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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle to speak with Malala Yousafzai about COVID-19’s impact on girls’ education

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan MarkleMeghan MarklePrince Harry, Meghan Markle call for end to ‘structural racism’ Meghan Markle says she’s learned not to ‘listen to all the noise out there’ after Trump criticism Trump wishes Prince Harry ‘luck’ with Meghan Markle after remarks about voting in November: ‘Not a fan’ MORE, are scheduled to appear in a video Sunday with activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to discuss the barriers facing girls in their access to education around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to The Associated Press, the conversation will be published on the Malala Fund’s YouTube channel and website in celebration of International Day of the Girl Child.

The United Nations declared Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl in 2011 to promote girls’ rights and address obstacles young women face across the world.

The Malala Fund, founded in 2013 by Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is an international nonprofit organization partnering with girls education initiatives in various countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil and India. 

Research by the Malala Fund suggests that approximately 20 million secondary-school-aged girls may never return to classrooms once schools reopen after the coronavirus pandemic ends. 

Since moving to California and cutting financial ties with the British monarchy, Prince Harry and Markle have become increasingly vocal on political and social issues, with the couple saying in a September video that U.S. voters need to “reject hate speech” and “misinformation” ahead of the November election. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also published a joint op-ed in London’s Evening Standard last week, calling for an end to “structural racism.” The couple wrote that “untapped potential will never get to be realized” if structural racism continues to exist in Britain and around the world.

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College Football Odds Week 6: Picks Against the Spread for Top 25 Matchups | Bleacher Report

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, right, talks with Daniel Wright as he walks off the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

It may be an unorthodox year for sports (college football being no exception), but there are still a few things that haven’t changed. Two of them? Clemson and Alabama being among the top two college football programs in the country and once again rolling to begin a new season.

The No. 1-ranked Tigers have opened the year with three straight wins, including a pair over ACC opponents, while the No. 2 Crimson Tide have started their SEC-only schedule with back-to-back victories over Missouri and Texas A&M.

Nobody would be surprised if Clemson and Alabama emerge from this regular season as two of the teams to make the College Football Playoff. However, both teams will have to keep their strong starts going. The Tigers face their greatest test yet this Saturday as they host No. 7 Miami, while the Crimson Tide are traveling to take on Ole Miss.

Here’s a look at the full Top 25 schedule for Week 6, along with odds and predictions for each matchup.

      

Week 6 Top 25 Schedule, Odds, Picks

Saturday, Oct. 10

No. 4 Florida (-6.5) at No. 21 Texas A&M, noon, ESPN

No. 19 Virginia Tech at No. 8 North Carolina (-5), noon, ABC

Missouri at No. 17 LSU (-14), noon

No. 22 Texas at Oklahoma (-2.5), noon, Fox

No. 14 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (-12.5), 3:30 p.m., CBS

UTSA at No. 15 BYU (-35), 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

Texas Tech at No. 24 Iowa State (-12.5), 3:30 p.m., ABC

Arkansas at No. 13 Auburn (-14), 4 p.m., SEC Network

No. 2 Alabama (-23.5) at Ole Miss, 6 p.m., ESPN

No. 7 Miami at No. 1 Clemson (-14), 7:30 p.m., ABC

Florida State at No. 5 Notre Dame (-20.5), 7:30 p.m., NBC

All times ET. Picks in bold against the spread. Odds obtained via DraftKings.

       

Predictions for Top Teams

No. 1 Clemson (-14) over No. 7 Miami

In 2019, Clemson went the entire regular season without playing a top-10 team. This year, the Tigers’ schedule is a bit more difficult, as they have ACC matchups against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 7 Miami, with the latter set to take place Saturday night.

The Hurricanes are also 3-0 to open the season, and over the past two weeks, they’ve taken down Louisville and Florida State in ACC play. But they have yet to take on a team as strong as the Tigers, who have shown no signs of slowing down in this dominant stretch for the program.

Clemson hasn’t lost a game to an ACC opponent since Oct. 13, 2017, when it lost at Syracuse. And that streak is unlikely to come to an end, even though Miami is a quality opponent. Tigers junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence has impressed so far, passing for 848 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions as he looks to win the Heisman Trophy in what should be his final college season.

The Hurricanes won’t have a way

NASA to Provide Coverage of 71st International Astronautical Congress

NASA to Provide Coverage of 71st International Astronautical Congress

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — NASA will broadcast key events, including an Artemis program update, of the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which takes place virtually Monday, Oct. 12, through Wednesday, Oct. 14. Coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)
NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)

During the conference, NASA will discuss international cooperation for the agency’s lunar exploration plans throughout the Artemis program, which includes sending American astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024 and establishing a sustainable lunar presence by the end of the decade.

In addition to participation in events outlined below, NASA will have a virtual exhibit featuring information on Artemis, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and the International Space Station. Visitors also will have an opportunity to contribute to a digital mosaic of the space station on social media using #NASAVirtualExhibit.

The NASA TV coverage of IAC events listed below (all times Eastern) is subject to change. For the latest programming updates, please see the latest NASA TV schedule.

Monday, Oct. 12

  • 8:40 a.m. – Heads of Agency Plenary Session, including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

  • 9:30 a.m. – Heads of Agency Press Conference, including Bridenstine

  • 12:10 p.m. – Exploring as One, featuring NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Kathy Lueders, and Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen, as well as other panelists

Tuesday, Oct. 13

  • 9:40 a.m. – The Artemis Mission, featuring Lueders, as well as other panelists

  • 12:30 p.m. – International Participation in the Artemis Program, featuring Bridenstine

Wednesday, Oct. 14 

  • 8:50 a.m. – Worldwide Missions to Mars, featuring Zurbuchen and NASA Planetary Science Director Lori Glaze, as well as other participants

  • 9:40 a.m. – Astronaut Panel, featuring NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold

  • 10:30 a.m.Europe on and Around the Moon and Mars: A Discussion between ESA and NASA Leaders with European Young Professionals, with participation from Bridenstine.

IAC presents an opportunity each year for the world’s space agencies, aerospace companies, academic institutions, and other organizations to come together and celebrate accomplishments and contributions made to advance science and space exploration, as well as to discuss issues and programs of common interest. Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this year’s IAC – including all briefings, panel discussions, and exhibits – will take place virtually, free of charge for participants across the global community. For more information or to register for IAC, visit:

https://iac2020.org

Stay involved throughout the event by using the hashtags #Artemis and #IAC2020.

For more information about NASA’s programs and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov 

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Tuukka Rask says he wants to remain with Bruins for remainder of career

In his first public comments since leaving the Toronto playoff bubble on Aug. 15, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on Thursday reiterated his desire to play out the rest of his career in Boston.

Rask, speaking to the Boston Herald before a charity golf tournament in Middleton, said he does not want to play for any club but the Bruins.

“I think where my head’s at is focusing on next year and then hopefully a couple of more years after that, and then pass the torch for the next guy after that,” Rask told the Herald at the Shawn Thornton Foundation Putts and Punches tournament. “I want to help the organization as much as I can.”

Rask opted out of the postseason before Game 3 of the Bruins’ first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Team president Cam Neely explained the goaltender had a medical emergency with one of his three daughters. Rask confirmed that Thursday, saying he was left with no choice but to go home after his wife, Jasmiina, called him to alert him of the situation involving their daughter.

“What bothered me a little bit was people thinking that I just left because I didn’t like it there,” Rask said. “If I didn’t have a reason to leave, I wouldn’t have left, obviously.”

Rask has been rumored to be among the trade chips in a busy offseason for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. The no-trade protection built into the eight-year, $56 million contract the goaltender signed in 2013 expires at noon Friday, when the NHL calendar flips from 2019-20 to 2020-21 and the free agent market opens for business. Rask has one year remaining on his deal. While he is an elite player, Rask’s worth on the trade market would not likely match on-ice value, given his age (33), salary, and glut of goalies available to sign beginning Friday.

Sweeney said Monday that Rask “remains a big part of our roster planning going forward” and the team was “very, very comfortable” with what they had in net.

That includes Rask, who finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting this past season, and Jaroslav Halak, who backstopped the Bruins to a five-game series win over the Hurricanes, and a five-game, second-round loss to the Lightning.


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.

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Nobelist Talks CRISPR Uses – Scientific American

Steve Mirsky: On October 7th, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of the gene editing tool called CRISPR. Last April, I spoke with Doudna at an event in Washington, DC:

SM: A few months ago, I was at a talk about wine. And CRISPR came up. And it was it was an appropriate thing to bring up. What is it like to be in this field right now where everyone is talking about the work that you do and its implications?

Jennifer Doudna: Well, I have to say it’s very exciting. And as a scientist, it’s wonderful to see all the creative work that’s going on with gene editing. It’s just a fascinating opportunity to see the innovation that people come up with when they have a tool that’s so broadly useful across biology.

SM: You do a million interviews and you make a lot of public talks. What do people not talk to you about that you would love to talk about regarding CRISPR?

JD: Well, I think a lot of the discussion around CRISPR right now focuses on biomedical applications, which clearly are very exciting. I think, something that I don’t hear as much, although I’m happy to hear that you had this conversation at a wine event. It are the opportunities in agriculture, I think they’re going to be huge. And I’m really, really excited about the opportunities to use gene editing to create plants that will be drought tolerant, pest resistant, maybe more nutritious, give farmers opportunities to grow plants in environments where in the past they’ve been really challenging to grow.

SM: Yeah, the range of applications is just seemingly endless. I think in the wine talk, we were discussing the threats to viniculture from global warming, right. And one of the possible applications there is to get the more heat- tolerant organisms to chip in, help the wine grapes. You talk about the ethical considerations a lot. Anything you’d like to discuss?  

JD: I think the ethical considerations are incredibly important. People get very excited and concerned appropriately, I think, on occasion about opportunities to use gene editing, in systems where, you know, we really need to be thoughtful about the responsible use, where there are great opportunities, but also big, big challenges. And of course, a very obvious one is in the human germline embryo editing, but also, frankly, also in microbes and other organisms that could be released into the environment, using gene editing to spread genetic traits in a mode called gene drives. So that’s another area where there’s a lot of discussion about how careful we need to be how do we regulate this technology appropriately? How do we encourage science to advance but do it in a way that’s responsible?

—Steve Mirsky

(The above text is a transcript of this podcast)

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‘Joyful journaling’ app from University of Michigan grads helps young people understand their mental health

ANN ARBOR, MI — Drew Pilat, Tommy Searle, Jack Kornet and Mars Hovasse were frustrated by the lack of self-care resources they said they found available to students when they were undergrads at the University of Michigan.

University counseling services were overwhelmed, and waitlists often stretched for weeks, and the self-care resources available were old and clinical, they said.

So, the four friends decided to create a resource of their own: Wellnest, a “joyful journaling” app where users can use their voice to make journal entries to help them get ready for their day, understand their moods or just make a few quick notes.

“We know that journaling is incredibly healthy and accessible, but not many of our peers were actually doing it,” Pilat said. “We also liked this shift because the majority of students experiencing mental health issues don’t seek help, but we could still reach them with Wellnest.”

Upon downloading Wellnest, which is in free public beta testing, users can create an account and explore different ways to journal. There are daily conversations, which act like a conversation between two people; quick note for short thoughts and reminders and mood check, where users can track how they’re feeling and why they’re feeling that way.

Users can also explore trending packs, featured journals and different categories. In each entry, users can type or use their microphone to speak their thoughts instead of typing. For each entry, users earn “gold,” which they can use to get different characters and avatars.

Searle, a UM computer science major and CEO of Wellnest, co-founded the app and presented the idea to Pilat and Kornet during their junior year at UM. Hovasse came on board shortly after, and the group bonded over their passion for mental health.

“While I had a great community of friends in my major, most of my friends were all over the place,” Searle said. “This is what makes (UM) so great — every college is top class.”

With Wellnest, the group hopes to make journaling more rewarding using games, unique content and a well-designed interface, Pilat said. Wellnest is built for times like this — the coronavirus pandemic — as it features guided topics like the “imposter syndrome,” dealing with stress, social isolation and defining spirituality, he said.

“Journaling has so many benefits, and everyone can incorporate journaling into their daily routine,” Pilat said. “In general, Wellnest is a quick way to stay on top of your mental health and make time for yourself.”

The group hopes to fully launch Wellnest in Apple’s App Store in mid-November with a premium version. Upgrading to Wellnest Plus unlocks powerful insights and premium content written by contributors, and current beta users will receive free, lifetime access to Wellnest Plus, Pilat said.

The group has also made time for side projects, including Exhale, a web app that helps users release negative thoughts into space, and Oasis Icons, which organizes iPhone icons and widgets.

While the group said they are focused on making Wellnest

NASA Osiris-rex reveals secrets of ‘rubble pile’ asteroid Bennu ahead of daring heist

The past 4.5 billion years have been an incredibly lonely period for the asteroid 101955 Bennu. A gigantic impact in the early days of the solar system smashed an ancient cosmic rock to pieces, ejecting dust and debris into the void. Gravity forced the rubble pile to clot together and, ever since, it’s been wandering alone as Bennu, the space rock shaped like a spinning top. For billions of years, it’s drifted around the sun between Earth and Mars, untouched and unaccompanied.

Until NASA’s Osiris-rex spacecraft greeted it in orbit on Dec. 3, 2018. 

After a 27-month journey from Earth, NASA’s asteroid-chasing spacecraft sidled up to Bennu for a closer look. Bennu finally had company. The spacecraft is part of an ambitious plan to return pieces of Bennu to Earth, the first time a NASA mission has attempted such a feat. 

Since arriving at the asteroid, Osiris-rex has been busy taking measurements and sizing Bennu up. It performed close flybys to get a high-resolution look at the surface and caught the asteroid unexpectedly spewing debris into space in late 2019. Its five instruments have been gathering data, mapping Bennu’s surface and slowly piecing together the asteroid’s story. Where did it come from? What is it made of? Will it collide with the Earth? (That last one isn’t likely, but Bennu is expected to pass close-by next century.) 

On Thursday, a suite of new studies, published in the journals Science and Science Advances, shed light on these questions, revealing more about Bennu’s boulder-riddled surface. In addition, Osiris-rex has allowed for a detailed examination of “Nightingale” crater, the target of Osiris-rex’s daring heist set for Oct. 20.

This artist’s impression shows Osiris-Rex reaching for Bennu’s surface.

NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

“As a set, these papers help us to fill in more about Bennu’s history and allow us to anticipate what will be returned in the sample,” says Hannah Kaplan, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

And the collection of studies helps answer even bigger questions about the early solar system. Bennu may appear boring, a dull gray space rock spinning through infinity. But it’s actually a message in a bottle. Adrift on the cosmic seas for eons, it contains secrets and clues about the solar system’s formation and evolution locked within its rocky exterior. 

A castaway

Bennu is, unflatteringly, described as a “rubble pile.” It’s about as wide as the Empire State Building is tall. From a distance, it looked smooth — but as Osiris-rex approached, the truth became clearer. “When we got there, we found the surface was covered in boulders,” explains Kaplan.

Officially named “Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer,” Osiris-rex has been circling Bennu, using the asteroid’s feeble gravity to pass around it, for almost two years. In that time, it has pointed an array of instruments at its surface that can see in visible light, infrared and X-rays. In totality, they allow scientists to get a clear visual of the asteroid and determine the

Don’t Give Gov. Newsom the Education Prize

California Gov. Gavin Newsom



Photo:

Carin Dorghalli/Associated Press

Your editorial “Hope for California’s Schools” (Oct. 2) gives Gov. Gavin Newsom too much credit. I fully suspect that he doesn’t want to sign anything that would be a cautionary, if not frightening, example of what will happen on a national level after the November elections if both the executive and legislative branches are controlled by the Democrats. I seriously doubt that the Legislature is reticent about the wording of the bill after Gov. Newsom’s veto message. I fully expect that postelection, no matter who wins, this issue will rise again, an equally egregious bill will pass and, absent an immediate threat of a negative election reaction, the governor will sign it.

Christopher Reid

Houston

California schools could well better educate and prepare their students for adult life if they abandoned their push for “ethnic studies” and introduced a mandatory course in personal finance covering such topics as managing credit, investing in fixed-income and equity instruments, managed funds and index funds, mortgages, insurance concepts, retirement accounts, income-tax matters and a host of other topics they will have to deal with as adults. This becomes even more important as Social Security becomes ever more shaky and defined-benefit pension plans fade away.

John F. Quilter

Eugene, Ore.

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Appeared in the October 7, 2020, print edition.

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Justice Department Sues Yale University Over Admissions Practices

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Yale University, alleging the school violated federal civil-rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants in undergraduate admissions.

In the complaint, filed in federal district court in Connecticut, the Justice Department alleged that for the past few decades Yale’s “oversized, standardless, intentional use of race has subjected domestic, non-transfer applicants to Yale College to discrimination on the ground of race.”

The lawsuit marks an escalation of the Trump administration’s scrutiny of elite colleges over their policies on race and admissions. The Justice Department has also supported legal efforts to end affirmative action at Harvard University, and the Education Department last month said it would investigate racism at Princeton University.

Yale didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in 2017 that it would redirect resources toward probing and suing universities over their affirmative-action policies, part of a broader rightward shift the division has taken under President Trump. The division has made other sweeping changes to policy on civil-rights enforcement, police reform and other areas.

“All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents, and achievements and not the color of their skin,” said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”

The Justice Department began investigating Yale in 2018, based on a 2016 complaint filed with the Justice and Education Departments by a group of Asian-American organizations, led by the Asian American Coalition for Education.

The federal government threatened the suit back in August, when it issued the findings of a two-year review of Yale’s undergraduate admissions practices. At the time, the Justice Department said Yale discriminated based on race and national origin, and that race was the “determinative factor” in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.

It said then that Yale couldn’t use race or national origin in the current undergraduate admissions cycle. If the school did propose to consider those factors in future admissions cycles, it must first submit a plan “demonstrating that its proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law,” the Justice Department wrote to Yale’s lawyers. The proposal would also need to include a date by which Yale would end its use of race as a factor in admissions, the letter said.

Yale had two weeks to comply, the Justice Department said, or it would be prepared to file suit.

At the time, Yale President Peter Salovey called the Justice Department’s allegation baseless and said the school had fully cooperated with the investigation. “However,” he wrote in a letter to the school community in August, “the DOJ concluded its investigation before reviewing and receiving all the information it has requested.”

Dr. Salovey said that Yale wouldn’t change its admissions processes in response to the Justice Department’s request “because the DOJ is seeking to impose a standard

Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals

endangered species
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Common assumptions notwithstanding, rare species can play unique and essential ecological roles. After studying two databases that together cover all known terrestrial mammals and birds worldwide, scientists from the CNRS, the Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB), Université Grenoble Alpes, and the University of Montpellier have demonstrated that, though these species are found on all continents, they are more threatened by human pressures than ecologically common species and will also be more impacted by future climate change. Thus, they are in double jeopardy. The researchers’ findings, published in Nature Communications (October 8, 2020), show that conservation programs must account for the ecological rarity of species.


It has long been thought that rare species contribute little to the functioning of ecosystems. Yet recent studies have discredited that idea: Rarity is a matter not only of the abundance or geographical range of a species, but also of the distinctiveness of its ecological functions. Because these functionally distinct species are irreplaceable, it is essential we understand their ecological characteristics, map their distributions, and evaluate how vulnerable they are to current and future threats.

Using two databases that collect information on the world’s terrestrial mammals (4,654 species) and birds (9,287 species), scientists from the FRB’s Center de Synthèse et d’Analyse de la Biodiversité (CESAB), CNRS research laboratories, Université Grenoble Alpes, the University of Montpellier, and partner institutes divided the earth’s surface into 50 × 50 km squares and determined the number of ecologically rare species within each. They showed that ecological rarity among mammals is concentrated in the tropics and the southern hemisphere, with peaks on Indonesian islands, in Madagascar, and in Costa Rica. Species concerned are mostly nocturnal frugivores, like bats and lemurs, and insectivores, such as small rodents. Ecologically rare bird species are mainly found in tropical and subtropical mountainous regions, especially in New Guinea, Indonesia, the Andes, and Central America. The birds in question are essentially frugivorous or nectarivorous, hummingbirds being an example. For birds and terrestrial mammals alike, islands are hotspots of ecological rarity.

The researchers also ranked these species according to their IUCN Red List status and found they made up the bulk of the threatened species categories. That is, ecologically rare mammals account for 71% of Red List threatened species (versus 2% for ecologically common mammals); and ecologically rare birds, 44.2% (versus 0.5% for ecologically common birds). For each species, they determined (i) anthropogenic pressure exerted; (ii) human development indexes (HDIs) of host countries; and (iii) exposure to armed conflicts. The last two of these elements shape conservation policies. The scientists observed that human activity had a greater impact on ecologically rare mammals and birds than on more common species, and that these rare species were found in countries of every kind of profile, irrespective of HDI or the prevalence of warfare. They used models to demonstrate that ecologically rare species will be the greatest victims of climate change, many of them facing extinction within 40 years.

This profiling of ecologically rare species makes it