A&S in the News: August 4-10, 2019

Census Debate

Alabama forges on in Census battle after Trump retreats on citizenship question: Al.com – Aug. 4

The battle over placing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is over: Team Trump backed off. The forms are being printed without it. But for one state, a Census fight still awaits inside a federal courtroom. Alabama maintains that undocumented immigrants ought not to be included in a state’s total population count for congressional apportionment purposes. Gerald Webster, a professor of political geography at the University of Wyoming and a former geography professor at The University of Alabama, said he doesn’t see the lawsuit surviving because of the “Constitution’s requirement that total population be used” in reapportionment.

Dog Days of Summer

In the dog days of an Alabama summer, don’t blame the Dog Star for the heat: Alabama News Center – Aug. 4

Sirius, though, is excessively far away to heat Earth. “The amount of heat we get from Sirius is absolutely negligible compared to the sun,” said Dr. Ron Buta, professor emeritus of astronomy at The University of Alabama. “The rising of Sirius at the same time as the sun doesn’t add any significant extra heat. It’s a myth.” Still, for astronomy lovers, this time of year can be a great time to see Sirius just before dawn, and, with a sophisticated telescope, see Sirius during the day, Buta said.

The Global Web

The cable is the best on the Internet. Where it is not, the universe will help: TechBox – Aug. 5

For the last more than a quarter of a century, we have become accustomed to coexisting in the global web of the Internet and we consider access to the network slowly to be a basic human right. Over a period of time, a free and originally non-commercial network has become an important, if not the most important, communication environment as well as a platform that hosts commercial services on a large scale … Billions want internet from space. Bill Keel, astronomer at The University of Alabama, said that if plans were made to build multiple networks with thousands of low-orbital satellites, their brightness would be so great in a few years that the human eye would capture more satellites than stars. This will change the appearance of the starry sky forever.

El Paso and Dayton

In El Paso and now Dayton, the familiar fallout of a mass shooting repeats again: ATT – Aug. 5

The bodies still lay in the aisles of Walmart. Police officials in this border city had yet to release the 20 victims ‘ names, adding them to the long list of mass- shooting casualties in this gun- rich country. Only 12 hours and 35 minutes had elapsed. And then, another gunman opened fire on another crowd in another U.S. city, leaving another set of grief- stricken loved ones. On Saturday, it was El Paso: 20 dead, 26 injured. On Sunday it was Dayton, Ohio: 9 dead, 27 injured. Trump would get no argument on that point from Adam Lankford, a criminology professor at The University of Alabama. Lankford said mass shootings in the U.S. have gotten deadlier over time. According to his research, the average number of people killed in mass shootings has gone up 40% in the last decade compared to 1966 through 2009.
Daily Republic
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
Herald Mail Media
The Eagle
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Yahoo! News (U.S., Singapore, Brazil)
Patch (national news wire)
NBC (Davenport, Iowa)

UA Museums

Notice of inventory completion: University of Alabama Museums, Tuscaloosa, AL: Federal Register – Aug. 5

The University of Alabama Museums has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, in consultation with the appropriate Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and associated funerary objects and present-day Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations.

Mayan Total Warfare

Burning of Mayan city said to be act of total warfare: USA News Hub – Aug. 6

On May 21, 697, according to Mayan hieroglyphs, the city of Bahlam Jol “burned for the second time.” But, like much of Mayan writing and history, the record remained mysterious to modern Maya researchers. Where was Bahlam Jol? What exactly were the Mayans describing with the hieroglyph that is translated as “burn”? … Alexandre Tokovinine, the fourth author, a specialist in Mayan writing at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, searched records of Mayan texts for the city name, and found that in the nearby city of Naranjo, a stone column, specified when the city had burned for the second time.
Before It’s News
Science Codex
New York Times
Science Magazine
Star Tribune

Gunman’s Views

Gunman’s left-wing views thwart Democratic efforts to pin mass shootings on Trump: The Washington Times – Aug. 6

Democrats blaming President Trump for last weekend’s mass shootings saw their argument continue to unravel Tuesday as more details emerged indicating that the suspected gunmen held some avowedly left-wing views.  Connor Betts, the 24-year-old killer in the deadly shooting in Dayton, Ohio, expressed pro-antifa, pro-socialist and anti-ICE positions on a now-suspended Twitter account believed to be his, as well as support for Democratic Sens. Bernard Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Adam Lankford, University of Alabama criminology professor, said shooters are often “looking for someone to blame so they can latch onto an existing narrative,” and if one ideology falls through, “they may just keep looking.”  “For example, both the shooters from this past weekend who clearly expressed ideas on very different parts of the spectrum — if they hadn’t latched onto those specific things, they may have latched onto something else,” said Mr. Lankford, adding, “They’ll find a reason to justify it.

Political Violence

The El Paso shooting isn’t an anomaly. It’s American history repeating itself.: Vox – Aug. 6

The El Paso shooter is not a fluke or an anomaly. He is part of a resurgence of white nationalist violence in the United States, a wave of killings that are themselves part of a very long history of political violence by American racists and white nationalists.  In the years after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups launched a wave of killings aimed at intimidating newly freed black people and restoring the antebellum racial order. One study of 75 far-right radicals found that many of them “credit his candidacy as the start of their awakening.” In his book The Alt-Right: What Everyone Needs to Know, University of Alabama professor George Hawley writes that “Trump’s presidential campaign energized the alt-right and helped the movement reach a new audience,” adding that “had Trump never entered the GOP presidential primaries … the alt-right would not have shown much interest in the 2016 presidential election.”

Rising Seas

A submarine goes under a failing glacier to gauge rising seas: Wired – Aug. 6

Oceanographer Anna Wåhlin paced across the bridge of the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker like a nervous parent waiting for a teenager out past curfew. The fiery orange submarine, which she named Ran after the Norse goddess of the sea, hadn’t yet resurfaced from its first mission in the watery depths around the face of West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. Wåhlin, an oceanographer at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, was one of the roughly two dozen scientists on a pioneering scientific expedition to Thwaites Glacier this past winter. “It’s like I’ve been blind all my life, and now, I’ve put on glasses and I can see every individual leaf on the tree,” University of Alabama sedimentologist Becky Minzoni said of the black-and-white images showing marks like tank tracks on the seafloor.

Miss Alabama

Helena to host ‘Tiara Pennington Day’ to honor Miss Alabama winner: Helena Reporter – Aug. 8

Current Miss Alabama winner and Helena native Tiara Pennington will be honored by her hometown with a meet and greet event this weekend and the organizers of the reception are encouraging everyone to come out to attend the event. . . . Pennington’s other accomplishments include being named Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen for 2016, a top 11 finish at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2017 pageant, Miss University of Alabama and more.