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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 3,619

Journal Archives

U.S. job openings hit record high, more workers quitting

Source: Reuters

U.S. job openings surged to a record high in March, suggesting that a recent slowdown in hiring was probably the result of employers having difficulties finding qualified workers.

The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released by the Labor Department on Tuesday also showed more workers voluntarily quit their jobs in March, a sign of confidence in the labor market that economists believe will help to push up wage growth this year.

The JOLTS report bolsters expectations that inflation will accelerate and keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates at least two more times this year. The U.S. central bank hiked interest rates in March.

“The labor market is hot and getting hotter by the day so central bankers need to continue to take the punch bowl away because higher wages and greater inflation are on the way,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-jobs/u-s-job-openings-hit-record-high-more-workers-quitting-idUSKBN1I91YV

Judge rejects Mueller's request for delay in Russian troll farm case

Source: Politico

A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a brief order Saturday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich offered no explanation for her decision to deny a request prosecutors made Friday to put off the scheduled Wednesday arraignment for Concord Management and Consulting, one of the three firms charged in the case.

The 13 people charged in the high-profile indictment in February are considered unlikely to ever appear in a U.S. court. The three businesses accused of facilitating the alleged Russian troll farm operation — the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management, and Concord Catering — were also expected to simply ignore the American criminal proceedings.

Last month, however, a pair of Washington-area lawyers suddenly surfaced in the case, notifying the court that they represent Concord Management. POLITICO reported at the time that the move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller’s team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/04/mueller-russia-interference-election-case-delay-570627

Judge is appointed by Trump.

Dem congressman: Force gun owners to get rid of assault weapons

Source: NBC News

A Democratic congressman has proposed outlawing “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons” and forcing existing owners to sell their weapons or face prosecution, a major departure from prior gun control proposals that typically exempt existing firearms.

In a USA Today op-ed entitled “Ban assault weapons, buy them back, go after resisters,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., argued Thursday that prior proposals to ban assault weapons “would leave millions of assault weapons in our communities for decades to come.”

Swalwell proposes that the government should offer up to $1,000 for every weapon covered by a new ban, estimating that it would take $15 billion to buy back roughly 15 million weapons — and “criminally prosecute any who choose to defy [the buyback] by keeping their weapons.”

In the past, Democrats and gun safety groups have carefully resisted proposals that could be interpreted as “gun confiscation,” a concept gun rights groups have often invoked as part of a slippery slope argument against more modest proposals like universal background checks.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/dem-congressman-force-gun-owners-sell-assault-weapons-n871066

Democratic Midterm Momentum Has 'Stalled,' Top Party Pollster Warns

Source: Huffington Post

A top Democratic pollster is warning his party’s candidates not to buy into the GOP’s rosy messaging on the economy and tax cuts, arguing they need to spotlight the economic headwinds and rising health care costs their base voters still face heading into the midterm elections.

The advice stems from new polling provided exclusively to HuffPost from Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, Greenberg Research, and Democracy Corps. The polls, conducted by phone and web panel, surveyed more than 3,000 registered voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin – all states with contested governor and/or Senate races, as well as competitive House contests.

“Democrats must not be distracted by the macro-economic and jobs-report numbers” Republicans have been touting, pollster Stan Greenberg wrote in a memo, authored with Democracy Corps’ Nancy Zdunkewicz and Page Gardner, president of the Women Voices Women Vote group. “It is a mistake to accept that GOP narrative and attribute credit to [former] President [Barack] Obama or insist it’s despite [President Donald] Trump and Republicans.”


The trio wrote that Democratic “momentum has stalled” in recent months because the party has failed to focus on “the economic and health care battles that most engage anti-Trump voters,” and because “Republican base voters, especially white working-class men, could finally point to a signature conservative policy achievement in the new tax cut law.”

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democratic-momentum-poll_us_5ae789a7e4b055fd7fcedaac

NASA Completes early tests of mini nuclear fission Reactor which could Power human Settlements on Ma

Source: Newsweek

NASA has successfully completed tests of a miniature nuclear reactor which could one day power long-term human settlements on the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Kilopower, as the system is known, is a small, lightweight fission reactor which will be capable of producing up to 10 kilowatts of electrical power—enough to run several households continuously for 10 years. Just four of these reactors would be sufficient to power a Martian outpost, according to NASA.

A reliable and efficient power system will be an essential part of future space missions as humans begin to settle other worlds, enabling outposts to be self-sufficient. The new reactor will provide the power for lighting, water and oxygen, as well as for running experiments and producing fuel. This capability will mean astronauts won't have to take all the resources they need with them, opening up new possibilities for exploration.

The reactor will be especially useful in the challenging environments of places such as the Moon and Mars where generating power using solar panels can be difficult. On Mars, for example, sunlight is limited by seasonal variation and periodic dust storms which can last for months. Meanwhile, night time on the Moon lasts around 14 days.

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/nasa-completes-early-tests-mini-nuclear-fission-reactor-which-could-power-909237

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier Might Be Unstable, and Scientists Are About to Find Out for Sure

Source: The Weather Channel

Scientists from the United States and United Kingdom announced a massive five-year study aimed at finding out how stable a key Antarctic glacier really is – or isn't.

They'll be focused on the Thwaites Glacier, located on the western side of Antarctica. It has lost a huge amount of ice recently – enough to contribute about 4 percent of overall sea level rise – and a complete collapse of the Florida-sized glacier would push sea levels up as much as 3 feet, according to Public Radio International.

The new study will be an attempt to learn more about the glacier in hopes that it'll lead to better modeling and a more exact projection of what might happen in the future.

"Really, the whole program is about understanding that extra uncertainty attached to sea level rise and doing what we can to remove it, allowing people to protect their coastal environments and to prepare property to protect their populations," David Vaughan, the director of science at the British Antarctic Survey, told reporters on Monday.

Read more: https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2018-05-01-thwaites-glacier-antarctic-expedition

TESS prepares for launch on a mission to search for near-Earth exoplanets

Source: NASA Space Flight

NASA and SpaceX are in final preparations for the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. The planet-hunting observatory will be launched by a brand new Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 into an orbital resonance with the moon that will allow it to perform a near all-sky survey to find and categorize the number and types of exoplanets within 300 light years of Earth. Liftoff is targeted for a 30 second window that opens at 18:32:07 EDT (22:32:07 UTC) on Monday, 16 April.

TESS background/overview:

The original idea for TESS goes back to 2005 when Dr. George Ricker was the Principle Investigator High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) – the first satellite mission dedicated to the study of gamma-ray bursts. Slowly, the idea evolved in 2008 and 2009, with Dr. Ricker, now TESS’s Principal Investigator at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), saying “We wanted to initially try to do this as a privately funded system, and MIT was very helpful for us. We had support from Google for some of the studies that were originally going to be done.”

That led to a collaboration with NASA Ames to create a proposal for a small-class explorer exoplanet mission that was ultimately not selected for flight. That then led to a partnership with Orbital ATK and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for a revised mission proposal over 2011 and 2012.

Read more: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/tess-launc

This is going to be awesome. I cannot wait for this satellite to start producing real science.

A Star Grazed Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago, and Early Humans Likely Saw It

Source: Space.com

Some distant objects in our solar system bear the gravitational imprint of a small star's close flyby 70,000 years ago, when modern humans were already walking the Earth, a new study suggests.

In 2015, a team of researchers announced that a red dwarf called Scholz's star apparently grazed the solar system 70,000 years ago, coming closer than 1 light-year to the sun. For perspective, the sun's nearest stellar neighbor these days, Proxima Centauri, lies about 4.2 light-years away. The astronomers came to this conclusion by measuring the motion and velocity of Scholz's star — which zooms through space with a smaller companion, a brown dwarf or "failed star" — and extrapolating backward in time.

Scholz's star passed by the solar system at a time when early humans and Neanderthals shared the Earth. The star likely appeared as a faint reddish light to anyone looking up at the time, researchers with the new study said.

The new study bolsters the 2015 analysis with a different type of evidence. A research team led by Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, of the Complutense University of Madrid, analyzed 339 known solar system bodies with hyperbolic orbits — paths through space that are V-shaped, rather than circular or elliptical.

Read more: https://www.space.com/40043-star-grazed-our-solar-system-disrupted-orbits.html

I am using my name because I'm still not sure the Mavericks get it.

Source: Sports Illustrated

Last month former Mavericks president Terdema Ussery was presented with allegations that he had sexually harassed multiple women while he held that position. In response he said this: “I am deeply disappointed that anonymous sources have made such outright false and inflammatory accusations against me.”

Let’s tackle that issue of anonymity. I worked in marketing and game operations for the Mavs from 2010 through ’14. I was one of the women Terdema harassed and who spoke to Sports Illustrated for the story. My name is Melissa Weishaupt.


I’m using my name because I’m still not sure the Mavericks get it. Since the story broke, owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly claimed he oversaw only the basketball side of that franchise, not the business side.

Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. You own 100% of the team, Mark. The buck stops with you. When I worked on the Mavs’ business side, all marketing, promotional and broadcasting decisions went through you. Nothing was decided without your approval.

Read more: https://www.si.com/nba/2018/03/20/dallas-mavericks-melissa-weishaupt-sexual-harassment-culture-mark-cuban

ProPublica Corrects Its Story On Trump's CIA Nominee Gina Haspel And Waterboarding

Source: NPR

ProPublica is retracting parts of its story that linked Gina Haspel, President Trump's choice to lead the CIA, with the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was held at a secret "black site" prison in Thailand in 2002. The investigative newsroom cited new clarifications from CIA insiders as the reason for its correction. It also issued an apology.

From ProPublica:

"We at ProPublica hold government officials responsible for their missteps, and we must be equally accountable.

"This error was particularly unfortunate because it muddied an important national debate about Haspel and the CIA's recent history. To her, and to our readers, we can only apologize, correct the record and make certain that we do better in the future."

Published on Feb. 22, 2017, the ProPublica story was originally titled "CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture." It cited criticism from two Democratic senators "who have seen the still-classified records of [Haspel's] time in Thailand" as well as declassified documents and books by "officials involved in the CIA's interrogation program."

Read more: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/16/594282245/propublica-corrects-its-story-on-trump-s-cia-nominee-gina-haspel-and-waterboardi
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