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UNRELENTING MOTHER NATURE.
The challenges tossed out by Mother Nature can seem relentless. Making it worse, it’s always extremes – floods then droughts then back to floods. Now, it’s a destructive tempest bearing down on the Caribbean. Per the Associated Press,
Hurricane Fiona bore down on the Dominican Republic Monday after knocking out the power grid and unleashing floods and landslides in Puerto Rico, where the governor said the damage was “catastrophic.” No deaths have been reported, but authorities in the U.S. territory said it was too early to estimate the damage from a storm that was still forecast to unleash torrential rain across Puerto Rico on Monday. Up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) was forecast for Puerto Rico’s southern region.
President Joe Biden had declared a state of emergency in the U.S. territory as the eye of the storm approached the island’s southwest corner. https://bit.ly/3BNZ62O
XENOPHOBIA BY ANY OTHER NAME.
Health officials in Beijing have cautioned its citizens against touching foreigners in order to avoid contracting monkeypox. No joke. They really did say that… officially. How do you say “xenophobia” in Mandarin? Per Reuters,
A senior Chinese health official advised people to avoid contact with foreigners to prevent monkeypox infection after the first known case of the virus on mainland China was reported. "To prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that 1) you do not have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners," Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted on his official Weibo page on Saturday. Wu also called for people to avoid such contact with people who have been abroad within the past three weeks as well as all "strangers", as he cautioned vigilance… Some, who commented on forwarded or screenshot versions of his post, questioned why foreigners in China, many of whom are long-term residents and have not left recently due to COVID-19 barriers, were considered more dangerous than Chinese people.
The first case was recently reported in the southwestern city of Chongqing on Friday. https://reut.rs/3LtNXHx
WEAK CONNECTIONS WORK BEST.
So, about those connections we all love to boast about. Turns out it isn’t the close ones that really bear the most fruit but rather the connections a couple of degrees removed. A recent massive study determined that it is these so-called “weak connections” that result in more enduring results. Per Science,
A seminal finding in social science is that people are most likely to land high-paying jobs through their social connections rather than through advertisements or direct job applications (1). Unexpectedly, the most useful contacts are not the job seeker’s strong ties—close friends or family. Rather, they are friends of a friend, or weak ties (1)—contacts least expected to be capable, or willing, to help. Although numerous studies of in-person and online social networks in various contexts have used the strength of weak ties (SWT) to explain their findings, the theoretical foundations had yet to be put to a causal test. Now, having traced more than 20 million users on the LinkedIn social network platform, Rajkumar et al. report on page 1304 (2) a causal test for the SWT thesis. The data bear out the power of weak ties but raise questions about the implications of human connections for success and failure.
You can now adjust your LinkedIn approach accordingly. https://bit.ly/3UnuDzW
NOWHERE TO RUN.
Apparently, Elon Musk has pissed off President Vladimir Putin more than anyone knew. Per Ars Technica,
A Russian diplomat said civilian satellites could be legitimate military targets in a statement that seems to refer to Starlink providing broadband access in Ukraine. Civilian satellites "may become a legitimate target for retaliation," the Russian official said in a statement to the United Nations' open-ended working group on reducing space threats. The quote is from an unofficial English translation of the statement on September 12 by Konstantin Vorontsov, head of the Russian delegation to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) working group. The translation is provided with other countries' statements from the session on the UNODA's meeting website.
If I was the SpaceX founder, I’d tread carefully. First the Twitter board is out to get him and now Moscow. Look out. https://bit.ly/3qQrIlO
SIGNS OF LIFE?
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance. That’s because it’s been hard at work traversing an ancient river delta and collecting possible signs of ancient Martian life. Per Nature,
Since July, NASA’s Perseverance rover has drilled and collected four slim cores of sedimentary rock, formed in what was once a lake on Mars. They are the first of this type of rock to be gathered on another world — and scientists are excited because at least two of the cores probably contain organic compounds. On Earth, organics, which are carbon-containing molecules, are often associated with living things, although they can be formed without the involvement of organisms. Adding to the buzz over the rock samples, Perseverance collected them from an ancient delta in Mars’s Jezero Crater, where a river once deposited layers of sediment — and possibly other matter. River deltas on Earth often teem with living organisms. If life ever existed in Jezero, these cores are probably NASA’s best chance of finding it.
Too bad the earliest the samples can return to Earth is in 2033. https://go.nature.com/3BmA8Gi
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.