What does your 5 year plan look like?




CDC’s One-Stop Shop

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2018, as of March 1, 2020. Suicide rates listed are Age-Adjusted Rates.

  • Suicide is the10th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2018, 48,344 Americans died by suicide
  • In 2018, there were an estimated 1.4M suicide attempts
  • Become an advocate to help prevent suicide

Additional facts about suicide in the US

  • The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2018 was 14.2 per 100,000 individuals.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.
  • In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 132 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.
  • In 2018, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

NASA: EARTH NOW – Keep an eye on our planets health with this completely awesome 3D visualizer

Graphic illustration of virtual meeting displayed on laptop computer Photo credit:

5 NSF-supported STEM education resources that are perfect for virtual learning

For many parents, teachers and students, back-to-school routines look a little different this year. Whether you’re a teacher searching for lesson-planning content or a parent looking for activities to supplement classroom instruction, these five U.S. National Science Foundation-supported STEM education resources are perfect for virtual learning.

Time-lapse photo showing the movement of stars across the sky over the Gemini North telescope
Star trails over Gemini North. Photo Credit: Gemini Observatory

1.  My Sky Tonight (pre-K)

Figuring out how to best engage young children in science topics can be intimidating. Luckily, the My Sky Tonight project can help. Astronomy educators at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific teamed up with developmental psychology researchers to produce a set of research-based, hands-on astronomy activities rich in science practices and designed for preschool-aged children. Lessons include activity guides and videos that teach children about a range of topics, from the phases of the moon to the sun’s energy. Additionally, tutorial videos provide a primer on how to guide young children’s learning across a range of disciplines.

two children experiment with liquids in beakers
Photo Credit: Mama Belle and the kids/Shutterstock

2.  Hands-on Chemistry Activities (grades K-12)

You don’t need a chemistry lab to teach chemistry. With the National Informal STEM Education Network’s “Let’s Do Chemistry” kits, learners explore what chemistry reveals about the world around them through hands-on activities involving everyday objects like chewing gumwater and soap. Each activity comes with handouts, instructions and training videos for teachers and parents, all of which are also available in Spanish.

graphic illustration of the science of the electromagnetic spectrum
Photo Credit: VectorMine/Shutterstock

3.  Greenbank Observatory’s ‘Try it at Home’ Activities (grades K-12)

Did you know a little red cabbage juice can go a long way in teaching students about the pH scale? Learn about acidic and basic substances, the electromagnetic spectrum, birds of prey and more on the Greenbank Observatory’s “Try it at Home” webpage. Resources include worksheets, coloring pages and hands-on activity guides and are color-coded from green to orange to indicate difficulty level and whether adult supervision is required.

an illustrated worksheet designed to teach kids about the Earth's water cycle
Photo Credit: NSF

4.  Earth Science Worksheets and Resources (grades K-7)

Unlock the wonder of science with these printable worksheets from NSF that introduce learners to key Earth science concepts like plate tectonics, water cycles, fossils and more. Check out NSF’s Earth & Environment Classroom Resources page for related coloring books and videos.

emoji swimmer superimposed over image of water
Photo Credit: NSF/NBC/GE

5.   Emoji Science Worksheets (grades 5-12)

Bring a bit of digitally inspired fun to your classroom with these emoji lesson plans. Lessons include engaging videos and hands-on activities that explore chemistry and physics using everyday objects. 

A penguin jumping into the water from a chunk of ice
Gentoo penguin leaping off ice flow into Mikkelsen Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula Photo Credit: Kelton W. McMahon, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island

**Bonus: Virtual Field Trips (fun for all ages!)

Take your students on an adventure to the depths of the ocean or to the world’s largest solar telescope without leaving the classroom with these NSF-funded virtual escapes or invite one of our experts to speak with your class through our Speakers Bureau. Our scientists, engineers and other passionate professionals are available to provide STEM-related talks to your virtual elementary, middle, and high school students.

The brainbrainstem, spinal cord, and nerves.

Human brain bisected in the sagittal plane, showing the white matter of the corpus callosum
Third ventricle shown in red. The third ventricle is one of the four connected ventricles of the ventricular system within the mammalian brain. It is a slit-like cavity formed in the diencephalon between the two thalami, in the midline between the right and left lateral ventricles, and is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Blue – Lateral ventricles
Cyan – Interventricular foramina (Monro)
Yellow – Third ventricle
Red – Cerebral aqueduct (Sylvius)
Purple – fourth ventricle
Green – continuous with the central canal
(Apertures to subarachnoid space are not visible) – Wikipedia

Drugs affect mostly three areas of the brain:

  • The brain stem is in charge of all the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, moving blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord, which runs down the back and moves muscles and limbs. It also lets the brain know what’s happening to the body.
  • The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate or kiss someone we love. The good feelings motivate us to repeat the behavior, which can be good because things like eating and love are critical to our lives.
  • The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-shaped outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. It’s divided into four areas, called lobes, which control specific functions. Some areas process information from our senses, allowing us to see, feel, hear, and taste. The front part of the cortex, known as the frontal cortex or forebrain, is the thinking center. It powers our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions.


Structural Violence, Social Justice, and Mental Illness

Preschool Curriculum: What’s In It For Children and Teachers (/Mommy’s and Daddy’s)

Preschool Curriculum is an accessible research synthesis of how and how much young children learn in the academic domains of oral language, literacy, mathematics, and science.


Drawing for Kids
Step-by-Step Tutorial
Here’s everything you need to get kids started with drawing, including a written tutorial and videos.
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Discover Your Creativity with Nathaniel Drew. Content creator Nathaniel Drew discusses finding his creative voice and uncovering inspiration online.
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Create a Green Oasis
Uplift your spirit and your space with plant care tips from Christopher Griffin, aka Plant Kween!
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Make Playful Symmetrical Patterns
Illustrator Charly Clements is back with a new class showing how to create playful designs using Procreate’s symmetry tool.
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Take Creative Conceptual Photos
Discover how to shoot and edit compelling conceptual photographs on your phone with photo artist Amelie Satzger.
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Addressing the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide

By Joshua Gordon

Each September, people in the U.S. and around the world observe Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to help raise awareness and share information about this important public health concern. As director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), I have made suicide prevention one of my top priorities, and although I have written about suicide in the past, I wanted to revisit this topic to bring attention to this critical area of concern.

One often overlooked aspect of the rising rates of suicide in the U.S. is its impact on youth — and in particular, its impact on Black youth. Black people face increased rates of risk factors, including experiences of racism, higher rates of unemployment and financial and food insecurity, disparities in other aspects of health, and limited access to care, all of which result in an increased burden of mental illness in black communities. Despite this heavy burden, Black people and individuals in other racial and ethnic minority groups have historically had relatively low rates of suicide. But this has been changing recently, especially for Black youth. As of 2018, suicide became the second leading cause of death in Black children aged 10-14, and the third leading cause of death in Black adolescents aged 15-19. By combining data from 2001 to 2015, researchers were able to examine suicides among children ages 12 and younger and found that Black children were more likely to die by suicide than their White peers.

This crisis of Black youth suicide is beginning to receive the attention it deserves. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and the Congressional Black Caucus deserve credit for raising awareness of the issue and for establishing the Emergence Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health. Their report, 

Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America,

was released in December 2019. This report describes key research findings related to suicide among Black youth. Most importantly, it provides research, policy, and practice recommendations to address this issue, such as improving research funding of minority scientists and increasing funding of research focused on Black youth suicide and Black youth mental health.

More research is needed on how suicide and risk develops among Black youth, and how it can be best prevented. Significant questions remain in terms of understanding and predicting suicide risk among Black youth — while some risk factors have been well-researched and are clear (e.g., gender, victim of bullying and bullying others, LGBTQ+ discrimination, exposure to trauma, racial discrimination), there are other risk factors that are less clear. For example, some research suggests that Black adolescents who have contemplated or attempted suicide are less likely to have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Another significant risk factor is access to firearms — research points to higher rates of Black youth mortality due to firearms compared to other racial/ethnic groups — which is why we’re supporting infrastructure to improve research on firearm safety for youth.

One factor that may be contributing to increases in the risk of suicide in Black youth may be disparities in access to mental health services. Black youth continue to be less likely to receive mental health treatment for depression when needed, compared to White youth. Rates of engagement in and completion of treatments for depression are lower for Black adolescents (compared to White adolescents), often due to negative perceptions of services and providers and reluctance to acknowledge symptoms. Black youth are also significantly less likely than White youth to receive outpatient treatment even after a suicide attempt.

The good news is that NIMH-funded research has begun to point the way towards better risk identification and effective interventions that can help reverse these trends. Implementing universal screening for suicide risk using the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions toolkit, developed by investigators in the NIMH Intramural Research Program, can identify youth at risk, including Black youth. And, targeted efforts such as school-based mental health clinics can improve engagement in mental health care among Black youth with depression.

Nonetheless, we need considerably more research focused on solutions for Black children and adolescents if we are to truly make a difference for those in need. Accordingly, NIMH continues to expand opportunities for scientists interested in studying these issues, as articulated in our recent Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) in Research on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide. Other initiatives, including a call to establish Practice-Based Suicide Prevention Research Centers, though broader, are also designed to support work in minority communities and address disparities that affect Black youth. And we continue to look for additional opportunities to support science aimed at addressing this crisis. Black youths’ lives matter, and NIMH research must be aimed at saving lives and alleviating suffering in Black communities in need.


Breland-Noble, A. M., & AAKOMA Project Adult Advisory Board (2012). Community and treatment engagement for depressed African American youth: the AAKOMA FLOA pilot. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings19(1), 41–48.

Bridge, J. A., Horowitz, L. M., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., Greenhouse, J., Kelleher, K. J., & Campo, J. V. (2018). Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 through 2015. JAMA Pediatrics172(7), 697–699.

Cummings, J. R., Ji, X., Lally, C., & Druss, B. G. (2019). Racial and ethnic differences in minimally adequate depression care among Medicaid-enrolled youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry58(1), 128–138.

DeVylder, J. E., Ryan, T. C., Cwik, M., Wilson, M. E., Jay, S., Nestadt, P. S., Goldstein, M., & Wilcox, H. C. (2019). Assessment of selective and universal screening for suicide risk in a pediatric emergency department. JAMA Network Open2(10), e1914070.

Fowler, K. A., Dahlberg, L. L., Haileyesus, T., Gutierrez, C., & Bacon, S. (2017). Childhood firearm injuries in the United States. Pediatrics, 140(1), e20163486.

Joe, S., Baser, R. S., Neighbors, H. W., Caldwell, C. H., & Jackson, J. S. (2009). 12-month and lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among black adolescents in the national survey of American life. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry48(3), 271–282.

Lindsey, M. A., Chambers, K., Pohle, C., Beall, P., & Lucksted, A. (2013). Understanding the behavioral determinants of mental health service use by urban, under-resourced black youth: Adolescent and caregiver perspectives. Journal of Child and Family Studies22(1), 107–121.

Musci, R. J., Hart, S. R., Ballard, E. D., Newcomer, A., Van Eck, K., Ialongo, N., & Wilcox, H. (2016). Trajectories of suicidal ideation from sixth through tenth grades in predicting suicide attempts in young adulthood in an urban African American cohort. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior46(3), 255–265.

NIMH Livestream Event: Suicide Prevention Strategies

Suicide is a major public health concern. More than 48,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States, and it was the 10th leading cause of death overall in 2018. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on suicide is still unknown, the slow but steady increases in the U.S. suicide rate remain a concern.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) discussion on the latest in suicide prevention research, including ways to identify risk, and effective prevention strategies. Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of NIMH, moderates this discussion with Jane Pearson, Ph.D., Special Advisor to the NIMH Director on Suicide Research, and Stephen O’Connor, Ph.D., chief of the Suicide Prevention Research Program in the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research.

Note: If you need help finding a provider, visit If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454.


Today’s Essentials – This week…


How Do Children Learn Respect for Others?

Westerners use rules and punishment to shape children. Indigenous peoples traditionally provide extensive support and do not interfere in a child’s wayfinding in life.


Can You Trust Again After Being Betrayed?

Has someone you knew and cared for violated your trust? Learn about if and how to ever trust again.

List of Wikipedias

Started in 2001, it currently contains 6,169,933 articles. Many other Wikipedias are available; some of the largest are listed below.

Languages:English·Ænglisc·العربية·беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎·български·Banjar·বাংলা·català·کوردی·Zazaki·Ελληνικά·Esperanto·español·euskara·فارسی·français·galego·ગુજરાતી·עברית·हिन्दी·հայերեն·Bahasa Indonesia·italiano·日本語·Jawa·한국어·lietuvių·македонски·मराठी·Bahasa Melayu·Mirandés·မြန်မာဘာသာ·مازِرونی·Bân-lâm-gú·नेपाली·नेपाल भाषा·occitan·ਪੰਜਾਬੀ·پښتو·português·română·سنڌي·Soomaaliga·தமிழ்·Türkçe·ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche·اردو·vèneto·中文

Alemannisch (als) · azərbaycanca (az) · čeština (cs) · словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ (cu) · Deutsch (de) · suomi (fi) · Gaeilge (ga) · magyar (hu) · 日本語 (ja) · ქართული (ka) · қазақша (kk) · 한국어 (ko) · Кыргызча (ky) · Limburgs (li) · latviešu (lv) · Malagasy (mg) · Bahasa Melayu (ms) · Bân-lâm-gú (nan) · polski (pl) · português (pt) · русский (ru) · српски / srpski (sr) · shqip (sq) · 

NOTE: Addressing and balancing Mental Health will not always be palatable.

Malikah Shabazz, Chair / Bettih Shabazz, CEO


#MetKids is made for, with, and by kids—wherever we may be. Check out this week’s roundup of favorite #MetKids videos and activities, all inspired by The Met collection. 
CREATE Create an Optical Toy: ThaumatropeFollow along with Durga, age 11, and learn how to make a thaumatrope, an optical toy that was popular in the 1800s. Roughly translated from Greek, the word thaumatrope means “wonder turn.”Watch → 
Q & A Is There More Than One Way to See a Work of Art?Explore new ways of looking with Nestor, age 10, and see art in a new way!Watch → 
STORYTIME Storytime with The Met: Dreamers by Yuyi MoralesLook, listen, sing, and have fun with Storytime from home! Join us every Thursday for a picture-book reading and an activity connected to The Met collection. In this edition, Met educator Josefa reads Dreamers and connects it to M.
Recommended for families with children ages 18 months to 6 years.Watch →
Send your artwork to for a chance to be featured on #MetKids!
Explore the Map!
Hop in the Time Machine
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  1. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction 

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction


Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Drug Addiction

For much of the past century, scientists studying drugs and drug use labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people with an addiction were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society’s responses to drug use, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment.

Today, thanks to science, our views and our responses to addiction and the broader spectrum of substance use disorders have changed dramatically. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of compulsive drug use, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem.

As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a medical disorder that affects the brain and changes behavior. We have identified many of the biological and environmental risk factors and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disorder. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug use takes on individuals, families, and communities.

Despite these advances, we still do not fully understand why some people develop an addiction to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug use. This booklet aims to fill that knowledge gap by providing scientific information about the disorder of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug use and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat substance use disorders.

At the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), we believe that increased understanding of the basics of addiction will empower people to make informed choices in their own lives, adopt science-based policies and programs that reduce drug use and addiction in their communities, and support scientific research that improves the Nation’s well-being.

Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse

PDF (16.06 MB)

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider
New Input Material Review Course
Available in Learning Center Material review is critical for organic production and handling. Material input decisions directly impact the status of organic operations. This course, developed in partnership with the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), teaches participants how to know which input sources are allowed and which restrictions apply to specific input materials. The course explores fundamental material review principles, organic regulatory requirements, resources for making informed decisions and real-world examples. Course lessons include:
Fundamentals of Material Review
Crop Inputs
Livestock Inputs
Handling Inputs

Self-Enrolling in Learning Center Courses
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Need a Learning Center account? Access sign-up page
Have a Learning Center account?  Access site

To access all completed course content, register for the National Organic Program Training Archive course to review (read-only) material from all OILC courses.
About the Learning Center
Organic Integrity from Farm to Table. Consumers Trust the Organic Label.
Organic Insider Archive


is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection, and statistical analysis of data, amend interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical researchpublic health studies, and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences.

Major areas of epidemiological study include disease causation, transmissionoutbreak investigation, disease surveillanceenvironmental epidemiologyforensic epidemiologyoccupational epidemiologyscreeningbiomonitoring, and comparisons of treatment effects such as in clinical trials. Epidemiologists rely on other scientific disciplines like biology to better understand disease processes, statistics to make efficient use of the data and draw appropriate conclusions, social sciences to better understand proximate and distal causes, and engineering for exposure assessment.

Epidemiology, literally meaning “the study of what is upon the people”, is derived from Greek epi ‘upon, among’, demos  ‘people, district’, and logos ‘study, word, discourse’, suggesting that it applies only to human populations. However, the term is widely used in studies of zoological populations (veterinary epidemiology), although the term “epizoology” is available, and it has also been applied to studies of plant populations (botanical or plant disease epidemiology).

The distinction between “epidemic” and “endemic” was first drawn by Hippocrates, to distinguish between diseases that are “visited upon” a population (epidemic) from those that “reside within” a population (endemic). The term “epidemiology” appears to have first been used to describe the study of epidemics in 1802 by the Spanish physician Villalba in Epidemiología Española. Epidemiologists also study the interaction of diseases in a population, a condition known as a syndemic.

The term epidemiology is now widely applied to cover the description and causation of not only epidemic disease, but of disease in general, and even many non-disease, health-related conditions, such as high blood pressure, depression and obesity. Therefore, this epidemiology is based upon how the pattern of the disease causes change in the function of human beings.

The Profession

Few universities have offered epidemiology as a course of study at the undergraduate level. One notable undergraduate program exists at Johns Hopkins University, where students who major in public health can take graduate level courses, including epidemiology, during their senior year at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Although epidemiologic research is conducted by individuals from diverse disciplines, including clinically trained professionals such as physicians, formal training is available through Masters or Doctoral programs including Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science of Epidemiology (MSc.), Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Science (ScD). Many other graduate programs, e.g., Doctor of Social Work (DSW), Doctor of Clinical Practice (DClinP), Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), or for clinically trained physicians, Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS or MBChB) and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), include some training in epidemiologic research or related topics, but this training is generally substantially less than offered in training programs focused on epidemiology or public health. Reflecting the strong historical tie between epidemiology and medicine, formal training programs may be set in either schools of public health and medical schools.

As public health/health protection practitioners, epidemiologists work in a number of different settings. Some epidemiologists work ‘in the field’; i.e., in the community, commonly in a public health/health protection service, and are often at the forefront of investigating and combating disease outbreaks. Others work for non-profit organizations, universities, hospitals and larger government entities such as state and local health departments, various Ministries of Health, Doctors without Borders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Protection Agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), or the Public Health Agency of Canada. Epidemiologists can also work in for-profit organizations such as pharmaceutical and medical device companies in groups such as market research or clinical development.


An April 2020 University of Southern California article noted that “The coronavirus epidemic… thrust epidemiology – the study of the incidence, distribution and control of disease in a population – to the forefront of scientific disciplines across the globe and even made temporary celebrities out of some of its practitioners.”

On June 8, 2020, The New York Times published results of its survey of 511 epidemiologists asked “when they expect to resume 20 activities of daily life”; 52% of those surveyed expected to stop “routinely wearing a face covering” in one year or more.


(from Greek ἔθνος ethnos “folk, people, nation” and γράφω grapho “I write”) is a branch of anthropology and the systematic study of individual cultures. In contrast with ethnology, ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography is also a type of social research involving the examination of the behaviour of the participants in a given social situation and understanding the group members’ own interpretation of such behaviour.

As a form of inquiry, ethnography relies heavily on participant observation—on the researcher participating in the setting or with the people being studied, at least in some marginal role, and seeking to document, in detail, patterns of social interaction and the perspectives of participants, and to understand these in their local contexts. It had its origin in social and cultural anthropology in the early twentieth century, but spread to other social science disciplines, notably sociology, during the course of that century.

Ethnographers mainly use qualitative methods, though they may also employ quantitative data. The typical ethnography is a holistic study and so includes a brief history, and an analysis of the terrain, the climate, and the habitat. A wide range of group and organisation have been studied by this method, including traditional communities, youth gangs, religious cults, and organisations of various kinds. While, traditionally, ethnography has relied on the physical presence of the researcher in a setting, there is research using the label that has relied on interviews or documents, sometimes to investigate events in the past such as the NASA Challenger disaster. There is also a considerable amount of ‘virtual’ or online ethnography, sometimes labelled netnography or cyber-ethnography.

History and meaning

Bernardino de Sahagún is known as the first modern ethnographer.

The word ‘ethnography’ is derived from the Greek ἔθνος (ethnos), meaning “a company, later a people, nation” and -graphy, meaning “writing”. Ethnographic studies focus on large cultural groups of people who interact over time. Ethnography is a set of qualitative methods that are used in social sciences that focus on the observation of social practices and interactions. Its aim is to observe a situation without imposing any deductive structure or framework upon it and to view everything as strange or unique.

The field of anthropology originated from Europe and England in late 19th century. It spread its roots to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the main contributors like E. B. Tylor (1832–1917) from Britain and Lewis H. Morgan (1818–1881), an American scientist, were considered as founders of cultural and social dimensions. Franz Boas (1858–1942), Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942), Ruth Benedict (1887–1948), and Margaret Mead (1901–1978), were a group of researchers from the United States who contributed the idea of cultural relativism to the literature. Boas’s approach focused on the use of documents and informants, whereas Malinowski stated that a researcher should be engrossed with the work for long periods in the field and do a participant observation by living with the informant and experiencing their way of life. He gives the viewpoint of the native and this became the origin of field work and field methods.


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Has a Bold, New Look

The 30-foot NASA logo, nicknamed


What’s Causing Sea-Level Rise? Land Ice Vs. Sea Ice Students learn the difference between land ice and sea ice and make a model to see how the melting of each impacts global sea level.TAGS: Science Grades 2 – 8 Earth and Space Science


NASA’s Earth Minute This white-board animation video series explains key concepts about Earth science, missions and climate change.TAGS: Science Grades 6 – 12 Earth and Space Science


Thermal Expansion ModelStudents build a model that demonstrates an important contributor to sea-level rise – how water volume increases when the temperature of the water increases.TAGS: Science Grades 4 – 12 Physical Sciences



Your Weekly Escape
Extraordinary people, discoveries, and places in a time of turmoil
Here’s what’ll happen when plate tectonics grinds to a halt We may only have another 1.45 billion years to enjoy the dynamic action of Earth’s geologic engine. That’s well before the sun is expected to swell into a red giant and consume us in its death throes.
A ‘compelling’ clue may solve the mystery of the Lost ColonyIt’s one of America’s oldest mysteries: What happened to the 115 men, women, and children abandoned on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in 1587? Pieces of broken pottery may finally provide an answer.
Egypt’s last pharaoh was the ‘love child’ of Caesar and CleopatraCaesarion embodied his mother’s alliance with Rome, but assassination and war would bring about his death at age 17, ending Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.
The forgotten Soviet space shuttle that could fly itselfThe Soviet shuttle bore a striking resemblance to its American counterpart for good reason: Its designers had acquired American shuttle specifications through espionage.
QUOTE: Actually, I’ve loved quite a few people, and by that I mean I really feel happy in their company. That’s pretty much it—the joy of someone’s company. That’s what I call love.

Joni Mitchell, singer and composer
From “I’m a fool for love” 
These are the dinosaurs that didn’t die More than 10,000 species still roam the Earth. We call them birds.

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Follow Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich in Real Time As It Orbits Earth

Screenshot of Sentinel-6 as it appears on NASA's Eyes visualization tool
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Nov. 21. NASA’s Eyes visualization tools lets you track the spacecraft as begins its mission to measure sea level height as it orbits Earth. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

With NASA’s Eyes on the Earth web-based app, you can tag along with the U.S.-European satellite as it orbits the globe, gathering critical measurements of our changing planet.

When Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich was encapsulated in the payload fairing of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, it was the last time human eyes would have a close-up look at the satellite. But now that the spacecraft is in orbit after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Nov. 21, NASA’s Eyes on the Earth is keeping track.

The app provides a 3D visualization of the sea-level-monitoring satellite, letting you see where it is right now as it glides over the cloud-covered globe. 👀

Find out more about Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich as it orbits Earth to collect critical sea level and atmospheric data. Click anywhere on the image to take it for a spin. View the full interactive experience and fly along with the mission in real time at Eyes on the Solar System. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rendered in stunning detail, the spacecraft’s avatar even includes the instruments it will use to measure sea level height and gather atmospheric data. With the click of a mouse, you can rotate the satellite to see it from any angle, watch it fly above Earth in real-time, or speed it up to see its entire five-and-a-half-year mission unfold over a few minutes.

“What we create for Eyes is an engineering model of the real thing. You can get lost in the detail – not just in how the sunlight reflects off the spacecraft’s solar panels but how you can track its exact location in orbit,” said Jason Craig, visualization producer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “We have data streaming from space missions near and far, and we’ve put that data to work. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is only the latest spacecraft to be added to the growing number of missions.”


We received this and thought we’d immediately post it in an effort of damage control/AMHC

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What’s Up – December 2020

What are some skywatching highlights in December 2020? Catch the year’s best meteor shower, the Geminids, in the middle of the month. Then witness an extremely close pairing of Jupiter and Saturn that won’t be repeated for decades. And mark the shortest day of the year on the northern winter solstice.

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Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Owners and Mangers of Housing Properties in Honolulu, Hawaii for Discriminating Against Families with Children12/01/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the owners and managers of housing in Honolulu, Hawaii, to resolve a lawsuit filed last year alleging that the defendants refused to rent to families with children at properties they owned and managed, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Justice Department Sues Northern Alabama Housing Authority and Property Owners for Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Race12/01/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority of Ashland, Alabama, which manages seven federally funded low-income housing complexes, violated the Fair Housing Act by intentionally discriminating on the basis of race or color against applicants for housing

Singaporean Shipping Company Fined $12 Million in a Multi-District Case for Concealing Illegal Discharges of Oily Water and Garbage and a Hazardous Condition12/01/2020 12:00 AM EST
Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL), a Singapore-based company that owns subsidiaries engaged in international shipping, was sentenced today in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Louise Flanagan in New Bern, North Carolina, after pleading guilty to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, obstruction of justice, and for a failure to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of a hazardous condition on the Motor Vessel (M/V) Pac Antares.

New York City Restaurateur Sentenced to Jail For Tax Evasion Scheme12/01/2020 12:00 AM EST
A New York City restaurateur was sentenced to prison for a tax evasion scheme.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Navy will scrap fire-ravaged Bonhomme Richard
(Navy Times) The U.S. Navy will not repair the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, which burned for more than four days this summer in San Diego.
  2. After Trump, Congress could chafe at retired officers leading the Pentagon
(Defense News) As President-elect Joe Biden waits to name his secretary of defense, the prospect of selecting a retired general officer is raising alarms about the civil-military balance at the top of the department – and questions about whether Congress would grant such clearance.
  3. Four troops have died of coronavirus complications in as many weeks
(Military Times) A North Dakota Army National Guardsman is the 12th service member to die of COVID-19 complications, according to the Defense Department’s tally.
  4. Pentagon shake-up continues as another top official departs
(CNN) The top official leading the Pentagon’s Defeat-ISIS Task Force resigned Monday, becoming the latest senior official to be fired or asked to resign in recent days, part of a White House-directed post-election purge that saw some of the senior-most Defense Department civilians ousted in a matter of days.
  5. NATO mulls its future in Afghanistan as US draws down troops
(The Associated Press) NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the military alliance is grappling with a dilemma over its future in Afghanistan, as the United States starts pulling troops out while attacks by the Taliban and extremist groups mount.


3 Ways Joe Biden’s Victory Could Be a Lifeline for the Unemployed

  2. 3 Ways Joe Biden’s Victory Could Be a Lifeline for the Unemployed


Blue Origin Announces Board of Advisors

Board Features Renowned Leaders in the Space Industry
Blue Origin announced the formation of its Board of Advisors, which includes notable former government space leaders and industry executives. The Board will provide strategic counsel on the company’s mission to radically reduce the cost of access to space and the utilization of in-space resources. In doing so, the Board will further advance Blue Origin’s vision of millions of people living and working in space to benefit the Earth. 

“We are so proud to have attracted this amazingly talented group of experts. This Board will help us drive our mission forward, provide us guidance on our key initiatives and serve as strategic advisors to our leadership team,” said Bob Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Origin.

The Blue Origin Advisory Board members are: 

  • The Honorable Kari A. Bingen – Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security 
  • Dr. Charles Elachi – Former Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
  • Dr. Dan Hastings – Aeronautics and Astronautics Department Head, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and former Chief Scientist, U.S. Air Force 
  • Major General Sue Mashiko, USAF (Ret.) – Former Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office 
  • Todd May – Senior Vice President, Space and Mission Solutions, KBR and former Director, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center 
  • Bill Smith – Former President, Primex Technologies Aerospace Division 
  • The Honorable Heather Wilson – President, University of Texas at El Paso, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, and former Member, U.S. House of Representatives 

CDC Around the World

World AIDS Day

One Health Day 2020

Today is World AIDS Day, a day to unite in the global response to HIV/AIDS, support people living with HIV, and honor lives lost to the HIV epidemic. HIV continues to be a leading cause of death, with more than 690,000 people dying from AIDS-related illnesses in 2019. Today, over 38 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

In countries supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), sustained progress has been made towards achieving global targets for HIV epidemic control. Following the onset of COVID-19, HIV programs and partners quickly pivoted and rapidly innovated operations to ensure continuity of services, including delivery of lifesaving antiretroviral therapy. Programs must implement and standardize the lessons that we’ve learned about adaptation and how to reach people successfully, which COVID-19 hastened, to ensure resilient health systems.

Logo nasa trio black@2x
Changing Pacific Conditions Raise Sea Level Along U.S. West Coast
Since 2010, changes in a long-term natural ocean climate cycle have caused West Coast sea level to begin to rise again after a lull, bringing potential threats such as coastal erosion and flooding. 
› Full story

Arctic Animals’ Movement Patterns are Shifting in Different Ways as the Climate Changes
With the Arctic showing more extreme indications of climate change, researchers have found that the movement patterns of animals in the region are shifting, which could disrupt entire ecosystems. 
›​ Full story

NASA Watches Sea Level Rise from Space, and its Centers’ Windows
Up to two-thirds of NASA’s infrastructure is potentially at risk of sea level rise. The agency is taking steps to prepare. 
›​ Full story

National COVID-19 Resiliency Network

National COVID-19 Resiliency NetworkThis year the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced a partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority and vulnerable communities. Through this cooperative agreement, the Morehouse School of Medicine launched the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN) which will share important messages and linkages to healthcare and social services in communities across the nation and areas hardest hit by the pandemic.The NRCN will focus on identifying and engaging disproportionately impacted communities, nurture existing and develop new partnerships, disseminate culturally and linguistically appropriate information, leverage technology to connect communities to resources, monitor and evaluate outcomes, and apply broad and comprehensive dissemination methods. .OMH and the Morehouse School of Medicine invite organizations and individuals across the country to be a part of this initiative. To sign up for updates and become a part of this effort, please visit the NCRN website. Also, follow the NCRN on Twitter and Facebook.Learn More

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day
Every year organizations and individuals across the country and worldwide observe World AIDS Day to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and honor those who lost their lives to AIDS. This year, OMH joins federal and other partners to help increase awareness about the HIV epidemic and share resources for health care providers and communities.This year’s theme, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact, focuses on the global commitment to deliver quality, people-centered HIV prevention, and treatment services. It also emphasizes the importance of strengthening the capacity and resilience of communities and health systems to address HIV and other health challenges amid a global pandemic.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2018. Of those people, 1 in 7 didn’t know they had HIV. Research also showed that African Americans are most affected by HIV accounting for 42 percent of all new diagnoses.To help reduce this health disparity, find a testing site near you with’s testing sites and care services locator, and get tested today!
Learn More

National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Handwashing Awareness Week
The first week of December is National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 1-7). According to the CDC, handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others. Keeping hands clean is especially important right now during the pandemic to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.Follow these five easy steps to stop the spread of germs:Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.To help raise awareness about the importance of handwashing, visit CDC’s Life is Better with Clean Hands webpage, also available in Spanish.
Learn More

National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week
To raise awareness about the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond, OMH is proud to support National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 6-12).According to the CDC, as many as 45 million people in the U.S. get sick from the flu each season. Flu vaccination is especially important for people from racial and ethnic minority groups, who are often less likely to be vaccinated against flu and more likely to be hospitalized with flu.During 2020-2021, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our medical system and save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.To protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu this winter, find a flu clinic near you by visiting the CDC’s influenza (flu) webpage, also available in Spanish.
Learn More

Mental Wellness during the Holidays

Mental Wellness during the Holidays
Managing your mental wellness during the holiday season can be challenging when unaware of holiday triggers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has resources to help you identify songs, scents, and other holiday reminders that can trigger emotions such as loss, loneliness and shame.The following are tips from SAMHSA to help recognize and manage stressors this holiday season:Take time to notice your own responses.Ask yourself “What helps and what hurts?”Talk about what the holidays may bring up for you.Pay attention to nutrition and exercise.For additional resources to help manage mental health and emotional wellness including addressing mental health myths and facts, visit MedlinePlus and More

Knowledge Center

knowledge center see our newest acquisitions
The Knowledge Center online library collection provides access to publications that illustrate disparities in the utilization of flu vaccines for minority groups. To read these publications, search the online library catalog here.
Learn More


UN News


FROM THE FIELD: Trafficked teenager advocates for women’s rights in Central America

UN Costa Rica/ Danilo MoraLilith, a 19-year-old woman, and her son fled Nicaragua after being trafficked and sexually abused.Human Rights

A 19-year-old woman from Nicaragua in Central America has been telling the United Nations how she was traded as “currency” in a card game, and then trafficked and abused.

Lilith, not her real name, who now has a three-year-old son, was able to flee to neighbouring Costa Rica, where she has dedicated her life to protecting and preventing violence and abuse against young women and girls.

Lilith says she was traded as collateral in a card game. UN Costa Rica/Danilo Mora

She has since taken on a leadership role in the development of a UN-supported campaign “Ponete en Mis Zapatos”, or “Put Yourself in My Shoes”, which brings together asylum-seekers and refugees, many of whom like Lilith have experienced violence, to fight xenophobia and other forms of discrimination in their host communities.

As the UN marks 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence read more here about Lilith’s journey to empowerment. 

UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000, mostly from ‘indirect causes’Almost a quarter of a million people have died in Yemen’s war, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on its website on Tuesday, confirming the huge toll from a conflict that has ravaged Yemen’s economy and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.Peace and Security©

UNRWADeep worry over ‘grim realities’ endured by PalestiniansThere is “a deep sense of worry about the grim realities” of life faced by those living in occupied Palestinian Territory, the UN chief said on Tuesday, pointing to the “diminishing prospects of resolving the conflict” with Israel, that has been with the UN since its creation 75 years ago.   Human RightsUNOCHA/HFOUN appeals for $35 billion to help world’s ‘most vulnerable and fragile’ in 2021A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a near- 40 per cent increase on 2020 which is “almost entirely from COVID-19”, the UN’s emergency relief chief said on Tuesday. Humanitarian Aid

UN Photo/Evan SchneiderUN chief underlines collective duty to remember victims of the Second World WarAlthough the United Nations turned 75 this year, the milestone would be incomplete without recognition of the huge losses endured during the Second World War: the event which led to the creation of the global Organization, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told ambassadors attending a commemorative ceremony in the General Assembly Hall on Tuesday. Peace and Security

UNOCHA/David Dare ParkerGlobal agreement on migration ‘taking root’ despite pandemic challenge: Guterres The Global Compact for Migration, adopted by countries in 2018 as a comprehensive framework for cooperation on international migration, is “taking root in promising ways”, the UN Secretary General said on Tuesday. Migrants and Refugees

MINUSMA/Blagoje GrujicMali: COVID-19 and conflict lead to rise in child traffickingChild trafficking is rising in Mali, along with forced labour and forced recruitment by armed groups, due to conflict, insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday. Peace and Security

UNICEFA ‘digital canyon’: 1.3 billion school-aged children can’t log on to internet at homeA staggering two-thirds of world’s school-aged children – 1.3 billion children aged 3-17 – do not have internet connection in their homes, preventing them from learning vital skills needed to compete in the modern economy, a new UN report has revealed. Culture and Education

UNICEF/Tadeo GómezCOVID-19 can spark new generation of social protection measures: UN chiefWhile COVID-19 has wiped out important development gains in mere months, with extreme poverty rising for the first time in decades, the pandemic could spark the transformations needed to achieve stronger social protection systems, the UN Secretary-General said on Tuesday.  SDGs

UNICEF/Karin SchermbruckerUN urges ‘global solidarity, shared responsibility’ against pandemics, marking World AIDS DayThe United Nations is commemorating World AIDS Day, on Tuesday, with a call for “global solidarity and shared responsibility” to overcome not only COVID-19, but also AIDS – another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged. Health©

UNHCR/Elisabeth Arnsdorf HaslUNHCR asks Ethiopia for urgent access to 96,000 Eritreans cut off without foodThe UN refugee agency, UNHCR, appealed to Ethiopia on Tuesday for urgent access to 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, saying the month-long conflict in Tigray had left them without vital supplies.Migrants and Refugees

UN Costa Rica/ Danilo MoraFROM THE FIELD: Trafficked teenager advocates for women’s rights in Central AmericaA 19-year-old woman from Nicaragua in Central America has been telling the United Nations how she was traded as “currency” in a card game, and then trafficked and abused.Human Rights

UN Photo/Mark GartenINTERVIEW: Economic and Social Council ‘vital to promote global peace and global cooperation’Munir Akram wears two hats. He is Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN and was elected on 23 July as the 76th President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); one of the three main bodies that provide the backbone of the United Nations. Economic Development
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/2 –

U.S. Law Enforcement Takes Action Against Approximately 2,300 Money Mules In Global Crackdown On Money Laundering12/02/2020 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and six other federal law enforcement agencies announced the completion of the third annual Money Mule Initiative, a coordinated operation to disrupt the networks through which transnational fraudsters move the proceeds of their crimes.  Money mules are individuals who assist fraudsters by receiving money from victims of fraud and forwarding it to the fraud organizers, many of whom are located abroad.  Some money mules know they are assisting fraudsters, but others are unaware that their actions enable fraudsters’ efforts to swindle money from consumers, businesses, and government unemployment funds.  Europol announced a simultaneous effort, the European Money Mule Action (EMMA) today.

Justice Department Settles with Amtrak to Resolve Disability Discrimination Across its Intercity Rail System12/02/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, to resolve the department’s findings of disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement Amtrak will fix inaccessible stations and pay $2.25 million to victims hurt by its inaccessible stations.

Kevin M. Epstein Appointed as U.S. Trustee for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas12/02/2020 12:00 AM EST
Attorney General William P. Barr has appointed Kevin M. Epstein as the U.S. Trustee for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas (Region 7) effective Jan. 1, 2021, the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) announced today.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Village of Airmont, New York, for Zoning Restrictions that Target the Orthodox Jewish Community12/02/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today announced that it filed a lawsuit against the Village of Airmont, New York, alleging that it violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by targeting the Orthodox Jewish community through zoning ordinances restricting religious schools and home synagogues, and by enforcing its zoning code in a discriminatory manner to prevent Orthodox Jews from using their property consistent with their faith. 

Remarks of Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband on the Announcement of the Settlement with Amtrak12/02/2020 12:00 AM EST
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.  Today, we are pleased to announce that the Department of Justice and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation — better known as Amtrak — have reached a comprehensive settlement agreement to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).  Through this agreement, Amtrak has committed to fix inaccessible passenger rail stations across the Country and to pay $2.25 million to passengers with disabilities who have been denied equal access to Amtrak stations between 2013 and today

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Defense bill snagged in Trump’s war on social media protections
(Defense News) With congressional talks close to finalizing this year’s defense policy bill, lawmakers are wrestling with the Trump administration’s last-minute demand to include language to overhaul the tech industry’s prized liability shield.
  2. This retired three-star falsely claims US soldiers died attacking a CIA facility in Germany tied to election fraud
(Military Times) It is a scenario that makes the antics of animated spy Archer seem plausible by comparison, spun by the former assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.
  3. Trump administration launches rewards program targeting North Korea and China
(Washington Post) The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a $5 million reward for tips on sanctions-busting activities that allow North Korea to continue developing nuclear weapons and accused China of facilitating the illicit trade.
  4. Pacific Fleet commander may be nominated to lead Indo-Pacific Command, report says
(Stars & Stripes) The White House is expected to name Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, to lead Indo-Pacific Command, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
  5. Oversight panel slams Pentagon for $700M loan
(The Hill) The Congressional Oversight Commission overseeing COVID-19 relief funds excoriated the Defense and Treasury departments Tuesday over a $700 million loan to a troubled shipping company.

People who may have had coronavirus exposure but are asymptomatic can quarantine for seven days instead of 14 if they test negative, the C.D.C. said.
Updated 11:47 AM EST
The C.D.C. previously had recommended a 14-day quarantine period following potential exposure, and officials said they still supported the longer period as the safest option. But officials also recommended two alternatives.Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test, agency officials said at a news briefing. P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, the agency said, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.
Read the latest


New Data Confirm 2020 SO to Be the Upper Centaur Rocket Booster From the 1960’s

NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility on Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii
In addition to supporting a variety of NASA planetary missions, NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility on Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii is also used to determine the composition of near-Earth objects. Credits: University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Michael Connelley
› Larger view

The object, discovered in September by astronomers searching for near-Earth asteroids, garnered interest in the planetary science community due to its size and unusual orbit.

Using data collected at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and orbit analysis from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, scientists have confirmed that Near-Earth Object (NEO) 2020 SO is, in fact, a 1960’s-Era Centaur rocket booster.

The object, discovered in September by astronomers searching for near-Earth asteroids from the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope on Maui, garnered interest in the planetary science community due to its size and unusual orbit and was studied by observatories around the world.

Winter will be “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation” unless more people follow precautions, the C.D.C. director said.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the C.D.C., predicted that total deaths from Covid-19 could reach “close to 450,000” by February unless a large percentage of Americans follow precautions like mask-wearing.
Read the latest

UN News


Climate Action: It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urges

NASAThe Earth, an image created from photographs taken by the Suomi NPP satellite.Climate Change

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate, uncompromising speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York.

The landmark address marks the beginning of a month of UN-led climate action, which includes the release of major reports on the global climate and fossil fuel production, culminating in a climate summit on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Nature always strikes back

Mr. Guterres began with a litany of the many ways in which nature is reacting, with “growing force and fury”, to humanity’s mishandling of the environment, which has seen a collapse in biodiversity, spreading deserts, and oceans reaching record temperatures.

The link between COVID-19 and man-made climate change was also made plain by the UN chief, who noted that the continued encroachment of people and livestock into animal habitats, risks exposing us to more deadly diseases.

And, whilst the economic slowdown resulting from the pandemic has temporarily slowed emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, levels of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are still rising, with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere at a record high. Despite this worrying trend, fossil fuel production – responsible for a significant proportion of greenhouse gases – is predicted to continue on an upward path.UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeSecretary-General António Guterres (left) discusses the State of the Planet with Professor Maureen Raymo at Columbia University in New York City.

‘Time to flick the green switch’

The appropriate global response, said the Secretary-General, is a transformation of the world economy, flicking the “green switch” and building a sustainable system driven by renewable energy, green jobs and a resilient future.

One way to achieve this vision, is by achieving net zero emissions (read our feature story on net zero for a full explanation, and why it is so important). There are encouraging signs on this front, with several developed countries, including the UK, Japan and China, committing to the goal over the next few decades.

Mr. Guterres called on all countries, cities and businesses to target 2050 as the date by which they achieve carbon neutrality – to at least halt national increases in emissions – and for all individuals to do their part.

With the cost of renewable energy continuing to fall, this transition makes economic sense, and will lead to a net creation of 18 million jobs over the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the UN chief pointed out, the G20, the world’s largest economies, are planning to spend 50 per cent more on sectors linked to fossil fuel production and consumption, than on low-carbon energy.

Put a price on carbon

© UNICEF/Samir Jung ThapaFood and drinking supplies are delivered by raft to a village in Banke District, Nepal, when the village road was cut off due to heavy rainfall.

For years, many climate experts and activists have called for the cost of carbon-based pollution to be factored into the price of fossil fuels, a step that Mr. Guterres said would provide certainty and confidence for the private and financial sectors.

Companies, he declared, need to adjust their business models, ensuring that finance is directed to the green economy, and pension funds, which manage some $32 trillion in assets, need to step and invest in carbon-free portfolios.UNOCHA/Ivo BrandauLake Chad has lost up to ninety per cent of its surface in the last fifty years.

Far more money, continued the Secretary-General, needs to be invested in adapting to the changing climate, which is hindering the UN’s work on disaster risk reduction. The international community, he said, has “both a moral imperative and a clear economic case, for supporting developing countries to adapt and build resilience to current and future climate impacts”.

Everything is interlinked

The COVID-19 pandemic put paid to many plans, including the UN’s ambitious plan to make 2020 the “super year” for buttressing the natural world. That ambition has now been shifted to 2021, and will involve a number of major climate-related international commitments.

These include the development of a plan to halt the biodiversity crisis; an Oceans Conference to protect marine environments; a global sustainable transport conference; and the first Food Systems Summit, aimed at transforming global food production and consumption.

Mr. Guterres ended his speech on a note of hope, amid the prospect of a new, more sustainable world in which mindsets are shifting, to take into account the importance of reducing each individual’s carbon footprint.

Far from looking to return to “normal”, a world of inequality, injustice and “heedless dominion over the Earth”, the next step, said the Secretary-General, should be towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path, and for mankind to rethink our relationship with the natural world – and with each other.

You can read the full speech here.

Climate Action: It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urgesThe UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate, uncompromising speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York.Climate Change

UN News/Laura Quiñones2020 may be third hottest year on record, world could hit climate change milestone by 2024Global pressure on wages from COVID-19 will not stop with the arrival of a vaccine, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday, coinciding with a major report showing how the pandemic had slowed or reversed a trend of rising wages across the world, hitting women workers and the low-paid hardest.  Climate Change

Unsplash/David GabrićUN commission reclassifies cannabis, no longer considered risky narcoticThe UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) took a number of decisions on Wednesday, leading to changes in the way cannabis is internationally regulated, including its reclassification out of the most dangerous category of drugs. Law and Crime Prevention

UNMAS/Maximilian DyckForeign fighters a ‘serious crisis’ in Libya, UN mission chief tells high stakes political forumThe 20,000 foreign fighters now in Libya represent “a serious crisis” and “a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty”, UN Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams said on Wednesday, during the latest meeting under the country’s political dialogue forum. Peace and Security

George KraychykThe Handmaid’s Tale: making a drama out of a crisisThe Handmaid’s Tale, an award-winning television series, may be about a fictional “alternative reality”, but the show’s creators have gone to great lengths to ensure that references to themes such as climate change, human rights abuses, and refugees, are as real and accurate as possible, by collaborating closely with UN experts.Climate Change

ILO/Jennifer A. PattersonCOVID-19’s impact on wages is only just getting started, ILO warnsGlobal pressure on wages from COVID-19 will not stop with the arrival of a vaccine, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday, coinciding with a major report showing how the pandemic had slowed or reversed a trend of rising wages across the world, hitting women workers and the low-paid hardest.Economic Development©

UNICEF/Zerihun SewunetEthiopian Government and UN strike deal for ‘unimpeded’ humanitarian access in TigrayThe UN on Friday announced that agreement has been reached with the Ethiopian Government to allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need across areas now under its control in Tigray.Humanitarian Aid

Maxime PontoireThe race to zero emissions, and why the world depends on itA host of countries have recently announced major commitments to significantly cut their carbon emissions, promising to reach “net zero” in the coming years. The term is becoming a global rallying cry, frequently cited as a necessary step to successfully beat back climate change, and the devastation it is causing.Climate Change©

UNICEF/UN0360078/ChoufanyUN chief launches plan to revitalise Beirut as ‘beating heart of Lebanon’Against the “grim background” of tragic explosions that destroyed much of central Beirut in early August, the UN chief on Wednesday offered a new multi-agency plan to help the Lebanese people move forward, following months of political gridlock.
 Humanitarian Aid

ESCAP Photo/Christian DohrmannCut fossil fuels production to ward off ‘catastrophic’ warming: UN-backed reportCountries must decrease production of fossil fuels by 6 per cent per year, between 2020 and 2030, if the world is to avert “catastrophic” global temperature rise, a new UN-backed report has found. Climate Change

UNICEF/NooraniWorld must not accept slavery in 21st century: GuterresCommemorating the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the United Nations Secretary-General highlighted the impact of the contemporary forms of slavery, underscoring that such abhorrent practices have no space in the twenty-first century. Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/3 –

U.S. Trustee Program Reaches Settlement with McKinsey and Company to Withdraw and Waive its Fees in the Westmoreland Coal Bankruptcy Case12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) has entered into a settlement agreement with global consulting firm McKinsey & Company (McKinsey) requiring McKinsey to forego payment of fees in the Westmoreland Coal bankruptcy case pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (Westmoreland Case). 

Former Hilo Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty for Assaulting an Inmate and Conspiring with Other Officers to Cover it Up12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A former correctional officer at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center pleaded guilty to three felony offenses yesterday for assaulting an inmate; for failing to protect the inmate from being assaulted by three other correctional officers; and for conspiring with those officers to cover it up.

Former Investment Manager Charged in Scheme to Defraud Life Insurance Company12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A former investment manager was charged in an indictment unsealed today for his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud a North Carolina-based life insurance company out of over $34 million.

Workrite Companies to Pay $7.1 Million to Settle Alleged Furniture Overcharges12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
Ergonomic office furniture maker Workrite Ergonomics LLC, a Delaware company, and its parent, Knape & Vogt Manufacturing Co. (collectively, Workrite), have agreed to pay $7.1 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they overcharged the federal government for office furniture under General Services Administration (GSA) contracts, the Department of Justice announced today.

Six Men Charged for Roles in Scheme to Defraud Businesses of Luxury Goods and Services12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
Six men were charged in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday for their alleged participation in a nation-wide scheme to defraud dozens of businesses across the United States of luxury goods and services announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of the District of Massachusetts.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Facebook for Discriminating Against U.S. Workers12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it filed a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. for discriminating against U.S. workers. 

Vitol Inc. Agrees to Pay over $135 Million to Resolve Foreign Bribery Case12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
Vitol Inc. (Vitol), the U.S. affiliate of the Vitol group of companies, which together form one of the largest energy trading firms in the world, has agreed to pay a combined $135 million to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to resolve a parallel investigation in Brazil.

Maryland Lawyer Charged with Defrauding Financial Institutions and Other Entities to Obtain Control over $12.5 Million of Somali Sovereign Assets12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A Maryland lawyer was charged in an 11-count indictment for his alleged role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain control of more than $12.5 million that was held by financial institutions on behalf of the Somali government, to improperly take part of those funds for fees and expenses, and to launder a portion of those funds to accounts for the benefit of his co-conspirators.

North Carolina Return Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
Two Durham, North Carolina, return preparers pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina.

Pennsylvania Marketer Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A Bryn Mawr resident pleaded guilty today to filing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Justice Department Announces Civil Investigation into Louisiana’s Prisoner Release Practices12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a statewide civil investigation into Louisiana’s prisoner release practices.

Remarks of Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt at the ACI 37th Annual Conference on the FCPA12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
Good morning and thank you for that kind introduction. It is an honor to be here with you today, even if only virtually. Just a year ago, addressing a conference of this size and importance via video would have seemed unthinkable. Today, it is — unfortunately — normal. I look forward to the time — hopefully, soon — when we can gather again in person. In the meantime, I am grateful for this opportunity to speak with you, and I look forward to my discussion with Kim after my remarks conclude.

Former DeSales University Priest Indicted on Child Pornography Offenses12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A former DeSales University priest was charged by indictment with three counts of child pornography offenses.

Former CEO and Founder of Technology Company Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud Scheme12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
The former chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Trustify, Inc. (Trustify), a privately-held technology company founded in 2015 and based in Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to his involvement in a fraud scheme resulting in millions of dollars of losses to investors.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Military’s top officer says we’ve had a ‘modicum of success’ in Afghanistan
(Military Times) With plans in motion to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 next month, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff defended that decision by outlining the state of the conflict there.
  2. Congress advances defense bill, bucking Trump’s veto threats
(Defense News) Congress is moving ahead with its annual defense policy bill without repealing a prized legal shield for social media companies, testing President Donald Trump’s threat to veto the bill.
  3. Biden facing growing pressure over secretary of defense pick
(The Associated Press) President-elect Joe Biden is facing escalating pressure from competing factions within his own party as he finalizes his choice for secretary of defense.
  4. Who in the military will get the COVID vaccines first? The CNO gives Congress some insights
(Navy Times) Jabbing sailors in the fleet with the coming COVID-19 vaccines will happen “pretty quickly,” the Navy’s top officer said Wednesday.
  5. US to withdraw some Baghdad embassy staff as tensions with Iran and its allies spike
(Washington Post) The U.S. government has decided to withdraw some staff from its embassy in Baghdad through the final weeks of the Trump administration, officials say, as tensions rise throughout the region.
  Accelerating innovation with tomorrow’s technologies
(Lockheed Martin) Hypersonic capabilities that travel Mach 5 or more. Synchronized weapon systems across all domains. Artificial intelligence that enables rapid decision making. Enabling our customers to succeed in the future battlespace through these advanced solutions is our mission – and legacy – at Lockheed Martin.
Job Board
  Transitioning out of the military and looking for a job?
(Military Times) We have listings from companies looking for vets.
Overseas Operations
  Army has big spending plans to improve housing in Europe
(Stars & Stripes) The Army this week said it plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next six years to improve family housing at all its garrisons in Europe, where the service has faced complaints about poor family living conditions.

Humans and winter

Humans are sensitive to cold, see hypothermiaSnowblindnessnorovirusseasonal depression. Slipping on black ice and falling icicles are other health concerns associated with cold and snowy weather. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is not unusual for homeless people to die from hypothermia in the winter.

One of the most common diseases associated with winter is influenza.


Allegory of Winter by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter with Aeolus‘ Kingdom of the Winds, 1683, Wilanów Palace

In Persian culture, the winter solstice is called Yaldā (meaning: birth) and it has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is referred to as the eve of the birth of Mithra, who symbolised light, goodness and strength on earth.

In Greek mythologyHades kidnapped Persephone to be his wife. Zeus ordered Hades to return her to Demeter, the goddess of the Earth and her mother. However, Hades tricked Persephone into eating the food of the dead, so Zeus decreed that Persephone would spend six months with Demeter and six months with Hades. During the time her daughter is with Hades, Demeter became depressed and caused winter.

In Welsh mythologyGwyn ap Nudd abducted a maiden named Creiddylad. On May Day, her lover, Gwythr ap Greidawl, fought Gwyn to win her back. The battle between them represented the contest between summer and winter.


A framework for research linking weather, climate and COVID-19

Nature Communications volume 11, Article number: 5730 (2020) Cite this article

Early studies of weather, seasonality, and environmental influences on COVID-19 have yielded inconsistent and confusing results. To provide policy-makers and the public with meaningful and actionable environmentally-informed COVID-19 risk estimates, the research community must meet robust methodological and communication standards.Download PDF

When COVID-19 began to spread, environmental scientists recognized that the world faced a dangerous upper respiratory viral disease that might exhibit sensitivity to seasonal weather conditions. Many of these scientists have sought to aid COVID-19 response by studying the potential to monitor, forecast, or project disease transmission rates or symptom severity as a function of climate zone, season, meteorological variability, air quality, and other environmental parameters1,2,3,4. The rapid pace of COVID-19 research has meant that studies on this topic appeared on pre-print servers and then on news and social media outlets faster than the information could be cross-checked and peer-reviewed. As many such studies accumulated, it became clear that reported evidence was often contradictory, and in some cases studies were being selected subjectively in a manner that seemed intended to support political agendas. Carlson et al.5 recently provided a cogent assessment of the policy-relevant challenges associated with studies that have attempted to quantify meteorological sensitivities of the virus and the disease. We appreciate this perspective. Here we argue that the research community must act to ensure that work on this topic meets its potential to contribute to pandemic understanding and response, and that fears of inappropriate data analysis or miscommunication do not dampen innovation or the effective use of research results.

Environmentally-informed disease risk monitoring and prediction has proven to be useful for numerous infectious diseases6, including viral upper respiratory infections7 like COVID-19. These disease risk forecasts have been applied to vaccination strategies8 and have demonstrated value for informing deployment of non-pharmaceutical preventative measures and treatments9,10. In the case of COVID-19, environmentally-informed analysis has already revealed associations between chronic air pollution exposure and the health impacts of the disease11. The veracity of forecasts of COVID-19 incidence based on seasonality or other meteorological factors, however, continues to be in dispute, and the creation of robust disease risk forecast systems has been limited by data challenges12 and the dominance of or interplay with other drivers and pressures in the early phases of a respiratory disease epidemic13. If and when more consistent and meaningful climatic and environmental sensitivities are identified, such disease forecasts have the potential to help policy makers and public health officials target interventions in a way that optimizes effectiveness while minimizing their social and economic burden. Seasonally-informed physical distancing, other personal protection policies, and climate-informed vaccination strategies, for example, could make meaningful contributions to COVID-19 control, if the evidence that underlies science-based recommendations is robust and credible.

To realize this potential, however, pitfalls of miscommunication, use of unsuitable data and methods, and misrepresentation of results must be carefully guarded against. The interdisciplinary research and operational forecasting communities can do this by adopting a set of good practices for publishing, publicizing, and operationalizing their work. Recognizing this need, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) convened an international virtual symposium on Climatological, Meteorological and Environmental factors in the COVID-19 pandemic, held 4–6 August 2020. The symposium engaged over 400 participants from 72 countries to assess and review current understanding, forecasting, and communication challenges related to climatic, meteorological and environmental influences on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The outcomes statement of this symposium14 offers pragmatic recommendations to the research and practitioner communities when pursuing their research and preparing it for scientific review or public consumption. These recommendations complement those directed at policy makers5. To build on the symposium, the WMO Research Board has established a Task Team on COVID-19 and Climatic, Meteorological, and Environmental Factors that is tasked with producing regular scientific assessments of the literature and formalizing recommendations on good practice for studies and creation of operational disease risk forecasting products that address these issues. This internationally coordinated effort is intended to promote constructive interdisciplinary collaboration and communication among researchers and decision makers.

A particularly strong message emerged from the symposium is that “studies should attempt to meet a minimum standard of good practice in data use and methods for integrated models, including: the need to account for relevant non-environmental predictors; to justify the data quality and relevance of the selected response variable; to be clear about the epidemic phase being tested (including time lags); to spatially and temporally align epidemiological and climate, meteorological and environmental data; and to distinguish between analyses that are suited to describe observed relationships and those that have been confirmed to provide skillful prediction and forecast14. Symposium participants also emphasized that predictive studies must address the strength of mechanistic and dynamical understanding that underpins their empirical results. Ensuring that published studies have met these good practices will help to prevent many of the more egregious cases of overinterpretation or misinterpretation like those seen in the early stages of the pandemic, and will enhance the research community’s progress towards reliable and actionable results.

Robust research design and execution must, however, be accompanied by a culture of responsible publication and communication of results (Fig. 1). The very energy and civic-mindedness that has led so many from disparate disciplines to engage in the challenge of environmentally-informed COVID-19 disease risk prediction, has, at times, led to premature sharing of preliminary and sometimes unjustified results. The current scientific culture of releasing time-sensitive results on journal pre-print servers prior to peer review has resulted in a relaxation of the traditional self-regulation that research communities place on dissemination of results. The appearance of these unvetted studies online is often interpreted by journalists and the lay public, which is eager for certainty, as implying that they bear verified results. This presents a challenge to the COVID-19 research community, where a tension exists between the urgency to produce and publicize conclusive knowledge with the time and care needed for its authentication. While rapid communication of results, facilitated by journal pre-print publication, can accelerate the acquisition of knowledge and reduce redundancy, therefore allowing for faster progress on a critical research topic, pre-review release of studies can also mislead the public in the short term and threaten scientific credibility with decision makers in the medium and long term.

Fig. 1: Template for generating reliable and actionable meteorologically and environmentally-informed COVID-19 risk analysis and prediction.

To balance opportunity with risk, journal and community pre-print servers should require a public synopsis, additional to the paper’s abstract, that states the study’s context in the literature—i.e., key contribution and agreement or disagreement with other studies, data sources, methodological approach and limitations, and proposed policy implications, if any. This would allow authors to clarify several common points of misinterpretation, such as whether a study is designed for prediction, how potentially confounding variables have been considered in the analysis, whether a model’s output is intended to be a specific forecast or a scenario-based projection, or if a statistically significant result (e.g., COVID-19 transmission sensitivity to temperature) is large or small relative to other risk factors.

In addition, researchers should embrace their role as representatives of the broader research community when communicating or operationalizing research results. This includes informing media outlets or policy makers of dissenting views and encouraging the presence of multiple voices in coverage of their work. It also includes clear presentation of uncertainties and alternative hypotheses in any publicly disseminated risk assessment or forecast—a practice that is well-established in climate and environmental change research. Such measures are good practice under any conditions, but researchers often leave the effort to others in the information chain, rather than viewing it as their own responsibility. In the rapidly evolving, multi-disciplinary, and potentially high stakes arena of COVID-19 forecasts, this is an avoided responsibility that the research community cannot afford. Through nimble but careful research and communication, it is possible to strike a balance between the rapid response research that the COVID-19 crisis demands and the need for careful review and communication of results likely to inform policy.


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The authors acknowledge the World Meteorological Organization for convening the symposium referenced in this comment, the American Geophysical Union for providing logistical support for the symposium, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for funding the symposium meeting platform.

Author information

  1. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 3400N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD, 21218, USABenjamin F. Zaitchik
  2. Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) c/o Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), 15 Lower Hope Road, Cape Town, 7700, South AfricaNeville Sweijd
  3. WHO/WMO Climate and Health Joint Office, World Meteorological Organization, 7bis Avenue de la Paix, C.P. 2300, CH-1211, Geneva, SwitzerlandJoy Shumake-Guillemot
  4. School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7BX, UKAndy Morse
  5. CDKN CEL-Ghana and Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, GhanaChris Gordon
  6. Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, 11200 SW 8th St, AHC2 675, Miami, FL, 33199, USAAileen Marty
  7. Climate Program Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1315 East-West Highway Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USAJuli Trtanj
  8. Science and Innovation Department, World Meteorological Organization, 7bis Avenue de la Paix, C.P. 2300, CH-1211, Geneva, SwitzerlandJuerg Luterbacher
  9. South African Weather Service, 01 Ecopark Drive, Ecoglades Block B, Centurion, Pretoria, 0157, South AfricaJoel Botai
  10. Application Laboratory, VAiG, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, JapanSwadhin Behera
  11. Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Coastal Wetland Ecosystems, College of the Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, 361102, Fujian, ChinaYonglong Lu
  12. SASSCAL Regional Secretariat, 28 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, NamibiaJane Olwoch
  13. Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología del Perú–SENAMHI, Jr. Cahuide 785, Jesús María, Lima, 15072, PeruKen Takahashi
  14. Boston University, 715 Albany Street, The Talbot Building, T4W, Boston, MA, 02118, USAJennifer D. Stowell
  15. ICREA and Climate and Health Program, ISGlobal, Doctor Aiguader 88, Barcelona, 08003, Barcelona, SpainXavier Rodó


B.Z., N.S., and J.S.-G. drafted the article. A.Morse, C.G., A.Marty, J.T., J.L., J.B., S.B., Y.L., J.O. K.T., J.S., and X.R. contributed equally to the conceptualization of the piece and provided comment on the draft.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Benjamin F. Zaitchik.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Zaitchik, B.F., Sweijd, N., Shumake-Guillemot, J. et al. A framework for research linking weather, climate and COVID-19. Nat Commun 11, 5730 (2020).

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Author HeadshotBy Paula Szuchman
Managing Producer, Opinion Audio

In the pantheon of power couples, there’s Harry and Meghan, Kim and Kanye, Barack and Michelle and now Ugur and Ozlem — a duo with the power to eradicate Covid-19.
Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci are the founders of BioNTech, whose vaccine — which was 95 percent effective in late-stage clinical trials — was approved by Britain yesterday. Inoculations are expected to start there next week, and the United States’ Food and Drug Administration could approve the vaccine around the same time.
It’s all happening!
On today’s episode of the Opinion podcast, “Sway,” Kara Swisher talks to Ugur and Ozlem about how they made the vaccine (dubbed the “Pfizer vaccine” after the company they partnered with), how it happened so quickly and how it works. The scientists are Germans of Turkish descent, which has landed them at the center of an immigration debate. They also happen to be married (talk about #couplegoals).
So while you wait for your own vaccine, get to know the people who created one.


UN News


Amid ‘unprecedented’ needs, UNICEF asks for $6.4 billion to help 190 million children

UNICEF/DesjardinsTwo boys at the Loda IDP camp in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The camp houses around 1,500 under-17 children but has no school or child safe spaces.Humanitarian Aid

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, launched a $6.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 190 million children affected by humanitarian crises amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

The appeal for 2021, which is a 35 per cent increase over the funds requested for this year, is the largest ever by the UN agency. It will support essential programmes in 149 countries and territories. 

Source: Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 | Overview

It is an “unprecedented” situation, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. 

“Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response.” 

‘Darkest of times’ 

She called on donors to contribute “so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.”  

As the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, new humanitarian crises erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado provinces in recent weeks while powerful storms wreaked havoc in Central America and the East Asia, and protracted emergencies worsened globally. 

“When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic”, said Ms. Fore. 

As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children, which sets out UNICEF’s 2021 appeal, the agency plans to assist, about 300 million people – including 190 million children. Priority sectors include education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, health and child protection. 

The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees ($1.0 billion), Yemen ($576.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo ($384.4 million), Syria ($330.8 million) and Venezuela ($201.8 million). 

Donors pledge $932 million for UNHCR programmes 

Meanwhile, donor governments pledged a record $932 million to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to support delivery of life-saving aid and protection to nearly 80 million refugees, displaced and stateless people, in 2021. 

The pledges were announced at the agency’s annual pledging conference in Geneva, on Wednesday.  

Addressing the conference, Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “Refugees fleeing conflict, persecution and human rights violations need our support now more than ever. We are encouraged by the commitments our donors made today which are a lifeline for millions needing help, hope and home.”  

To fulfil its mandated responsibilities and meet critical humanitarian needs next year, UNHCR requested about $9.1 billion, including $8.6 billion for its 2021 Global Appeal, and about $455 million for its additional COVID-19-related activities. 

In all, donors committed over $1.1 billion for UNHCR’s programmes in 2021 and beyond. 

COVID-19 recovery, focus of UN General Assembly special sessionNations united on Thursday for a special session of the UN General Assembly to survey the wreckage of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect on the best response, and forge a path to better days ahead. Health

MINUSCA/ScreenshotNew Africa alliance aims to tackle deadly COVID ‘infodemic’A new network in Africa aims to combat the “infodemic” of misinformation online surrounding COVID-19 and other health emergencies on the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday. Health

YPN for UNOCHAYemen: Unchecked violations ‘may amount to war crimes’, Security Council hearsUN experts called on the Security Council on Thursday, along with the international community at large, to put an end to the “surreal and absurd dimension” of human rights violations engulfing war-torn Yemen, where abuses continue unchecked.   Peace and Security

UNICEF/AsselinRevealed: The cost of the pandemic on world’s poorest countriesMore than 32 million of the world’s poorest people face being pulled back into extreme poverty because of COVID-19, leading UN economists said on Thursday, highlighting data showing that the pandemic is likely to cause the worst economic crisis in decades among least developed countries (LDCs). Economic Development

UN NewsVibhu MishraCOVID-19 could see over 200 million more pushed into extreme poverty, new UN development report findsAn additional 207 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030, due to the severe longterm impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total number to more than a billion, a new study from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has found. Economic Development©

UNICEF/Josh EsteyUN experts call for clemency for Lisa Montgomery, as US reschedules planned execution UN independent human rights experts expressed serious concern on Thursday, after the United States Government rescheduled the execution of Lisa Montgomery for 12 January, just days before new President Joe Biden, an opponent of the death penalty, is due to be sworn in. Human Rights

UNICEF/PirozziRecognize and protect rights of persons with disabilities, UN chief urges, marking International DayThe United Nations is commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on Thursday, calling for greater inclusion for persons with disabilities, and recognizing and protecting their human rights. Human Rights

UNICEF/DesjardinsAmid ‘unprecedented’ needs, UNICEF asks for $6.4 billion to help 190 million childrenThe UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, launched a $6.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 190 million children affected by humanitarian crises amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Humanitarian Aid
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/4 –

Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division Adam Hickey Delivers Remarks at the ACI 2nd National Forum on FARA12/04/2020 12:00 AM EST
Over the last few years, a conventional wisdom has developed about the arc of FARA enforcement.  It goes a little something like this: In the beginning, Congress created FARA. Then DOJ rested.  For nearly 80 years, it was not enforced, carried no penalties, and was largely ignored.  Beginning in 2017, the Special Counsel’s Office used the statute to investigate and charge Russian Internet trolls and politically influential Americans alike.  Suddenly, this vague statute transformed from an administrative afterthought into an unpredictable source of criminal liability.  FARA registrations skyrocketed, and conferences of white collar defense attorneys organized soon thereafter. 

Justice Department Files Complaint to Stop Distribution of Unapproved, Misbranded, and Adulterated “Poly-mva” Products12/04/2020 12:00 AM EST
The United States filed a civil complaint to stop a California company from distributing unapproved and misbranded drugs and adulterated animal drugs, the Department of Justice announced today.

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Claim to Steal Funds Intended for Afghanistan Reconstruction12/04/2020 12:00 AM EST
A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to filing a false claim for his role in a scheme to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in State Department funds to his own use.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Compromise defense bill confronts a rising China
(Defense News) Eyeing China’s rise as a global military and economic power, lawmakers unveiled a compromise defense policy bill Thursday that targets China on multiple fronts, with $6.9 billion prescribed for a new Pacific Deterrence Initiative over two years.
  2. Fate of sweeping military personnel policies, family support plans rests on Trump’s veto threat
(Military Times) Congressional leaders on Thursday released their final draft of the sweeping defense authorization bill for fiscal 2021 with provisions for a 3 percent pay raise for troops next year, language to force the renaming of Army bases honoring Confederate leaders, and new provisions to improve medical care and safety related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  3. Defense bill seeks to halt Afghanistan drawdown
(The Hill) The compromise defense policy bill released Thursday includes language aimed at preventing a withdrawal from Afghanistan amid President Trump’s order to cut U.S. forces there to 2,500 by mid-January.
  4. Joint Chiefs chairman says permanent basing overseas needs reconsideration
(Military Times) The military’s top officer, and the president’s senior military adviser, is joining a growing chorus of senior defense officials who have questioned the need for permanently stationing troops around the world.
  5. Senate to vote on banning $23 billion UAE arms sales next week
(Defense News) The Senate will vote next week on legislation to halt the Trump administration’s $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, a lawmaker said Thursday.

Mechanical Engineering

is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering branches.

NamesMechanical engineer
Activity sectorsapplied mechanicsdynamicsthermodynamicsfluid mechanicsheat transfer, production technology, and others
Competenciestechnical knowledge, management skills, design (see also glossary of mechanical engineering)
Education requiredSee professional requirements below
Fields of

The mechanical engineering field requires an understanding of core areas including mechanicsdynamicsthermodynamicsmaterials sciencestructural analysis, and electricity. In addition to these core principles, mechanical engineers use tools such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plantsindustrial equipment and machineryheating and cooling systemstransport systems, aircraftwatercraftroboticsmedical devicesweapons, and others. It is the branch of engineering that involves the design, production, and operation of machinery.

Mechanical engineering emerged as a field during the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century; however, its development can be traced back several thousand years around the world. In the 19th century, developments in physics led to the development of mechanical engineering science. The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements; today mechanical engineers are pursuing developments in such areas as compositesmechatronics, and nanotechnology. It also overlaps with aerospace engineeringmetallurgical engineeringcivil engineeringelectrical engineeringmanufacturing engineeringchemical engineeringindustrial engineering, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts. Mechanical engineers may also work in the field of biomedical engineering, specifically with biomechanicstransport phenomenabiomechatronicsbionanotechnology, and modelling of biological systems. CONTINUE READING


  1. On Careers
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  3. Money
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A Guide to Virtual Company Holiday Parties in 2020

Boost company morale with these ideas for virtual activities during your office holiday party.

By Robin Reshwan, ContributorDec. 4, 2020

U.S. News & World Report


IF THERE HAS EVER BEEN a need to boost morale for your employees, colleagues and peers – the time is now. The company holiday party is a time-honored tradition that fosters camaraderie, deepens connections and signals the joy of the upcoming time off and the promise of a new year. In our increasingly virtual professional environment with limited or nonexistent in-person venue options, there are still creative ways to celebrate the holidays with your colleagues. Here are some virtual ideas to consider for this season.

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to fully restore DACA, the program designed to protect young immigrants from deportation.
Friday, December 4, 2020 7:09 PM EST
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn directed the administration to allow new applications, reversing a memorandum issued last summer by Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, which restricted the program to people already enrolled and cut back its benefits.
Read the latest


UN News


Vanuatu graduates from list of least developed countries

UNICEF/Jason ChuteChildren play on the beach, on the Epi island, Vanuatu, in the Pacific, a State that is home to around 300,000 people.    4 December 2020Economic Development

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has graduated from the official list of Least Developed Countries (LDC), becoming the sixth country to achieve the milestone since the development categorization was created in 1971. 

The graduation is “testimony to years of effort resulting in hard-won sustainable development gains,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message

Vanuatu graduated despite severe setbacks due to accelerating climate change, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit remittances flowing back home hard, and the trade and  tourism sector. 

The country has prepared a transition strategy, which will help navigate the next steps in its development path. 

The journey to graduation 

Vanuatu was recommended for graduation from the LDC category by the UN Committee for Development Policy in 2012, having met the graduation thresholds for the Human Assets Index and income in 2006, 2009 and 2012.  

The recommendation was approved by the Economic and Social Council in 2012 and by the General Assembly in 2013. The country was granted an extension in 2015, following the severe devastation caused by Cyclone Pam, and the graduation was postponed to 4 December 2020. 

Challenges remain 

While the move reflects the “significant improvements” in development indicators, Vanuatu remains highly vulnerable to external shocks as well as the fact that it is a small island State, according to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). 

“As we focus on building back better, ESCAP stands ready and committed to continue to support Vanuatu in its development aspirations and in implementing the smooth transition strategy,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, ESCAP Executive Secretary. 

The LDC category 

Least developed countries (LDCs) are low-income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development. They are highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks and have low levels of human assets. 

Given their special circumstances, LDCs have exclusive access to certain international support measures such as in the areas of development assistance and trade. 

Scientists optimistic about COVID-19 vaccines for allScientists developing COVID-19 vaccines are optimistic that by the end of next year, all people everywhere will have access to safe and effective treatments against a disease which has disrupted the entire planet. Health

WHO/Christopher BlackIt isn’t over: WHO concerned at ‘growing perception’ COVID pandemic is passingThe head of the World Health Organization (WHO) sounded the alarm on Friday over the “growing perception” that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, despite exploding infection rates in some countries and enormous pressure growing on health services.Health

UNAMID/Amin IsmailAmidst positive steps, challenges in Africa ‘loom large’, UN chief tells Security Council The United Nations-African Union (AU) partnership has yielded “significant results”, including at the country level, the UN chief told the Security Council on Friday. Peace and Security

Kseniya HalubovichBelarus: End ongoing human rights violations, UN rights chief urgesThe human rights situation in Belarus continues to deteriorate, particularly with respect to peaceful assembly, the UN rights chief said on Friday, urging the government to put an end to ongoing violations and “take steps towards a genuine, respectful and inclusive national dialogue”. Human Rights©

UNICEF/NahomTesfayeCOVID-19: Right decisions now will secure a life of dignity for allCritical decisions made now to address the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a life of dignity for all people, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Friday, addressing the second and final day of the General Assembly’s special session devoted to the crisis. Health

UNICEF/Jason ChuteVanuatu graduates from list of least developed countriesThe Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has graduated from the official list of Least Developed Countries (LDC), becoming the sixth country to achieve the milestone since the development categorization was created in 1971. Economic Development©

UNHCR/Will SwansonUN working at ‘full speed’ to prepare for humanitarian mission to Ethiopia’s TigrayThe UN’s humanitarian coordination office, said on Friday that it was doing its utmost to secure aid access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, after a deal was struck to reach displaced civilians, following weeks of fighting between federal and regional forces.Humanitarian Aid

UN Photo/Mark GartenUN pledges humanitarian support as Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate ‘lasting, peaceful settlement’ over Nagorno-KarabakhThe UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the continuing ceasefire in and around Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday, underlining that the Organization stands ready to provide humanitarian support to meet the needs of all civilians impacted by conflict.Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

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News Release

Continental Glatt Kosher Meats Corp. Recalls Ready-To-Eat Meat and Poultry Products Produced Without Benefit of Inspection

Class I Recall028-2020Health Risk: HighDec 4, 2020

Congressional and Public Affairs
Maria Machuca
(202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2020 – Continental Glatt Kosher Meats Corp., doing business as First Choice Kosher Meat & Deli Inc., a Spring Valley, N.Y. firm, is recalling approximately 61,504 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The RTE meat and poultry items were produced on various dates from June 26, 2020, through Nov. 20, 2020, with various sell-by dates ranging from October 2, 2020, through April 18, 2021. The products subject to the recall can be found on the following spreadsheet. [View Labels (PDF Only)]       

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 40009” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in New York.        

The problem was discovered when the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets alerted FSIS about meat and poultry products produced by Continental Glatt Kosher Meats Corp., without the benefit of federal inspection and bearing the mark of inspection from another establishment without authorization.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.  

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on the FSIS website at

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Abraham Gruenzweig, Production Manager, Continental Glatt Kosher Meats Corp at (845) 659-4733.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at

USDA Recall Classifications
Class IThis is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
Class IIThis is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.
Class IIIThis is a situation where the use of the product will not cause adverse health consequences.

Last Modified Dec 04, 2020

12/5 –

NEW YORK TIMES:Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States ›On Dec. 414-day change▪︎TrendNew cases228,767+9%New deaths2,637+42%

Where cases per capita are highest

Minn.▪︎R.I.▪︎S.D.▪︎Wyo.▪︎Ind.▪︎Neb.▪︎Mont.▪︎N.M.▪︎N.D.Alaska▪︎Utah/Wis.▪︎U.S. hot spots ▪︎›College cases ▪︎›Worldwide ›

Other trackers:Choose your own places to track

Virtual Teen Studio—Fashion of the Future
10 am–1 pm (Middle School Students)
2–5 pm (High School Students)

Teens can unleash their creativity during a virtual fashion design workshop inspired by the Costume Institute exhibition About Time: Fashion and Duration. Advance registration is required.

Learn more →



/ɡlēn/Learn to pronounceverbverb: glean; 3rd person present: gleans; past tense: gleaned; past participle: gleaned; gerund or present participle: gleaning

  1. extract (information) from various sources.”the information is gleaned from press clippings”Similar: curate, obtain, get, take, draw, derive, extract, cull, garner, gather, reap, select, choose, pick, learn, find out
    • collect gradually and bit by bit.”objects gleaned from local markets”
    • HISTORICAL gather (leftover grain or other produce) after a harvest.”the conditions of farm workers in the 1890s made gleaning essential”


late Middle English: from Old French glener, from late Latin glennare, probably of Celtic origin.

12/6 –

12/7 –

U.S. Trustee Program Reaches Agreements with Three Mortgage Servicers Providing More than $74 Million in Remediation to Homeowners in Bankruptcy12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program (USTP announced today that it has entered into national agreements with three mortgage servicers to address past mortgage servicing deficiencies impacting homeowners in bankruptcy.

DISH Network to Pay $210 Million for Telemarketing Violations12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice today announced a settlement in which DISH Network LLC (DISH) will pay $126 million in civil penalties to the United States for placing millions of telemarketing calls in violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). This settlement represents the largest civil penalty ever paid to resolve telemarketing violations under the FTC Act, and exceeds the total penalties paid to the government by all prior violators of the TSR. DISH will also pay a combined $84 million to four states for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, for a total settlement of $210 million

Arkansas Project Manager Sentenced in Connection with COVID-Relief Fraud12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
A project manager employed by a major retailer was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for fraudulently seeking more than $8 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma.Justice Department Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Property Manager12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that a property manager in Chicopee, Massachusetts violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting female tenants to sexual harassment.

Cameroonian Operator Charged in Fraudulent Online “Puppy Scam” that Exploited the COVID-19 Pandemic12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
A criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in Pittsburgh charges Desmond Fodje Bobga for his alleged involvement in a puppy fraud scheme perpetrated against American consumers.  Fodje Bobga, 27, is a citizen of Cameroon who is in Romania on a visa to attend a university there.

Justice Department Sues Town of Wolcott, Connecticut, for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities12/07/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit alleging that the Town of Wolcott, Connecticut, has discriminated against persons with disabilities in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Trump orders most American troops to leave Somalia. AFRICOM says they are redeploying elsewhere in region
(The Associated Press) The Pentagon said Friday it is pulling most U.S. troops out of Somalia on President Donald Trump’s orders, continuing a post-election push by Trump to shrink U.S. involvement in counterterrorism missions abroad.
  2. Appeals court rules for Trump taking military money for wall
(The Associated Press) A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a lower court was wrong to bar the Trump administration from taking $3.6 billion from military construction projects for a border wall.
  3. Trump signs bill allowing Iraq War hero Alywn Cashe to receive Medal of Honor
(Military Times) President Donald Trump late Friday signed legislation to allow Iraq War hero Alwyn Cashe to be awarded the Medal of Honor, a move that nearly ends Cashe’s family and supporters 15-year quest to honor him with the nation’s highest military award.
  4. Amid new Marine Corps LSD problem, DoD changes force-wide drug test policy
(Marine Corps Times) The Pentagon has authorized the testing of troops for LSD following problems found in the Marine Corps, a Marine spokesman tells Marine Corps Times.
  5. Here’s Congress’ detailed plan to get rid of Confederate base names and monuments
( The hotly debated issue of renaming 10 Army installations honoring Confederate generals was a key sticking point in the 2021 defense policy bill — and may still earn the bill a veto from President Donald Trump.


U.S. Army Outbreak Investigation Reveals “Super-Spreader” Potential of Andes Virus

TOPICS:Genetics ▪︎Immunology ▪︎Infectious Diseases ▪︎Public Health ▪︎Virology


Super Spreader Virus Event Concept

“Super-spreader” events and extensive person-to-person contact propelled an outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in a small village in Argentina from 2018-2019, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In the paper, an international scientific team reports the genetic, clinical, and epidemiologic features of the outbreak caused by the Andes virus, a member of the hantavirus family. The group’s analysis could aid clinicians and public health officials in managing outbreaks of other viral diseases with similar transmission patterns, including COVID-19.

Andes virus is carried by wild rodents native to South America, and people can be infected through exposure to infected animals or their droppings. Like other hantaviruses, Andes virus infection can lead to a severe and often fatal respiratory disease in humans, called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Importantly, Andes virus is the only hantavirus known to spread person to person. Those who come into direct contact with an infected individual or their body fluids, or who spend time in close proximity to an ill person, may also become infected. Currently, no licensed vaccines or drugs are available to treat the disease.

According to the study, led by scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Administracion Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos de Salud Dr. Carlos G. Malbran (ANLIS), large social events and high viral load in infected individuals fueled person-to-person transmission of the Andes virus during the outbreak. Researchers teamed up with local health authorities to piece together a near-complete epidemiological “picture” reconstructing specific transmission events for the 34 confirmed cases. They traced the outbreak’s origin to a single spillover event, and documented a 32 percent case fatality rate overall….CONTINUE READING

PSYCHOLOGY TODAYToday’s Essentials


Neuroscientists Discover How to Keep Us From Freaking Out

New study reveals how the brain processes fear and how to change brain circuits to keep us from flipping our lid when it’s not essential to our survival.


4 Signs of Burnout as a (Mental) Health Professional

Demands for mental health treatment have skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. For clinicians, the ability to recognize the signs of their own burnout is becoming increasingly important.


Opening the Door

Stigma can prevent people of color, and Black people in particular, from seeking mental health services. Is it possible to bridge the divide?


How to Be Happy with What You Have

Would you rather get a big raise while your co-workers got even larger ones—or no raise at all? The psychology of social positioning and envy can help us be happier with our own lot.


Arguments in Love and Politics

When feeling right is more important than being right, you’re likely to devalue, dismiss, or disrespect those who disagree.


Drugs of Choice in the Era of Covid-19

More people are using drugs as a way to cope with Covid-19 stress.


Show Empathy for Others

Imagine being aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner life while they remain unmoved by your own. That’s a world without empathy.


Trophy Leaks: A Behind the Scenes Exposé of Killing For Fun

New data reveal the shocking and previously well-hidden killing habits of the world’s top trophy hunters and the covert attempts to prevent their so-called sport from being banned.


Will Americans Take the Covid-19 Vaccine?

A significant proportion of Americans, including healthcare workers and older Americans, is hesitant. They will delay or refrain from taking the vaccine.


Fear Is Only As Deep As the Mind Allows

We live in times when it has become audacious to say that life is beautiful and that there is nothing to fear. Choosing to stay open, vulnerable, and generous is an act of courage.


New Study Asks “Do Assistance Dogs Improve Mental Health?”

A crack research team carefully examined 27 studies on the impact of assistance dogs on the mental health of people with disabilities. What they found was a big surprise.


20 Simple and Real Ideas to Add to Your Self-Care Routine

By Megan Nicole O’Neal 

Let me start by saying a couple of things self-care is not. Self-care isn’t:

  1. An excuse to continually be unhealthy: A cheat day every once and a while is fine (encouraged even, because balance), but you can’t use “self-care” to justify poor habits
  2. Spending excess money on yourself that you don’t have: Debt has never done a body good #TreatYourSelfResponsibly
  3. Selfish

Maybe we should repeat that last one because I want it to sink in for everyone. Self-care is not selfish. Nor is it a waste of time. The world spins deceivingly fast; if you don’t step aside and check in with yourself every now and again, you might wake up to find you’re standing in a very different place than where you intended. (Cue those drives home when you look up and realize you don’t remember passing through the last three stoplights.)

Related: 8 Reasons Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Worthwhile self-care requires a bit of a two-pronged approach: both assessing your mental, emotional and physical health (on a scale of 1 – 10, how am I doing?) and selecting an activity that will inch you closer to a 10. Despite what some argue, there are such things as bad days, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot if some days you’re stuck at a 6.5. (Also, note shooting your own foot would likely slide you down to a -3, so it is unadvised nonetheless.)

Self-care isn’t about perfection or tricking yourself. It’s an honest internal dialog, which is where the challenge lies as most of us aren’t accustomed to giving a truthful answer to the “how are you?” questions at the water cooler.  The other hurdle to self-care is that to be effective, it’s going to be a little different for everyone. While I like to go on sunset runs to clear my mind, for others the thought of running causes stress.

To help gather self-care activities real people do regularly, I turned to the Interwebs with a simple question: “What is something you do for self-care that most people wouldn’t think of?” And the answers were fascinating! Here are some ideas ranging across different hobbies and interests to add to your self-care routines:

1. Don’t check your email or social media channels within one hour of waking.

2. Meditation or yoga, even just 10 minutes each morning or night.

3. Sign up for boxing classes. – Matt Linder and Amanda ReCupido

4. Take a 10-15 minute walk during the workday. – Charlotte Moore

5. Get more sleep—there are several studies that also support this one!

6. Set yourself a reminder on your phone (or Alexa device) saying, “You’re amazing!” – Pamela Sommers

7. Take a long ride on your bike or motorcycle. – Erik Huckleberry

8. Say no to events or gatherings that stretch you too thin.

9. Clean and declutter your desk—a polished desk is a polished mind. – Kalina Halatcheva

10. Take a bath. – Adabela Seuss

11. Listen to an audiobook. – Courtney Rose

12. Cuddle with your dog/cat—or play with your friends’ pets. – Rachel De Jesus

13. Light a candle in your favorite scent. Extra points if you do this while at your desk to make your workspace more inviting.

14. Cook yourself a nice meal. Eating = self-care. – Tamara Van Horne

15. Watch a nature documentary.

16. Create a safe space at home that’s meant only for pure relaxation. – Shaina V. Destine

17. Wake up without using an alarm clock one day this week.

18. Write yourself a “well-done” list at the end of the day to celebrate your achievements, however big or small they may be. – Natalie Costa

19. Schedule self-care time like you would block out dinner plans with friends. – Carly Boatwright

20. Leave room to have fun.

Related: 4 Steps to Make Self-Care Part of Your Routine

Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and CaregiversFor many families, school will look different this year than it has in previous years. Your school may offer virtual learning or have new policies and practices in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during in-person learning. Whatever the situation, these checklists are intended to help parents, guardians, and caregivers, plan and prepare for the upcoming school year. 
COVID-19 Resources 
The In-Person Learning Checklist

The In-Person Learning Checklist has points to consider including checking your child’s temperature each morning and monitoring your child for signs of illness, keeping your child home if they’ve had close contact to a COVID-19 case, and making sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. 
In-Person Checklist
The Virtual or At-Home Learning Checklist
The Virtual or At-Home Learning Checklist addresses setting up for virtual or at-home learning, planning for virtual at-home learning, and mental health and social-emotional wellbeing considerations.  
At-Home Checklist
Resources to Navigate Stress and Uncertainty

Below are resources that can help parents, guardians, and caregivers navigate stress and uncertainty and build resilience for you and your children during the school year.
CDC Stress and Coping During the COVID-19 Pandemic

CDC Parent Portal

CDC Children’s Mental Health

Bullying Prevention Resources

Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs in Emergencies
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.
As of December 7, 2020
In the United States, there have been 14,636,914 confirmed cases of COVID-19 detected through U.S. public health surveillance systems in 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
CDC provides updated U.S. case information online daily.
In addition to cases, deaths, and laboratory testing, CDC’s COVID Data Tracker now has a County View to help make decisions about everyday activities.
U.S. Cases 



UN News


Guterres spotlights ‘critical role’ of aviation in pandemic recovery, marking International Day

The World Bank/Arne HoelAn aircraft being serviced at an airport in Ghana.Economic Development

The UN Secretary-General has called for greater support for the aviation sector, badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow it to better weather the global economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Aviation is an important engine of our world, and will play a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19.  Let us ensure it receives the support it needs to keep the world’s nations connected and united,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message commemorating Monday’s International Civil Aviation Day

Aviation is an important engine of our world, and will play a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19
 – Secretary-General António Guterres

The sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus, which has disrupted travel, the transportation industry overall, and operations of airlines and airports globally.  

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized UN agency, passenger seat capacity is down about 51 per cent, entailing staggering economic losses of around $390 billion this year. 

In response, countries must “act urgently” to sustain their air transport sectors from the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, said the Secretary-General. 

He stressed that such actions must keep the battle against climate change in mind. 

Opportunity for climate action  

“Recovery from the pandemic is simultaneously an opportunity for climate action, including to make global aviation more resilient and sustainable as a key part of efforts to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said Mr. Guterres. 

The UN chief also welcomed recent announcements by members of the aviation community to net-zero emissions, and called on the entire sector to commit to net zero by 2050 as well as to develop a strategy aligned with the Paris Agreement.   

Cooperation between governments and the industry will be essential to achieve a timely transition, he added. 

Mr. Guterres also emphasized the role played by international aviation in everyday lives, allowing people to discover the world and its cultures, connecting societies through travel and trade, and advancing access to food, education and healthcare. 

“These benefits are critical to every country’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Mr. Guterres said. UN News/Vibhu MishraPassengers try to find their flight in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Several flights have been cancelled as countries closed their borders to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Innovation for aviation 

Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Councilsaid that innovation will play a key role in the aviation sector’s recovery strategies. 

“Looking forward to a post-pandemic world, innovation will be at the very heart of the new era in aviation which is now dawning,” Mr. Sciacchitano said, noting advances such as in autonomous aircraft, renewable power, artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain technology and “many other exciting developments which are changing the face of flight as we know it.”  

Success in these efforts, he underlined, relies on worldwide commitment to the standardization, harmonization, and cooperation which countries and industry achieve together, as part of ICAO. 

“These duties and capabilities are more important than ever today, as we confront together the dual challenges of controlling COVID-19, and mitigating the incredibly severe socio-economic effects it has led to by restricting air connectivity for both developed and developing societies.” 

The International Day 

International Civil Aviation Day, observed on 7 December every year, was established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, recognizing the importance of international civil aviation to sustainable development.   

The date also marks the anniversary of the 1944 signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, in Chicago, the United States. 

Shutting school system is wrong response to COVID-19, UNICEF saysCountries fighting the coronavirus should not impose nationwide or large-scale school closures, which is the wrong response and compounds the societal cost of the disease, with 320 million children locked out of school at the start of December, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday.  Culture and Education

WFP/Arete/Joost Bastmeijer‘Quickly restore the rule of law’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray, urges GuterresThe UN Secretary-General said on Monday it was “essential to quickly restore the rule of law” in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, where Government forces and those loyal to the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been engaged in fighting for more than a month.Peace and Security

World Bank/Henitsoa RafaliaPrioritize health workers, at-risk groups, for COVID-19 vaccines: WHO chiefAs countries plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines in the coming days, weeks and months, health workers and other at-risk populations should be prioritized for vaccination, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Health©

UNFPA Sudan54 million women and youth face staggering humanitarian challenges As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact women and girls hit by multiple humanitarian crises, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency appealed on Monday for $818 million to provide 54 million women and youth with essential and life-saving services throughout 2021. Humanitarian Aid

UNICEF/Roger LemoyneTransfer of Rohingya refugees to Bay of Bengal island ‘must be voluntary’: UN refugee agencyThe head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), has voiced concerns over the reported relocation of some Rohingya refugees by Bangladeshi authorities, to an island off the country’s coast, in the Bay of Bengal. Migrants and Refugees

MONUSCO/Michael AliDR Congo: Political tensions, armed attacks, displacement and COVID threats continue There is a critical need for State institutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide more stability and safety for citizens facing multiple threats, the head of the UN mission there told the Security Council on Monday. Peace and Security

UNAMA/Eric KanalsteinImproved Afghan law still fails victims of sex crimes and violence against women, UN report findsAfghanistan’s justice system is continuing to fail female victims of violence and sex crimes, despite a 2009 law that was hailed as a significant step forward in legal efforts to protect them, according to a UN report published jointly on Monday by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) and the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).Human Rights

UN Photo/Stuart PriceNew global hub to study factors driving radicalization and violent extremismA new UN office in Doha will advance research into the factors that drive violent extremism and terrorism, the Organization’s counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov said on Monday during the soft launch held online. Law and Crime Prevention

The World Bank/Arne HoelGuterres spotlights ‘critical role’ of aviation in pandemic recovery, marking International DayThe UN Secretary-General has called for greater support for the aviation sector, badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow it to better weather the global economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic Development
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier, has died at 97. He became a national celebrity thanks to “The Right Stuff” by Tom Wolfe.
Monday, December 7, 2020 11:18 PM EST
His signal achievement came on Oct. 14, 1947, when he climbed out of a B-29 bomber as it ascended over California’s Mojave Desert from what was then known as Muroc Air Force Base, and entered the cockpit of an orange, bullet-shaped, rocket-powered experimental plane attached to the bomb bay.An Air Force captain at the time, he zoomed off in the plane, a Bell Aircraft X-1, at an altitude of 23,000 feet, and when he reached about 43,000 feet above the desert, history’s first sonic boom reverberated across the floor of the dry lake beds. He had reached a speed of 700 miles an hour, breaking the sound barrier and dispelling the long-held fear that any plane flying at or beyond the speed of sound would be torn apart by shock waves.
Read the latest

12/8 –

Justice Department Settles Claim Against Texas IT Company for Using Job Advertisements that Discriminated Against and Deterred U.S. Workers in Favor of Temporary Visa Holders12/08/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today announced that it signed a settlement agreement with Ikon Systems, LLC (Ikon), an IT staffing and recruiting company based in Texas.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Report: Biden picks Lloyd Austin, retired Army general, to lead Pentagon
(Defense News) President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly selected Lloyd Austin III, a retired four-star Army general who most recently led the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq, as his nominee for defense secretary.
  2. Army to fire, suspend officers and enlisted soldiers over violence at Fort Hood
(The Associated Press) U.S. Army leaders are expected to fire or suspend a “significant number” of officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in a dramatic purge to correct a command culture they believe failed to address leadership failures and a pattern of violence that included murders, sexual assaults and suicides, U.S. officials said Monday.
  3. US troop pullouts in Mideast raise fears of Iranian attacks
(The Associated Press) As the Pentagon pulls troops out of the Middle East in the coming weeks, under orders from President Donald Trump, U.S. military leaders are working to find other ways to deter potential attacks by Iran and its proxies, and to counter arguments that America is abandoning the region.
  4. Trump admin to rename two bases for Space Force over military objections
(Defense One) The Air Force had quietly agreed with Congress not to change anything until the NDAA settles a way forward on Confederate base names.
  5. Chuck Yeager, 1st to break sound barrier, dies at 97
(The Associated Press) Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot who showed he had the “right stuff” when in 1947 he became the first person to fly faster than sound, has died. He was 97.

Booz | Allen | Hamilton
MEET THE WOMEN IN DATA SCIENCEOur Women in Data Science (WiDS) program is built on four pillars that aim to increase gender parity and racial equality: education, social good, sponsorship, and special projects.
WEBINAR REPLAY: MANNED-UNMANNED COMMAND AND CONTROL AT THE TACTICAL EDGEWatch our virtual event recording to learn how human-machine teaming can help provide situational awareness and communication while enabling capabilities through open architectures, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), communications, and intelligence-grade cyber.WATCH THE RECORDING >>
BOOZ ALLEN’S LAUREN NEAL NAMED BEST TECH MANAGER NATIONWIDELauren Neal was one of over 500 contestants to compete for the 2020 National Timmy Award for Best Tech Manager. Lauren’s commitment to mentorship and improving diverse representation within Booz Allen’s AI practice ultimately won her this prestigious award.WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT >>

Mapping the Path to AI Adoption | General Assembly
AI’s Power to Transform | National Defense
Booz Allen Hamilton Chief Scientist Edward Raff on Classified AI | Infinia ML’s Machine Meets World
Federal Agencies Using Machine Learning and AI to Tackle Problems | The Well News

Hudson RiverNet
News from the Hudson River Estuary Program
In This IssueDay in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor Interactive VideosWomen in Science Speaker Series Begins December 9Request for Proposals: Economic Value of Clean Water in the NY-NJ Harbor & EstuaryA Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor Interactive VideosA boy in a face mask and young woman in a face mask look at a small fish.On October 22, educators from DEC and more than 50 environmental education organizations traveled to the shores of the Hudson River estuary and piers of New York Harbor with seine nets, minnow pots, and water testing gear to study the Hudson’s fish and invertebrates, track the river’s tides and currents, and examine water quality and chemistry during the annual Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor.However, this year’s event took place without the 5,000 students and teachers who typically participate, so educators filmed their activities to bring the event to students. DEC recently produced three interactive videos to showcase the different fish and river conditions of the upper, middle, and lower Hudson River estuary. The videos, designed for use at home or in the classroom, combine live footage recorded at dozens of locations during Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor. Educators demonstrate how to measure the river’s water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity and show students how to use the Clearwater fish key to identify fish species. Online data sheets are available for recording the results of these activities as students follow along with the videos.A young boy in a fleece jacket holds out a small jar of water.The videos and data sheets are available below and on DEC’s Day in the Life of the Hudson and Harbor website. Teachers may schedule a distance learning program for their classes or discuss the video lessons with an Estuary educator by contacting York Harbor and Connected WaterwaysNY Harbor Data Sheet (PDF)

Lower Estuary: Yonkers to Beacon/Newburgh 
Lower Estuary Data Sheet (PDF)Upper Estuary: Poughkeepsie to Peebles Island
Upper Estuary Data Sheet (PDF)

 Women In Science Winter Speaker SeriesJoin the Hudson River Estuary Program for the Women in Science Winter Speaker Series starting on December 9. Meet and learn from scientists, community leaders, and environmental educators who work at the intersection of climate change, scientific research, and environmental justice, and engage in discussions about overcoming barriers and challenges in the field of science and education. This free series is designed for educators and is open to the public. Register separately for each webinar.The Role of Education in Climate Justice This is a photo of Taylor Morton, who is an educator at WEACT for Environmental JusticeTaylor Morton is the Environmental Health and Education Manager at WEACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, NY. WEACT’s work includes co-facilitating and creating curricula, managing projects centering around New York City Public Housing (NYCHA), and working with academic partners. Taylor recognizes the importance of exposing minority, urban, and low-income youth to natural elements, and actively supports this mission in their work and life. Join Taylor as she explores the intersection of traditional education and environmental health and justice. Register now for the December 9th webinar.December 16th, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Not All Scientists Wear Pocket Protectors; Not All Teachers Are in the ClassroomJoin the Sloop Clearwater Captain Amy Nelson and Educator Amali Knobloch as they share their experiences working on a 106-foot replica Hudson River sloop and how they inspire and educate a new generation of environmental leaders for a sustainable future. Register now for the December 16th webinar.Not All Engineers Wear Pocket ProtectorsPhoto of Amy Nelson who is the captain of the Hudson River Sloop ClearwaterCaptain Amy Nelson led the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in its most recent, transformative 2020 season, as experiential education turned virtual. In addition to the Sloop, Amy has been the captain for marine science expeditions on the Salish Sea and research vessels off the coast of Maine. Amy earned a degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington then spent the early years of her career sailing internationally in the Western Pacific and the Caribbean Sea. Currently, Amy is advancing her merchant mariner credentials in the deck and engine room departments utilizing a career development grant for women in non-traditional fields awarded to her by the American Association of University Women.Not All Teachers Are In The ClassroomPhoto of Amali Knobloch, Sail Logistics Coordinator at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.Amali Knobloch is the sail logistics coordinator at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and has worked as an environmental educator, facilitating both day and multi-day programs at various organizations. Amali prioritizes engaging the community on the intersection of representation, equity and inclusion in all her endeavors.Save the Dates for January and February Speakers:Not All Inventors Are Engineers on January 6, 2021Not All Scientists Wear Lab Coats on January 26, 2021Not All Role Models Are Recognized; Equity in STEM for Underserved Communities 
February 2021Economic Value of Clean Water: Request for ProposalsNEIWPCC, in cooperation with the New York – New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program, the states of New York and New Jersey, EPA, and its partners, is inviting proposals for a study to estimate the economic value of clean water and health of the associated ecosystem in the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary.The purpose of this project is to communicate the economic value of clean water in the NY–NJ Harbor Estuary to policymakers, decision makers, residents, and other stakeholders. The results of this project will provide a peer-reviewed and verified economic analysis and public facing report.This economic study will be the first of its kind in the region, and may also serve as a steppingstone for further work by governmental, non-governmental, and academic researchers. All proposals are due to NEIWPCC by January 6, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST.  For more information and a link to the RFP, please visit the NEIWPCC website.Birds-eye view of the New York-New Jersey Harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground.


Victimisation (or victimization) is the process of being victimised or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of victimisation is called victimology.

Peer victimisation

Main article: Peer victimisation

Peer victimisation is the experience among children of being a target of the aggressive behaviour of other children, who are not siblings and not necessarily age-mates.

Secondary victimization


Secondary victimization (also known as post crime victimization or double victimization ) refers to further victim-blaming from criminal justice authorities following a report of an original victimization. Rates of victimization are high, with an estimated 5.7 million individuals experiencing at least one victimization in 2016. Considering these are cases of criminal offenses, the reported rates of violent victimization are disproportionately low. Less than half (42%) report any violent crime of threatened or real force, such as physical assault, battery, or weapons offenses. Additionally, under a quarter (23%) report rape, childhood, or sexual assault to the police. Further, out of the portion that does report sexual assault or rape, about half describe the experience as upsetting, frustrating, and useless. Despite efforts to increase criminal reports of victimization, authorities and law enforcement personnel often discount individuals’ violent experiences and fail to attend to both the necessary legal actions and interpersonal actions.


When institutions or criminal justice system personnel fail to support the victimized individual, victims are vulnerable to secondary victimization. While the appropriate and legal way to respond to primary victimization is to report the event, authorities often deny, do not believe, or blame the victim (Campbell & Raja, 1999; Campbell & Raja, 2005). In turn, up to 90% of victims report experiencing negative social reaction and attribute the incident as a “second rape” or “second assault”.

Research suggests that victim of sexual violence or assault are the least likely to receive support or resources following reporting. This may be due to perceived lack of evidence, social stigma, and overall discomfort when dealing with sexual incidences. In a study of rape victims undergoing prosecution for their assault, those who felt their detectives responded empathetically and with understanding were likelier to pursue prosecution, felt their experiences were important, and their cases deserved to be heard. Empathetic and supportive responses from authorities could potentially improve mental and physical health in rape survivors and additionally, improve reporting rates and lessen judgmental attitudes from the criminal justice system. Because sexual violence is a sensitive subject for all parties, criminal justice personnel may avoid, ignore, or publicly misconstrue their opinions about the situation as an effort to separate themselves or cope with dangerous and uncomfortable situations. Studies suggest these misconceptions by the system may further damage individuals’ mental health and a safer world. This could be combatted with accepting, non-accusatory perspectives, aiding in accuracy the sexual violence reports. Several authors speculate authorities’ supportive approach benefits the victim and promotes a just world. In this way, previous victims might report and seek appropriate resources in the future.

Those exposed to traumatic victimization are vulnerable to experiencing secondary victimization. If social needs such as empathy, support, and understanding are not met, individuals are prone to this phenomenon. While anybody who has experienced victimization is susceptible to secondary victimization, prevalence rates are significantly elevated for some populations. This includes females, children, racial and sexual minorities, and those sexually assaulted by an acquaintance or stranger. Moreover, those experiencing a certain type of violence are at increased likelihood to experience secondary victimization. These include physical assault, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Notably, rape victims are at highest risk of secondary victimization from the criminal justice system, with about half who report describing the process as distressing.

Reporting victimization

As a consequence of social rejections and insensitivities to acknowledging trauma or violence, individuals are increasingly apt to continue not reporting. This can be detrimental to victims’ mental health, as sexual violence often happens more than once and not reporting violence helps to maintain a repeated cycle of abuse. Experiencing violence is associated with negative mental and physical outcomes, including shame, emotion dysregulation, psychological stress, loss of resources, and mental health pathology. In a meta-analysis about sexual assault victimization and psychopathology, there was a medium-sized effect overall effect size was moderate after accounting for several mental health diagnoses including depression, anxiety, suicidality, disordered eating, and substance abuse. This indicates that sexual assault victimization is significantly related to mental health distress even after controlling for other associated symptoms. Additionally, women who experience secondary victimization are likelier to have both adverse physical health and mental health implications and are also unlikely to seek services and treatment. Given these individuals are likely in a troubled state, pressures of reporting are cognitively taxing. To report crime, especially sexual crimes, implicates a further level of vulnerability. When victims are met with hostile reactions, they are reinforced to not report. This is not only harmful to the individual, but to society, in that perpetrators are thus permitted to continue committing crimes and abuse. As a consequence of victim-blaming and other negative attitudes towards victims, reported rates of criminal abuse are low and distress in victims is high.

Interactions with the criminal justice system

Despite high rates of secondary victimization, reporting rates are low. It is not unusual for criminal justice personnel to discourage victims from prosecuting their sexual assault cases due to victim-blaming behaviors and discounting victims’ traumatic experiences. One incident that attracts much controversy in the criminal justice system is reporting violent crimes on one’s intimate partner. Women who report rape by an intimate partner are seen as less credible by the system and law enforcement are more likely to encourage dropping the case. Societal standards of obeying an intimate partner and thus encompassing rape culture are prevalent in the criminal justice system. Although it is a legal crime that is being reported, victims are often turned away feeling alienated, hopeless, and unworthy and have limited options for resources beyond the system.

Fragmented memory

A possible explanation of why the criminal justice system is unlikely to believe many victims is due to victims’ fragmented memory. It is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to also have a traumatic brain injury or other neurobiological reactions due to assault. In her work, Campbell explains how molecular changes occur in response to trauma, and how this can influence discrepancies in victims’ reports and recollections of the event. After a traumatic incident, chemical alterations in the brain change, impacting encoding and processing the memory.

Not only do neurobiological changes affect victims’ memories, but emotion dysregulation, repression, suppression, dissociation, and avoidance of the event are also common reactions in victims. These cognitive and neurobiological factors are rarely considered when a victim reports an assault. During the time law enforcement personnel gather information about the event, they could be met with victims explaining their stories inconsistently due to a fragmented memory. Either by a neurobiological change or psychological response to particularly distressing trauma, victims may fall prey to the inability to coherently portray details of the event, thus taking away credibility and facilitating secondary victimization.


The term revictimisation refers to a pattern wherein the victim of abuse and/or crime has a statistically higher tendency to be victimised again, either shortly thereafter or much later in adulthood in the case of abuse as a child. This latter pattern is particularly notable in cases of sexual abuse. While an exact percentage is almost impossible to obtain, samples from many studies suggest the rate of revictimisation for people with histories of sexual abuse is very high. The vulnerability to victimisation experienced as an adult is also not limited to sexual assault, and may include physical abuse as well.

Reasons as to why revictimisation occurs vary by event type, and some mechanisms are unknown. Revictimisation in the short term is often the result of risk factors that were already present, which were not changed or mitigated after the first victimisation; sometimes the victim cannot control these factors. Examples of these risk factors include living or working in dangerous areas, chaotic familial relations, having an aggressive temperament, drug or alcohol usage and unemployment. Revictimisation may be “facilitated, tolerated, and even produced by particular institutional contexts, illustrating how the risk of revictimization is not a characteristic of the individual, nor is it destiny.”

Revictimisation of adults who were previously sexually abused as children is more complex. Multiple theories exist as to how this functions. Some scientists propose a maladaptive form of learning; the initial abuse teaches inappropriate beliefs and behaviours that persist into adulthood. The victim believes that abusive behaviour is “normal” and comes to expect, or feel they deserve it from others in the context of relationships, and thus may unconsciously seek out abusive partners or cling to abusive relationships. Another theory draws on the principle of learned helplessness. As children, they are put in situations that they have little to no hope of escaping, especially when the abuse comes from a caregiver. One theory goes that this state of being unable to fight back or flee the danger leaves the last primitive option: freeze, an offshoot of death-feigning.

Offenders choosing pre-traumatized victims

In adulthood, the freeze response can remain, and some professionals have noted that victimisers sometimes seem to pick up subtle clues of this when choosing a victim. This behaviour can make the victim an easier target, as they sometimes make less effort to fight back or vocalise. Afterwards, they often make excuses and minimise what happened to them, sometimes never reporting the assault to the authorities.


Main article: Victim playing

Self-victimisation (or victim playing) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking.

Self-image of victimisation (victim mentality)

Main article: Victim mentality

Victims of abuse and manipulation sometimes get trapped into a self-image of victimisation. The psychological profile of victimisation includes a pervasive sense of helplessness, passivity, loss of control, pessimism, negative thinking, strong feelings of guiltshameself-blame and depression. This way of thinking can lead to hopelessness and despair.

Rates of victimisation in United States

Levels of criminal activity are measured through three major data sources: the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), self-report surveys of criminal offenders, and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). However, the UCR and self-report surveys generally report details regarding the offender and the criminal offense; information on the victim is only included so far as his/her relationship to the offender, and perhaps a superficial overview of his/her injuries. The NCVS is a tool used to measure the existence of actual, rather than only those reported, crimes—the victimisation rate—by asking individuals about incidents in which they may have been victimised. The National Crime Victimization Survey is the United States‘ primary source of information on crime victimisation.

Each year, data is obtained from a nationally represented sample of 77,200 households comprising nearly 134,000 persons on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimisation in the United States. This survey enables the (government) to estimate the likelihood of victimisation by Rape (more valid estimates were calculated after the surveys redesign in 1992 that better tapped instances of sexual assault, particularly of Date rape), robberyassaulttheft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers, or other groups. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the NCVS reveals that, from 1994 to 2005, violent crime rates have declined, reaching the lowest levels ever recorded. Property crimes continue to decline.

In 2010, the National Institute of Justice reported that American adolescents were the age group most likely to be victims of violent crime, while American men were more likely than American women to be victims of violent crime, and blacks were more likely than Americans of other races to be victims of violent crime.



5 Hidden Gems Are Riding Aboard NASA’s Perseverance Rover

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is 'festooned' with a variety of objects that serve both decorative and functional purposes
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is “festooned” with a variety of objects that serve both decorative and functional purposes, from commemorative placards to a slice of Martian meteorite that earlier rode aboard the space station to a sundial. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

The symbols, mottos, and small objects added to the agency’s newest Mars rover serve a variety of purposes, from functional to decorative.

More than halfway to the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover isn’t just shuttling sophisticated science instruments and tubes to be filled with Earth-bound rock samples. It’s carrying symbols, mottos, and objects that range from practical to playful – everything from meteorite fragments to chips carrying the names of 10.9 million people.

The “extras” are part of a tradition that harks back to the early space age and is now called “festooning” in NASA lingo. A plaque aboard Pioneer 10 and 11 displays a man and a woman for distant spacefarers who might find the spacecraft. The Golden Record aboard Voyager 1 and 2 serves a similar purpose. Metal from the wreckage of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was installed on the rovers Opportunity and Spirit, while Spirit also carried a memorial to the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia.


UN News


UN emergency relief fund, ‘an investment in humanity’ declares Guterres

© UNICEF/Juan HaroMigrant women and their children quarantine at a site in Niamey, Niger.Humanitarian Aid

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which responds to crises around the world, consistently delivers “principled, coordinated, fast and agile” humanitarian action, the UN chief said on Tuesday, appealing for hundreds of millions of dollars for the year ahead. 

 Secretary-General António Guterres told a virtual High-level Pledging Event: “It is quick…non-bureaucratic, and it is sometimes the only source of funds for a true emergency response, because other funding may be too late to be effective”. 

CERF is the instrument that enables us to act in forgotten crises that do not attract donor funding”, he continued, calling it “an important tool” to bring the entire UN system together. 

Making ‘enormous difference’ 

The top UN official reflected on how, as the High Commissioner for Refugees, he used CERF many times to fund emergency action for refugees, saying that it fosters joint UN action and collaboration with aid partners, “quickly and at scale”. 

“In the chaos of a humanitarian emergency, that makes an enormous difference”, he spelled out. 

Far from the media spotlight, Mr. Guterres said that in 2020, CERF provided a record $225 million to some 20 underfunded and neglected crises. 

COVID pressure 

On top of existing conflict and climate change crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of vulnerability to those already suffering, for which CERF has provided $820 million in life-saving assistance to people in 52 countries.  

“This is the highest amount ever allocated in a single year, appropriately for this year of unprecedented crisis – and a testament to the commitment of its donors”, said the UN chief. 

Moreover, CERF also responded to the secondary effects of the pandemic, including $100 million to seven countries in Africa and the Middle East to support people at risk of hunger, and a record $65 million to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence – a growing threat under pandemic-related lockdowns.  

Among other things, CERF’s swift support enabled: 

  • Assistance against swarms of desert locusts in the Horn of Africa along with scale-upped Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) control efforts. 
  • Emergency shelter, food and water to some 600,000 people forced to flee Syria. 
  • Health services to track Ebola cases and provide treatment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 
  • $220 million in life-saving assistance for 65 million people across 48 vulnerable countries during the pandemic. 

Pledge up 

In 2016, the General Assembly endorsed a $1 billion CERF.  

“If all Member States and partners allocate a small percentage of their humanitarian funding through the CERF, we can reach our target”, the UN chief said. 

He also urged countries to consider multi-year arrangements as “guaranteed, predictable funding enables CERF to operate to its fullest potential”.  

“An investment in the CERF is an investment in humanity”, concluded the Secretary-General. 

Never needed more 

In his opening remarks, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Humanitarian Affairs chief Mark Lowcock pointed out that as the world faces the greatest humanitarian challenges in over a generation, “we’ve never needed the CERF more”. 

We’ve never needed the CERF more — UN Humanitarian Coordinator

“Everywhere I travel…I hear stories from real people who have got help from the CERF”, he attested.  

Pointing to the Global Humanitarian Overview 2021, he said that around 235 million people will need humanitarian protection and assistance next year, “almost entirely because of COVID-19”. 

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) chief QU Dongyu maintained that “CERF has been instrumental in supporting livelihood-saving interventions in 2020, providing almost $44 million to this end, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership”.  

And the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo, noted that “in 2020, for the first time, CERF released $25 million focused on women-led organizations that prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian settings”. 

Meanwhile, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said that “during COVID-19 and other emergencies, CERF has been instrumental in helping UNRWA maintain basic services like health, education and much more, to 5.7 million Palestine refugees in the Middle East”.

UN emergency relief fund, ‘an investment in humanity’ declares GuterresThe UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which responds to crises around the world, consistently delivers “principled, coordinated, fast and agile” humanitarian action, the UN chief said on Tuesday, appealing for hundreds of millions of dollars for the year ahead. Humanitarian Aid

UNFPA/Sufian Abdul-MoutyEthiopia: UN concern mounts over shortages, child welfare, in ongoing Tigray crisisThe dire shortage of food, water, fuel and cash in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia is seriously affecting people there, including aid workers, the United Nations reported on Tuesday, citing its humanitarian affairs office, OCHA.  Peace and Security

UN Photo/Olivier ChassotSudan at critical juncture in path towards democratic transition, Security Council hearsInternational support for Sudan is critical as the country continues on the path to democratic transition, amid challenges that include political disagreements, economic decline, and the COVID-19 pandemic, UN political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday. Peace and Security

UNDP HondurasDeveloping countries raise climate ambitions to plot path out of pandemicDeveloping countries are building more ambitious plans to tackle climate change, with COVID-19 stimulus packages often serving as a springboard towards a greener recovery, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said on Tuesday.Climate Change

Unsplash/Markus SpiskeIndependent UN expert calls for Julian Assange’s release, cites prison’s COVID outbreakAmid a COVID-19 outbreak at London’s Belmarsh prison, an independent UN expert appealed to British authorities on Tuesday to release Julian Assange or to place him under guarded house arrest during extradition proceedings to the United States.  Human Rights

WHONew WHO campaign to help COVID-era quitters kick the habitThe UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, announced the start of a year-long global campaign to help people quit tobacco, with millions citing the threat of COVID-19 as a new incentive to give up the habit.  Health
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/9 –

Member of Neo-Nazi Group Sentenced for Plot to Target Journalists and Advocates12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Johnny Roman Garza, 21, a member of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, was sentenced today to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a plot to threaten and intimidate journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism.

Civil Rights Division Opens Investigation into Potential Discrimination in Public Contracting12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has opened an investigation into whether the public contracting and procurement practices of Kansas City, Missouri comply with the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Okuliar Delivers Remarks to the Telecommunications Industry Association12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to join you today, thank you for the invitation. I’d like to begin with some prepared remarks addressing the importance of predictability and transparency to antitrust enforcement, particularly as it relates to standards-essential patents, give an overview of the Division’s recent activity in this space, and then turn to some questions.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert A. Zink Delivers Remarks at Virtual GIR Live Interactive: Regional Spotlight-North America12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
It’s wonderful to speak with you here this morning. And I’m sorry we can’t do this in person. But I’m still delighted to have the opportunity to be here to say a few words about white-collar criminal enforcement, albeit virtually.

Individual Pleads Guilty to Participating in Internet-of-Things Cyberattack in 201612/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
An individual, formerly a juvenile, pleaded guilty to committing acts of federal juvenile delinquency in relation to a cyberattack that caused massive disruption to the Internet in October 2016.

Assistant Attorney General Delrahim Delivers Remarks at the Antitrust Division’s Seventh Annual Diversity Celebration12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Thank you, Matthew, for that kind introduction. And good afternoon everyone. It is great to be joined by so many colleagues from across the Antitrust Division and beyond.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the State of Alabama for Unconstitutional Conditions in State’s Prisons for Men12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Today, the Justice Department filed suit against the State of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Corrections. The complaint alleges that the conditions at Alabama’s prisons for men violate the Constitution because Alabama fails to provide adequate protection from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse, fails to provide safe and sanitary conditions, and subjects prisoners to excessive force at the hands of prison staff.

El Director de Programa Internacional de Asistencia a la Capacitación en Investigación Criminal (ICITAP) Greg Ducot Ofrece Declaraciones a Cuarto Virtual Simposio Internacional de Ciencias Forense12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Muy buenos días, honorables y distinguidos invitados de este cuatro Simposio Internacional de Ciencias Forenses convocado virtualmente desde la capital de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos.

International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) Director Greg Ducot Delivers Remarks at the Virtual Fourth International Forensic Science Symposium12/09/2020 12:00 AM EST
Good morning, honorable and distinguished guests of this fourth International Symposium of Forensic Sciences convened virtually from the capital of the United Mexican States.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. House approves defense bill with veto-proof majority
(Defense News) The House adopted a compromise $740.5 billion defense policy bill by a veto-proof majority Tuesday, rebuking President Donald Trump, who threatened to send back the bill because it doesn’t repeal a prized liability shield for social media firms.
  2. Biden: Here’s why I chose Lloyd Austin for defense secretary
(Military Times) President-elect Joe Biden said he chose retired Gen. Lloyd Austin III as his nominee for defense secretary because of his experience and integrity, calling the 41-year soldier “the definition of a patriot.”
  3. Biden’s defense secretary pick raises concerns over recent military service
(Military Times) President-elect Joe Biden’s decision this week to name retired Gen. Lloyd Austin III as his pick for defense secretary drew immediate concerns from lawmakers worried about another recently retired officer taking over the department’s top civilian post.
  4. Fourteen leaders relieved or suspended after scathing report on Fort Hood
(Army Times) Fourteen leaders at Fort Hood, Texas, from the deputy commander down to the squad level, were relieved or suspended after the Army secretary and chief of staff were handed the results of an independent committee’s review of the command climate there.
  5. China aims to outpace US militarily, American commander says
(Wall Street Journal) Beijing wants to match U.S. capabilities by 2035 and surpass them by midcentury, Gen. Milley says, echoing concerns in Pentagon report.

Financial Technology 

(abbreviated fintech or FinTech) is the technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. It is an emerging industry that uses technology to improve activities in finance. The use of smartphones for mobile bankinginvestingborrowing services, and cryptocurrency are examples of technologies aiming to make financial services more accessible to the general public. Financial technology companies consist of both startups and established financial institutions and technology companies trying to replace or enhance the usage of financial services provided by existing financial companies.Fintech meetup in Sri Lanka


After reviewing more than 200 scientific papers citing the term “fintech,” a study on the definition of fintech concluded that “fintech is a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities.”Fintech is the new applications, processes, products, or business models in the financial services industry, composed of one or more complementary financial services and provided as an end-to-end process via the Internet. Fintech can also be considered as “any innovative ideas that improve financial service processes by proposing technology solutions according to different business situations, while the ideas could also lead to new business models or even new businesses.” 

Key areas

Financial technology has been used to automate investmentsinsurancetrading, banking services and risk management.

The services may originate from various independent service providers including at least one licensed bank or insurer. The interconnection is enabled through open APIs and open banking and supported by regulations such as the European Payment Services Directive.

In trading on capital markets, innovative electronic trading platforms facilitate trades online and in real timeSocial trading networks allow investors to observe the trading behavior of their peers and expert traders and to follow their investment strategies on currency exchange and capital markets. The platforms require little or no knowledge about financial markets, and have been described as disruptors which provide “a low-cost, sophisticated alternative to traditional wealth managers” by the World Economic Forum.

Robo-advisers are a class of automated financial adviser that provide financial advice or investment management online with moderate to minimal human intervention. They provide digital financial advice based on mathematical rules or algorithms, and thus can provide a low-cost alternative to a human advisers.

Global investment in financial technology increased more than 2,200% from $930 million in 2008 to more than $22 billion in 2015. The nascent financial technology industry in London has seen rapid growth over the last few years, according to the office of the Mayor of London. Forty percent of the City of London‘s workforce is employed in financial and technology services.

In Europe, $1.5 billion was invested in financial technology companies in 2014, with London-based companies receiving $539 million, Amsterdam-based companies $306 million, and Stockholm-based companies receiving $266 million in investment. After London, Stockholm is the second highest funded city in Europe in the past 10 years. Europe’s fintech deals reached a five-quarter high, rising from 37 in Q4 2015 to 47 in Q1 2016. Lithuania is starting to become a northern European hub for financial technology companies since the news in 2016 about the possible exit of Britain from the European Union. Lithuania has issued 51 fintech licenses since 2016, 32 of those in 2017.

Fintech companies in the United States raised $12.4 billion in 2018, a 43% increase over 2017 figures. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund addressing in 2018 at the Singapore FinTech Festival, the largest FinTech festival in the world.

In the Asia Pacific region, the growth will see a new financial technology hub to be opened in Sydney, in April 2015. According to KPMG, Sydney’s financial services sector in 2017 creates 9 per cent of national GDP and is bigger than the financial services sector in either Hong Kong or Singapore. A financial technology innovation lab was launched in Hong Kong in 2015. In 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore launched an initiative named Fintech and Information Group to draw in start-ups from around the world. It pledged to spend $225 million in the fintech sector over the next five years.

While Singapore has been one of the central Fintech hubs in Asia, start ups in the sector from Vietnam and Indonesia have been attracting more venture capital investments in recent years. Since 2014, Southeast Asian Fintech companies have increased VC funding from $35 million to $679 million in 2018 and $1.14 billion in 2019.

Fintech start-ups around the world have been noted for their innovation, creativity, and cutting-edge work styles, and as a result these aspects have worked their way into each workplaces’ culture. This emphasis on collaboration and alliance has resulted in workplaces where afternoon office happy hours occur every Friday, in-office yoga classes are offered to help relieve employees’ stress, and other engaging activities are hosted. These environments are not only fun for employees, but build a more productive and friendly workplace that enhance company performance. What makes fintech’s workplace culture especially unique is the methods used to preserve this special environment, which is through the hiring process. There are three key ways fintech start-ups maintain this state-of-the-art culture through their hiring process: involving the whole crew, being consistent, and clarifying their mission. By allowing multiple departments to have a say in who is hired and making their mission clear to all prospective employees, start-ups are able to attract prospects who hold the same values and goals as the company itself. The unique workplace culture fintech startups operate around gives fintech an edge over traditional banking and explains why fintech is the future of the financial industry.


Within the financial services industry, some of the used technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), big datarobotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain.

Artificial Intelligence is a blanket term for many different technologies. In terms of the “fintech” industry, AI is used in various forms. AI algorithms can be used to predict changes in the stock market and give insight into the economy. AI is used to provide insight on customer spending habits and allows financial institutions to better understand their clients. Chatbots are another AI-driven tool that banks are starting to use to help with customer service.

Big Data is another “fintech” technology that financial institutions utilize. In the finance sector, big data can be used to predict client investments and market changes and create new strategies and portfolios. Big Data can be used to analyze customer spending habits and therefore improve fraud detection. Big Data helps banks create segmented marketing strategies and can be used to optimize the operations of a company.

Robotic Process Automation is an artificial intelligence technology that focuses on automating specific repetitive tasks. In terms of “fintech”, RPA is used to perform manual tasks that often are repetitive and completed daily. These tasks just involve the input of information into a system and do not require much skill thus companies are replacing them with RPA which can complete the task quicker and more efficiently. RPA helps to process financial information such as accounts payable and receivable more efficiently than the manual process and often more accurately. RPA can be used to increase the productivity of the financial company.

Blockchain is another financial technology that is beginning to be used in the industry. Out of all the “fintech” technologies, blockchain was developed for the purposes of finance and thus has direct ties to financial institutions. The main feature of Blockchain in financial services is decentralization where do not need to trust a third party to execute transactions. Though blockchain is still an emerging technology, many companies recognize the impact that it will have and are investing accordingly.

Other forms of fintech technologies act to supplement and enhance existing financial services. These include services such as transferring funds between banks by companies such as Plaid (company) and augmenting payroll services for consumers by companies such as Clair.

Challenges and solutions

Learn moreThe examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

In addition to established competitors, fintech companies often face doubts from financial regulators like issuing banks and the Federal Government. In July 2018, the Trump Administration issued a policy statement that allowed FinTech companies to apply for special purpose national bank charters from the federal Office of the Comptroller of the CurrencyFederal preemption applies to state law regarding federally chartered banks.

Data security is another issue regulators are concerned about because of the threat of hacking as well as the need to protect sensitive consumer and corporate financial data. Leading global fintech companies are proactively turning to cloud technology to meet increasingly stringent compliance regulations.

The Federal Trade Commission provides free resources for corporations of all sizes to meet their legal obligations of protecting sensitive data. Several private initiatives suggest that multiple layers of defense can help isolate and secure financial data.

In the European Union, fintech companies must adhere to data protection laws, such as GDPR. Companies need to proactively protect users and companies data or face fines of 20 million euros, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4% of their total global turnover. In addition to GDPR, European financial institutions including fintech firms have to update their regulatory affairs departments with the Payment Services Directive (PSD2), meaning they must organise their revenue structure around a central goal of privacy.

Any data breach, no matter how small, can result in direct liability to a company (see the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act) and ruin a fintech company’s reputation.

The online financial sector is also an increasing target of distributed denial of service extortion attacks.[53][54] This security challenge is also faced by historical bank companies since they do offer Internet-connected customer services.

Many FinTech technologies have very high start-up costs but very low marginal costs for adding additional customers, effectively necessitating many FinTechs to act as natural monopolies.

See also

Further reading

  • Teigland, R., Siri, S., Larsson, A., Puertas, A. M., & Bogusz, C. I. (Eds.) (2018). The Rise and Development of FinTech (Open Access): Accounts of Disruption from Sweden and Beyond. Routledge. ISBN 9780815378501.


It’s very unfortunate that we find ourselves in this world searching for consistent ways to protect children when they come under harm and threat.

Why an over explanation and even legal defense for parents who are defending their children, or children in general, is needed in an advanced society.

When searching for visuals in hope’s of making it plain, there were none that showed the child as needing protection. It moreso showed the child as the problem with underlying mental health issues, such as narcissism or ADHD, and rendered the parent helpless sorrowfully in search of answers. We found two videos, whereas the first video is the only video we found that youtube wanted to show us addressing a parents concern of her child under threat. The second video is actually how a parent feels when their child is threatened.

Theresa Angiolas

Condé Nast Spotlight

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G Herbo

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EPICURIOUS71 Easy Christmas Appetizer Recipes (and Hors d’Oeuvres, Too)

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VOGUEThe 17 Most Popular Fashion Items of 2020

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PITCHFORKThe 50 Best Albums of 2020

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TEEN VOGUEBrands Aren’t Your Friends — Even If They Love K-Pop

They won’t stand side by side with you at a concert, or stream with you late into the night.

VANITY FAIRBarr to Trump: You Can’t Fire Me Because I Quit

Trump’s loyalist attorney general—now on the outs after undercutting his unfounded election fraud claims—is reportedly considering stepping down before his boss leaves the White House.

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELERCanada’s Rocky Mountaineer Train Is Heading to Colorado and Utah

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What happens when genetics upends history?

GQ66 Heroic Gifts Under $100 for Everyone on Your List 

Not cashmere, but still cool. 

GLAMOURWe Tried Everything From Versed, and Here’s What’s Worth It

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my chemical romance eye shadow palette on red silk background

ALLUREMy Chemical Romance Makeup Exists, and I’m Not OK (I Promise)

The band collaborated with HipDot on a collection inspired by their best album of all time.

BON APPÉTIT49 Healthyish Baked Goods to Satisfy Your Sweet (and Savory) Tooth 

Fire up the oven.

WIRED25 Face Masks We Actually Like to Wear

Here are the WIRED staff’s favorite face coverings for running, walking the dog, going to work, or looking stylish.

SELF51 Actually Useful Gifts Anyone Will Love

And we’re not talking socks or candles.

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EPICURIOUSI’m Leaving Everything From 2020 Behind, Except Meera Sodha’s Bombay Rolls

The cheesy, spicy, bright, and buttery wheels from her latest cookbook are coming with me into the new year.

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THEM.How Josie Totah Brought Big Mouth’s First Trans Character to Life

Natalie is a surprising delight of the show’s fourth season. It wouldn’t have happened without true allyship in the writer’s room, a track record of authentic LGBTQ+ representation, and some of the funniest queer minds in comedy.

VOGUEVictoria Beckham’s Holiday Shoe Isn’t What You’d Expect


UN News


Recognize and act on warning signs of genocide, Guterres urges, honouring victims

UN Photo/Milton GrantGenocide survivors at the Mwurire Genocide Site, in Rwanda. (1998)Human Rights

Social media platforms, technology companies, and religious and civil society leaders have a central role in combatting hate speech, “a clear warning sign” of genocide, the United Nations Secretary-General has said. 

In a message on the international day to commemorate the victims of genocide and affirm their dignity, on Wednesday, Secretary-General António Guterres also highlighted the key responsibility of governments. 

“Governments need to guarantee civic space for human rights institutions and defenders to do their essential work, and they need to protect the rights of those at risk,” he said. 

‘Warning signs’ 

Mr. Guterres outlined that genocide is always preceded by “clear, multiple warning signs” and victims are often early targets of hate speech, discrimination and violence. 

But promptly recognizing and acting on these warning signs, remains a challenge. 

“Hate speech is a clear warning sign, and we need to do better in rejecting it in all its forms,” said the Secretary-General, highlighting that all of society must be involved. 

“It is crucial that we all join hands to defend the principles of equality and human dignity and to repair the fissures and polarization that are so prevalent in our societies today.” 

Observed on 9 December every year, the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime was established by the UN General Assembly. The date commemorates the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in 1948, by the General Assembly. 

‘Foundational’ to the UN 

In the message, the Secretary-General highlighted that the imperative to prevent genocide is “foundational to the United Nations”. 

The Convention, adopted in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Second World War, remains “as relevant as ever” as we work to prevent genocide and other atrocity crimes, he said. 

“Crimes which are sadly still being perpetrated with impunity and no regard for the sanctity of human life,” he added. 

Hate speech is a clear warning sign, and we need to do better in rejecting it in all its forms – UN Secretary-General

Rights of victims 

Mr. Guterres also called for credible and effective accountability to deter atrocity crimes and providing justice and remedies for victims. 

Meeting their psychological and material needs is equally important. 

“Victims have rights to truth, justice, reparation and a comprehensive package of guarantees of non-recurrence,” he stressed. 

Praise for national efforts, tribunals

On Wednesday in New York a special event took place to mark the International Day, where judges and experts shared their experiences in securing justice for victims of genocide and related crimes. 

Mr. Guterres acknowledged the contributions made by special national mechanisms to reckon with genocide, and the international tribunals set up within the UN system. 

“The Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council investigative bodies – fact-finding missions, groups of experts, high-level missions and commissions of inquiry – also play a fundamental role”, he said. 

He paid tribute to the “pivotal role” of civil society, in amplifying the voices of victims, and calling for accountability and reparations: “It often takes decades and generations for a community destroyed by genocide to recover. Preventing genocide, ultimately involves all of society, which must always remain committed and vigilant.”

The UN chief said we must all work harder, “to repair the fissures and polarization that are so prevelant in our societies today.”

World Press Freedom Conference spotlights dangerous job of separating ‘truth from falsehood’Prominent journalists and champions of press freedom from across the world are examining ways to overcome increasing challenges facing the media during a two-day online conference organized jointly by the UN’s cultural and educational agency, UNESCO, and the Netherlands.Culture and Education©

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UN Photo/Milton GrantRecognize and act on warning signs of genocide, Guterres urges, honouring victimsSocial media platforms, technology companies, and religious and civil society leaders have a central role in combatting hate speech, “a clear warning sign” of genocide, the United Nations Secretary-General has said. Human Rights

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12/10 –

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Publish Final Rule on Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
Today, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (collectively, the Departments) announced the forthcoming publication of a Final Rule that will streamline and enhance procedures for the adjudication of claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) regulations. 

Former Owner of Health Care Staffing Company Indicted for Wage Fixing12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
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Eastern Kentucky Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Unlawfully Distributing Controlled Substances12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
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Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Releases Status Report12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
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Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Releases Status Report12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
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Justice Department Announces Additional Distribution of more than $488 Million to Victims of Madoff Ponzi Scheme12/10/2020 12:00 AM EST
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DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Austin expected to testify in House before waiver to lead Pentagon
(Defense News) President-elect Joe Biden’s team has agreed that his pick for defense secretary, retired Gen. Lloyd Austin III, will testify before the House Armed Services Committee as a prerequisite for a waiver to serve as the Pentagon’s top civilian, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday.
  2. Like Trump, Biden has promised to end the ‘forever wars.’ The landscape remains complicated.
(Washington Post) President Trump took office after repeatedly promising to “beat the hell” out of the Islamic State and end the United States’ “endless wars.” But reality proved more complicated.
  3. Fort Hood report highlights Army CID’s failings there, and possibly elsewhere
(Army Times) An independent report on the command climate at Fort Hood, Texas, shined a light on years-long issues with the post’s criminal investigation detachment and showed how those problems were exposed during the search for Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
  4. Troops could begin getting COVID-19 vaccines as early as next week, and they won’t be mandatory
(Military Times) Sixteen sites around the world are preparing to administer the military’s first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers and other essential personnel, as soon as the Food and Drug administration approves the two-dose Pfizer regimen for emergency use.
  5. Amid veto threat, Senate rejects ban on Trump’s big UAE arms sale
(Defense News) The Senate narrowly rejected two measures Wednesday to block President Donald Trump’s plan to sell roughly $23 billion in weapons to the United Arab Emirates.

Apply to Join the NOVA Science Studio

This fall, we are excited to take the NOVA Science Studio to the national stage with a virtual launch of our program that will engage students across the country. 



The NOVA Science Studio is a new program aspiring to change the face of STEM by championing young diverse voices in science communication. Credit: Pekic/iStockphoto


Meet the NOVA Science Studio TeamIntroducing: NOVA Science StudioScience As Told by Teens: Reflecting on the Pilot of NOVA Science Studio

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: These are unprecedented times. As we’ve faced these new challenges across the globe and together as a nation, we’ve had to adjust to a reality that has meant embracing a new normal. From sourdough starter kits and adventures in online learning to finding a love for the great outdoors while social distancing, staying close to home has not curbed the joy of discovery, but has perhaps instigated the rediscovery of what was already within arms’ reach.

When exploring our own communities and lives, we begin to uncover how science intersects with society in ways that inform our lived experiences. Like when a childhood love of the natural world, spurred on by adventures on your ancestral land, develops into a career in tropical paleontology and helps to normalize what it means to be #BlackinNature. Or when honoring your community’s Comanche tradition of caring for eagles turns into running one of only seven tribal-run eagle repositories in the country, aiding wildlife preservation efforts. With a focus on hyperlocal storytelling, the NOVA Science Studio (NSS) aims to give students the tools to tell their own stories through the science happening right in their own backyard.

After a successful pilot run in Boston, the NOVA Science Studio will begin a new cycle, welcoming 30 students to join remotely from across the country. They will be grouped into 5 cohorts, or “sites,” each run virtually by a Site Coordinator. The program uses a hybrid science communication and video production curriculum developed by NOVA staff. This includes a workshop series featuring diverse STEM and SciComm experts and a video tutorial series aimed at increasing tech literacy. The students will work together to produce short science videos on topics of their choosing. Throughout the course of the program, students at the five sites will learn about topics such as scientific misinformation, video production skills, and a wide range of STEM careers, under the guidance of a Site Coordinator and the mentorship of a NOVA producer.

Student applications now open. Read below to find out how to apply for the 2020-2021 cycle of the NOVA Science Studio program.

NSS Student Applicant Information:

 The NOVA Science Studio is open to students over the age of 13. Please note that if you are under 18 years of age, permission from a parent or guardian is required to submit your application

· You must reside in the United States or a U.S. territory

· You must have regular access to technology with the ability to film video (smartphone, DSLR, iPad, etc.) and a computer (laptop, tablet, desktop computer, etc.)

· The program will run from December 2020 to May 2021 and you must commit to attending NSS sessions twice a week for an hour each

· Student participants will work in groups of three to complete the final project (a video three to five minutes in length about a science story of your choosing)

· NOVA producers will guide and mentor students throughout the program

To apply to be part of the NOVA Science Studio program, students must download and fill out the NOVA Science Studio Student Application (with parent/guardian if under 18) and submit it to no later than December 15, 2020.

Apply to be a NOVA Science Studio participant



Taylor Swift’s 9th Album “Evermore” Comes Out Tonight

17 new tracks baby.


Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, who presumably never sleeps, has confirmed that in addition to working on rerecorded versions of her old material, she’s also recorded an entirely new album. Oh, and that new album drops tonight. 


NASA, US and European Partner Satellite Returns First Sea Level Measurements

The data in this graphic are the first sea surface height measurements from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite (S6MF), which launched Nov. 21, 2020


This graphic shows radar measurements, called waveforms, collected by the sea level instrument on Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich

The data in this graphic are the first sea surface height measurements from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite (S6MF), which launched Nov. 21, 2020. They show the ocean off the southern tip of Africa, with red colors indicating higher sea level relative to blue areas, which are lower. Image Credit: EUMETSAT
› Full image and caption

Launched on a Falcon 9 rocket Nov. 21, the U.S.-European satellite will measure the world’s ocean with unprecedented accuracy.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, a joint U.S.-European satellite built to measure global sea surface height, has sent back its first measurements of sea level. The data provide information on sea surface height, wave height, and wind speed off the southern tip of Africa.

“We’re excited for Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich to begin its critical work studying sea level and helping us understand the many aspects of our planet’s global ocean,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “I know Mike would be thrilled that the satellite bearing his name has begun operating, but he’d also be looking forward to studying the data from this important mission, as we all are.” …Learn More

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A storyteller surrounded by holiday decorations tells a story from the stage.

In true storytelling slam style, six storytellers will be

randomly selected to perform a 5-7 minute story on their best/worst/weirdest Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s Eve ever.

A People’s Choice winner will be declared at the end of the evening.

Join us for this very special Stories from the Stage event.


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Announcement of the Stories from the Stage Podcast: Deadly Sins.

Meet Ashley Rose, a poet, writer, teacher

and advocate for restorative justice.

As a child, Ashley witnessed a sunny day turn into a nightmare when dark waters rose up from the basement to take over her home. Ashley takes us back to the neighborhood street that was destroyed by a man-made disaster and explores how this traumatic incident turned her into a crusader for others.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts:





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2020 dateSunset, 10 December –
nightfall, 18 December

(/ˈhɑːnəkə/HAH-nə-kəHebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎ ḥanukáTiberianḥanuká, usually spelled חֲנוּכָּה‎, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew[ˈχanukə] or [ˈχanikə] in Yiddish; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Ḥanukah) is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights (Hebrew: חַג הַאוּרִים‎, ḥag ha’urim).

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a menorah (or hanukkiah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שַׁמָּשׁ‎, “attendant”). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing the game of dreidel and eating oil-based foods, such as latkes and sufganiyot, and dairy foods. Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries.

Although a relatively minor holiday in strictly religious terms, Hanukkah has attained major cultural significance in North America and elsewhere, especially among secular Jews, due to its occurring around the same time as Christmas, and coming to be treated as a Jewish counterpart or alternative to Christmas.


UN News


Non-communicable diseases killing more people than ever before: UN health agency

UNICEF/Shehzad NooraniAccording to WHO, global deaths from diabetes increased by 70 per cent between 2000 and 2019. Pictured here, a health worker checks a woman’s blood sugar level at a community health centre in Jayapura district, Indonesia.Health

Non-communicable diseases account for 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, a sharp increase from two decades ago, and heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally, a new UN World Health Organization (WHO) study has found. 

The 2019 Global Health Estimates, released on Wednesday, “clearly highlight” the need for increased attention on preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as tackling injuries, according to WHO

“These new estimates are another reminder that we need to rapidly step up prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. 

“They highlight the urgency of drastically improving primary health care equitably and holistically.” 

Mr. Tedros also underlined the importance of strong primary health care for combatting non-communicable diseases as well as the coronavirus pandemic. People living with pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory conditions, are at higher risk of complications and death due to COVID-19.

The study covers the years 2000 to 2019, prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The next update to the estimates will include an assessment of the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic on mortality and morbidity. 

Heart disease ‘number 1 killer’ 

According to WHO, heart disease has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years, but it is now killing more people than ever before, representing 16 per cent of total deaths from all causes. 

The number of deaths from heart disease increased over fourfold, from 2 million since 2000, to nearly 9 million in 2019.  

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are now among the top 10 causes of death worldwide, and deaths from diabetes increased by 70 per cent globally between 2000 and 2019. 

The findings also pointed to a global decline in deaths from communicable diseases, though they remain major challenge in low- and middle-income countries. Deaths from tuberculosis, for instance, reduced by about 30 per cent.  

Disability on the rise 

The Global Health Estimates also found that life-spans have increased over the years, with a global average of more than 73 years (in 2019) compared to nearly 67 (in 2000). But on average, only 5 of those additional years were lived in good health. 

“Disability is on the rise,” WHO said, explaining that to a large extent, the diseases and health conditions causing the most deaths are also responsible for most number of healthy life-years lost.  

“Injuries are another major cause of disability and death,” the UN agency added, noting that there has been a “significant rise” in road traffic injuries since 2000, with the African region worst affected. 

Rise in drug use-related deaths 

In the Americas, drug use emerged as a major factor in both disability and death: there was a nearly threefold increase in deaths from drug use disorders in the Americas between 2000 and 2019. 

The region is also the only one for which drug use disorder is a top 10 contributor to healthy life-years lost due to premature deaths and disability. 

Rich countries’ support for children ‘totally inadequate’: UN reportThe UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, slams the levels of financial support for children allocated by high-income countries during the pandemic as totally inadequate, in a child poverty report issued on Friday.Humanitarian Aid

UNICEF/RichIllicit financial flows threaten security and stability in Africa: UN deputy chiefAt a time when Africa is mobilizing resources for pandemic recovery and sustainable development, illicit financial flows (IFFs) are robbing the continent of $50 billion annually, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a high-level virtual meeting on Thursday held under the African Union’s (AU) ‘Silencing the Guns’ initiative. Peace and Security©

UNHCR/Felipe Irnaldo$1.44 billion plan to respond to Venezuela refugee and migrant needsIn a $1.4 billion appeal launched on Thursday, the UN migration organization IOM and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, warned that the pandemic has strained the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean countries to look after Venezuelan nationals.Migrants and Refugees©

UNICEF/Raphael PougetHuman rights must be ‘front and centre’ of COVID-19 response: Secretary-GeneralUN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for human rights to be put “front and centre” of COVID-19 response and recovery globally in order to achieve a better future for people everywhere.  Human Rights©

WFP/Rein SkullerudWFP chief uses Nobel speech as call for action to avert ‘hunger pandemic’With 270 million people – more than the entire population of Western Europe – “marching toward starvation”, the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) called for greater action to avert a “hunger pandemic”, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the UN agency on Thursday. Humanitarian Aid

UN News/Vibhu MishraUN makes progress on ‘greening the blue’In 2019, the UN system continued to make steady progress towards reducing its environmental footprint, recording decreases in emissions and implementing advanced environment management systems. Climate Change

UNICEF/Shehzad NooraniNon-communicable diseases killing more people than ever before: UN health agencyNon-communicable diseases account for 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, a sharp increase from two decades ago, and heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally, a new UN World Health Organization (WHO) study has found. Health
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/11 –

Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on Senate Resolution12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
Online child sexual exploitation is a global crime that demands a continued global response.

Two Georgia Correctional Officers Indicted for Civil Rights and Related Offenses for Assaulting Inmates12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
A federal grand jury in Macon, Georgia, returned a 4-count indictment against former supervisory correctional officer Sergeant Patrick Sharpe, 29, and former correctional officer Jamal Scott, 33, of the Valdosta State Prison (VSP) for their roles in using excessive force against inmates incarcerated at the facility.

Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Williams Announces Departure from the Office of Legal Policy12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Williams of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy (OLP) announced her departure from the department, effective today.

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Michigan Religious Schools’ Challenge to COVID-19 Closing Order12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today filed a statement of interest in federal district court in Kalamazoo, Michigan, arguing that the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution requires the state of Michigan to justify why it cannot provide exemptions to its school closing order for in-person instruction at religious high schools when it provides exemptions for trade and technical instruction in person, college sports teams, and other educational activities.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination by Architect and Owners of 15 Complexes in Four States12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced the filing today of a lawsuit against J. Randolph Parry Architects, P.C. and eight owners of multifamily properties designed by the architectural firm.

Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on Mexico’s Proposed Legislation12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
Attorney General William P. Barr gave the following statement in response to Mexico’s proposed legislation:

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Sen. Rand Paul delays defense bill vote over troop drawdowns
(The Associated Press) A Senate vote on a wide-ranging defense policy bill was delayed after Kentucky Republican Rand Paul objected to the measure, casting the next steps in doubt and raising the slim prospect of a government shutdown if a short-term spending bill caught up in the dispute is not approved by Friday.
  2. Search underway for overboard Theodore Roosevelt sailor
(Navy Times) The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and other ships are combing the waters off Southern California tonight after a lookout spotted a sailor in the water at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
  3. Biden to name former WH Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as VA secretary nominee
(Military Times) President-elect Joe Biden has selected former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as his pick for the next Veterans Affairs secretary, Military Times has learned.
  4. US B-52H bombers fly to Middle East in mission to deter Iran
(The Associated Press) In a new show of military might, two American bomber aircraft flew from the United States to the Middle East on Thursday, in a round-trip mission that U.S. officials said covered a wide swath of the region and was a direct message of deterrence to Iran.
  5. Military rape cases have no statute of limitations, Supreme Court decides
( In an 8-0 opinion issued Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that military personnel accused of a rape between 1986 and 2006 — a period previously subject to a five-year statute of limitations — can be charged for the crime.


is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. Hypnotic Séance (1887) by Richard Bergh

Charcot demonstrating hypnosis on a “hysterical” Salpêtrière patient, “Blanche” (Marie Wittman), who is supported by Joseph Babiński.

File:Photographic Studies in Hypnosis, Abnormal Psychology (1938).ogv

Play media Photographic Studies in Hypnosis, Abnormal Psychology (1938)

There are competing theories explaining hypnosis and related phenomena. Altered state theories see hypnosis as an altered state of mind or trance, marked by a level of awareness different from the ordinary state of consciousness.  In contrast, nonstate theories see hypnosis as, variously, a type of placebo effect, a redefinition of an interaction with a therapist or form of imaginative role enactment.

During hypnosis, a person is said to have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnotised subjects are said to show an increased response to suggestions. Hypnosis usually begins with a hypnotic induction involving a series of preliminary instructions and suggestion. The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as “hypnotherapy“, while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as “stage hypnosis,” a form of mentalism.

Hypnosis for pain management “is likely to decrease acute and chronic pain in most individuals” although meta-studies on the efficacy of hypnotherapy show little or no effect for some other problems such as smoking cessation. The use of hypnosis in other contexts, such as a form of therapy to retrieve and integrate early trauma, is controversial within the medical or psychological mainstream. Research indicates that hypnotising an individual may aid the formation of false memories, and that hypnosis “does not help people recall events more accurately.”


is a use of hypnosis in psychotherapy. It is used by licensed physicians, psychologists, and others. Physicians and psychologists may use hypnosis to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorderssleep disorderscompulsive gambling, and posttraumatic stress, while certified hypnotherapists who are not physicians or psychologists often treat smoking and weight management.

Hypnotherapy is viewed as a helpful adjunct by proponents, having additive effects when treating psychological disorders, such as these, along with scientifically proven cognitive therapies. Hypnotherapy should not be used for repairing or refreshing memory because hypnosis results in memory hardening, which increases the confidence in false memories. The effectiveness of hypnotherapy has not yet been accurately assessed, and, due to the lack of evidence indicating any level of efficiency, it is regarded as a type of alternative medicine by numerous reputable medical organisations, such as the NHS.

Preliminary research has expressed brief hypnosis interventions as possibly being a useful tool for managing painful HIV-DSP because of its history of usefulness in pain management, its long-term effectiveness of brief interventions, the ability to teach self-hypnosis to patients, the cost-effectiveness of the intervention, and the advantage of using such an intervention as opposed to the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

Modern hypnotherapy has been used, with varying success, in a variety of forms, such as:

  • Addictions
  • Age regression hypnotherapy (or “hypnoanalysis”)
  • Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy, or clinical hypnosis combined with elements of cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Ericksonian hypnotherapy
  • Fears and phobia
  • Habit control
  • Pain management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Relaxation
  • Reduce patient behavior (e.g., scratching) that hinders the treatment of skin disease
  • Soothing anxious surgical patients
  • Sports performance
  • Weight loss

In a January 2001 article in Psychology Today, Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett wrote:

A hypnotic trance is not therapeutic in and of itself, but specific suggestions and images fed to clients in a trance can profoundly alter their behavior. As they rehearse the new ways they want to think and feel, they lay the groundwork for changes in their future actions…

Barrett described specific ways this is operationalised for habit change and amelioration of phobias. In her 1998 book of hypnotherapy case studies, she reviews the clinical research on hypnosis with dissociative disorders, smoking cessation, and insomnia, and describes successful treatments of these complaints.

In a July 2001 article for Scientific American titled “The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis”, Michael Nash wrote that, “using hypnosis, scientists have temporarily created hallucinations, compulsions, certain types of memory loss, false memories, and delusions in the laboratory so that these phenomena can be studied in a controlled environment.”


Covering the seismic changes to U.S. education, from preschool to K-12 to universities, that are taking place during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Amelia Nierenberg and Adam Pasick

A Times analysis uncovered a sobering number of coronavirus cases in college athletic departments. And the pandemic has upended the debate about forgiving student loans.
Wisconsin had to cancel two football games this season due to coronavirus outbreaks on the team.Morry Gash/Associated Press
This year’s college football season got off to a rocky start as parents protested attempts to cancel the season and President Trump waded into the debate. And it has taken some major hits, with high-profile coaches and players testing positive for the coronavirus and team outbreaks interrupting marquee games.
Now, for the first time, a New York Times analysis has begun to quantify the toll: At least 6,629 people who play and work in athletic departments that compete in college football’s premier leagues have contracted the virus.
Not all athletic departments break down infections by sport. However, football accounts for many — but nowhere near all — of those athletes, while also claiming much of the attention paid to college athletics.
The Times managed to get complete data from only 78 of the 130 universities in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Football Bowl Subdivision. Some universities shared data willingly; several complied only after The Times filed requests under public records laws. Many schools stopped releasing information just ahead of football season, which is when most documented cases started.
“We had these numbers saying how many cases there are, but the reality is the number is much bigger than that,” said our colleague Alan Blinder, who reported the story with Lauryn Higgins and Benjamin Guggenheim.
College athletes, coaches and staff members are some of the most closely monitored people in the United States. Athletes follow strict protocols and attend rigorous public health trainings. Even as nonathlete students said they had to exaggerate symptoms to get access to tests, universities tested athletes several times a week, if not daily.
“There are teams that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at minimum to protect their players and staff from the virus, but the virus can get in,” Alan said.
As the season dragged on, the virus spread through programs. Coaches tested positivePlayers tested positive. And schools canceled game after game, as outbreaks ballooned.
It certainly could have been worse.
Many of the positive cases were asymptomatic, and no athletic department that shared data reported any deaths associated with the virus. Experts believe that virtually none of the infections in college sports are linked to the games themselves, with cases far more often traceable to meetings, meals, travel or nonathletic activities.
“People who wanted colleges to play this fall will say that, when you consider that many athletic departments would be in deeper financial trouble without football, perhaps the risk was worth it,” Alan said, “especially since we don’t know of any deaths in top-tier athletic departments or any transmissions linked to the actual playing of football. But plenty of other people will see these numbers, nod their heads and say ‘told you.’”
The future of student loan debt is at a critical fork in the road. Last week, the Trump administration extended a pandemic-induced pause on loan payments, but only through January.
That means payments on $1.7 trillion in loan debt held by more than 43 million borrowers are set to resume just days after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. becomes president. That’s also when the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact are projected to be worse than ever.
The Education Department owns student loans totaling $1.4 trillion. Federal law gives the education secretary the power to “compromise, waive or release” federal student loan debts.
Biden has endorsed canceling $10,000 in federal student debt per borrower. But Democratic leaders, backed by the party’s left flank, are pressing for up to $50,000 of debt relief per borrower, executed on Day 1 of his presidency.
The more ambitious plan could cost the United States $1 trillion. The more modest proposal endorsed by Biden would reach an estimated 15 million mostly lower-income borrowers who have low debt often because they did not complete their degrees.
“The virus epidemic has accelerated some of the trends that are strangling public higher education,” said Louise Seamster, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa and a co-author of a working paper from the Roosevelt Institute that casts debt forgiveness explicitly in racial justice terms.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill plans to quarantine students who have tested positive in the same buildings as students who have only been exposed, Charlotte Geier reported for The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper.The Saturday football game between The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Kansas has been canceled because of an outbreak in the Texas program, Stephen Wagner reported for The Daily Texan, the student paper. Pitzer College in California will allow students to spread their four spring credits into the summer to lighten course load and mitigate student burnout during an uncertain spring semester, Hannah Weaver reported for The Student Life, the student newspaper for the Claremont Colleges.From March to next June, the University of California, Berkeley, projects that it will have suffered $340 million in losses. The university announced a plan to minimize job loss with a furlough program and employed time reductions, Emma Rooholfada reported for The Daily California, the student paper. A growing concern: It might be time to rethink college basketballA new poll found 56 percent of sports fans in the United States think we shouldn’t be playing indoor team sports right now. “I don’t think it feels right to anybody,” a coach said.
K – 12 UPDATE:
The Chicago Teachers Union has released a list of demands for reopening the city’s schools. It says teachers should not have to simultaneously teach students online and in the classroom, and that individual schools should close if their ZIP code reaches a 3 percent positivity threshold. Three Catholic schools in Michigan are suing the state over in-person learning bans, claiming such regulations violate their First Amendment right to practice their faith. Washington D.C. released limited data on outbreaks in schools and day care centers, while acknowledging there is no evidence of community spread within school buildings. Maine public schools posted a sharp enrollment decline of nearly 8,000 fewer students, or about 4 percent of total enrollment, including double-digit decreases in pre-K and kindergarten. A book recommendation: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School” imagines “a future in which the growing movement of school privatizers in the United States totally have their way,” Jon Shelton wrote for Jacobin magazine. A good read: An Icelandic study of 40,000 people found that children under 15 are “half as likely as adults to transmit the virus to others,” National Geographic reported. “Almost all the coronavirus transmissions to children came from adults.”
No playdates in sight: Alice McGraw at the Mount Olympus monument in San Francisco. Cayce Clifford for The New York Times
Tip: The toddlers are all right
When 2-year-old Alice McGraw saw another family walking toward her this summer, she stopped and pointed. “Uh-oh,” she said. “People.”
Like so many infants and toddlers, Alice has almost no experience in a pandemic-free world. But experts do not expect the vast majority of our youngest people to experience social or emotional delays because they haven’t spent time with peers.
That’s because young children’s most important relationships are with their parents. As long as adults play with them, talk to them and keep them engaged, development specialists say that most children will most likely be just fine. Phew!


NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Updates Quarter-Century Jupiter Mystery

In this animated GIF, the clouds on the periphery of some of Jupiter's polar cyclones rotate counterclockwise, while the core of the cyclones rotate clockwise


These images from NASA's Juno mission show three views of a Jupiter

In this animated GIF, the clouds on the periphery of some of Jupiter’s polar cyclones rotate counterclockwise, while the core of the cyclones rotate clockwise. The JunoCam images used for this animation were taken from altitudes of about 18,000 miles (28,567 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed the images to enhance the color and contrast. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing: Gerald Eichstädt © CC BY
› Larger view

The spacecraft has been collecting data on the gas giant’s interior since July 2016. Some of its latest findings touch on “hot spots” in the planet’s atmosphere.

Twenty-five years ago, NASA sent history’s first probe into the atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet. But the information returned by the Galileo probe during its descent into Jupiter caused head-scratching: The atmosphere it was plunging into was much denser and hotter than scientists expected. New data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft suggests that these “hot spots” are much wider and deeper than anticipated. The findings on Jupiter’s hot spots, along with an update on Jupiter’s polar cyclones, were revealed on Dec. 11, during a virtual media briefing at the American Geophysical Union’s fall conference.

“Giant planets have deep atmospheres without a solid or liquid base like Earth,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “To better understand what is happening deep into one of these worlds, you need to look below the cloud layer. Juno, which recently completed its 29th close-up science pass of Jupiter, does just that. The spacecraft’s observations are shedding light on old mysteries and posing new questions – not only about Jupiter, but about all gas giant worlds.”

This time-lapse video clip shows the movement of the cyclones at Jupiter’s south pole from February 2017 through November 2020. The data was collected by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

The latest longstanding mystery Juno has tackled stems from 57 minutes, 36 seconds of data Galileo beamed back on Dec. 7, 1995. When the probe radioed back that its surroundings were dry and windy, surprised scientists attributed the finding to the fact that the 75-pound (34-kilogram) probe had descended into the atmosphere within one of Jupiter’s relatively rare hot spots – localized atmospheric “deserts” that traverse the gas giant’s northern equatorial region. But results from Juno’s microwave instrument indicate that the entire northern equatorial belt – a broad, brown, cyclonic band that wraps around the planet just above of the gas giant’s equator – is generally a very dry region.

The implication is that the hot spots may not be isolated “deserts,” but rather, windows into a vast region in Jupiter’s atmosphere that may be hotter and drier than other areas. Juno’s high-resolution data show that these Jovian hot spots are associated with breaks in the planet’s cloud deck, providing a glimpse into Jupiter’s deep atmosphere. They also show the hot spots, flanked by clouds and active storms, are fueling high-altitude electrical discharges recently discovered by Juno and known as “shallow lightning.” These discharges, which occur in the cold upper reaches of Jupiter’s atmosphere when ammonia mixes with water, are a piece of this puzzle.

“High up in the atmosphere, where shallow lightning is seen, water and ammonia are combined and become invisible to Juno’s microwave instrument. This is where a special kind of hailstone that we call ‘mushballs’ are forming,” said Tristan Guillot, a Juno co-investigator at the Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. “These mushballs get heavy and fall deep into the atmosphere, creating a large region that is depleted of both ammonia and water. Once the mushballs melt and evaporate, the ammonia and water change back to a gaseous state and are visible to Juno again.”

This animation takes the viewer high into a large storm high in Jupiter’s atmosphere, where a mushy water-ammonia particle (represented in green) descends through the atmosphere, collecting water ice. The process creates a “mushball” – a special hailstone formed of a partially liquid water-ammonia mush and a solid water-ice crust exterior. Within about 10 to 60 minutes (depending on their sizes), these mushballs reach Jupiter’s deeper layers, below the water clouds, where they rapidly melt and evaporate. Theoretical models predict these mushballs could grow to about 4 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter, weigh up to 2 pounds (1 kilogram), and reach speeds up to 450 mph (700 kph) during their descent. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/CNRS

Jupiter Weather Report

Last year the Juno team reported on the cyclones of the south pole. At that time, Juno’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper instrument captured images of a new cyclone appearing to attempt to join the five established cyclones revolving around the massive central cyclone at the south pole.

“That sixth cyclone, the baby of the group, appeared to be changing the geometric configuration at the pole – from a pentagon to a hexagon,” said Bolton. “But, alas, the attempt failed; the baby cyclone got kicked out, moved away, and eventually disappeared.”

With three giant blades stretching out some 66 feet (20 meters) from its cylindrical, six-sided body, the Juno spacecraft is a dynamic engineering marvel, spinning to keep itself stable as it makes oval-shaped orbits around Jupiter. View the full interactive experience at Eyes on the Solar System.

At present, the team doesn’t have an agreed-upon theory regarding how these giant polar vortices form – or why some appear stable while others are born, grow, and then die relatively quickly. Work continues on atmospheric models, but at present no one model appears to explain everything. How new storms appear, evolve, and are either accepted or rejected is key to understanding the circumpolar cyclones, which might help explain how the atmospheres of such giant planets work in general.

More About the Mission

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operates the spacecraft.

More information about Juno is available at:


20 Albums That Put a New Spin on the Holidays

Standards? Sure! But a crop of seasonal records from Dolly Parton, Tinashe and others introduce fresh original songs, too.

By Jon ParelesJon CaramanicaGiovanni Russonello and Lindsay Zoladz

  • Published Dec. 10, 2020
  • Updated Dec. 11, 2020, 4:59 p.m. ET

Mariah Carey’s modern classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” finally hit No. 1


UN News


Hunger rising in mountain regions due to biodiversity loss, climate change

UN News/Daniela GrossCordillera Huayhuash in August 2019. The Andes contain 99% of the world’s tropical glaciers and 71% are in Peru.Climate Change

Although many of the world’s most important crops and livestock species originate in mountain regions, hunger is rising in these areas due to biodiversity loss and climate change, according to a joint study published on Friday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners. 

It found that between 2000 and 2017, the number of mountain people vulnerable to food insecurity in developing countries grew from 243 million to almost 350 million.

“One in every two rural mountain people in developing countries do not have enough food to live a healthy life and they are now dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must protect our mountains and the livelihoods of those who depend on them”, said FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo. 

The study was released on International Mountain Day, observed annually on 11 December.  The focus this year is on the social, economic and ecological value of mountain biodiversity. 

Freshwater, food and medicine 

Mountains cover roughly 27 per cent of the land surface of the planet and provide essential goods and services, such as water, food and energy.   

Between 60 and 80 per cent of the world’s freshwater comes from these regions, which also contain many crops and animals used for food and medicine. 

However, mountain ecosystems are frequently coming under pressure from changes to land use and climate, and because of other factors such as overexploitation and pollution, thus putting livelihoods and food security at risk. 

COVID-19 increasing vulnerability 

“The vulnerability to food insecurity of the mountain people in the developing world is compounded by the presence and occurrence of natural hazards and armed conflicts that disrupt livelihoods or put strain on the natural resources on which mountain people depend”, the study concluded. 

Mountain populations are also disproportionally affected by environmental degradation, which has increased due to climate change, as have landslides, droughts and other natural hazards. 

The authors said the COVID-19 pandemic has added urgency to an already difficult situation as restrictions imposed by national authorities have heightened the vulnerabilities of those communities which rely on agriculture and tourism for their survival.  

Action needed now 

The joint study was conducted by FAO, the Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

The authors recommend urgent action to address climate change, as well as food insecurity and malnutrition, in mountain areas.   

They also called for policies that improve resilience of mountain ecosystems and which promote sustainable food systems. 

“Ultimately, the goal of this study is to call on decision-makers and other stakeholders to strengthen cooperative action to reduce the vulnerability of mountain people, in particular local communities and indigenous people, and of the most vulnerable among them, often women and children,” the study said

COVID-19 vaccines: Donors urged to step up funding for needy countriesAddressing the financing gap to provide COVID-19 vaccines for everyone, everywhere, is an urgent priority, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday, in an appeal for stepped-up funding to support poorer countries. Health

UN Women/Louie PacardoCOVID-19 shows ‘urgent need’ for solidarity, UN chief tells Nobel forumThe COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for global solidarity and greater international cooperation, and must be turned into an opportunity for fundamental change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a keynote address to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum on Friday. Peace and Security

UN Photo/Greg KinchLebanon: UN-backed tribunal sentences Hezbollah militant in Hariri assassinationThe UN chief on Friday took note of five concurrent life sentences handed down to a Hezbollah militant, convicted in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, fifteen years ago. Law and Crime Prevention©

UNHCR/Hazim ElhagEthiopia: UN refugee agency calls for ‘unfettered access’ to TigrayAmidst “disturbing reports” from Ethiopians fleeing to Sudan, the UN refugee agency called on Friday for “unfettered access to Tigray in order to reach people in need”. Migrants and Refugees©

UNICEF/Areej AlghabriYemen: food insecurity a ‘ticking timebomb’, warn aid agenciesUN humanitarians issued a fresh alert on Friday for war-torn Yemen, warning that time is running out to avoid famine in the country. Out of two million children who need treatment for acute malnutrition, 360,000 are at risk of dying if they do not receive medical care, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.Humanitarian Aid

UN News/Daniela GrossHunger rising in mountain regions due to biodiversity loss, climate changeAlthough many of the world’s most important crops and livestock species originate in mountain regions, hunger is rising in these areas due to biodiversity loss and climate change, according to a joint study published on Friday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners. Climate Change

UNICEF/Amer Al ShamiGiven gaps, inconsistencies, Syria’s declarations on chemical weapons programme not considered ‘accurate and complete’Outstanding issues related to Syria’s initial declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile and programme cannot be considered “accurate and complete”, the head of the world body monitoring States’ implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention told the Security Council on Friday.Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/12 –

Mountain ranges on Earth 

and a few other astronomical bodies. First, the highest and longest mountain ranges on Earth are listed, followed by more comprehensive alphabetical lists organized by continent. Ranges in the oceans and on other celestial bodies are listed afterwards.

Physiographic world map with mountain ranges and highland areas… that are color-coded by elevation.

Mountain ranges on planet Earth

By height

NameContinent(s)Country/iesHighest pointAltitude
(metres above
sea level)
Karakoram (Note 2)AsiaPakistan, China, IndiaK28611
Hindu Kush (Note 2)AsiaAfghanistan, PakistanTirich Mir7708
Pamirs (Note 2)AsiaTajikistanKyrgyzstan, China, AfghanistanKongur Tagh (Note 1)7649
Hengduan Mountains (Note 2)AsiaChina, MyanmarMount Gongga7556
Tian ShanAsiaChina, KyrgyzstanKazakhstanUzbekistan;Jengish Chokusu7439
KunlunAsiaChinaLiushi Shan7167
Transhimalaya (Note 2)AsiaChinaMount Nyenchen Tanglha7162
AndesSouth AmericaArgentinaChilePeruBoliviaEcuadorColombiaAconcagua6962
Alaska RangeNorth AmericaUnited StatesDenali6194
Saint Elias MountainsNorth AmericaUnited StatesCanadaMount Logan5959
Caucasus MountainsEurope and AsiaGeorgiaRussiaAzerbaijanMount Elbrus5642

Note 1: A peak included in the “Eastern Pamirs” more often than in the Kunlun Mountains, as Kongur Tagh and the Kunlun range are separated by the large Yarkand River valley; no valley of such significance separates the Pamirs and Kongur Tagh, just political boundaries.

Note 2: Part of Hindu KushHimalayas region

All of the Asian ranges above have been formed in part over the past 35 to 55 million years by the collision between the Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate. The Indian Plate is still particularly mobile and these mountain ranges continue to rise in elevation every year and this page may need to be updated in a few years; of these the Himalayas are rising most quickly; the Kashmir and Pamirs region to the north of the Indian subcontinent is the point of confluence of these mountains which encircle the Tibetan Plateau on two but three well four

By prominence

See List of peaks by prominence (ranking the mountain ranges as well).

Mountain ranges by length

See also: List of longest mountain chains on Earth

Mountain systems, himalyan ranges and chains by length (over 500 km):

  1. The underwater Mid-ocean ridge – 65,000 km (40,000 mi)
  2. Ring of Fire – 40,000 km (25,000 mi)[2]
    1. American Cordillera – 13,400 km (8,300 mi)
      1. Andes – 7,000 km (4,300 mi). Northern and Southern Andes main subdivisions, along both run three vast, almost parallel chain systems of mountain ranges – Cordillera OccidentalCordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental.
      2. North American Cordillera – 6,400 km (4,000 mi)
  3. Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt – more than 15,000 km (9,300 mi)
    1. Hindu KushHimalayas region – 3,500 km (2,200 mi)
  4. Great Escarpment, Southern Africa – 5,000 km (3,100 mi)
    1. Drakensberg – 1,000 km (620 mi)
  5. Rocky Mountains – 4,830 km (3,000 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  6. Great Dividing Range – 3,500 km (2,200 mi)
  7. Transantarctic Mountains – 3,500 km (2,200 mi)
  8. Kunlun Mountains – 3,000 km (1,900 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  9. Atlas Mountains – 2,500 km (1,600 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  10. Ural Mountains – 2,500 km (1,600 mi)
  11. Appalachian Mountains – 2,414 km (1,500 mi)
  12. Himalayas – c.2,500 km (1,600 mi) (main section of the Hindu KushHimalayas region)
    1. High Himalayas – 2,300 km (1,400 mi)
    2. Sivalik Hills – 2,400 km (1,500 mi)
    3. Lesser Himalayas – 2,500 km (1,600 mi)
  13. Altai mountain system – 2,000 km (1,200 mi)
  14. Barisan Mountains – c. 1,700 km (1,100 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  15. Carpathian Mountains – 1,700 km (1,100 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  16. Scandinavian Mountains (Scandes) – c. 1,700 km (1,100 mi)
  17. Verkhoyansk Range-Suntar-Khayata Range – 1,650 km (1,030 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains) 
    1. Verkhoyansk Range – 1,100 km (680 mi)
    2. Suntar-Khayata Range – 550 km (340 mi)
  18. Coast Mountains – 1,600 km (990 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  19. Qin Mountains – 1,600 km (990 mi)
  20. Transhimalaya – 1,600 km (990 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  21. Western Ghats – 1,600 km (990 mi)
  22. Chersky Range – 1,500 km (930 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)
  23. Peninsular mountain ranges – 1,500 km (930 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  24. Serra do Mar – 1,500 km (930 mi)
  25. Taurus Mountains – 1,500 km (930 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  26. Zagros Mountains – 1,500 km (930 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  27. Sierra Madre Occidental – 1,500 km (930 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  28. Mantiqueira Mountains/Espinhaço Mountains – 1,320 km (820 mi)
  29. Kolyma Mountains – 1,300 km (810 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)
  30. Alps – 1,200 km (750 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
    1. Western Alps – approx. 600 km (370 mi)
      1. French Prealps – more than 400 km (250 mi)
    2. Eastern Alps – approx. 600 km (370 mi)
      1. Central Eastern Alps – approx. 600 km (370 mi)
      2. Northern Limestone Alps – approx. 600 km (370 mi)
      3. Southern Limestone Alps and Western Limestone Alps – approx. 600 km (370 mi)
  31. Apennines – 1,200 km (750 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  32. Caucasus Mountains – 1,200 km (750 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
    1. Greater Caucasus – 1,200 km (750 mi)
    2. Lesser Caucasus – 600 km (370 mi)
  33. Cordillera Occidental (Colombia) – 1,200 km (750 mi) (section of the Northern Andes, American Cordillera)
  34. Cordillera Oriental (Colombia) – 1,200 km (750 mi) (section of the Northern Andes, American Cordillera)
  35. Vindhya Range – 1,200 km (750 mi)
  36. Altai Mountains – 1,200 km (750mi)
  37. Drakensberg – 1,125 km (700 mi)
  38. Byrranga Mountains – 1,100 kilometres (680 mi)
  39. Cascade Range – 1,100 km (680 mi)
  40. Annamite Range – 1,100 km (680 mi)
  41. Brooks Range – 1,100 km (680 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  42. Verkhoyansk Range – 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) (section of the East Siberian Mountains)
  43. Cordillera Central (Colombia) – 1,023 km (636 mi) (section of the Northern Andes, American Cordillera)
  44. Lena Plateau – 1,000 km (620 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)
  45. Pontic Mountains – 1,000 km (620 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  46. Eastern Sayan Mountains – 1,000 km (620 mi)
  47. Sierra Madre del Sur – 1,000 km (620 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  48. Arakan/Rakhine Mountains – 950 km (590 mi)
  49. Hengduan Mountains – 900 km (560 mi) as a system of mountain ranges
  50. Ogo Mountains – 900 km (560mi)
  51. Koryak Mountains – 880 km (550 mi) (Siberia)
  52. Cape Fold Belt – 850 km (530 mi)
  53. Hindu Kush – 800 km (500 mi) (section of the Hindu KushGreater Himalayas region)
  54. Precordillera – 800 km (500 mi) (considered section of the Southern Andes, American Cordillera)
  55. Dzhugdzhur Mountains – 700 km (430 mi)
  56. Stanovoy Highlands – 700 km (430 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)
  57. Aravalli Range – 692 km (430 mi)
  58. Alaska Range – 650 km (400 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  59. Kopet Mountains – 650 km (400 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  60. Sette-Daban – 660 km (410 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)
  61. Dinaric Mountains – 645 km (401 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  62. Sierra Nevada (U.S.) – 640 km (400 mi) (section of the North American Cordillera)
  63. California Coast Ranges – 640 km (400 mi) (section of the 
  1. Balkan Mountains – 557 km (346 mi) (section of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt)
  2. Karakoram – 500 km (310 mi) (section of the Hindu KushGreater Himalayas region)
  3. Southern Alps – 500 km (310 mi)
  4. Yudoma-Maya Highlands – 500 km (310 mi) (section of the East Siberian System of mountains)

By continental area



For a more comprehensive list, see List of mountain ranges in Asia.

  1. Alagalla Mountain RangeSri Lanka
  2. AlborzIran
  3. Al Hajar MountainsOmanUnited Arab Emirates
  4. Altai Mountains, Russia, China, MongoliaKazakhstan
  5. Annamite RangeLaosViet Nam
  6. Anti-LebanonLebanonSyriaIsrael
  7. Arfak MountainsIndonesia
  8. Aravalli RangeIndia
  9. Asir MountainsSaudi Arabia
  10. Barisan MountainsIndonesia
  11. Caraballo MountainsPhilippines
  12. Cardamom MountainsCambodia
  13. Carmel MountainsIsrael
  14. Caucasus, Russia, GeorgiaAzerbaijanArmeniaTurkey
  15. Chersky RangeSiberia
  16. Chittagong Hill TractsBangladesh
  17. Cordillera CentralPhilippines
  18. Crocker RangeMalaysia
  19. Dieng Volcanic ComplexIndonesia
  20. Dzhugdzhur Mountains, Siberia
  21. Eastern Ghats, India
  22. Fansipan, Vietnam
  23. Gydan Mountains
  24. Haraz MountainsYemen
  25. Hijaz Mountains
  26. HimalayaNepalBhutan, China, India, Pakistan
    1. Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya
    2. Siwalik Range or Churia HillsSubhimalaya
  27. Hindu KushAfghanistan, Pakistan
  28. Japanese Alps, Japan
    1. Akaishi Mountains
    2. Hida Mountains
    3. Kiso Mountains
  29. Jayawijaya MountainsIndonesia
  30. Judaean Mountains, Palestine, Israel
  31. Kabir Kuh, Iran, Iraq
  32. Karakoram, Pakistan, China, India
  33. Khingan Mountains, China
    1. Greater Khingan
    2. Lesser Khingan
  34. Khibinsky Mountains, Russia
  35. Kirthar Mountains, Pakistan
  36. Knuckles Mountain RangeSri Lanka
  37. Koryak Mountains Siberia
  38. Kunlun Mountains, China (Tibet)
  39. Kuray Mountains, Russia
  40. Mount Lebanon Range, Lebanon
  41. Müller Mountains, Central Borneo, Indonesia
  42. Owen Stanley RangePapua New Guinea
  43. Pamir MountainsTajikistanKyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, China
  44. Phnom Kulen, Cambodia
  45. Phnom Voar, Cambodia
  46. Safed Koh, Afghanistan, Pakistan
  47. Salt Range, Pakistan
  48. Sayan Mountains, Siberia
  49. Sivalik Hills range of outer HimalayasIndia
  50. Sierra MadrePhilippines
  51. Sikhote Alin Mountains, Siberia
  52. Stanovoi Range, Siberia
  53. Sudirman RangeIndonesia
  54. Sulaiman Mountains, Pakistan, Iran
  55. Ta Kream Mountain Range, Cambodia
  56. Taurus MountainsTurkey
  57. Toba Kakar Range, Afghanistan, Pakistan
  58. Tian Shan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
  59. Taiwan Mountains, Taiwan
  60. Tengger Mountains, Indonesia
  61. Titiwangsa Mountains, Malaysia
  62. Ural Mountains, Russia
  63. Verkhoyansk Range, Russia
  64. Western Ghats, India
  65. Zagros Mountains, Iran, Iraq
  66. Zambales MountainsPhilippines
  67. Zamboanga CordillerasPhilippines


Main category: Mountain ranges of Europe

  1. Alps
    1. Eastern Alps, Austria, Germany, Italy, LiechtensteinSlovenia, Switzerland
      1. Central Eastern Alps, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland
        1. Bergamo Alps, Italy
        2. Hohe Tauern, Austria, Italy
          1. Ankogel Group

Learn more…


12/13 –

12/14 –

Department of Justice Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations in Department-Supported Social Service Programs12/14/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced a joint final rule with eight other Agencies — the Agency for International Development and the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs — to implement President Trump’s Executive Order No. 13831, on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative (May 3, 2018).  This rule ensures that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally in DOJ-supported programs, and it clarifies that religious organizations do not lose their legal protections and rights just because they participate in federal programs and activities. 

Man Who Worked At Local Research Institute For 10 Years Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets, Sell Them In China12/11/2020 12:00 AM EST
A former Dublin, Ohio, man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions. Yu Zhou, 50, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud.

Justice Department Reaches Major Olmstead Settlement Agreement with North Dakota12/14/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the State of North Dakota under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves complaints alleging that North Dakota unnecessarily institutionalizes individuals with disabilities in nursing facilities, instead of providing them the services they need to live in the community.

Remarks by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband on the Announcement of Olmstead Settlement with the State of North Dakota12/14/2020 12:00 AM EST
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.  Today, we are pleased to announce that the Department of Justice and the State of North Dakota have reached a comprehensive settlement agreement to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The agreement commits North Dakota to expand services for individuals with disabilities so, when appropriate, they will be able to choose to remain in their own homes, near family and friends, while receiving the services they need, instead of entering or remaining in nursing facilities to receive care.

Alabama Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion12/14/2020 12:00 AM EST
An Alabama man was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for tax evasion, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama announced today.

Justice Department Requires Divestiture of Tufts Health Freedom Plan in Order for Harvard Pilgrim and Health Plan Holdings to Proceed With Merger12/14/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it would require Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (Harvard Pilgrim) and Health Plan Holdings (fka Tufts Health Plan) to divest Tufts Health Freedom Plan Inc. (Tufts Freedom), in order to proceed with their merger. Tufts Freedom is Health Plan Holdings’ commercial health insurance business in New Hampshire. The department has approved UnitedHealth Group Inc. (United), as the buyer. Health insurance is an integral part of the American healthcare system, and the proposed settlement will maintain competition for the sale of commercial health insurance to private employers in New Hampshire with fewer than 100 employees.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Senate sends massive defense bill to Trump
(Roll Call) The Senate on Friday voted overwhelmingly and on a bipartisan basis to send President Donald Trump a final defense authorization bill for fiscal 2021.
  2. Major veterans groups call for VA secretary’s ouster following damning report
(Military Times) A day after the Veterans Affairs Inspector General blasted VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for his handling of a sexual assault allegation at a department hospital, most of the country’s major veterans organizations called for his immediate firing, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership.
  3. Army general says COVID-19 vaccines will begin arriving across the country as early as Monday
(Military Times) The Army general overseeing COVID-19 response logistics says the first round of vaccines should start arriving at sites across the nation as early as Monday.
  4. 2020 saw the Guard used the most since World War II. Is a retention crisis looming?
(Army Times) In the halls of the National Guard Bureau’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, many have been calling 2020 “The Year of the Guard” due to an unprecedented level of high-profile domestic activations for its troops.
  5. Army beats Navy 15-0 at Michie Stadium
(The Associated Press) Singing the alma mater second never felt quite like this for Army.

The total solar eclipse of 2020: What time does it begin?

By Chelsea Gohd

The only total solar eclipse of 2020 is coming up this Monday (Dec. 14) and here’s how you can follow along with its phases. 

The total solar eclipse, which is the last eclipse of 2020, will be visible to observers across a narrow swath of the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina and the southern Atlantic Ocean, while a partial eclipse will be visible from a wider region in the Pacific, southern South America and Antarctica. 

Solar eclipses occur when the moon appears to pass in front the sun as viewed from Earth. When they line up exactly, the moon covers the entire sun and causes a total eclipse, while at other times it only covers part of the sun in a partial eclipse. There is not a solar eclipse every month because the moon’s orbit is tilted with respect to the sun and does not always align with the star. 

Total solar eclipse 2020: Here’s how to watch it online
Total Solar Eclipse in December 2020 – Where is it visible?

The first coronavirus vaccine was given in the U.S., opening a new, hopeful chapter in the battle against a pandemic that has ravaged the country.
Monday, December 14, 2020 9:35 AM EST
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday, vaccinations took place in Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y. The pandemic has scarred New York State profoundly, leaving more than 35,000 people dead and severely weakening the economy.The vaccinations started after the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday night, and as the U.S. coronavirus death toll approaches 300,000, with a steady surge in new cases daily.
Read the latest


From NASA JPL’s Mailroom to Mars and Beyond

Bill Allen in JPL's Mars Yard in early 2020
Bill Allen in JPL’s Mars Yard in early 2020. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

Bill Allen has thrived as the mechanical systems design lead for three Mars rover missions, but he got his start as a teenager sorting letters for the NASA center.

Don’t tell Bill Allen he can’t take risks.

Allen was just 17 years old when he first set foot on the grounds of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to join the mailroom in the summer of 1981. Voyager had recently encountered Saturn, and the Lab was crawling with members of the media.

“It was like walking into a football stadium in the middle of the touchdown. It was electric,” he says. “This is something that doesn’t go on anywhere else in the world, and to be immersed in it with your first footsteps was crazy. That alone was awe-inspiring.”

Cut to 2020, and the veteran mechanical engineer has been with JPL for more than 35 years. As someone who’s often tapped to be part of high-stakes problem-solving “tiger teams,” he’s worked as the systems design lead for the Mars Exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, and the soon-to-land Mars Perseverance rover – each mission more challenging than the last.

The size of a small SUV, Curiosity dwarfed Spirit and Opportunity, landing via the mind-boggling “sky crane” maneuver, in which a descent stage lowers the rover onto Mars. With Perseverance, the team had to “grow the rover” more, Allen says, to accommodate a whole new suite of instruments and the intricate system the rover will rely on to take samples from Mars and deposit them in tubes for a future mission to return to Earth.

“We took on the most complicated mission we’ve ever done while we’re changing our infrastructure,” he says. “This is like fixing your car while you’re driving it.”

Mechanical Mindset

While Allen’s initiation at JPL may have been dizzying, his high school years were hardly a foreshadowing of the success to come. “The first two years of high school, I was never in the mindset of what I wanted to do,” he says.

Allen grew up in West Los Angeles, the middle child of five siblings. His mother was a child development specialist, and his father owned and operated a landscaping business. In his youth, he was “always tinkering with things,” Allen says. “I would take apart anything and everything. Whatever my parents gave me, such as bikes, I demolished. I would take it apart, modify it, make it better.”

It was only at the end of his junior year that Allen began thinking about life after high school. That’s when he decided to study engineering. But there was lost ground to cover. “Most students had already decided,” he says. “They had taken much more advanced math and were further along than me, so I took summer classes to catch up.”

Allen wound up at JPL only by serendipity. His uncle, who worked at JPL in electronic packaging, saw a job listing for the Lab’s mailroom and suggested his nephew apply as a way to earn extra money the summer before college. “I didn’t even know what JPL was,” Allen says.

Allen with engineering models of the (clockwise from bottom) Sojourner rover, a Mars Exploration Rover, and Curiosity in JPL’s Mars Yard in the early 2000’s. Image Credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL
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…Continue Reading

More than 300,000 people with the coronavirus in the U.S. have died, a wrenching toll that comes on the heels of the nation’s first vaccine shots.
Monday, December 14, 2020 2:20 PM EST
The new record comes less than four weeks after the nation’s virus deaths reached a quarter-million.The surge in deaths reflects how much faster Americans have spread the virus to one another since late September, when the number of cases identified daily had fallen to below 40,000.
Read the latest


UN News


ILO study finds migrants earn much less than locals, and the gap is wideningThe gap between wages paid to migrant and national workers is big and growing, and may widen further because of the pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a report published on Monday.Migrants and Refugees©

UNICEF/Abdulaziz Aldroubi‘Generation disrupted’ lays out plan to take on coronavirus through major youth mobilizationA new ground-breaking global youth initiative was launched on Monday to invest in and scale up youth-led solutions and engagement, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.Health

UN News/Daniel JohnsonUN human rights chief ‘appalled’ at Iran execution, questions trial process and verdictIran’s decision to hang media activist Ruhollah Zam on Saturday was an appalling violation of human rights that followed a deeply flawed trial process, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Monday.  Human Rights

FAO/Cristiano MinichielloFirst glimmer of hope in decades for Black Sea and Mediterranean fish stocksThe number of fish stocks subject to overexploitation in the Mediterranean and Black Sea has fallen for the first time in decades, offering some hope that a dangerous decline can be turned around, according to a report published on Monday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).Economic Development

UNFPAAvert ‘dire consequences’ for women’s health, UNFPA urges in appeal to prevent maternal deathsThe UN agency dedicated to improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide (UNFPA) appealed on Monday for $2.5 billion by 2030 to help avert potential “dire consequences” surrounding pregnancies and maternal deaths.Women

UNICEF/Michele SibiloniWater, hygiene woes at health facilities putting lives at risk: UN reportLack of basic water and sanitation services at health facilities has put around 1.8 billion health workers and patients at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and other diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have said. Health

UNICEF/Christine NesbittUN chief calls for immediate release of abducted children in NigeriaThe United Nations Secretary-General has called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of hundreds of boys, believed abducted by suspected bandits, after an attack on their school in northwest Nigeria. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/15 –

Justice Department Files Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Housing Authority in Oklahoma12/15/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority of the Town of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, along with its former employees, David Haynes and Myrna Hess, violated the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they denied housing to an African-American applicant and her young child because of their race. 

Statement from Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband on Supreme Court’s Order in Favor of Colorado Church that Challenged COVID Restrictions12/15/2020 12:00 AM EST
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Eric S. Dreiband, issued the following statement:

15 Named In $26 Million International Trade Fraud Scheme12/15/2020 12:00 AM EST
A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas, has returned a criminal indictment against eight individuals, while a related civil complaint has charged 14 individuals and one company relating to international trade fraud violations stemming from a decade-long scheme involving tires from China. 

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over purchase of Russian missile defense system
(The Associated Press) The Trump administration on Monday imposed sanctions on its NATO ally Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air defense system, in a striking move against a longtime partner that sets the stage for further confrontation between the two nations as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.
  2. National Guard distributing coronavirus vaccine in 26 states
(Military Times) On Monday — as the first coronavirus vaccines went into arms across America — senior National Guard officials from Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia detailed the critical role their troops are playing in distributing the vaccine in spite of its extreme storage temperature requirements.
  3. For the first time in almost 100 years, San Diego Marine Corps boot camp will train female recruits in 2021
(San Diego Union-Tribune) For the first time in its 100-year history, women will attend recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego early next year, the Marine Corps said in a news release.
  4. Lawmaker faces possible ethics inquiry for role in VA sexual assault investigation scandal
(Military Times) A key House lawmaker on Monday called for the chamber’s ethics committee to launch an investigation into Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw for his role in a controversial campaign by Veterans Affairs officials to discredit a sexual assault victim.
  5. Army CID is burned out and mismanaged by military police leadership, special agents say
(Army Times) Army Criminal Investigation Command has been dealing with inexperienced and overworked investigators at large Army posts for years, according to four career special agents who’ve served at a mix of domestic and overseas CID offices.

Health Coverage
You have until 1:59 A.M. (PST) to create an account and enroll in health coverage on HealthCare.govYou must apply and pick a health plan in order to get 2021 Marketplace coverage.
 In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever to have health coverage.
Many areas of the country are seeing more health plan choices and lower premiums this year compared to last. Create an account at today to review your options and select a health plan that meets your needs. REMINDER: 1:59 A.M. (PST) tonight is your last chance to enroll in 2021 health coverage.
The Team

ScienceTechDailyPHYSICS NEWS

Safe Social Distancing Alert: Long Streams of Virus-Laden Droplets Can Trail Behind Infected Individuals

TOPICS:American Institute Of Physics°COVID-19°Fluid Mechanics°Infectious Diseases°Public Health


The cough-generated droplets from a walking individual disperse differently in a narrow corridor and an open space. In narrow corridors, the droplets are concentrated in a small bubble and are left further behind. Credit: Xiaolei Yang

Fast walking in narrow corridors can increase COVID-19 transmission risk.

Long streams of virus-laden droplets can trail behind infected individuals walking through a narrow corridor, impacting safe social distancing guidelines.

Computational simulations have been used to accurately predict airflow and droplet dispersal patterns in situations where COVID-19 might be spread. In the journal Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, results show the importance of the shape of the space in modeling how virus-laden droplets move through the air.

The simulations are used to determine flow patterns behind a walking individual in spaces of different shape. The results reveal a higher transmission risk for children in some instances, such as behind quickly moving people in a long narrow hallway.

Previous investigations using this simulation technique have helped scientists understand the influence of objects, like glass barriers, windows, air conditioners, and toilets, on airflow patterns and virus spread. The previous simulations have usually assumed a large, open indoor space but have not considered the effect of nearby walls, like those that might exist in a narrow corridor.

The cough-generated droplets from a walking individual disperse differently in a narrow corridor and an open space. In an open space, the droplets are dispersed in a large range attached to the person. Credit: Xiaolei Yang

If a person walking in a corridor coughs, their breath expels droplets that travel around and behind their body, forming a wake in the way a boat forms a wake in water as it travels. The investigation revealed the existence of a “re-circulation bubble” directly behind the person’s torso and a long wake streaming out behind them at approximately waist height.

“The flow patterns we found are strongly related to the shape of the human body,” said author Xiaolei Yang. “At 2 meters downstream, the wake is almost negligible at mouth height and leg height but is still visible at waist height.”

Once the airflow patterns were determined, the investigation modeled the dispersal of a cloud of droplets expelled from the simulated person’s mouth. The shape of the space surrounding the moving person is particularly critical for this part of the calculation.

Two types of dispersal modes were found. In one mode, the cloud of droplets detaches from the moving person and floats far behind that individual, creating a floating bubble of virus-laden droplets. In the other mode, the cloud is attached to the person’s back, trailing behind them like a tail as they move through the space.

In both modes, the cloud of droplets hovers at about half-height of the infected person before reaching the ground, indicating higher risk for children to inhale the droplets. Credit: Xiaolei Yang

“For the detached mode, the droplet concentration is much higher than for the attached mode, five seconds after a cough,” said Yang. “This poses a great challenge in determining a safe social distance in places like a very narrow corridor, where a person may inhale viral droplets even if the patient is far in front of him or her.”

The danger is particularly great for children, since in both modes, the cloud of droplets hovers at a distance above the ground that is about half the height of the infected person — in other words, at mouth level for children.

Reference: “Effects of space sizes on the dispersion of cough-generated droplets from a walking person” by Zhaobin Li, Hongping Wang, Xinlei Zhang, Ting Wu and Xiaolei Yang, 15 December 2020, Physics of Fluids.
DOI: 10.1063/5.0034874

U.S. Census Bureau: Statistics In the Classroom

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Bring data close to home by helping students collect, analyze, and compare kid-friendly information about their own state.



Spinoff Highlights NASA Technology Paying Dividends in the US Economy

On May 28, 2020, UCLA's Dr. Tisha Wang (far left) and colleagues pose after testing a compressed-air version of the VITAL prototype
As detailed in the 2021 NASA Spinoff publication, the VITAL ventilator prototype was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for use in hospitals treating coronavirus patients. On May 28, 2020, UCLA’s Dr. Tisha Wang (far left) and colleagues tested a compressed-air version of the VITAL prototype. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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NASA’s technology is at the forefront of space exploration, but it can also be applied here on Earth – from improving cellular networks to saving lives in the pandemic.

Whether upgrading air traffic control software or honing the food safety practices that keep our dinner tables safe, NASA has worked for more than six decades to ensure its innovations benefit people on Earth. One of the agency’s most important benefits is the way investment in NASA pays dividends throughout the U.S. economy.

The latest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication highlights dozens of companies that have benefited from cooperation with NASA – including several projects from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. This cooperation means investment in existing companies large and small; it eases the path for entrepreneurs to start new businesses; and it benefits the public as a whole through new jobs and cutting-edge products that improve daily life.

“Whether working to send the first woman and next man to the Moon or helping improve the technology that carries passengers from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, NASA innovators are constantly creating new technology,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Often these advances have wide-ranging benefits well beyond the need they were first imagined to meet. Telling the public that story is one way we fulfill our mission to find homes for the technology beyond the agency for maximum benefit.”

This year in Spinoff, you’ll learn more about innovations from NASA centers across the agency, including:

  • How JPL has developed a new kind of technology used in spectrometers that can also be used to improve 5G cellular networks (page 7).
  • How an array of new technologies aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover will help explore Mars but also enrich life on our own planet. For instance, a new kind of laser technology aboard the rover can be used on Earth to detect contaminants in pharmaceutical manufacturing, while a new kind of specialized drill bit is already assisting geologists in the field (page 24).
  • How JPL roboticists have imitated the gecko’s gravity-defying grip to create a manufacturing robot that can grapple smooth objects with ease (page 51).

“Every spinoff story represents a product for sale, developed with NASA technology and expertise,” said Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer program executive. “The American public benefits not just from the products themselves but also from the infusion of innovations and investment that spur economic development in the form of new ideas, new companies, and new jobs.”

In addition to these commercial success stories, this issue of Spinoff also delves into NASA’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, it highlights how the agency’s Technology Transfer program worked to ensure new or improved innovations – including new ventilators and sterilizers – made it into the hands of businesses and the public for the biggest impact (page 66). Among the success stories is the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally, or VITAL-new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers at JPL and tailored to treat coronavirus patients.

Spinoff 2021 also features 20 NASA technologies that the Technology Transfer program has identified as promising future spinoffs, as well as information on how to license them or partner with NASA to further develop them for commercialization.

As NASA technology continues to blaze a path to the future, the methods of informing the public about their wide-ranging benefits also received an innovative makeover. NASA’s 2021 Spinoff publication features a modern, fresh design, making it easier than ever to learn how NASA technology and investments in the space program pay dividends for the U.S. economy and the public.

The new Spinoff storytelling approach centers on big-picture trends, such as the far-reaching impact of NASA’s efforts to keep water flowing on the International Space Station, as well as a curated selection of spinoff “capsules” that offer quick hits of cutting-edge technology making life better around the world.

Readers also can find these stories year-round on the reimagined NASA Spinoff website, updated frequently with new stories. The site allows readers to delve deeper into NASA’s economic impact in different parts of the United States through a searchable map that highlights spinoff successes created in each state.

“Transferring NASA technology beyond the space agency is part of our culture and one of our longest-standing missions,” said Reuter. “We’ve updated the look of the Spinoff publication, but the message is the same: We’re always working to ensure our innovations find the widest benefit, from space to you.”

To end the pandemic, WHO says $28 billion ACT project is ‘the best deal in town’An international coalition aiming to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic needs $28 billion, a bargain price for stopping the damage done by a virus that has run rampant for the past year, a senior UN World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday.Health

UN Photo: Isaac BillyKeep focus on South Sudan, UN mission chief tells Security CouncilThe head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has appealed for the international community to remain focused on the country as it continues to make gains on the political and peacebuilding fronts.   Peace and Security

UNICEF/Oliver AsselinPeople, planet on ‘collision course’, warns UN Development ProgrammeCountries must redesign their development pathways to reduce damage to the environment and the natural world, or risk stalling progress for humanity overall, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has warned in a major new report. SDGs

UNFPA/Sufian Abdul-MoutyTigray crisis: Humanitarian aid for children must be a priority, UNICEF saysProviding aid to millions of children uprooted by the ongoing crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia must be a priority, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. Humanitarian Aid

Unsplash/Jeromey BalderramaUN experts raise concern over charges against US indigenous leader and rights defender Independent UN human rights experts expressed serious concern on Friday over the arrest and charges brought against an indigenous leader, for peacefully protesting a political rally held last July at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located on treaty lands of the Great Sioux Nation. Human Rights

UNOCHAUN documents 375 killings in Colombia in 2020, urges Government action The United Nations has recorded the deaths of 255 people in 66 massacres in Colombia this year, as well as the killing of 120 human rights defenders, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Tuesday.  Human Rights

UNEPYoung Champions of the Earth: Indian’s burning desire for energyAn Indian engineer has been recognized by the United Nations for developing innovative technology which not only produces energy, but which helps to keep the air cleaner and reduce climate change.Climate Change

UNICEF/Vincent TremeauNiger: UN gravely concerned for safety of refugees, following Boko Haram attackThe United Nations voiced grave concern on Tuesday for the safety of thousands of refugees and internally displaced in the wake of a deadly attack on Toumour, a town in southeastern Niger’s Diffa region, near the border with Nigeria. Peace and Security

UNICEF/Enri Canaj Magnum PhotosPut me out of a job: UN refugee chief’s challenge to world leadersThe UN High Commissioner for Refugees has challenged world leaders to put him “out of a job” by addressing the root causes that drive millions to flee their homes due to war and insecurity. Migrants and Refugees
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/24 –


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded over $34 million to three public housing agencies (PHA) to address emergencies that threaten residents’ health and safety, as well as to help secure their public housing properties against crime and drug-related activity.

“Home hazards can manifest without warning,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Because health and housing go hand in hand, it’s important to address these unexpected problems. Today’s grants are a tool for public housing agencies to make capital improvements so that all residents have a safe and secure place to call home.”

“These grants will go a long way to helping the families that HUD serves,” said Assistant Secretary Hunter Kurtz. “They’ll help these PHAs deal with the issues that impact their residents.”

HUD’s Capital Fund Emergency/Disaster and Safety and Security Program supports public housing authorities as they address emergency and/or disaster conditions that threaten public housing residents’ health and safety and also address threats that pose a risk to the safety and security of residents due to criminal activity, including but not limited to drug-related activity within the public housing community.

Examples of emergency capital needs requiring such correction could include elevator failure, boiler failure, water intrusion causing mold growth, sewer line failure, severe electrical problems, lead-based paint hazards, carbon monoxide and radon hazards, local building code violations, and safety and security needs. Examples of emergency capital needs requiring measures to address safety and security include, but are not limited to, security lighting, alarm systems, and fencing.

The following PHAs will receive Capital Fund emergency grants:

ILCairoAlexander County Housing Authority$1,279,402
INGaryGary Housing Authority$8,661,383
NYNew YorkNew York City Housing Authority$24,709,215

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available at and

For information about Opportunity Zones 


You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Carson on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

HUD COVID-19 Resources and Fact Sheets

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12/25 –




12/26 –

Kwanzaa is a celebration of life from 26 December to 1 January. Dr. Maulana Karenga introduced the festival in 1966 to the United States as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. Dr. Karenga created this festival for Black people’s in the Americas as a response to the commercialism of Christmas.

Observed by: Black peoples in the Americas, and connecting those of the African diaspora

Significance: Celebrates African heritage, unity, and culture.

Originator: Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga



Tsunami May Have Seeded a Fungal Outbreak in Pacific Northwest

A bold hypothesis could account for the perplexing presence of multiple fungi

Tsunami May Have Seeded a Fungal Outbreak in Pacific Northwest
Artist’s rendering of Cryptococcus gattii. Credit: Kateryna Kon Getty Images

The great Alaska earthquake lasted four minutes and 38 seconds when it struck on March 27, 1964. The outbreak it may have seeded wouldn’t strike for another 35 years.

In 2013, I wrote in Scientific American about a subtropical fungus called Cryptococcus gattii that appeared unexpectedly in 1999 in the lungs of hundreds of humans, pets and porpoises in the Pacific Northwest. Although rare, it could be picked up from something as simple as a walk in the woods and prove fatal in otherwise healthy individuals.

One of the most surprising and puzzling twists of the C. gattii story was that what appeared to be one outbreak was actually at least two and maybe three. Two unrelated strains of C. gattii appeared around 1999 on Vancouver Island, while a third emerged six years later in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Today we know the three are so different they may be separate species. At the time, experts were puzzled about the origins of all of them.

Many ideas were floated, including chance introduction by wind, ocean, animals, eucalyptus trees, tires, crates or tennis shoes. Most scientists agreed that the fungi seemed to have made their way to the Pacific Northwest many decades prior, and some subsequent disturbance—perhaps climate change—generated a burst of infections.

Now David Engelthaler and Arturo Casadevall, infectious disease scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff and Johns Hopkins University (I interviewed Casadevall for my 2013 story), have suggested a surprising hypothesis: that the fungi not only hitchhiked on ships from South America to the Pacific Northwest, but then surfed a tsunami to reach land. Y if so, why would infections not strike mammals for another 35 years?

Describing their hypothesis in the journal mBio last year, the pair stitch together a circumstantial case. DNA analyses of all three fungi suggest a burst of evolution when they arrived in the Pacific Northwest around 70 to 90 years ago, hinting at a common origin.

One candidate for that origin, Engelthaler and Casadevall suggest, is the 1914 opening of the Panama Canal. Empty cargo ships pump water into their hull as stabilizing ballast. The water—and any hitchhiking life—is often dumped in the next port. Cryptococcus species survive in seawater, and C. gattii can survive for at least a year. The burst of shipping through the new canal may have brought C. gattii repeatedly from a place like Brazil to the waters off Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

If so, the fungus still needed to make it on to land. The 1964 earthquake—which generated a tsunami so large it killed people on beaches as far south as California—seems like it could have done the job, they say.

Natural disasters are well-documented vectors. A burst of fungal lung infections followed the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado, as I documented here. The 1994 Northridge earthquake in California sparked a mini-outbreak of Valley fever, another inhaled fungal disease. People roughed up by tsunami waves may go on to suffer invasive skin and lung infections, a condition called “tsunami lung,” and such waterborne infections from ocean flooding occurred after both the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 Japanese tsunami. A survivor of the 2004 tsunami even suffered a skin infection from C. gattii.

But could a natural disaster introduce a pathogen to a new place, resulting in the outbreak of a new disease decades later?

Several lines of evidence suggest so, the pair argue. The forests and soils most heavily contaminated with C. gattii in the Pacific Northwest are those most affected by the tsunami: low-lying and close to the ocean. One exception—the area around Port Alberni in interior Vancouver Island—was nonetheless hard hit by the tsunami. A surge of water traveled down an inlet where it reached 26 feet high and washed away 55 homes. Today the fungus is found abundantly there, even though the town is relatively far from the coast.

The genetic data also reveal a second burst of evolution midcentury followed by another period of stability. After decades at sea, newly marooned fungi may have been forced to evolve quickly to survive in a place not only vastly different from the ocean but also dissimilar to their original home. Wild amoebas—amorphous single-celled microbes—prey on C. gattii. Learning to outsmart their new North American predators may have taken several decades. It may also have inadvertently trained the fungi to evade the amoeba-like immune cells called macrophages that travel our bodies doing essentially the same thing. This learning period could explain the decades-long delay between the tsunami and outbreak, Engelthaler and Casadevall suggest.

The earliest known case of Pacific Northwest C. gattii occurred in 1971 in Seattle. Nothing else is known about this case, but the tsunami hypothesis would help explain this outlier, since the fungi would have already been ashore for several years. Other scattered infections may have occurred between 1971 and 1999 and simply escaped detection, as the Cryptococcus can go dormant in hosts.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this hypothesis would help account for both the potpourri of apparently unrelated C. gattii in the Pacific Northwest and their varied emergence times. If several strains had established themselves in the ocean as a result of years of shipping, the tsunami could have washed them ashore simultaneously across hundreds of miles of coast. The corollary, of course, is that there could be still more “surprises” in store for us, ones perhaps even more efficient at attacking mammals. Further environmental testing both in the Pacific Northwest and in ports and nearby land unaffected by tsunamis could help support or refute their hypothesis and would be relatively easy to do, they suggest.

The mBio paper was published in October 2019, but it has implications for subsequent events. Engelthaler and Casadevall propose the Pacific Northwest C. gattii outbreak may be a “black swan”: an unpredictable event of extreme consequence. Indeed, it may be that many or even most outbreaks defy prediction.

The 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa was probably inevitable given the conditions, many scientists believe, but the actual cause was the chance meeting of a group of sick migratory bats with children playing in a hollow tree. No one predicted that a flu pandemic would start in Mexico, but that happened in 2009. Similarly unexpected and unpredicted were the appearance of HIV, the SARS-CoV-1 and MERS coronaviruses, the Nipa and Hendra viruses and the monkeypox virus in the United States; the suddenly severe prenatal effects of Zika virus and the recent polio-like attacks in children suspected to be caused by a previously benign enterovirus D68 were also unforeseen, as was the appearance of C. Gattii in the temperate zone. Our present predicament is probably the biggest swan since the 1918 flu pandemic, which itself may have originated unexpectedly in Kansas.

Huge amounts of money, computing power and investigation resources have been thrown at the problem of predicting outbreaks of new disease. Those efforts failed us spectacularly this year. Financial philosopher Nassim Taleb, who coined the term black swan, argues that the proper response to such events is not to try to predict them; it’s to prepare for them. Although, in my view, it’s worthwhile to plumb their origins so we can try to avert future disasters (outlawing and aggressively prosecuting the sale of wildlife and reducing deforestation seem like obvious and humane choices), governments should just assume pandemics and outbreaks are inevitable and take appropriate action.

It’s not as though we don’t have precedent for expensive, defensive investments. In California, city planners and engineers know giant earthquakes will strike, but they don’t worry too much about the particulars. After all, even after a century or more of studying Golden State seismology and geology, the destructive 1994 Northridge earthquake occurred on a fault that didn’t even appear on seismic maps. Instead, they simply build accordingly.


Jennifer Frazer

Jennifer Frazer is an AAAS Science Journalism Award-winning science writer. She has degrees in biology, plant pathology/mycology and science writing, and has spent many happy hours studying life in situ.

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12/27 –

12/28 –

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest Urging Transparency in the Compensation of Asbestos Claims12/28/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice today filed a Statement of Interest in In re Bestwall LLC in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina. In this bankruptcy case, the debtor Bestwall LLC seeks to establish a trust to resolve its asbestos liabilities pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 524(g), a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that provides the framework for responding to the unique issues associated with asbestos liability.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Trump signs massive measure funding government, COVID relief
(The Associated Press) President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Sunday.
  2. ‘Very difficult to defend’: What happens if hackers are inside the Pentagon’s networks?
(C4ISRNET) If Russian hackers suspected of a vast cybersecurity breach slipped into the Pentagon or military’s computer systems, the strength of protective network blockades is key to keeping them from burrowing in to try to access increasing amounts of information.
  3. Moderna coronavirus vaccine arrives at US bases in Japan for priority inoculations
(Stars & Stripes) Two U.S. Air Force bases received shipments Saturday of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19, the first reported deliveries of the coronavirus vaccine to U.S. armed forces in the western Pacific.
  4. Special Forces sergeant charged in Illinois bowling alley shooting that killed 3
(The Associated Press) A U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant based in Florida has been charged in an apparently random shooting at an Illinois bowling alley that left three people dead and three wounded, authorities said Sunday.
  5. US-trained Afghan fighter pilot is in hiding after being denied safe passage
(Wall Street Journal) Maj. Naiem Asadi, an Afghan pilot trained by the U.S. military, became known for his bravery during six years of fighting in the country’s war, from battling Taliban and Islamic State fighters to helping rescue a crashed American pilot.


Take free online math courses from MIT, ASU, and other leading math and science institutions. Get introductions to algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus or get help with current math coursework and AP exam preparation. Select a course to learn more.

Algebra | Calculus | Geometry | Linear Algebra | Logic | Pre-Algebra | Pre-Calculus | Probability | Regression | StatisticsMaster’s in Data Analytics

BBC News

Atlantic discovery: 12 new species ‘hiding in the deep’

By Victoria Gill Science correspondent, BBC News

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Image captionEpizoanthus martinsae lives on black corals at depths of almost 400m

Almost five years of studying the deep Atlantic in unprecedented detail has revealed 12 species new to science.

The sea mosses, molluscs and corals had eluded discovery because the sea floor is so unexplored, scientists say.

Researchers warn that the newly discovered animals could already be under threat from climate change.

Carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is making it more acidic, causing coral skeletons in particular to corrode.

Deep sea coral on a seamount
Image captionCorals are the foundations of the cities of the deep, providing shelter and food for many species

The scientists involved stressed it was “not too late to protect these special species” and the important habitats they occupied.

Some key Atlantic discoveries from the mission:

  • New species: “At least” 12 new deep-sea species. The team also found approximately 35 new records of species in areas where they were previously unknown
  • Climate change: Ocean warming, acidification, and decreasing food availability will combine to significantly shift and reduce the availability of suitable habitats for deep-sea species by 2100
  • Hydrothermal vents: Scientists discovered a field of these sea-floor hot springs in the Azores. Hydrothermal fields are important areas of relatively high biological productivity that host complex communities in the midst of the vast deep ocean

Cities of the deep

As Prof George Wolff, an ocean chemist from the University of Liverpool who was involved in the project pointed out: “We can still say we have better maps of the surface of the Moon and Mars than of the sea floor.”

Newly discovered coral species
Image captionAntropora gemarita feeds on particles of food suspended in the water

“So whenever you go to the deep ocean, you find something new – not just individual species but entire ecosystems.”

Prof Murray Roberts from the University of Edinburgh led the Atlas project , as it is called. He told BBC News that nearly five years of exploration and investigation had revealed some “special places” in the ocean and worked out “how they tick”.

Underwater robot
Image captionUnderwater robotics allowed exploration at depths that would crush human divers

“We found whole communities formed by sponges or deep ocean corals that form the cities of the deep sea,” he explained. “They support life. So really important fish use these places as spawning grounds.

“If those cities are damaged by destructive human uses, those fish have nowhere to spawn and the function of those whole ecosystems is lost for future generations.

“It’s like understanding that the rainforest is an important place for biodiversity on the land; the same is true of the deep sea – there are important places that need to be protected and, crucially , they are all connected.”

Slowing ocean currents

The project involved researchers from 13 countries around the Atlantic – combining ocean chemistry and physics, as well as biological discovery, to work out how the ocean environment is changing as the world warms and as humans exploit more of the deep sea for fishing and mineral extraction.

Research ship in icy North Atlantic water
Image captionResearchers carried out more than 40 Atlantic expeditions to explore the deep ocean in detail

Studying ocean currents and depositions of fossils on the seabed revealed that the major currents in the North Atlantic have slowed dramatically in response to climate change.

“The implications of that are complicated, but potentially the connections between ecosystems are being reduced,” Prof Roberts explained, because ocean currents are the highways that link different habitats together in the vastness of the deep ocean.

Out of sight

Newly discovered coral species
Image captionA bryozoan named Microporella funbio was discovered in an undersea mud volcano off the Spanish coast

“The value of all this knowledge is that it enables us to understand what we might risk losing,” said Prof Claire Armstrong, a natural resource economist from the University of Tromsø.

“The deep ocean can be so out of sight and out of mind that we’re not really aware of what we’re doing to its environments and the consequences of what we do.”

With a growing global population, increasing pollution and emerging areas of commercial activity in the deep sea, including prospecting for medically and industrially useful products, marine scientists say it is vital to fill the gaps in our ocean knowledge.

The ocean is not an endless resource, Prof Armstrong added. “Conserving and knowing what we might need in the future is really, really difficult.”

‘Baby universes’ branching off of our Universe shortly after the Big Bang appear to us as black holes. Image credit: Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe.

Is All Dark Matter in Universe Made of Primordial Black Holes?


Hamilton et al. studied the composition of Almahata Sitta 202 to determine that it likely originated from a previously unknown parent asteroid. Image credit: Hamilton et al., doi: 10.1038/s41550-020-01274-z.

Almahata Sitta Meteorites Came from Ceres-Sized Asteroid, Study Shows

Planetary Science

Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii). Image credit: Elliott Devries.

Weddell Seals Can Produce Ultrasonic Vocalizations: Study


This Hubble image shows the central region of NGC 2217, a barred spiral galaxy some 83 million light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. This image is made up of observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) in the optical part of the spectrum. It was colorized with data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / J. Dalcanton / Judy Schmidt,

Hubble Spots Nearly Face-On Barred Spiral Galaxy: NGC 2217



UN News


After year of ‘trials, tragedies and tears’, UN chief sends message of hope for 2021 

UN NewsSecretary General’s New Year message.UN Affairs

As the world enters 2021, after a “year of trials, tragedies and tears”, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has delivered a message of hope for the new year. 

Praising the kindness shown by people around the world, the tireless efforts of frontline workers, the scientists who have developed vaccines in record time, and the countries making new advances to save the planet from climate catastrophe, Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his wish for a year of healing.  

Against the backdrop of persistent suffering and grief, in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic marked everyone’s lives, Mr. Guterres said in his New Year’s message that we shall work together “in unity and solidarity”, so those “rays of hope can reach around the world”. 

“So many loved ones have been lost — and the pandemic rages on, creating new waves of sickness and death”, he noted. Adding that poverty, inequality and hunger are on the rise, with jobs disappearing, certain sectors struggling to survive, debts mounting and children struggling, Mr. Guterres raised his concerns regarding the increased violence in the home and insecurity.  

A transition to a sustainable future 

But a New Year lies ahead, he continued, and if we work together in unity and solidarity, the rays of hope can reach around the world: “people extending a helping hand to neighbours and strangers; frontline workers giving their all; scientists developing vaccines in record time; and countries making new commitments to prevent climate catastrophe”.  

“That’s the lesson of this most difficult year”, he said, “both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are crises that can only be addressed by everyone together – as part of a transition to an inclusive and sustainable future.”  

Resolutions and goals for next year: time for healing  

As for the UN’s plans for 2021, a central ambition is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality – net zero emissions – by 2050, Mr. Guterres spelled out, adding that “every government, city, business and individual can play a part in achieving this vision”. 

Urging the world to act together, the UN Secretary-General called on people to make peace not just among themselves, but also with nature, tackling the climate crisis, stopping the spread of COVID-19 and making 2021 a year of healing: “healing from the impact of a deadly virus. Healing broken economies and societies. Healing divisions. And starting to heal the planet”, he noted.   

“That must be our New Year’s Resolution”, the UN chief concluded, sending his wishes for a happy and peaceful 2021.

After year of ‘trials, tragedies and tears’, UN chief sends message of hope for 2021 As the world enters 2021, after a “year of trials, tragedies and tears”, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has delivered a message of hope for the new year. UN Affairs

Unsplash/Ross SneddonVaccination no guarantee of virus eradication: WHO officialsIn the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is “not necessarily the big one”, and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading across the world.Health©

UNICEF/Zerihun Sewunet25,000 refugees in unsettled Tigray region receive urgent UN food suppliesSome 25,000 Eritrean refugees, sheltering in two camps in the unsettled Tigray region of Ethiopia, have received desperately needed food aid for the first time since mid-October.Peace and Security

UN Mexico/Gabriela RamirezFROM THE FIELD: Misunderstood and mistreated; transgender women in MexicoA group of transgender women in Mexico City has been telling the UN how despite living with discrimination and the threat of physical violence, they have managed to help others in a poor neighbourhood of the Mexican capital during the COVID-19 crisis.Human Rights

IOM 2020/Ervin CausevicBosnia and Herzegovina: Migrant lives at ‘immediate risk’, warn UN agenciesUnited Nations agencies and humanitarian partners have called on authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to act urgently to help hundreds of migrants, stranded and without shelter, amid freezing winter temperatures. Migrants and Refugees©

UNICEF/Raphael PougetThe virus that shut down the world: Education in crisisChildren all over the world have had their education severely disrupted this year, as schools struggle to cope with repeated closures and re-openings, and the transition, if it’s even an option, to online schooling. Disadvantaged children, however, have been worst-hit by the emergency measures. In part three of our look back at the effect that COVID-19 has had on the world, we focus on the education crisis provoked by the pandemic.Culture and Education

UNEPYoung Champions of the Earth: Peru’s elemental innovatorA Peruvian biologist and inventor who is turning wind into water has been named as a winner of an annual UN environmental award.Climate Change
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/29 –

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Shutting Down Technical-Support Fraud Scheme12/29/2020 12:00 AM EST
A federal court entered an order of permanent injunction against an individual and five companies in a case against a large-scale technical-support fraud scheme alleged to have defrauded hundreds of elderly and vulnerable U.S. victims, the Department of Justice announced today. 

Justice Department Announces Closing of Investigation into 2014 Officer Involved Shooting in Cleveland, Ohio12/29/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that the career prosecutors reviewing the independent federal investigation into the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio, found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.  Yesterday the department notified counsel for Mr. Rice’s family of the decision and today sent a letter to Mr. Rice’s family explaining the findings of the investigation and reasons for the decision.

Statement by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on the Pakistani Proceedings Relating to the Abduction and Murder of Daniel Pearl12/29/2020 12:00 AM EST
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen has released the following statement:

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. House votes to override Trump’s veto of defense bill
(The Associated Press) The Democratic-controlled House voted Monday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill.
  2. Biden rips Pentagon over transition foot-dragging
(Politico) Within hours, acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller pushed back on Biden’s claims, noting in a statement that the Pentagon has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials and provided over 5,000 pages of documents to the transition.
  3. Armed Green Beret colonel allegedly had two-hour standoff with police before surrendering
(Army Times) State and local police near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington, spent roughly two hours talking a Special Forces colonel armed with a rifle and pistol into surrendering after they responded to a domestic assault in progress call just after midnight Sunday.
  4. Key US ally declares its F-35s ready for combat
( The Royal Australian Air Force on Monday declared that its F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has achieved initial operational capability, or IOC, making it the seventh country flying the jet to achieve that milestone.
  5. Firefighter who died fighting arson identified by West Virginia Air National Guard
(Air Force Times) Authorities are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspected arsonist.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025
USDA and HHS Host Virtual Release of the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

10 – 10:45 a.m., EST

the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) will hold an online-only event to announce the release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.  


Updated jointly by USDA and HHS every five years, the Dietary Guidelines provides science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the first set of guidelines that provide guidance for healthy dietary patterns by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, including pregnant and lactating women.

To develop the Dietary Guidelines, 2020-2025, the Departments built upon the previous edition of the Dietary Guidelines with updates grounded in the scientific review of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and input from Federal agencies.

Following the event, visit for a digital copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 along with companion resources.
⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

USDA and HHS Just Released the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

Check Out the Guidelines and Related Resources

Updated jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines provides science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the first set of guidelines that provide guidance for healthy dietary patterns by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, including pregnant and lactating women.   

To develop the Dietary Guidelines, the Departments built upon the previous edition of the Dietary Guidelines with updates grounded in the scientific review of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and input from Federal agencies. 

Check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 along with companion pieces:

  1.  Science Matters

NSF logo virtual backgroundView Image Credit

The Director’s 2020 highlights

Despite the many challenges we have faced this year, as NSF’s 70th year draws to a close, we can reflect on this legacy and celebrate the accomplishments of 2020 — all of which demonstrate our founding mission is stronger than ever. 

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director,
U.S. National Science Foundation

The agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a shining example of this fact. As the nation turned to the science and engineering enterprise for solutions in late February, NSF was able to leverage decades of support for fundamental research in fields such as virus modeling and materials research, and quickly fund researchers who could pivot their research to focus on COVID 19, including its basic make-up, transmission, and ways to mitigate its spread.

I saw this firsthand when I joined the agency in July as the 15th Director of NSF. It has been a great honor to serve in this capacity, and I’m excited to see what the next year holds for our agency, our science and engineering community, and our world. As we look to the future, let’s celebrate NSF’s great achievements of 2020.

Image of sun from Inouye telescope
The highest resolution images of the sun’s surface ever acquired. Photo Credit: NSO/NSF/AURA

1. Major astrophysical breakthroughs 

NSF’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope provided its first detailed images of the sun’s surface, finding a pattern of cell-like structures – each about the size of the state of Texas. These areas of boiling plasma transport heat from inside the sun to its surface. Future observations will map magnetic fields within the sun’s corona, where solar eruptions that drive space weather can occur, and in turn, can impact life on Earth. Separately, researchers at MIT announced they had detected one of the most distant gravitational wave sources ever discovered. The signal, detected by NSF’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, and the Virgo interferometer in Italy, was likely generated by a merger that created a massive black hole about 142 solar masses in size. 

Learning at home

2. Remote learning resources 

NSF’s efforts to support innovative STEM education took on added importance, as students across the U.S. had in-person learning interrupted by the pandemic. NSF-funded online learning opportunities have helped students and teachers keep up with fundamentals;  provided additional opportunities to supplement instruction; helped parents relearn subjects so they could help at-home students understand the material; and provided NSF-funded virtual field trips.

Frontera supercomputer in Texas
The Frontera supercomputer serves as part of the High-Performance Computing Consortium  Photo Credit: Texas Advanced Computing Center

3. COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium 

NSF co-led the establishment of the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, a public-private consortium announced by the White House in March to offer free computing time to researchers on some of the most powerful and uniquely capable machines in the world to better facilitate research. The NSF-funded XSEDE project serves as the hub of this consortium, providing a portal and associated services to match researchers to resources.

A large ship is seen in the background with a large sheet of snow and ice surrounding it
The icebreaker Polarstern frozen into Arctic sea ice. Photo Credit: Marc Oggier, IARC

4. MOSAiC 

A great example of what can be accomplished when nations work together is the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC, the largest Arctic science expedition in history. MOSAiC researchers aboard the German icebreaker Polarstern observed the air, ice, ocean, and ecosystems of the Arctic Ocean for a year. Findings from this research will yield key insights into better understanding the natural processes and cycles in the region and the role it plays in global climate and weather patterns.

graphic representation of quantum technology

5. Quantum Leap Challenges Institutes

Quantum properties are expected to form the basis of new computers that will do more than simply function as faster and better versions of today’s machines. To develop the components of such a system, NSF launched an effort to address key scientific and technological challenges, devoting $75 million to create inter-disciplinary research institutes and $9.75 million to recruit faculty. This included the National Q-12 Education Partnership, which was set up by NSF and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to equip students with the knowledge to understand and advance quantum technology, much like the role computer science courses played in bringing about the digital revolution.

Map of the United States displaying the locations of the new AI research institutes
Click on the image to view the full map.

6. NSF AI Research Institutes

NSF is the primary non-defense federal funder of fundamental artificial intelligence research. The foundation expanded its flagship investment in 2020, collaborating with other federal agencies to create AI Research Institutes. These hubs bring university researchers together with industry and government partners to address frontier AI challenges and address pressing issues such as extreme weather preparedness, bioengineering technology, navigation, education, and robust food systems.

Photo of researchers in a lab

7. HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Research Center

Historically Black colleges and universities enroll about 9% of Black undergraduates in the U.S., but they graduate a significantly higher percentage in critical fields such as engineering, mathematics, and biological sciences. To help expand this number, NSF established the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Research Center. Led by researchers at Morehouse College, Spelman College and Virginia State University, STEM-US will study and model the broadening participation success of 50 out of the nation’s 100 HBCUs. The study will also help the broader university community understand how to improve success rates for underserved populations.

Artist rendition of CRISPR hairpin lock.
An artist’s representation of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic sequence with a “hairpin” lock added to the left side of the system. Photo Credit: Ella Maru

8. 2020 Nobel Prizes

NSF’s long legacy of support of some of the best and brightest scientific ideas was highlighted by a few of this year’s Nobel Prize awards. All three of the 2020 Nobel Prize winners for physics—Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, and Andrea Ghez — received NSF support at some point in their career for their research into black holes. NSF has long supported Jennifer Doudna, the 2020 winner for chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier, for her work in genome editing, starting with the prestigious Alan T. Waterman Award in 2000. NSF also has long supported the research of Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson — 2020 winners for economics — as they explored game theory and used their findings to develop new kinds of auctions that brought in more than $60 billion for U.S. taxpayers.Science Topics

  • Arctic & Antarctic
  • Astronomy & Space
  • Biology
  • Chemistry & Materials
  • Computing
  • Earth & Environment
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Nanoscience
  • People & Society
  • Physics

Photo credit: National Science Foundation

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​Courses and Training

The Cornell Small Farms Program (SFP) helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development. SFP is housed at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and works collaboratively with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Website | Contact

National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

Get the latest public health information from CDC:
Get the latest research information from NIH:

If you need alcohol treatment while practicing physical distancing, there are several professionally led treatment and mutual-support group options available to you.


Bill Dunty, Ph.D.NIAAA FASD Research Coordinator and Program Director, Division of Metabolism and Health Effects (DMHE)

Photo of Bill Dunty, Ph.D.
  1. How would you describe your portfolio of projects in DMHE?My grant portfolio includes research on the health consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure. These studies include basic research on the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure as well as clinical studies of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure that appear at any time during childhood and last a lifetime.I also serve as the Project Scientist for the NIAAA-supported Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders,or CIFASD, a multidisciplinary consortium of projects to enhance diagnoses of FASD at different stages of the lifespan based on biological, physical, and behavioral assessments and to improve outcomes in individuals with FASD. Prior to becoming NIAAA’s FASD Research Coordinator in 2018, I also managed grants related to alcohol biosensors and alcohol-associated carcinogenesis.
  2. You’re a member of the Executive Committee of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (ICCFASD). What is NIAAA’s role in ICCFASD?ICCFASD fosters improved communication and collaboration among disciplines and federal agencies that address a wide range of issues related to prenatal alcohol exposure. In 1996, following recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, Congress charged NIAAA with chairing ICCFASD, which currently comprises agencies across the federal government. This collaboration across agencies is important because the responsibility for addressing the many issues relevant to FASD transcends the mission and resources of any single agency or program. ICCFASD also interacts with researchers, clinicians, professional associations, advocacy organizations, and the general public, with the goals of increasing awareness of FASD, improving education for professionals and others who interact with individuals affected by FASD, and promoting the implementation of evidence-based approaches to address the needs of children and adults who live with FASD and their families.Today, NIAAA continues to sponsor ICCFASD and our Deputy Director, Dr. Patricia Powell, serves as the ICCFASD Chair. As part of the committee, our Institute generates and disseminates basic, translational, and clinical research findings on FASD. My role as NIAAA’s FASD Research Coordinator is to provide updates on NIAAA activities in this area, exchange information, and advance high-priority efforts identified by the committee.
  3. What are some noteworthy recent advances in FASD research?Identifying individuals with FASD remains a challenge, given that most children with prenatal alcohol exposure do not meet the diagnostic criteria for full-blown fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) but nevertheless possess significant neurobehavioral deficits and associated secondary disabilities. Over the past few years, NIAAA-funded investigators have taken great strides to improve the capabilities in clinical recognition of FASD. Research in this area includes improving FAS/FASD facial recognition through 3-dimensional (3D) photography and computer analyses among individuals across different age groups and racial/ethnic backgrounds, and refining neurobehavioral-based screening tools for pediatricians and psychologists to better identify children exposed to alcohol prenatally.Another key challenge facing clinicians is the ability to recognize alcohol consumption during pregnancy and identify prenatal alcohol exposure among newborns. To address this need, NIAAA-supported researchers are exploring the use of novel methodologies such as 3D fetal ultrasound, blood-based biomarkers, and physiological measures to improve earlier identification. Although FASD lasts a lifetime, earlier identification of infants and very young children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure may increase the effectiveness of intervention strategies to improve a child’s development.
  4. What are some of the most promising areas for clinical breakthroughs in FASD research on the horizon?Two promising areas come to mind. The first area focuses on the development of interventions to help individuals affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. Over the last 10 years, our largest investment in this area has supported basic and clinical research exploring the efficacy of choline supplementation as a nutritional intervention for FASD. Positive benefits have been reported on growth and memory performance among infants born to women who receive choline during pregnancy. Most recently, researchers report that giving supplements of choline to 2- to-5-year-old children who were exposed to alcohol before birth improves aspects of cognition and behavior assessed at 4 years post-treatment.A second area is emerging research on how prenatal alcohol exposure may also increase the risk for chronic diseases and health conditions later in adulthood. This area of research barely existed in the alcohol field 7 to 8 years ago. NIAAA-funded investigators in our CIFASD consortium are currently conducting a health survey of adults with known alcohol exposure or an FASD diagnosis to help establish the natural history of these disorders in this vulnerable population. The ability of alcohol to reprogram fetal physiology and enhance disease risk later in life represents an underappreciated public health concern. Future findings in this area may be critical in optimizing strategies for disease prevention among individuals across the spectrum of FASD.
  5. Outside of work, people say you’re an accomplished photographer. In fact, some of your photography has adorned the walls of the NIAAA workplace. How did that get started?Although I’ve had a professional-grade camera for many years, it wasn’t until 2015, when I took a series of introductory digital photography courses, that I learned how to use it and began to appreciate the principles of photography. Since then, my interests have shifted from taking pictures of my kids playing sports to landscapes and wildlife photography, and now to candid shots. Currently, I volunteer as a photographer for the Indy Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that transports military veterans to visit their national memorials in Washington, D.C. In capturing moments of emotion, I can convey a sense of their service and sacrifice to their family members back home in Indiana who cannot travel with them. 


Advances in Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders


Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Changes Mouse Brain Circuitry Involved in Decision Making


Alcoholic Hepatitis NetworkNIAAA Trainees Network Virtually at National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postbac Poster DaySupporting Research on Alcohol and COVID-19


NIAAA to Host Webinar on Interventions in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities


UN News


End arrests of political opponents in Uganda: UN independent expertsA group of independent UN human rights experts called on Ugandan authorities to end the arrest, detention and judicial harassment of political opponents, civil society leaders and human rights defenders.Peace and Security©

UNICEF/SidraNetherlands violates nationality rights: UN rights committee The Netherlands has violated a child’s rights by registering children under the category “nationality unknown” as opposed to Stateless – leaving them ineligible to access international protections, the UN Human Rights Committee  declared on Tuesday.  Human Rights

UN/Pasqual GorrizLebanon: UN chief welcomes murder conviction for 1980 blue helmet killingsUnited Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed Lebanon’s decision to bring to justice the man found guilty of killing two UN peacekeepers decades ago.Law and Crime Prevention

UN Cape VerdeCOVID-19 threatening development gains in Cape Verde: a UN Resident Coordinator blogProgress made towards sustainable development by the Atlantic Ocean nation, Cape Verde, is under serious threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to the United Nations’ most senior official in the country. In this blog, UN Resident Coordinator Ana Patricia Graça, explains how the UN is supporting the small island country to rebound from the impact of the virus.Humanitarian Aid©

UNICEF/Canaj Magnum PhotosThe virus that shut down the world: The plight of refugees and migrantsIn part four of our review of the global impact of COVID-19, UN News considers the new challenges faced by refugees and migrants during 2020; from a heightened risk of catching the COVID-19 virus in crowded camps, to being stranded due to travel restrictions, and becoming the targets of criminal gangs.Migrants and Refugees

UNICEF/Grove HermansenUN rights expert urges United States to remove sanctions hindering rebuilding in SyriaA UN independent human rights expert, on Tuesday, called on the United States to remove unilateral sanctions against Syria that may hamper efforts to rebuild the war-torn country’s destroyed civilian infrastructure.Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/30 –

Justice Department Secures Relief for U.S. Army National Guard Reservist on Employment Discrimination Claim Against Luxury Jeweler Harry Winston12/30/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas announced today that they resolved a claim that luxury jeweler Harry Winston, Inc. violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by refusing to offer full-time employment to U.S. Army National Guard Reservist John A. Walker because of his military service obligations.

Justice Department Seeks Forfeiture of Third Commercial Property Purchased with Funds Misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine12/30/2020 12:00 AM EST
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Cleveland, Ohio, was acquired using funds misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine as part of a multi-billion-dollar loan scheme.

DEFENSE – NEWS Today’s Top 5
  McConnell signals Senate has votes to override Trump’s defense veto
(The Hill) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is signaling lawmakers have the votes to override President Trump’s veto of a mammoth defense policy bill as soon as Wednesday.
  The Army is planning a major overhaul of its hair and grooming regulations
(Task & Purpose) Senior Army leaders are discussing making long-awaited changes to hair and grooming regulations and they plan to announce the finalized changes in January 2021, Task & Purpose has learned.
  The Marine Corps has started fielding 30,000 rifle suppressors to combat units
( After years of planning, infantry Marines are finally getting their hands on small arms suppressors aimed at helping combat units avoid detection while firing on enemy positions.
  US Navy’s Hong Kong port calls likely to be scuppered as ties with China’s military continue to deteriorate
(South China Morning Post) One military source says the PLA believes the Americans are using the visits as an excuse to monitor its ships
  Now is not the right time to split NSA and CYBERCOM
(C4ISRNET) In addition to the big Russian hack, some other surprising news occurred in the cybersecurity world this holiday season. The Pentagon is reportedly considering ending the dual-hat arrangement that allows the commander of U.S. Cyber Command to simultaneously serve as director of the National Security Agency.

Your Health Goals for 2021
The start of a new year is a great time for new beginnings, including new goals for health and wellness. Getting a fresh start may be especially important in 2021. If the stresses and lifestyle changes that came with the pandemic have taken a toll on your health habits, now is a good time to get back on track. We can help. Visit our website for information on:
Wellness and well-being
Managing stress
Controlling your weight
Getting better sleep
Quitting smoking

Health Topics A–Z


Acai•Acupuncture•Aloe Vera•Alzheimer’s Disease•Antioxidants•Anxiety•Are You Considering a Complementary Health Approach?•Aromatherapy•Asian Ginseng•Asthma•Astragalus•Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder•Autism•Ayurvedic Medicine


Be an Informed Consumer•Bilberry•Bitter Orange•Black Cohosh•Bodybuilding•Bromelain•Butterbur


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UN News


We all have a role to play for a better tomorrow, UN Assembly President says in New Year message

UN Photo/Rick BajornasVolkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly, addressing the UN Summit on Biodiversity in September 2020.UN Affairs

The President of the United Nations General Assembly has urged everyone around the world “to continue to work together” to end the coronavirus pandemic, and to build an inclusive and sustainable future. 

In a message for the New Year, Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said that each individual, community, and country has a role to play, locally and globally, to reduce inequalities, protect the most vulnerable people, and create more just, safer societies.

“‘We the peoples’ are resilient,” he highlighted, referring to preambular words of the United Nations Charter. 

“Together, we can build peace around the world, uphold the human rights, and inherent dignity of every person, and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” 

Looking out for each other 

Mr. Bozkir also recalled the challenges humanity faced in 2020, and hoped for a better 2021.  

“We can be proud that, as individuals, we looked out for our neighbours over the past year,” he said, adding: 

“We have made it through a dark period in history, but there are brighter days ahead in 2021, as we begin the roll out of vaccines for all, which will be fundamental to our collective efforts, to safeguard humanity.” 

Power to achieve impossible 

The General Assembly President also applauded the “power of humanity” to achieve what may seem impossible, “just like the founders of the United Nations did seventy-five years ago.” 

“In 2021, there is only one New Year’s resolution that has the power to change the course of history, and that is, to work together to create a better world for all,” he said. 

Questions and answers about the UN mission to the SAFER oil tanker in Yemen1. What is the SAFER oil tanker?SAFER is a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) oil vessel moored off Yemen’s west coast, approximately 8 kilometers (4.8 nautical miles) South West of the Ras Isa peninsula on the West coast of Yemen, permanently anchored at the same location for more than 30 years without any dry-docking or shipyard repairs.Peace and Security

UNAMIUS pardons Blackwater guards: An ‘affront to justice’ – UN expertsFive independent UN experts condemned United States President Donald Trump’s pardoning of private security contractors, convicted in 2015 for war crimes in Iraq, on Wednesday.Human Rights

UNOCHA/Giles ClarkeUN chief and Yemen Envoy condemn deadly Aden airport attackThe UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, have strongly condemned Wednesday’s deadly attack on Aden airport, which is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people, and injured more than 50.Peace and Security

UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez FarranUN confirms closure of Darfur peacekeeping missionThe joint United Nations-African Union mission in the Darfur region of Sudan (UNAMID) will officially end operations on Thursday, when the Government of Sudan will take over responsibility for the protection of civilians in the area.Peace and Security

UN News/Abdelmonem MakkiFirst Person: family tragedy and the UN as ‘saviour’ in DarfurThe people of the restive region of Darfur in Sudan have seen the joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) as a “saviour” according to a writer for UN News who grew up in Darfur.Peace and Security

UN Photo; UN Women (centre)Looking back at 2020, In Case You Missed ItAt UN News, 2020 started with a hope that the year would be one of peace for Syria’s children.  However, in the weeks that followed, the news cycle was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, that not only changed what we covered, but also how we covered UN-related news around the world.  UN Affairs

UNICEF/Motaz FuadMillions of children in crisis hotspots ‘on the brink of famine’, warns UNICEFMore than 10 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeast Nigeria, the Central Sahel, South Sudan and Yemen will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday, warning that without urgent action, the numbers could rise further. Humanitarian Aid

UN Photo/Rick BajornasWe all have a role to play for a better tomorrow, UN Assembly President says in New Year messageThe President of the United Nations General Assembly has urged everyone around the world “to continue to work together” to end the coronavirus pandemic, and to build an inclusive and sustainable future. UN Affairs

World Bank/Dominic ChavezThe virus that shut down the world: Economic meltdownWith millions forced to work from home this year, offices and shops closing as part of containment measures, and travel severely curtailed everywhere, it was inevitable that the economy would suffer. In part five of our look back at 2020, we focus on the seismic effect that COVID-19 has had on the global economy.Economic Development

ITU TBias, racism and lies: facing up to the unwanted consequences of AIPowerful digital tools using artificial intelligence (AI) software are helping in the fight against COVID-19, and have the potential to improve the world in many other ways. However, as AI seeps into more areas of daily life, it’s becoming clear that its misuse can lead to serious harm, leading the UN to call for strong, international regulation of the technology.Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

12/31 –

Justice Department Settles with Indiana School District to Resolve Disability Discrimination Investigation into School Seclusion and Restraint Practices12/31/2020 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the North Gibson School Corporation in Princeton, Indiana, to address and prevent the discriminatory secluding and restraining of students with disabilities.

TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. Agrees to Pay $179.7 Million to Resolve Overpayments from the Department of Veterans Affairs12/31/2020 12:00 AM EST
TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. has agreed to pay the United States $179,700,000 to resolve claims that it received overpayments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in connection with its administration of certain VA health care programs, the Department of Justice announced today.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  2 Japan-Based Destroyers Conduct Second Taiwan Strait Transit This Month
(USNI News) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Dec. 31 local time, or Dec. 30 in the continental United States.
  Trump administration declassifies unconfirmed intelligence on China bounties on US forces in Afghanistan: report
(The Hill) If the information is indeed true, it could drastically change China’s relationship with the U.S. and heighten tensions between the two superpowers.
  Navy restricts travel to all but three installations as coronavirus pandemic worsens
(Stars & Stripes) As of Monday, 59 out of 62 naval bases had travel restrictions reinstated, according to a Pentagon document released Wednesday. The only U.S. naval bases that have lifted their travel restrictions are located overseas: Naval Station Rota in Spain, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
  Marine Corps to start widespread distribution of suppressors
(Marine Corps Times) The Marine Corps has started to rollout suppressors for the M4, M27 and M4A1 rifles.
  COVID-19 pandemic keeps Lockheed from meeting F-35 delivery goal in 2020
(Defense News) The company delivered 123 joint strike fighters this year, including to international partners.


Online Events

Online Tournaments

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#climate change

Need a car? Buy a $5 Raffle Ticket, as many as you’d like, and try your chances at winning a Smart Car, or other great prizes that will help you to achieve SDGs goals for the future.

(Other prizes include Driving lessons, Flying lessons, Mountain bike, ipad school pack, VR, Solar panel pack, Fruit and Nut Trees, Heirloom seeds,) .


UN News


Coronavirus global health emergency: Coverage from UN NewsThe outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019

This page brings together information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) 

General Assembly approves $3.2 billion UN budget for 2021United Nations Member States, on Thursday, approved $3.231 billion to fund the global Organization’s regular budget for 2021.UN Affairs

ONU News/Alexandre SoaresGuinea-Bissau: UN chief commits to continued support as peacebuilding office closesUnited Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirmed the Organization’s commitment to the people of Guinea-Bissau on Thursday, the final day of operations for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the West African country (UNIOGBIS).Peace and Security

Unsplash/Ashley RossIran execution of child offender breaks international law: UN rights officeThe execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial.Human Rights

Unsplash/Matias Hernan BecerricaArgentina: ‘Ground-breaking’ new abortion law crucial to ending gender discrimination – UN expertsThe year drew to a close in Argentina with “a ground-breaking law” that legalizes abortions up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, in a move that independent UN rights experts called on Thursday, “a crucial step in eliminating discrimination against women and girls”. Human Rights

UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez FarranUnited Nations, African Union reiterate commitment to Sudan, as joint mission ends operationsThe United Nations Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission have reiterated their commitment to continue to support Sudan consolidate peace as the AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping mission in the country’s Darfur region ends its operations on Thursday. Peace and Security

BioNTechThe virus that shut down the world: the path to a vaccineVaccines that protect against COVID-19 have been developed in record time over the year but, amid fears that people from poorer countries may miss out, the UN has consistently insisted on global solidarity, to ensure that all are protected. In the final part of our series on the ways that the virus has changed the world, we trace the evolution of the COVID-19 vaccines, and how protected we are likely to be in 2021.Health

UNFPA/Vo Ngoc DungFirst Person: Vietnamese man finds ‘true voice’ in gay communityA Vietnamese man has told the UN he has found his ‘true voice’ in the gay community, despite the discrimination and harassment that LGBT people face in his countryHuman Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

2020 will end with a spectacular “Day After Tomorrow” extratropical event, as one of the most intense North Pacific storm on record heads straight for the Aleutian Islands



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1/11 –

Holistic Financial Planning
Mondays: January 11 – February 15, 2021
If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. You will learn how to make financial decisions toward farm and family values and goals.

Writing a Business Plan
Mondays: January 11 – February 15, 2021
Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This course is designed to help you build your plan, including developing financial statements.

1/12 –

Introduction to Beekeeping
Tuesdays: January 12 – March 2, 2021
Whether you are currently keeping honey bees or are considering them for your farm, a basic knowledge of bee biology, diseases, pests, and setting up your colony are essential for success. This 8-week course will give you real-world experiences paired with academic concepts.

Season Extension with High Tunnels
Tuesdays: January 12 – February 16, 2021
Adding weeks to your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. This course will introduce you to unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels,” covering cost, management and more.

Woodland Mushroom Cultivation
Tuesdays: January 12 – February 16, 2021
With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown in the woods on many products. This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm-scale woodland mushroom production.

1/13 –

Introduction to Tree Fruit Production
Wednesdays: January 13 – February 17, 2021
Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management.

Vegetable Production II
Wednesdays: January 13 – February 17, 2021
This course continues where BF 120: Vegetable Production I (not a prerequisite) ends, covering vegetable production from transplanting to harvest, including: in-season fertility, integrated pest management, weed control, harvesting, and marketing.

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Exploring Markets and Profits
Thursdays: January 14 – February 18, 2021
Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will help you explore the potential markets and profitability of your ideas, picking up where BF 101: Starting at Square One (not a prerequisite) left off.

Sheep Production
Thursdays: January 14 – February 18, 2021
Have sheep or thinking about getting a flock? Producers of all experience levels will find something for them in this lively, wide-ranging course. There is no one right way to raise sheep — this course covers many of these different options.

Social Media & Online Marketing
Thursdays: January 14 – February 11, 2021
Are you struggling with questions like what do hashtags do, how to start selling online, are webpages still useful, and more? This new, 5-week course is designed to improve your understanding of social media, online marketing ideas, and tools that may increase sales and increase awareness about your business.

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International Convention of Psychological Science will be held in Brussels, Belgium, March 25–27, 2021. Learn more at



Three images of global locations

2021 Global Mental Health Research Without Borders Conference, April 5-6, 2021

The National Institute of Mental Health and Grand Challenges Canada are sponsoring the 11th Global Mental Health Research Conference on April 5-6, 2021, which will bring together researchers, innovators, and other stakeholders from around the globe. The conference will showcase findings from cutting-edge science and explore new opportunities for groundbreaking research.

Watch for the call for abstracts in August 2020.

Location: Natcher Conference Center, National Institutes of Health Campus, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.









“And how does that make you feel?” ⤵️

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