Constraints Gone, GOP Ramps Up Efforts to Monitor Voting (Reader Steve)
The author writes, “Since 1937, the state of Pennsylvania has had strict rules about who can stand in polling stations and challenge the eligibility of voters. The restrictions are meant to limit the use of ‘poll monitors’ long sent by both parties to look out for voting mishaps but at times used to intimidate voters. In June, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign sued to ease those rules, saying they imposed arbitrary limits on the party’s ability to keep tabs on the voting process no matter where it occurs. The Pennsylvania lawsuit over an obscure slice of election law is just one piece of the party’s sweeping plan to expand poll monitoring this election year. Thanks to a federal court ruling that freed the party from restrictions, the GOP is mounting a broad effort to keep a close watch on who casts ballots.”
Black Lives Matter Protests Lead to Charges of Young Protesters (Dana)
From Teen Vogue: “Across the country, a number of demonstrators — many of whom are teenagers and young adults — are facing serious prison time for destroying property during the protests. In Oklahoma, Malachai Davis, Haley Lin Crawford, and Sydney Lynch, all 18, are among those charged with terrorism for allegedly breaking the windows of a bail bonds office in Oklahoma City during the George Floyd unrest in May. District Attorney David Prater pushed for the terrorism charges because, as he put it in a lengthy public statement, ‘When you act like a terrorist, you will be treated like a terrorist. … It is my job to protect innocent citizens and their property and I will continue to do it to the best of my ability.’ If convicted of terrorism charges, the teens could spend years in federal prison.”
Forty Percent of People With Coronavirus Infections Have No Symptoms. Might They Be the Key to Ending the Pandemic? (Russ)
The author writes, “When SARS-CoV-2 was first identified on Dec. 31, 2019, public health officials deemed it a ‘novel’ virus because it was the first time it had been seen in humans who presumably had no immunity from it whatsoever. There’s now some very early, tentative evidence suggesting that assumption might have been wrong. One mind-blowing hypothesis — bolstered by a flurry of recent studies — is that a segment of the world’s population may have partial protection thanks to ‘memory’ T cells, the part of our immune system trained to recognize specific invaders. This could originate from cross protection derived from standard childhood vaccinations. Or, as a paper published Tuesday in Science suggested, it could trace back to previous encounters with other coronaviruses, such as those that cause the common cold.”
The Most and Least Effective Face Masks, According to New Study (Mili)
The author writes, “Not all masks are created equal. Researchers at Duke University have tested 14 types of masks and other facial coverings and found that some are wanting when it comes to coronavirus protection, while others are quite good. Using an easy-to-assemble laser and cellphone system, the team shined precise light onto the droplets emitted by someone wearing all varieties of mask, from none to the high-concept N95 that health care workers use. The droplets people inadvertently spray out while coughing, sneezing, singing, shouting or even talking appear to be the most common form of transmission. The fewer of those we spew into everyone’s common air space, the lower the infection rate for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.”
Freaky ‘Hell Ant’ Found Frozen in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber With a Bug in Its Maw (Dana)
The author writes, “Murder hornets. Deadpool ‘assassin’ flies. Zombie cicadas. This year has been weird when it comes to insects, but I have some good news. At least ‘hell ants’ are extinct. Haidomyrmecine (‘hell ants’) lived during the Cretaceous period. One of these small, strange creatures was discovered trapped in 99-million-year-old amber. But that’s not all. This particular specimen was found with a nymph of a cockroach-like insect firmly in its grasp. … The specimen ‘presents some of the first direct evidence showing how it and other hell ants once used their killer features — snapping their bizarre, but deadly, scythe-like mandibles in a vertical motion to pin prey against their horn-like appendages.’ Modern ants use a lateral motion to grab their prey, which makes hell ants like this one all the odder.”
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