2019 Free Thinkers Headline News
1-15-19 First moon plants sprout in China’s Chang’e 4 biosphere experiment
A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space. Seeds of cotton, oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast. Pictures sent back by the probe show cotton, rape and potato seeds sprouting and growing well, the scientist leading the experiment, Liu Hanlong, told South China Morning Post. Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on 3 January and this image was dated 7 January. The organisms are kept in a sealed chamber, protected from the extreme temperatures and intense radiation on the moon’s surface. Understanding how to grow plants in space will help lay the foundation for establishing a human settlement on the moon, Liu said. The six organisms could make up a mini-ecosystem, with plants producing oxygen and food to sustain the fruit flies. Yeast could process the flies’ waste and dead plants to provide another food source. In a future human settlement, potatoes could provide food, rapeseed could be a source of oil and cotton could be used for clothing. Plants have been grown before in orbit in the International Space Station, including cucumbers. Astronauts got their first bites of space-grown romaine lettuce in 2015. Algae have even managed to survive 530 days on a panel on the outside of the space station. (Webmaster's comment: But the fact remains, China is taking the lead in space achievements.)
1-13-19 When kids think a shooter is coming
Lockdowns have become an ordinary feature of the American school day. Even when there's no violence, children suffer the psychic consequences. Locked behind their green classroom door, MaKenzie Woody and 25 other first-graders huddled in the darkness. She sat on the vinyl tile floor against a far wall, beneath a taped-up list of phrases the kids were encouraged to say to each other: “I like you,” “You’re a rainbow,” “Are you OK?” In that moment, though, the 6-year-old didn’t say anything at all, because she believed that a man with a gun was stalking the hallways of her school in the nation’s capital, and MaKenzie feared what he might do to her. Three times between September and November, bursts of gunfire near MaKenzie’s public charter elementary school led DC Prep to seal off its Washington campus and sequester its students. During the last one, on Nov. 16, a silver sedan parked just around the corner at 10:42 a.m., then the men inside stepped out and fired more than 40 rounds. As MaKenzie’s class hid upstairs, teachers frantically rushed three dozen preschoolers off the playground and back into the building. The children of DC Prep hid for 20 minutes, until police officers arrived at the crime scene around the corner and began to take note of where the 40-plus bullet casings had scattered. What did not arrive was the caravan of TV trucks and reporters that so often descend on schools when such scenes play out in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods. In the hours that followed, students began to unravel. Among the things they said: “Who’s going to shoot me?” “I want to shoot people.” “I want to shoot myself.” “The lockdowns,” as MaKenzie calls them, have changed her, because the little girl with long braids and chocolate-brown eyes remembers what it was like before them, when she always felt safe at her school, and she knows what it’s been like afterward, when that feeling disappeared. In April, the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High, and that day will arrive in the aftermath of the worst year of school shootings in modern American history. Last spring, The Washington Post launched a database that tracked incidents of gun violence on campuses dating back to 1999, and the carnage in 2018 shattered every record. Most shootings at schools: 25. Most people shot: 94. Most people killed: 33. Most students exposed to gunfire on their campuses: 25,332.
1-4-19 Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.
While Donald Trump has spent much of his presidency focused on the number of people who want to get into the U.S., since he took office, record numbers of Americans have wanted to get out. Though relatively average by global standards, the 16% of Americans overall who said in 2017 and again in 2018 that they would like to permanently move to another country -- if they could -- is higher than the average levels during either the George W. Bush (11%) or Barack Obama administration (10%).
- 40% of women younger than 30 would like to leave the U.S.
- 22% who disapprove of Trump would like to move vs. 7% who approve
- Canada is top desired destination for would-be migrant Americans
(Webmaster's comment: Staying here in American more than doubles your odds for being beaten, raped or killed by the white male brutes. In Europe the statistics are 4 times better for your survival and a far happier life. You stay in America at a high risk of bodily harm!)
1-3-19 China’s Chang’e 4 makes historic first landing on the moon’s far side
For the first time, a spacecraft has landed on the side of the moon that is always facing away from Earth – an area that, until now, we had only seen from orbit. The China National Space Administration’s Chang’e 4 lander launched on 7 December and has spent the past month reaching the correct orbit to attempt the historic landing. The CNSA also launched a lunar satellite in May to facilitate communication with the lander, as there is never a direct line of sight between the moon’s far side and Earth. That lack of visibility meant that Chang’e 4 had to make its landing almost completely autonomously, with no input from mission control. At 10.26 am Beijing time on 3 January, the lander successfully touched down on the surface in an enormous depression called the South Pole-Aitken basin. This basin is particularly important because it is thought to be a crater from a huge impact during the moon’s early years. The impact may have punched through the crust and dug up rocks from deeper underground. If so, the spacecraft will be able to study these rocks to learn about the moon’s past as well as its present. The mission will also help prepare for the moon’s possible future. Researchers are keen to send radio telescopes to the far side of the moon, where radio wave pollution from Earth’s communications and power lines is blocked out. Chang’e 4 is also carrying a “biosphere” with potato seeds, cress and silkworm larvae to see if they can thrive in a sealed container on the moon. (Webmaster's comment: China is now the undisputed leader in space technology. United states now only leads in its number of military killing machines.)
1-2-19 US fires tear gas at migrants at Mexico border crossing
US agents have fired tear gas over the border into Mexico at migrants trying to enter the country illegally. Around 150 Central Americans tried to make the crossing near the town of Tijuana to the south of California on New Year's Day. One US official described the migrants as a "violent mob". It comes as the US federal government remains shut down as President Donald Trump and Congress argue over funding for his proposed border wall. The US said security forces used tear gas after migrants threw rocks, and that they were deliberately aiming upwind of rock-throwers who they say hindered agents from helping migrants who were passing children over razor wire. But the Associated Press reports rocks were only thrown after agents fired tear gas, and a Reuters witness says one migrant was struck by what seemed to be a tear gas canister. US Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman called the group a "violent mob", and said agents used "the minimum force necessary to defend themselves". In a statement, Ms Waldman called on Congress to "fully fund the border wall". US Customs and Border Protection said 25 people were detained, including two teenagers. The majority of migrants returned to Mexico. A spokesperson for Mexico's foreign ministry said the government "regrets the events" near Tijuana, and called on both sides to respect the law.
12-31-18 Parkland school shooting survivors' anger at Louis CK routine
Survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida have hit out at comedian Louis CK after he was heard poking fun at them in a stand-up set. The leaked audio apparently came from one of his comeback routines a year after he admitted sexual misconduct. In it, he ridiculed the Parkland pupils who have become anti-gun activists. Survivor Ryan Deitsch tweeted: "It's a shame when you sink so low that your comeback plan is to make fun of school shooting survivors for speaking out." Another survivor, Sofie Whitney, said he "must be really intimidated by us kids". Alex Wind said the audience members who could be heard laughing and clapping at Louis CK's jokes were "just as much at fault". And Delaney Tarr, who had to hide in a cupboard from the gunman, added her voice. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in February's shooting, suggested the comic "come to our house and try out your new pathetic jokes". Jaime was one of 17 people who were killed when a 19-year-old expelled former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February. A group of students went on to set up the campaign group March For Our Lives to lobby for tighter gun control measures. In his routine, Louis CK could be heard making fun of the survivors, saying: "Why does that make you interesting? You didn't get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I've got to listen to you talking?" A version of the comic's expletive-laden set was posted on YouTube on 30 December. Louis CK's career took a downturn after he admitted several instances of sexual misconduct in November 2017. He said he had "wielded power irresponsibly" and could hardly wrap his head around the "scope of hurt" he had caused. (Webmaster's comment: It all part of a white male brute's character. Rape them or shoot them or laugh about it!)
12-12-18 2018 'worst year for US school shootings'
This year, 113 people have been killed or injured in school shootings in the United States. That's the sobering finding of a project to count the annual toll of gun attacks in schools. At the beginning of 2018, Education Week, a journal covering education in the US, began to track school shootings - and has since recorded 23 incidents where there were deaths or injuries. With many parts of the US having about 180 school days per year, it means, on average, a shooting once every eight school days. Another database recording school shootings says 2018 has had the highest number of incidents ever recorded, in figures going back to 1970. That database, from the US Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), uses a different way of identifying gun incidents in school, and says this year there have been 94. The idea behind the year-long Education Week project was to mark each shooting - so that attacks should never come to seem "normal" and that every victim should be remembered. But it was also an attempt to fill in the gaps in knowledge, because while there was intense media coverage of multiple-casualty shootings, there was much less clarity about the attacks happening across the country each month. Lesli Maxwell, assistant managing editor of Education Week, said this year has "definitely been an outlier" with two large-scale school shootings, which have contributed to such a high annual loss of life. Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas, there were 10 killed, with both gun attacks carried out by teenage boys. "This year also stands out because of all the activism that followed Parkland, with students leading the charge," says Ms Maxwell. These included a shooting at a primary school in Virginia last month, when a parent collecting their child was shot in the leg when a gun in the pocket of another parent was accidentally fired. Or in March in a high school in Maryland, when a 17-year-old teenager shot and injured two students and then, after he was confronted, killed himself. One of the injured, a 16-year-old girl, died a few days later. The shootings are a bleak list of teenagers, guns and innocent victims. The perpetrators are as young as 12 but are mostly 16 or 17. (Webmaster's comment: The slaughter of the innocent continues!)