outer space, travel, innovation, elevator, design prize
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Space Elevator Concept Wins $10K Design Prize (Maria)

The author writes, “An architect from Cumbria [England] has won a €10,000 [$10,885] prize for his design of a new kind of space travel. Barrow-born Jordan William Hughes has designed an elevator that transports passengers into space. His futuristic concept was awarded a prize for space architecture and innovation from the Jacques Rougerie Foundation in Paris. Hughes admits that the idea may be fanciful today but he believes space elevators will be used in the future. … The use of an elevator is designed to replace rockets, which he says are inefficient, expensive and bad for the environment.”

Ex-Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Says He Unwittingly Sent AI-Generated Fake Legal Cases to His Attorney (Gerry)

The author writes, “Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s onetime personal lawyer and fixer, says he unwittingly passed along to his attorney bogus artificial intelligence-generated legal case citations he got online before they were submitted to a judge. Cohen made the admission in a court filing unsealed [last month] in Manhattan federal court after a judge … asked a lawyer to explain how court rulings that do not exist were cited in a motion submitted on Cohen’s behalf.”

A Right-Wing Tale of Michigan Election Fraud Had It All — Except Proof (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “The story had all the elements of a blockbuster crime saga: burner phones, semiautomatic weapons, silencers and bags of prepaid cash cards. ‘NOW WE HAVE PROOF!’ blared the headline on the right-wing website Gateway Pundit. ‘Massive 2020 Voter Fraud Uncovered in Michigan.’ The story referenced ‘thousands of fraudulent ballots’ caught by Muskegon City Clerk Ann Meisch. Grateful readers deluged her office with hundreds of calls, hailing her as a hero. But Meisch knew it wasn’t true.”

Proposed Law Would Create Trust Funds for Low-Income Babies to Address Washington’s Growing Wealth Gap (Reader Steve)

From The Spokesman-Review: “Nearly half the babies in Washington are born into poor families. This legislative session, some lawmakers and the state treasurer are once again trying to pass a proposal they say will break cycles of poverty. … The Washington Future Fund would create a trust fund program for the roughly 40,000 children born each year under the state’s Medicaid program, Apple Health. Those children would be granted access to a trust fund after turning 18 up until they reach age 35 to be used toward homeownership, launching a small business or pursuing higher education.”

On Ideological Litmus Tests (Al)

From Perspectives on History: “How should professionals defend themselves against transparent political attacks that might lead to the termination of their jobs? In expressing their opinions, especially if made in the classroom, are they exercising their rights to free speech and academic freedom, or are they drawing conclusions based on their expertise? For historians, the line between their rights as citizens and their obligations as professionals can be easy to blur, and those who harbor animosity toward educated elites often do not recognize the difference between ideological and professional opinions.”

Dying in the Fields as Temperatures Soar (Laura)

The authors write, “Scores of California farmworkers are dying in the heat in regions with chronically bad air, even in a state with one of the toughest heat standards in the nation.”

Molecular Jackhammers’ ‘Good Vibrations’ Eradicate Cancer Cells (Russ)

The author writes, “The Beach Boys’ iconic hit single ‘Good Vibrations’ takes on a whole new layer of meaning thanks to a recent discovery by Rice University scientists and collaborators, who have uncovered a way to destroy cancer cells by using the ability of some molecules to vibrate strongly when stimulated by light.”

Science Editors Pick Their Most Memorable Stories of 2023 (Sean)

From Science: “In-depth investigations, fascinating findings, and writers’ field reports from around the world — these are the stories that stuck with our news editors.”

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