astronomy, Chile, state-of-the-art telescope, unique camera, Vera C Rubin Observatory
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State-of-the-Art Chile Telescope to Offer World’s Best View of Universe (Maria)

The author writes, “After nine years of construction, a state-of-the-art telescope connected to the world’s largest camera is set to change our understanding of astronomy. Perched on top of a barren mountaintop in the arid Chilean desert region of Coquimbo, the Vera C Rubin Observatory looks out of this world, quite literally. With a slick, futuristic frame lodged in the mountain’s groove on Cerro Pachón, the observatory is characterized by a distinctively compact, revolving dome-like shape that splinters into myriad angles. The unusual, isolated structure is the heart of a $1.9B project that will begin to map the sky in early 2025.”

CNN Staff Say Network’s Pro-Israel Slant Amounts to ‘Journalistic Malpractice’ (Gerry)

From The Guardian: “CNN is facing a backlash from its own staff over editorial policies they say have led to a regurgitation of Israeli propaganda and the censoring of Palestinian perspectives in the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza. Journalists in CNN newsrooms in the US and overseas say broadcasts have been skewed by management edicts and a story-approval process that has resulted in highly partial coverage of the Hamas massacre on 7 October and Israel’s retaliatory attack on Gaza. ‘The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting, has been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel,’ said one CNN staffer. ‘Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war amounts to journalistic malpractice.’”

Tithing to Trump: Some Washington Residents Donate to Him Every Other Day (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “There’s a school custodian in SeaTac who donated to Donald Trump 172 times last year. She sent Trump some money just about every other day. There’s a retiree in Pullman who gave Trump’s fundraising operation small amounts between $4 and $44 so many times — 165 times — that by the end of 2023 it added up to nearly $4,000. And there’s a self-employed handyman in Shoreline who started pushing the Trump donate button so hard beginning in July — sometimes giving 40 times in a month — that by year’s end he had sent $2,253. … In the past six months, the reports show, ‘small dollar Don’ got more than 39,000 donations from Washington state residents. That’s more than triple the number of the incumbent Democratic president, Joe Biden.”

A Town Derailed (Dana)

From Time: “A hazardous chemical accident takes place almost every day in the United States. The worst in recent history occurred on Feb. 3, 2023, when a train carrying toxic substances crashed and burned in a small Ohio town on the Pennsylvania border, setting off a chain of effects that tore a community apart. Photographer Rebecca Kiger spent a year documenting the aftermath of the tragedy in East Palestine.”

The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century (Reader Jim)

From The New York Times Magazine: “Of all the dozens of suspected thieves questioned by the detectives of the Train Burglary Task Force at the Los Angeles Police Department during the months they spent investigating the rise in theft from the city’s freight trains, one man stood out. What made Victor Llamas memorable wasn’t his criminality so much as his giddy enthusiasm for trespassing. He was a self-taught expert of the supply chain, a connoisseur of shipping containers. Even in custody, as the detectives interrogated him numerous times, after multiple arrests, in a windowless police-station room in the spring of 2022, a kind of nostalgia would sweep over the man. ‘He said that was the best feeling he’d ever had, jumping on the train while it was moving,’ [said Detective] Joe Chavez.”

Gene-Editing Offers Hope for People With Hereditary Disorder (Mili)

The author writes, “A group of patients with a hereditary disorder have had their lives transformed by a single treatment of a breakthrough gene-editing therapy. The patients from New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the UK have hereditary angioedema, a genetic disorder characterized by severe, painful, and unpredictable swelling attacks. These interfere with daily life and can affect airways and prove fatal. Now researchers from the University of Auckland, Amsterdam University Medical Center, and Cambridge University Hospitals have successfully treated more than ten patients with the CRISPR/Cas9 therapy.”

Hawaii’s Out-of-Control, Totally Bizarre Fight Over Stray Cats (Laura)

From Vox: “On a warm day last spring, dozens of protesters gathered outside a shopping center on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island. They weren’t there to boycott a store or a pipeline or to deride a politician. They came to revolt against a new ban on feeding cats in the parking lot. ‘Stop starving the cats,’ the protesters chanted, according to a local newspaper. The lot outside Queens Marketplace, the shopping center, is home to one of the island’s many colonies of stray, or free-ranging, cats. While there are no formal estimates, experts guess that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these colonies across Hawaii, each comprising anywhere from a few to more than a hundred felines. Hawaii is, to put it simply, teeming with cats.”


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