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Through his foundation, Mr. Singer donated $150,000 to DePaul University in Chicago while his son was an undergraduate there, said Carol Hughes, a spokeswoman for the college, noting that the younger Mr. Singer graduated in 2017. The donations, she said, were intended to support students as they studied abroad.

Between 2011 and 2018, parents paid Mr. Singer some $25 million to get their children into the right schools, prosecutors said.

By the end, as investigators were learning of the scheme, Mr. Singer seemed to have his illegal methods well established. He had grown bold about his side door, even cocky.

When he sought out photos of a student that he planned to insert digitally into a real image of an athlete, he breezily told one parent not to worry, he had done this “a million times.” In communications with colleges, he laid out false athletic credentials for students that might easily have been checked and revealed as lies; he listed one high school student as a “3-year Varsity Letter winner” in water polo and “Team M.V.P. 2017,” even though the girl did not know how to play the sport.

Last summer, when an adviser at the University of Southern California asked an incoming freshman about his plans for the track team, the student — unaware that his parents and Mr. Singer had sold him as a track standout, complete with a pole-vaulting photo — phoned home, clearly confused. The student’s worried mother then called Mr. Singer, who brushed it all off. “I would just go about your business and let it be,” he told her.

When investigators stepped in last year, and confronted Mr. Singer with his years of questionable dealings, he turned on some of the families who had poured out their deepest parenting fears and trusted him with their complicated family dynamics.

In phone conversations that Mr. Singer knew were being recorded by the F.B.I., he prodded parents to acknowledge their part in shared crimes. If a parent sensed a problem and suggested meeting in person, Mr. Singer agreed — and then wore a wire.

Even then, he did not fully commit to cooperating with the government, the records show. Mr. Singer had built his business on relationships, recommendations and trust, and he appeared unwilling to tear all of it down again. At one point last year, the authorities say, Mr. Singer secretly reached out to several people involved in the plot — people he had presumably once sold on his know-how, his power, and himself — and warned them about the criminal investigation.

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The choices we make every day can have a lasting effect on our heart and vascular health. Adopting a heart healthy eating plan, getting more exercise, avoiding tobacco and managing known risk factors are among the key recommendations in the 2019 Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease guideline from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). Also, it is recommended that aspirin should only rarely be used to help prevent heart attacks and stroke in people without known cardiovascular disease.

The guideline, presented today at ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Session, is offers comprehensive but practical recommendations for preventing cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 3 deaths in the U.S. is due to cardiovascular disease.

“The most important way to prevent cardiovascular disease, whether it’s a build-up of plaque in the arteries, , stroke, failure or issues with how the heart contracts and pumps blood to the rest of the body, is by adopting heart and to do so over one’s lifetime,” said Roger S. Blumenthal, MD, co-chair of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and the Kenneth Jay Pollin Professor of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “More than 80 percent of all cardiovascular events are preventable through , yet we often fall short in terms of implementing these strategies and controlling other risk factors.”

The new prevention guideline, he said, is intended to provide a roadmap of strategies that can be used and tailored to help people without a history of heart disease stay heart healthy and, importantly, emphasize the need to identify and address personal or social barriers for doing so (e.g., income and education levels, cost concerns, lack of health insurance, access to healthy foods or safe places to exercise, life stressors).

Risk Assessment

According to the guideline, any effort to prevent a first instance of cardiovascular disease (called primary prevention) should ideally start with a thorough assessment of one’s risk—that is, estimating how likely someone is to develop blockages in their arteries and have a heart attack or stroke or die as a result. All patients should openly talk with their care team about their current health habits and personal risk for cardiovascular disease and, together, determine the best way to prevent it based on current evidence and personal preferences.

“We have good evidence now for how to identify these very high risk individuals with a physical exam and a good history, and for those at borderline risk there are additional factors that can help us determine who is at greater risk and should, for example, be on a medication like a statin earlier to prevent a cardiovascular event,” Blumenthal said. “In the past, a lot of people may have had a fatalistic attitude that they were going to develop heart problems sooner or later but, in reality, most cardiovascular events can be prevented.”

The document synthesizes the best data and proven interventions for improving diet and exercise, tobacco cessation and optimally controlling other factors that affect one’s likelihood of heart problems and stroke (e.g., obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and ). The document also discusses the challenges that may interfere with individuals being able to integrate better lifestyle habits. 

Lifestyle Change Recommendations

The guideline underscores healthy lifestyle changes as the cornerstone of preventing heart disease and goes a step further by providing practical advice based on the latest research.

“We can all do better with our dietary and exercise habits, and that’s so important when we think about wanting to live longer and healthier lives, whether it’s to see our grandchildren grow up or to stay as active as possible in older age,” Blumenthal said.

Some of the key lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Eating heart healthier – choosing more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish, and limiting salt, saturated fats, fried foods, processed meats, and sweetened beverages; specific eating plans like the Mediterranean, DASH and vegetarian diets are reviewed.
  • Engaging in regular exercise – experts advise aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, dancing or cycling each week. For people who are inactive, some activity is better than none and small 10-minute bursts of activity throughout the day can add up for those with hectic schedules. Currently, only half of American adults are getting enough exercise and prolonged periods of sitting can counteract the benefits of exercise.
  • Aiming for and keeping a healthy weight – for people who are overweight or obese, losing just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight (that would be 10-20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds) can markedly cut their risk of heart disease, stroke and other health issues.
  • Avoiding tobacco by not smoking, vaping or breathing in smoke – 1 in 3 deaths from heart disease is attributable to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, so every effort to try to quit through counseling and/or approved cessation medications should be supported and tailored to each individual.

Aspirin Use

For people who’ve had a heart attack, stroke, open heart surgery or stents placed to open clogged arteries, aspirin can be lifesaving. But regular use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke in healthy people isn’t as clear-cut.

In this guideline, ACC/ AHA experts offer science-based guidance that aspirin should only rarely be used to help prevent heart attacks and stroke in people without known cardiovascular disease. Recent research suggests that the chance of bleeding, given the blood-thinning effect of aspirin, may be too high and the evidence of benefit—the number of heart attacks or strokes that are actually prevented—is not sufficient enough to make a daily aspirin worth taking for most adults in this setting.

“Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease,” Blumenthal said. “It’s much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin. Aspirin should be limited to people at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease and a very low risk of bleeding.”

Based on a simplified synopsis of the latest ACC/AHA cholesterol guideline, for primary prevention, statins should be commonly recommended with lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular disease among people with elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (≥ 190 mg/dl), Type 2 diabetes, and anyone who is deemed to have a high likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack upon reviewing their medical history and risk factors and having a detailed discussion with their clinician.

Diabetes

For people with Type 2 diabetes, which is one of the strongest for , there are new data that two classes of diabetes medications, which work to lower blood sugar levels, can also cut the risk of heart attack, stroke and related deaths.

The 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease will simultaneously publish in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.


Frequent use of aspirin can lead to increased bleeding


More information:
Donna K. Arnett et al. 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Circulation (2019). DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000678


Provided by
American Heart Association

Citation:
ACC/AHA guidance for preventing heart disease, stroke released (2019, March 18)
retrieved 20 March 2019
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-03-accaha-guidance-heart-disease.html

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It was supposed to be a chance for Muslim and Jewish House Democrats to ease tensions and find common ground. It ended with one lawmaker in tears. 

At a late-night meeting blocks from the Capitol, about a dozen lawmakers shared their raw experiences with bigotry and discrimination, hoping the stories would bridge the glaring interfaith divide. Suddenly, Rep. Dean Phillips, a Jewish Democrat, shattered a moment meant to be about listening and learning — not politics.  

Phillips felt he had to address what had been unspoken for nearly two hours — the recent divisive remarks of Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who suggested American supporters of Israel have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” 

Those kinds of remarks, Phillips said, represented “tips of the arrow” — small but devastating offenses that made Jews fearful of a rising tide of anti-Semitism. Phillips told his fellow Minnesota freshman that she had to apologize and said the group should publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist and protect itself.

His words stunned the three Muslim Democrats in the room, as well as some other Jewish members and third-party participants. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), a Palestinian American who is critical of the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians, grew emotional and started to cry as she spoke of her grandmother’s suffering in the West Bank at the hands of Israelis. “She would treat you like a grandson,” she said to Phillips, according to two people in the room.

The abrupt end to the March 5 meeting — the second gathering aimed at reconciliation — was a discomfiting moment in a previously unreported, behind-the-scenes effort inside the diverse class of House Democrats to foster tolerance amid the withering pressure of Washington. 

Democrats’ convulsive efforts to respond to Omar’s recent criticisms of Israel have exposed ugly rifts in the party over religion and U.S. ally Israel that have boiled over on Twitter and in the public sphere. Those fights within the party have distracted from the party’s legislative agenda and fueled political attacks from Republicans, including President Trump. 

It’s why Democrats on both sides have formed a small group to try to work past their differences. Success or failure of the private meetings could have an impact on the party’s larger effort to unite across schisms on race, gender and ideology.

Despite the harsh ending to the meeting, several participants who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations said the huddle had a profound effect: Some in the room heard stories of hardship from their colleagues they knew nothing about. 

The next day, at a heated closed-door caucus meeting, some of those attendees pushed back against leadership’s plan to reprimand Omar for the same comments Phillips objected to the night before. Some Jewish participants of the meeting broke with people of their faith who wanted to rebuke Omar by name. They had come to know her, did not believe her comments were intentional and objected to the idea of rebuking a woman who had told them the night before about death threats she had received. 

“If we can’t be on the same page, it’s hard for the country to,” said Phillips, adding that he learned from the gathering — and the effect his words had. “We have an opportunity here because the eyes are on us. We know that.”

House Democratic leaders responded with a sweeping resolution condemning all forms of hate that passed overwhelmingly on March 7. 

Days before the first meeting on Feb. 13, Omar posted tweets attributing politicians’ support of Israel to campaign money donated by pro-Israel groups — “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she wrote. Critics earlier had unearthed comments Omar made during violence between Israelis and Palestinians in 2012, suggesting Israel had “hypnotized” a world that did nothing to stop the bloodshed.

Those comments outraged many Jewish Democratic lawmakers, who pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her lieutenants to condemn Omar’s remarks. Omar apologized the next day and later deleted the tweets. 

When the group met two days later at a former lawmaker’s house on Capitol Hill, the controversy had mostly cleared, and Raskin was determined to keep the mood casual, according to several who attended who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private sessions. 

He asked everyone to go around the room to say something about a grandparent, starting the conversation by talking about how his grandfather had been the first Jewish member of the Minnesota legislature — a pathbreaker like many of the freshman House Democrats.

The idea, according to people familiar with the session, was to humanize one another. Raskin would not discuss details of the meeting but said that he is “constantly trying to get members together to talk about the experiences and values that have brought them into public life.”

Phillips, a wealthy businessman representing the Minneapolis suburbs, spoke of his grandmother teaching him piano and how he was adopted from a poor family into a wealthier one after his father died in the Vietnam War.

Rep. André Carson (Ind.), a Muslim convert elected in 2008, told a story about his grandmother picking him up from a shelter when he was little after his mother, who struggled with schizophrenia, had a severe episode. That grandmother, former congresswoman Julia Carson, ended up raising him and introducing him to politics. 

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.) talked about how her grandparents left Russia to escape anti-Jewish pogroms and were eager to embrace America.

“I think it was just the beginning, and I think it’s important that we get to understand each other and try and educate people, understand people’s different points of view,” Lowey said about the meeting.

But the conversations left some members wanting to delve deeper into personal struggles — especially in light of Omar’s comments. Rep. Andy Levin (Mich.), a former labor organizer and synagogue president, began organizing a more formal event that would focus on anti-Semitism, calling on leaders of a liberal Jewish group, Bend the Arc, to attend and moderate the discussion.

Levin had hoped the leftward tilt of the organization would make it easier to discuss such a sensitive topic with liberal members who sympathize with Palestinians. He also extended the invitation to freshmen allies of Omar and Tlaib — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — in hopes of making the two Muslim women more comfortable. 

But days before the meeting, Omar again sparked an uproar with her comments about American supporters of Israel. Several Jewish Democrats had quietly started pressing Pelosi to pass a resolution rebuking Omar by name and condemning anti-Semitism. Lowey used Twitter to “urge her to retract this statement and engage in further dialogue with the Jewish community,” which in turn prompted a public retort from Ocasio-Cortez. 

When the small group convened, tensions emerged almost immediately. A Bend the Arc facilitator made a joke about Jews and money to try to clear the air. But Rep. Jahana Hayes (Conn.), one of the freshman allies invited to join the session, grew serious and asked why the facilitator could talk like that when someone like Hayes could not.

“It’s not okay,” Hayes said this past week when asked about the specific exchange. “These [sorts of jokes] are off-limits. It’s confusing for someone like me who is trying to learn.”

Hayes, however, said the meeting — which delved into the history of anti-Semitism and charged language — was helpful for people who don’t know the meaning of certain words. “I’m looking to try to understand everybody’s perspective,” she said. “This isn’t my community.”

The conversation took a different turn as some non-Jewish members in the room admitted they didn’t know what anti-Semitism looks like. The Jews present appreciated the candor and sought to share stories illuminating why certain words had negative meaning. 

Soon lawmakers were talking about their experiences with discrimination.  

Toward the end of the session, Phillips felt the need to bring up a personal hurt: Omar’s recent comments.  

Omar, who supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said nothing as Tlaib described the effects of Israel’s policies on her Palestinian family. Others in the room saw racial undertones in Phillips’s comments, offended that a white businessman representing an affluent suburban community was suggesting a black refugee such as Omar incited fear.

Phillips, startled by Tlaib’s emotional reaction, embraced her afterward and told her that he would like to meet her grandmother someday.

Tlaib and Omar declined to comment about the meeting. In a Washington Post op-ed published Sunday, Omar advocated for a U.S. foreign policy based on the “universal values” of peace and human rights and laid out a nuanced view of the clash between Israelis and Palestinians. “A balanced, inclusive approach to the conflict recognizes the shared desire for security and freedom of both peoples,” she wrote.

Asked about the exchange, Phillips said he had not intended to offend anyone and had learned from it. “It wasn’t planned, and it wasn’t what we expected. But I think it was cathartic. It certainly was for me,” Phillips said. 

Since then, the group has huddled on the House floor to discuss what happened. Although the exercise has been uncomfortable at times, many think it was worthwhile and are planning to do it again, perhaps focusing on anti-Muslim bigotry and racism.

“This wasn’t a one-time thing,” Levin said in an interview in which he spoke generally about the meeting but declined to comment on specific events. “We are committed to building authentic relationships of mutual understanding and solidarity to tackle all forms of discrimination and oppression. The only way to do that is by having private dialogues where folks can speak freely so we can really learn from and about each other.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story did not make Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s position on Israel clear. The story has been updated to explain that she is critical of the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians.

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TORONTO — Students at Ontario colleges and universities plan to stage walkouts on Wednesday to protest the provincial government’s changes to post-secondary funding.

The Progressive Conservative government eliminated free tuition for low-income students in January while imposing a 10 per cent across-the-board tuition fee cut, and made several once-mandatory student fees, such as those that fund campus organizations and clubs, optional.

The Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students says students at 13 colleges and universities have already signed up to walk out of class at 12 p.m. on Wednesday.

The group is calling on the province to provide more grants, rather than loans and to eliminate tuition fees for all students.

The previous Liberal government had increased the number of grants and made it possible for low-income students to attend college or university free of cost.

Under that program, low-income students could qualify for grants large enough to cover the full cost of tuition under the previous plan, but now a portion of the funding they receive will be a loan

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Intel today announced that it and subcontractor Cray will build the first supercomputer with of one exaflop of performance — equivalent to one quintillion floating point computations (“flops”) per second, where a flop equals two 15-digit numbers multiplied together — for the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. It’s expected to be delivered by 2021.

The Santa Clara company says that the $500 million system, dubbed Aurora, is purpose-built for both traditional high-performance computing and artificial intelligence, and that it will be used to “dramatically” advance scientific research and discovery. It’s the second iteration; Intel previously said it would deploy a 180-petaflop supercomputer at Argonne in 2018, architected on its third-gen Knights Hill Xeon Phi processors, but scrapped the plans after China revealed it intended to build an exascale system by 2020.

At the core of Aurora is a future generation of Intel’s Xeon Scalable processor — Intel Xᵉ — paired with next-gen Optane DC persistent memory. It’ll employ Cray’s Shasta supercomputing system and its Slingshot high-performance interconnect, and fully support Intel’s One API, a suite of developer tools for mapping compute engines to a range of processors, graphics chips, field-programmable gate arrays, and other accelerators.

“There is tremendous scientific benefit to our nation that comes from collaborations like this one with the Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, and industry partners Intel and Cray,” said Argonne National Laboratory director Paul Kearns. “Argonne’s Aurora system is built for next-generation Artificial Intelligence and will accelerate scientific discovery by combining high-performance computing and artificial intelligence to address real-world problems, such as improving extreme weather forecasting, accelerating medical treatments, [charting] the human brain, developing new materials, and further understanding the universe — and that is just the beginning.”

Aurora is an outgrowth of the Energy Department’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP), a grant program within its longrunning PathForward initiative which seeks to accelerate research necessary to develop exascale supercomputers in the U.S. Nearly $258 million in funding was allocated over a three-year contract period starting 2017, and the companies selected to participate — Advanced Micro Devices, Cray, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Nvidia, in addition to Intel — were required to supply supplementary financing amounting to at least 40 percent of their total project cost.

More recently, in April, the Energy Department opened requests for two exoscale systems as part of its CORAL-2 procurement, with a budget ranging from $800 million to $1.2 billion.

The Department of Energy previously awarded $425 million in federal funding to IBM, Nvidia, and other companies to build two supercomputers: one at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and another at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. The Oak Ridge system — Summit — delivers between 143 to 200 peak petaflops, according to the TOP500 ranking of supercomputer performance (based on LINPACK score), while Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia cluster tops out at about 20 petaflops. Both Summit and Sierra were built by IBM and pack IBM Power9 processors and Nvidia Tesla V100 accelerator chips, and consume an enormous amounts of power — up to 13MW, in Summit’s case.

“Achieving exascale is imperative, not only to better the scientific community, but also to better the lives of everyday Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Aurora and the next generation of exascale supercomputers will apply HPC and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments. The innovative advancements that will be made with exascale will have an incredibly significant impact on our society.”

Assuming Intel delivers on its promise, Aurora will be the crown jewel in the U.S.’s supercomputer portfolio, but it might not be the world’s most powerful. Three teams in China — in Tianjin (prototype), Jinan, and Beijing — are actively competing to build China’s exascale system in the next seven months, and Japan’s Post-K exascale computer has a target deployment date of 2020.

Currently, America hosts five of the 10 fastest computers in the world, with China’s best — the TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, built on Sunway’s SW26010 processor architecture, and the Tianhe-2A in Guangzhou — ranking third and fourth, respectively, at roughly 125 peak petaflops and 100 peak petaflops. Cray’s Piz Daint sits in fifth ahead of Trinity at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fujitsu’s AI Bridge Clouding Infrastructure in Japan, and Lenovo’s SuperMUC-NG in Germany.

It’s a fierce arms race betwen China and the U.S. For the first time in TOP500 rankings two years ago, China surpassed the United States in total number of ranked supercomputers, 202 to 143. That trend accelerated in the intervening year; according to the TOP500 fall 2018 report, the number of ranked U.S. supercomputers fell to 108 as China’s total climbed to 229.

China and the United States are followed in the largest number of ranked supercomputers by Japan, which has 31 systems; the U.K., which has 20; France with 18; Germany with 17; and Ireland with 12.

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Taylor Smith, 19, made her new plea in Clark County District Court, a spokesperson told the Daily News. She originally pleaded not guilty back in December. Last month she was offered a plea deal, the details of which were not disclosed in court, according to NBC.

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Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The farthest object ever explored is slowly revealing its secrets, as scientists piece together the puzzles of Ultima Thule – the Kuiper Belt object NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past on New Year’s Day, four billion miles from Earth.


Analyzing the data New Horizons has been sending home since the flyby of Ultima Thule (officially named 2014 MU69), mission scientists are learning more about the development, geology and composition of this ancient relic of solar system formation. The team discussed those findings today at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ultima Thule is the first unquestionably primordial contact binary ever explored. Approach pictures of Ultima Thule hinted at a strange, snowman-like shape for the binary, but further analysis of images, taken near – New Horizons came to within just 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) – have uncovered just how unusual the KBO’s shape really is. At 22 miles (35 kilometers) long, Ultima Thule consists of a large, flat lobe (nicknamed “Ultima”) connected to a smaller, rounder lobe (nicknamed “Thule”).

This strange shape is the biggest surprise, so far, of the flyby. “We’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the solar system,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “It is sending the planetary science community back to the drawing board to understand how planetesimals – the building blocks of the planets – form.”

Because it is so well preserved, Ultima Thule is offering our clearest look back to the era of planetesimal accretion and the earliest stages of planetary formation. Apparently Ultima Thule’s two lobes once orbited each other, like many so-called binary worlds in the Kuiper Belt, until something brought them together in a “gentle” merger.

“This fits with general ideas of the beginning of our solar system,” said William McKinnon, a New Horizons co-investigator from Washington University in St. Louis. “Much of the orbital momentum of the Ultima Thule binary must have been drained away for them to come together like this. But we don’t know yet what processes were most important in making that happen.”

This short movie shows the view of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 (nicknamed Ultima Thule) as seen by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft from Dec. 7, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2019. During the approach, Ultima Thule transforms from a faint dot 20 million miles (31 million kilometers) away, indistinguishable from thousands of background stars, to a newly revealed world unlike any seen before, from a range of 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers). The sequence consists of actual New Horizons images, taken at discrete intervals during the approach, supplemented with computer-generated intermediate frames in order to make a smooth movie. Time slows down during the movie to show clearly both the slow initial phases of the approach and the very rapid final stages. The final image (seen behind the credits) is a parting crescent view of Ultima Thule, taken 10 minutes after closest approach occurred at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory/Brian May/Maria Banks/Roman Tkachenko

That merger may have left its mark on the surface. The “neck” connecting Ultima and Thule is reworked, and could indicate shearing as the lobes combined, said Kirby Runyon, a New Horizons science team member from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

Runyon and fellow team geologists are describing and trying to understand Ultima Thule’s many surface features, from bright spots and patches, to hills and troughs, to craters and pits. The craters, while at first glance look like , could have other origins. Some may be pit craters, where material drains into underground cracks, or a result of sublimation, where ice went directly from solid to gas and left pits in its place. The largest depression is a 5-mile-wide (8-kilometer-wide) feature the team has nicknamed Maryland crater. It could be an impact crater, or it could have formed in one of the other above-mentioned ways.

“We have our work cut out to understand Ultima Thule’s geology, that is for sure,” Runyon said.

In color and composition, New Horizons data revealed that Ultima Thule resembles many other objects found in its region of the Kuiper Belt. Consistent with pre-flyby observations from the Hubble Telescope, Ultima Thule is very red – redder even than Pluto, which New Horizons flew past on the inner edge of the Kuiper Belt in 2015 – and about the same color as many other so-called “cold classical” KBOs. (“Cold” referring not to temperature but to the circular, uninclined orbits of these objects; “classical” in that their orbits have changed little since forming, and represent a sample of the primordial Kuiper Belt.)

“This is the first time one of these ‘ultra red’ objects has been explored, and our observations open all kinds of new questions,” said Carly Howett, a New Horizons science team member from SwRI. “The color imaging even reveals subtle differences in coloration across the surface, and we really want to know why.”

New Horizons scientists have also seen evidence for methanol, water ice and organic molecules on the surface. “The spectrum of Ultima Thule is similar to some of the most extreme objects we’ve seen in the outer solar system,” said Silvia Protopapa, a New Horizons co-investigator from SwRI. “So New Horizons is giving us an incredible opportunity to study one of these bodies up close.”

The Ultima Thule data transmission continues, though all of the data from the flyby won’t be on the ground until late summer 2020. In the meantime, New Horizons continues to carry out distant observations of additional Kuiper Belt objects and mapping the charged-particle radiation and dust environment in the Kuiper Belt.

The New Horizons spacecraft is 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion kilometers) from Earth, operating normally and speeding deeper into the Kuiper Belt at nearly 33,000 miles (53,000 kilometers) per hour.


Explore further:
New Horizons’ evocative farewell glance at Ultima Thule

More information:
pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/P … .php?page=2019-03-18

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The Division 2 went down briefly for maintenance to push live a new patch. The update will fix many of the problems associated with The Division 2’s skill bug, which can immediately disable skills after use and put them on 15-second cooldown.

The Division 2 maintenance took place at 5:15pm EST and the downtime only lasted 15 minutes. Ubisoft admits that not all of the issues around the skill bug will be fixed but players should notice fewer instances of using a skill and then it disappearing.

Since the early access launch, The Division 2 skill bug has been a problem for the game but not all players actually knew it was an issue. What happens is that players use a skill, it gets destroyed on its own, and then a 15-second cooldown timer appears over that skill.

Many simply figured that enemies destroyed their item but the usual cooldown on a skill can be around 180 seconds. Needless to say, the Division 2 skill bug was impacting gameplay, especially when the use of a skill can mean the difference between life and death. Popping a Reinforcer Drone to repair armor only to have it disappear and go on cooldown is never ideal.

As mentioned, Ubisoft and developer Massive Entertainment say that this Division 2 patch will fix many of the bugs with skills but not all of them. Players may still notice problems but they are encouraged to avoid the talents Extra and Overlap, as those are at the root of the issue. The good news is a fix for those issues is said to come later in the week.

While online-only loot-based shooters tend to launch with plenty of issues, The Division 2’s release has been relatively smooth all things considered. Crashes on PC because of Direct X12 and this skill bug were arguably the biggest ones, and there were some issues with progress not carrying over while playing in a teammates open world. But for the most part players seem to be enjoying the experience, and now they can do so with the full breadth of their skills.

The Division 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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Why is it that we have to place blame whenever a horrible tragedy happens like the New Zealand slaughter at the Muslim mosques? A March 16 letter writer asks, “Who’s to blame? The president? The Star Tribune for covering it?” Is it so hard to grasp the possibility that killings like this are committed by psychotic individuals who are motivated solely by their hatred for a particular group, be it Muslims, Christians, Jews or immigrants of any ethnicity? Who was to blame for an eerily similar event in 2011, when a deranged Norwegian, calling himself a National Socialist, murdered 77 people attending a summer camp in Oslo, Norway? Let’s quit trying to find someone or something to blame for such attacks just because it fits our agenda. Place the blame where it belongs, on the person committing them.

Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park

• • •

When tragedies arise, we must unite. We can’t bring back the lives that were lost in the masjid (mosque) attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but we can bring back our conscience. It is on all of us to come together as one, regardless of all the hatred that exists in the world. We must stand together and tackle long-overdue beliefs, such as Islamophobia, white supremacy and bigotry. Remember, it’s OK to be scared, because that feeling is setting you up for an act of bravery and courage. Speak up. For my pain is your pain, and vice versa. Send love and prayers to your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, regardless of your faith, culture or nationality. Let’s for once agree that we are in support of human rights. In support of human lives. That they are worthy enough to fight for. No one should feel scared or fearful when entering a masjid, church, synagogue or temple. They are safe places where people should feel protected.

Ray Shehadeh, Plymouth

• • •

My husband and I attended the Solidarity Gathering at Dar Al-Farooq mosque Saturday afternoon. We found ourselves steeped in the gentle, welcoming hospitality of the Muslim community.

Some prominent Minnesotans were present among the hundreds who came. Clergy from multiple faith communities, and politicians, including U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. That environment made it difficult to hate on Muslims who live among us, and even on one demented attacker in New Zealand. One impassioned Muslim speaker shouted out to the universe about the perp: “We forgive you!”

It turns out Muslims are the first to forgive. Their default position is to love and trust. Non-Muslims are making that difficult for them. And that, my friends, is a tragedy.

Barbara J. Gilbertson, Eagan

• • •

In reality, “hate” crimes are really crimes based on fear, done by a person who is in denial of their fear issues, who’s blaming his/her fear on others, and wanting others to change so they won’t be afraid. People hate being afraid, which is where the hate comes in. Trying to get others to change or trying to control others so they change is an exercise in futility, and that’s why nothing changes for these people. They’re trying to change the wrong person.

Calling them “hate” crimes is a misnomer. People who hate can rationalize their hatred easier than they can rationalize being afraid.

Gary Burt, Marble, Minn.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

There’s nothing shameful about the ‘one-state’ solution

I beg to differ strongly regarding the March 15 letter “Shame, shame for printing the letter from proponent of ‘one state.’ ”

The goal of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), a nonviolent movement to bring about justice, is “one secular democratic state with equal rights for all.” This would in effect cancel the nation-state law, which privileges Jewish Israelis. In one state, Jewish Israelis would lose their privileged status, because there would be no second- or third-class residents.

Israelis and Arabs would live under the same laws. Neither ethnic group would dominate nor be discriminated against. Resources would be shared equitably. There would be no occupation with its restrictions on movement, and no tit-for-tat attacks. “One state” looks to me like the formula for peace, always the stated goal.

Who could quarrel with that? There is room for creativity as governmental structures are worked out.

Florence M. Steichen, St. Paul

• • •

We should be able to debate the Israeli/Palestinian issue without “the destruction of Israel” always being front and center. Israel has not been attacked by a sizable army in over 45 years. Meanwhile, the Palestinians live every day the lives of a people whose country has been destroyed.

Yes, while there are still a lot of hotheads who do not accept Israel’s right to exist, the mainstream position among Palestinians and Arabs in general would have Israel remove its settlements from the West Bank and withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, return East Jerusalem for use as their capital, and establish a “right of return” to Israel proper for the descendants of Arab refugees who fled in 1948.

Well, that’s still too tall an order. The latter point is a nonstarter, and any Palestinian state can afford to do without Jerusalem. But I fail to see how the West Bank settlements are vital to Israel’s defense. They spread security forces thin, anger the Palestinians and provide them with a tempting target, are an obstacle to any peace deal and undermine support for Israel internationally. Plus, they are a blatant violation of international law.

And while current and future generations of Palestinians can place some of the blame for their plight on those who did not accept the terms of the 1947 United Nations partition plan, Israel has since moved the goalposts. Having finally accepted half the loaf, the Palestinians are now just left with a handful of crumbs amounting to a quarter of the loaf.

Patrick McCauley, Edina

PACKING THE U.S. SUPREME COURT?

Another option: Just one more seat, initially filled by Merrick Garland

Megan McArdle (“Stacking the court? Leave that practice to history,” March 15) omitted an obvious short-term solution for the U.S. Supreme Court. On Jan. 21, 2021, the new Democratic president should immediately begin the process to appoint Merrick Garland as the 10th justice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s theft of a seat from President Barack Obama should not go unpunished. The GOP’s abuse of power should be seen as a one-time outrage never to be repeated.

Moving forward, the court could remain at 10: Having an even number of seats might require more compromise and encourage a less partisan approach. And ideally, term limits for the court would also be enacted, and presidents would each nominate two justices per term. No individual, whether president or justice, should serve more than eight years given the outsized impact these positions have for our nation.

Pamela J. Snopl, Minneapolis

PEOPLE DOING GOOD THINGS

Age is no obstacle to an outing when so many are quick to assist

My 92-year-old father wanted to attend a Hopkins basketball game last week. His poor eyesight and balance made me apprehensive about the logistics of this request, but on Wednesday night I picked him up to see the Hopkins/Wayzata sectional game at Osseo High School. Imagine my relief when, as I dropped him off at the curb, a woman rushed up to help steady him as he got out of the car and started walking him toward the door. Before I could drive off to park the car, I saw a man on his other arm helping him in the building. When I returned, my father was proudly showing me the ticket someone had bought him. Our next obstacle — the bleachers — turned out to be no problem when a muscular man nearly carried my dad up two rows of bleachers.

Perhaps getting old isn’t quite so bad. Perhaps there are generous, helpful, kind Minnesotans most everywhere one goes. Thanks to you who helped make our night and lift my spirit!

Jon Larson, Golden Valley

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BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi Gulf Coast police officer told a judge Monday that she had sex with her supervisor and then fell asleep while her 3-year-old daughter was dying inside an overheated patrol car.

Cassie Barker pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in a plea bargain after being indicted on a second-degree murder charge. The Sun Herald reports prosecutors recommend the 29-year-old Barker spend 20 years in prison. Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois said he wanted more time to consider the case and would sentence the ex-Long Beach officer April 1.

Cheyenne Hyer died Sept. 30, 2016, after her mother left her strapped in a car seat for four hours while Barker was with her then-supervisor at his home. The car was running with the air conditioner turned on, but wasn’t blowing cold air.

The girl was unresponsive when Barker returned. Authorities say Hyer’s body temperature was 107 degrees when she arrived at a nearby hospital.

“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced … You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind,” Bourgeois said to Barker.

Barker had been free on bail but was arrested Monday after pleading guilty.

Barker, who was working two jobs at the time, originally claimed she had been talking to Clark Ladner at his house early on a hot weekday morning when she fell asleep. Ladner and Barker were fired by the city of Long Beach within days. Ladner hasn’t been criminally charged, telling officials he didn’t know the girl was in the car. Reports at the time indicated Ladner told officials he had taken a sleep aid and also fallen asleep.

The mother had left her daughter alone in a car at least once before, at a store in nearby Gulfport in April 2015. Police responded and child welfare officials took temporary custody of the girl at the time. Barker was suspended from the Long Beach police for a week without pay. The girl’s father, Ryan Hyer, said he was never notified of that first incident.

“Every time I close my eyes, I picture her suffering and then I picture her laying in this coffin,” Ryan Hyer said Monday. “I still see her smiling and laughing in my head and I would assume that smile and laughter turned to pain and suffering in that instance.”

The father is suing the Long Beach Police Department and the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services for the wrongful death of his child, saying the child welfare agency should have taken stronger action after the first incident.

“As a parent, you are supposed to protect your child, and Cheyenne is gone because her mother didn’t protect her, not once but twice,” Hyer said.

Barker herself was hospitalized after the girl’s death for what officials described as shock. A psychological exam showed Barker suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder attributed to childhood trauma and her daughter’s death. She was found competent to stand trial.

___

Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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