By LeAnn Liu (Online Editor)
Relentless Suffering in California
The past couple of weeks have been extremely difficult for California. The air is thick with smoke from fires, which are ravaging in both northern and southern California. In Northern California, the Camp Fire has claimed the lives of at least 66 people, many of whom were burned while trying to escape the flames. There is now nothing where Paradise once stood, and over 600 people remain missing. The Camp Fire now ranks as the deadliest fire in California since 1933.
The Hill and Woolsey fires in Southern California burned through the normally safe and beautiful celebrity homes in Malibu and Thousand Oaks, a town that had suffered a shooting less than a week before.
Despite the looming threat of the wildfire, the residents of Thousand Oaks held a memorial service honoring the victims of the shooting at the Borderline Grill and Bar. The shooter was a former marine with a history of mental health issues. He killed 12 people before fatally wounding himself.
“All Jews Must Die” Declared Pittsburgh Shooter
In Pittsburgh, a man opened fire on worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11. The shooter had made anti-Semitic declarations on social media beforehand. Although anti-Semitism has taken the spotlight in Europe, this was not reflected in the United States until this shooting. Europeans express disappointment that the U.S. is no longer the safe haven that they once thought it was.
The Affirmative Action Case Goes to the Supreme Court
The case against affirmative action at Harvard is going to the Supreme Court in February. The case originated from claims that Asian Americans are held to a higher standard than other groups in the name of racial diversity and that legacies receive an unfair advantage over other students. Its results could affect the policies of other private universities as well.
Election Results Still On Hold
Over a week since the 2018 midterm elections, 10 Congressional seats remain uncalled because the races are so close that counting is taking longer than anticipated. The gubernatorial and Senate races in Florida are still yet to be declared due to recounts. After more than a week of recounts, Stacey Abrams, who was campaigning to become the first black female governor in Georgia, admitted defeat though she stated that it was a result of voter suppression.
The President Attacks Birthright Citizenship
President Donald Trump asserted that he could use executive action to end birthright citizenship, which is guaranteed in the constitution. Paul Ryan later criticized the president’s statement. This earned him a tweet declaring that he “knows nothing about” birthright citizenship.
Barnes & Noble Tumbles Down the Road Toward Closure
The upcoming holiday season is crucial for Barnes & Noble, whose sales have been declining in the past six years. If it fails to show growth or sell itself to an investor, the bookseller could join Toys R Us and Sears as another company that died in the rise of online retail.
Unrest at Google
Thousands of Google employees from the 40 offices around the world walked off the job in protest of the multi-million dollar exit packages for male executives that were accused of sexual misconduct. For example, Andy Rubin, “the father of Android,” was given $90 million upon leave. This protest became a part of the recent movements in tech companies. Other protests have been aimed at the wage gap and the censored search engine in China.
Marvel Fans Mourn the Death of Stan Lee
The comic giant Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Lee, passed away on Monday at age 95. He was praised for the characterizations of his superheroes, including Spider-Man and Iron Man, as relatable to the average human being despite their superhuman capabilities. Lee himself was known for his ability to transform himself into a larger-than-life figure. However, this also led to criticisms of his refusal to share credit with collaborators such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.
Mapping the Animal, Plant, and Fungal Kingdom
The Earth BioGenome Project launched on November 1 on a mission to sequence the DNA of every animal, plant, and fungus on the planet. It is expected to cost around $5 billion and take 10 years. As biodiversity rapidly decreases, the project becomes more and more urgent. Once completed, it could become an invaluable resource for scientists.
Two NASA Spacecrafts Finally Slumber
Two NASA spacecrafts died on Halloween week: Kepler and Dawn. Kepler was the first to go after confirming more than 2500 exoplanets within its 94 million mile journey. With Kepler, astronomers learned that up to half of the stars we see in our night sky could have planets capable of sustaining life. Dawn followed suit days after. It had orbited two of the largest objects in the asteroid belt, discovering the iron core in one and organic materials on the other.