, being kind obedient, cheerful, being kind, those are great things that even our young ladies can learn.”

Last year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) polled girls aged 6 to 10 and 87% of these respondents expressed interest in joining the Boy Scouts. “Families with both boys and girls want something where they can participate as an entire family,” says Brian Falin, senior district executive of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Sequoyah Council. “Families want their daughters to be able to earn BSA rank awards, even to the Eagle Scout level.” The Boy Scouts have a history of including girls in some of their events, but only official members are eligible to earn badges or awards.

In October of last year, the Boy Scouts of America announced that their board of directors had unanimously decided the century-old children’s organization would begin accepting girls as Cub Scouts and allow them to apply for and earn Eagle Scout status. This has raised questions about the future of an independent but related organization, the Girl Scouts.

A young man at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor in 2006. The Boy Scouts of America have announced they will begin allowing girls to earn this award starting in 2019.
Image: Tom Anderson.

The decision does not mean there will be mixed groups, called dens, of male and female Cub Scouts: “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls,” the Scouts said in a statement, and it will be up to local scouting organizations to decide whether to establish girls’ dens. These dens can be combined with others to create larger groups, called packs.

The Boy Scouts already admit girls to some of their programs but this move would allow them to become full members of the organization, so long as they are young enough to become Cub Scouts. A new program, slated to begin in 2019, is designed to allow older girls earn the Eagle Scout Award, which is the Boy Scouts’ highest honor.

“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” aspiring Eagle Scout Sydney Ireland told NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.” Ireland has been an unofficial member of her local Boy Scout den since she was four and authored a Change.org petition requesting that the organization admit girls.

The National Organization for Women approved of the decision but the Girl Scouts of America did not. Membership in both the Boy and Girl Scout organizations has dropped by millions since the early 2000s, and this measure may bolster membership in the Boy Scouts. The president of the Girl Scouts has accused the Boy Scouts of poaching girls in the past.

“We’ve had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space,” Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, told the press. “So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls.” Margosian also said the Girls Scouts were “blindsided” by the Boy Scouts’ announcement.

“The problem with the Girl Scout curriculum is that it’s very focused on who your leader is for your particular troop,” said Rebecca Szetela, one mother of four from Michigan. “If you have a mom who’s really into crafts and girlie stuff and being a princess, then that’s what your Girl Scout troop is going to be like. If you have a daughter who’s more rough and tumble, it’s not going to be a good fit.”

Girl Scouts working on the Mission Ocean Challenge during the USS California Science Experience at Naval Surface Warfare Center in 2010.
Image: U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko.

A 2011 study in the journal Gender and Society found the Boy Scouts were less likely to engage in artistic projects and the Girl Scouts less likely to engage in science, though the Girl Scouts have made attempts to foster science programs since then.

“I wanted to join Cub Scouts because they didn’t do the same things as Girl Scouts. I wanted to do more camping and stuff like that,” said Remi Stewart, age 8, who told the press this week she plans to participate in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts this year.

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in 1910 and the Girl Scouts shortly later. The organizations also differ from each other with respect to politics and progressivism. “In some very fundamental ways the Boy Scouts was always backward-looking. It harkened back to a time when men were men, when they were apt in the woods, when they were muscular and strong,” says Arizona State University women’s studies professor Mary Logan Rothschild. “[With Girl Scouts] all the things they were doing were not backward-looking, but forward-looking. These were new things for girls: to be adept at making fires, marching, and doing all these outdoor things. […] It’s my profound belief, based on academic research, that they really have fundamentally different visions.”

Earlier in 2017, the Boy Scouts announced they would accept trans boys as members. In 2013 and 2015, it lifted its ban on openly gay members and leaders, respectively, after years of public debate. The organization still bars entry to atheists and agnostics, and about 70% of Boy Scout organizations are affiliated with religious groups of some kind. In 2015, a Washington State Girl Scout troop returned a $100,000 donation because the donor had stipulated it could not be used to support trans girls.

“The Girl Scouts see it as a threat to their territory and the Boy Scouts are saying ‘we are offering another option,'” New York Times reporter Niraj Chokshi told NBC News. “Depending on how it plays out, we will see how targeted it was at the Girl Scouts.”



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Police Captain’s son gets 20 year prison sentence for terrorist plot

Police Captain’s son gets 20 year prison sentence for terrorist plot

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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Alexander Ciccolo, the son of a police captain for the US city of Boston, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in federal court on Wednesday. Ciccolo’s father, Robert Ciccolo, reportedly tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to his son’s probable intentions, an action mentioned by the U.S. Attorney during the trial. In 2017, Ciccolo’s mother, Shelley MacInnes, said in a radio interview her son is “very compassionate” and “would not hurt a fly.”

File photo of a federal prison building in Seagoville, Texas

As early as Monday, local news sources were predicting Ciccolo would receive a twenty year prison sentence. Ciccolo formally plead guilty in May to to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, one count of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, assaulting a nurse in jail, and various other offenses. Reports indicate he told an undercover investigator he planned to detonate pressure cooker bombs in college cafeterias, among other places.

Ciccolo’s attorneys say he dealt with mental health and substance abuse problems, had poorly thought out plans and no real ability to carry out an attack. Law enforcement, however, described him as an Islamic-State loyalist. Ciccolo was originally arrested in 2015. During their investigation, FBI personnel observed Ciccolo purchase a pressure cooker from a WalMart store. An undercover agent gave him four guns that authorities state he had requested. After his arrest, investigators found four partially finished Molotov cocktails. The devices were filled with styrofoam and oil.



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September 2, 2018

Final service for US Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain as he is buried at the United States Naval Academy

Final service for US Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain as he is buried at the United States Naval Academy

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

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Senator John Sydney McCain III of Arizona

Sunday, the United States (US) Republican Senator from Arizona and Vietnam War veteran John Sydney McCain III, age 81, was buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. McCain died on the evening of August 25 at his Sedona, Arizona ranch from complications associated with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Ending a week of services, viewings, and speeches, McCain’s body was laid to rest next to his Naval Academy friend Admiral Charles Larson. The motorcade with police escort had streets lined with people saluting and waving American flags. An honor guard would remove the casket to be placed on a horse drawn carriage and offloaded at the burial site. A private service was held at 14:00 EST (1800 UTC) to 16:00 EST (2000 UTC) which concluded with a flyover in the missing man formation.

McCain is remembered by his service to the US during the Vietnam War where he was shot down over Hanoi, North Vietnam being rescued by local fishermen. When offered repatriation due to his father becoming the commander of all US forces in Vietnam, he refused to leave the Hỏa Lò Prison, nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton,” suffering pervasive torture unless earlier prisoners of war were repatriated. In all, he was detained for 5 1/2 years. Stateside, he would enter the world of US politics as Congressmen from the Arizona 1st district. When the Republican Senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater vacated his seat in the US Senate, McCain was elected to his seat, which he filled for the next 3 decades, overseeing the military as a ranking member of the politically powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. With McCain’s extensive public service, his death garnered several services that were carried out over the last week.

Starting last Sunday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lowered all flags at half-mast and announced McCain and would lie in state under the copper rotunda at the Arizona Capitol Building Wednesday in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Also Governor Ducey’s office confirmed through a senior adviser Daniel Ruiz, II, the Constitutional power for appointing McCain’s successor will take place after McCain’s funeral and this person will serve until the 2022 election cycle. The official statement produced by Ruiz reads, “Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest … Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived.”

A small service was held around 10:00 a.m. MST (1600 UTC) Wednesday when McCain’s casket arrived at the Arizona Capitol Building. Opening the service was Arizona Governor Doug Ducey with a eulogy, with remarks from former Republican Senator from Arizona Jon Kyle, and the benediction from the Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake. Following the service, the public was allowed into the rotunda with an estimated 12-15 thousand individuals by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

His last ceremony in Arizona took place Thursday at the North Phoenix Baptist Church which featured McCain’s former Chief of Staff John Woods, National Football League wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, and former Vice President Joe Biden. Leaving the church, a personal musical selection by McCain of Frank Sinatra song, “My Way” played. A police escort would take him and his family to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. Greeting him on the tarmac was the entire Arizona National Guard with Air Force Two, a smaller modified Boeing 757 then the Air Force One Boeing 747 used to fly the president. Air Force Two would land in Washington, DC at Joint Base Andrews with an honor guard ready to receive his casket.

Friday, McCain came to the US Capitol Building for the last time, honored by lying in state under the rotunda on the catafalque originally built for assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. This honor has only been extended to 31 individuals over the past 166 years. As the honor guard removed the casket from the hearse and began climbing the stairs it began to rain. After the ceremony for Congress, the public was allowed to view his casket for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, a service was held at that National Cathedral also in Washington, DC. where former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were personally asked by McCain to give eulogies when they visited him as he recovered from chemotherapy and radiation treatments at his ranch. Absent from the National Cathedral was the current President Donald Trump after tensions with McCain and the McCain family resulted in Trump not being invited. Instead, invitations were extended to Vice President Mike Pence other administration officials including Chief of Staff and retired General John Kelly.

Throughout the week, no speech referenced Trump by name. However Meghan McCain‘s eulogy at the National Cathedral stated, “We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice, those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,” subtly comparing McCain’s war record to Trump’s multiple medical deferments.

Trump would spend the time when the service was taking place at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. During his public appearances this week, he remained silent on McCain’s death with only a single Twitter post directly following McCain’s death, “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.” First Lady Melania Trump also reached out through Twitter with, “Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.” Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attended the National Cathedral service as an invitation extended by Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham.

Trump ordered the flags at half-mast, a showing of national mourning, the Saturday evening when McCain died, with the flag being placed back at full-mast two days later. Trump defended his actions with, “I’ve done everything that they requested and no, I don’t think I have at all.” After quick bipartisan criticism the flag was returned to half-mast until Sunday’s final burial.

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56)
Image: Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom.

A number of honorary measures have been purposed and adopted throughout the federal, state, and city levels. Navy officials, prior to his death, added his name to the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer USS John McCain originally named for his grandfather and father, both Navy Admirals. Congressional colleagues also entitled the 2019 fiscal year military sending bill, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Legislation was also submitted by the Democratic Senator from New York Chuck Schumer to renaming the Russell Senate Office Building dedicated to the late Democratic Senator from Georgia Richard Russell, Jr. Russell was a segregationist and civil rights opponent, but some in Congress have reservations on the renaming like the Republican Senator from Georgia David Perdue stating, “He did so many other things. He was a big supporter of the Great Society, the War on Poverty. Now, we all know those things failed, but he was a big champion of them.” The legislation will be taken up when Congress reopens after Labor Day.



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg John McCain
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Cindy McCain
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Megan McCain

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