US elections, midterms, early voting, high turnout
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Early Voting on Track to Match 2018 Record, Researchers Say (Maria)

The author writes, “Early voting in the midterm elections is on track to match records set in 2018, according to researchers, as voters take advantage of both in-person and mail-in voting in states across the country. More than 5.8 million people had already cast their vote by Friday evening, CNN reported, a similar total to this stage in the 2018 elections, which had the highest turnout of any midterm vote in a generation. States with closely watched elections, including Georgia, Florida and Ohio, are among those seeing high volumes, with Democrats so far casting early votes in greater numbers.”

Kevin McCarthy, Who Liz Cheney Called the ‘Leader of the Pro-Putin Wing’ of the GOP, Has Developed a Reputation for Desperate Power Grabs (Sean)

From Insider: “Following his statements last week suggesting aid to Ukraine may be limited if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in November’s election, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is facing criticism that has been levied at him before. ‘The fact that he’s willing to go down the path of suggesting that America will no longer stand for freedom, I think, tells you he’s willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain,’ Rep. Liz Cheney said during a Sunday interview with Meet the Press.”

Slavery Is on the Ballot for Voters in 5 US States (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “More than 150 years after slaves were freed in the U.S., voters in five states will soon decide whether to close loopholes that led to the proliferation of a different form of slavery — forced labor by people convicted of certain crimes. None of the proposals would force immediate changes inside the states’ prisons, though they could lead to legal challenges related to how they use prison labor, a lasting imprint of slavery’s legacy on the entire United States.”

A Coming-Out Party for Generative A.I., Silicon Valley’s New Craze (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “In Silicon Valley, crypto and the metaverse are out. Generative A.I. is in. That much became clear … at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Stability AI, the start-up behind the popular Stable Diffusion image-generating algorithm, gave a party that felt a lot like a return to prepandemic exuberance. The event … was billed as a launch party for Stability AI and a celebration of the company’s recent $101 million fund-raising round, which reportedly valued the company at $1 billion. But it doubled as a coming-out bash for the entire field of generative A.I. — the wonky umbrella term for A.I. that doesn’t just analyze existing data but creates new text, images, videos, code snippets and more.”

With Hotter Temperatures Come More Football Deaths (Laura)

From Sports Illustrated: “The number of football players who have died from heat has increased dramatically over the last decade, says Scott Anderson, the longtime head athletic trainer at Oklahoma and now president of the College Athletic Trainers Society. [Phillip] Laster was up to the 14th football player to suffer a heat-related death since 2020, according to tracking done by Anderson and Doug Casa, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut (there is no mandatory reporting on high school football deaths, so the pair cautions their numbers may be imprecise).”

Niger Delta Oil Spills Bring Poverty, Low Crop Yields to Farmers (Mili)

From Al Jazeera: “Industry insiders say six decades of oil exploration have made the Niger Delta one of the most polluted places on earth and damaged a lot, including farmlands.”

Rats With Backpacks Could Help Rescue Earthquake Survivors (Sean)

The author writes, “Buildings don’t collapse very often — but when they do, it’s catastrophic for those trapped inside. Natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes can level entire towns, and for the search and rescue teams trying to find survivors, it’s a painstaking task. But an unlikely savior is being trained up to help out: rats. The project, conceived of by Belgian non-profit APOPO, is kitting out rodents with tiny, high-tech backpacks to help first responders search for survivors among rubble in disaster zones.”


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