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Photo credit: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope / Flicker (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

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An Exoplanet Discovery Akin to Finding an ‘Ostrich Egg in the Chicken Coop’ (Maria)

The authors write, “Imagine you’re a farmer searching for eggs in the chicken coop — but instead of a chicken egg, you find an ostrich egg, much larger than anything a chicken could lay. That’s a little how our team of astronomers felt when we discovered a massive planet, more than 13 times heavier than Earth, around a cool, dim red star, nine times less massive than Earth’s Sun, earlier this year. The smaller star, called an M star, is not only smaller than the Sun in Earth’s solar system, but it’s 100 times less luminous. Such a star should not have the necessary amount of material in its planet-forming disk to birth such a massive planet.”

What If Donald Trump Is Convicted? The 2024 Republican Convention Rules Don’t Address the Issue (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Republican National Committee’s rules for next year’s nominating contest and convention were released [last] week without addressing a question the GOP could well face next summer: Can the party’s delegates vote for a different candidate if the presumptive nominee is convicted of a felony?”

Why Haley Is Rising Among the Rivals to Trump (Dana)

The author writes, “Over the last few months, Nikki Haley has gained enough in the polls that she might be on the verge of surpassing Ron DeSantis as Donald J. Trump’s principal rival in the race. With Ms. Haley still a full 50 percentage points behind Mr. Trump in national polls, her ascent doesn’t exactly endanger his path to the nomination. If anything, she is a classic factional candidate — someone who’s built a resilient base of support by catering to the wishes of a minority of the party.” 

Ukraine Makes New Push to Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare (Russ)

The author writes, “In early November, drone video surfaced online appearing to show a targeted strike blowing up three antennas on the roof of an apartment block. The Ukrainian drone commander who posted it claimed to have destroyed a Russian Pole-21 electronic warfare system on the eastern front near Donetsk. Ukraine is already racing to catch up with Russia when it comes to electronic warfare. This attack also shows how Kyiv is rushing to destroy Moscow’s technology on the battlefield — a sign of how important it may be for the future of the war.”

The South Is ‘the Epicenter’ of a New HIV Crisis. Medicaid Expansion Could Help. (Sean)

From The Center for Public Integrity: “HIV is surging in the South, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated ‘the epicenter’ of an emerging crisis particularly affecting seven states spanning from Texas to North Carolina. As last month’s gubernatorial election approached in Mississippi — which has the sixth-highest rate of HIV diagnoses in the nation — community healthcare workers had high hopes that help in the form of Medicaid expansion could be on the way.”

Why ‘Climate Havens’ Might Be Closer to Home Than You’d Think (Laura)

From Grist: “Climate havens may not be something nature hands us, but something we have to build ourselves. And finding refuge doesn’t necessarily entail moving across the country; given the right preparations, it could be closer to home than you think.”

A Rural MN Post Office Was Told to Prioritize Amazon Packages. Chaos Ensued. (Reader Jim)

From The Washington Post: “When Delbert Mikelson’s mail started showing up late — and sometimes not showing up at all — he blamed it on the opening of deer season. ‘I thought my carrier was out hunting,’ Mikelson said over a breakfast of eggs and pancakes at Raphael’s Bakery Cafe in downtown Bemidji. But it wasn’t the buck hunt delaying the mail in Bemidji, a tiny town 100 miles south of the Canadian border where welcome signs are written in both English and Ojibwe and statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox tower in downtown. Since early November, Bemidji has been bombarded by a sudden onslaught of Amazon packages — and local postal workers say they have been ordered to deliver those packages first.”


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