10.25.2019

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Need To Know
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Wildfires Explode in California
Hundreds were evacuated from the Northern California town of Geyserville early Thursday morning after a brushfire exploded into a raging wildfire, consuming at least 25 square miles north of Napa Valley. Officials have not determined what caused the fire, but say strong and dry winds with gusts up to 70mph likely fueled the blaze, which began in an area where power had been shut off to prevent fires. The rapidly growing wildfire (see photos) came just one day after the state's largest utility provider, Pacific Gas & Electric, shut off power to nearly 180,000 customers to avoid wind gusts knocking tree branches into power lines. Separately, two new blazes quickly grew out of control in Southern California, prompting nearly 40,000 people to be evacuated from northern Los Angeles neighborhoods. Similar to the north, the fires were fueled by strong, dry, hot winds - known in the southern half of the state as Santa Ana (or "devil") winds, which blow downslope (see how they work) from inland mountains out toward the Pacific Ocean.

All three fires were less than 5% contained as of this morning.
Brextension
European Union officials are expected to extend the deadline for Britain to exit the 28-member bloc from Oct. 31 to Jan. 31. The extra three months would allow the country to formally agree on a renegotiated package governing the departure, introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week. Johnson, abandoning his ultimatum to leave the EU with or without a deal by the end of the month, told opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn he would give Parliament until Nov. 6 to approve his Brexit bill. At the same time, Johnson introduced a motion to schedule a snap election (a national election held earlier than scheduled) for Dec. 12. According to Johnson, the election could act as a referendum, and securing a parliamentary majority would enable him to pass his deal without opposition support by January. See a timeline of the tortured Brexit process here
Cummings Lies in State
Government officials honored former Rep. Elijah Cummings (D, MD-7) yesterday, as Cummings became the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the US Capitol. The 68-year-old passed away late last week from long-standing health complications that persisted since a 2017 heart valve replacement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made remarks at the ceremony (see photos) and the House suspended floor votes for the remainer of the week. Throughout his 13 terms, Cummings became known as a towering civil rights advocate and champion against social issues that plagued his district in inner-city Baltimore. Cummings rose to chair the powerful House Oversight Committee - one of the committees playing a central role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry - at least six Democrats are now jockeying ($$, WashPo) for the seat.

See the short list of those who have lain in state in the US Capitol. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture
> Houston Astros fire assistant general manager Brandon Taubman following inappropriate comments directed at reporters (More) | Washington Nationals try to go up 3-0 against Astros in World Series tonight in Washington  (8pm ET) (More)
> Landmark Theatres CEO Ted Mundorff resigns after leading the chain for nearly two decades (More)
> NYC's Gotham Awards nominations announced for best in independent filmmaking; Netflix's Marriage Story ties The Farewell, Uncut Gems with three nominations apiece (More)
Science & Technology
> Surprising mouse study links gut bacteria to the ability to overcome fear; chemicals produced by microbiome promote the growth of the brain's fear-forgetting center (More)
> Global health officials announce eradication of poliovirus type 3, leaving just one known wild strain in existence (More)
> NASA plans for space probe to make 60-day mission on the surface of Venus by 2023; previous attempts have lasted just hours on planet's harsh surface (More)
Business & Markets
> Earnings Season: approximately 10% of S&P 500 announced earnings Thursday as US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq +0.8%) (More)
> Amazon misses expectations for first time in two years as investment in reduced shipping times weighs down earnings (More) | Twitter shares crater ~20% after whiffing on advertising revenue projections (More)
> Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to become first publicly-traded space tourism business; plans to trade on NYSE on Monday after completing a SPAC (More) | What’s a SPAC? (More)

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Politics & World Affairs
> Incumbent Bolivian President Evo Morales declares himself winner of weekend national elections before final vote is tallied, fueling protests over election fraud (More)
> Justice Department upgrades probe into origins of Russia investigation into a criminal inquiry (More)
> Election 2020: Rep. Tim Ryan (D, OH-13), who hoped to win over white working-class voters, drops out of presidential race (More)
Weekend Reads
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Unbearably Human
Atlantic | Kaitlyn Tiffany. Sometimes it seems the internet's capacity for heartless, offensive trolling knows no bounds. But at Reddit's r/relationships - where it should be the worst - the community has stayed irrationally sane. (Read, $$)
Out of the Lab, Into the Clinic
NPR | Rob Stein. The groundbreaking medical potential of gene editing has been breathlessly reported - what happens when it's finally used in humans? (Read)
Can You Actually be Addicted to Video Games? 
NYT Mag | Ferris Jabr. New research says that it's not that far-fetched, with a small percentage of heavy gamers exhibiting changes in brain chemistry that mirror substance abuse. (Read, $$)
What the Future Looks Like
MIT Press Reader | Robert Solow. A Nobel-winning economist takes a look at how the next 100 years may play out. (Read)
 
 
Etcetera
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Exploring World War I ghost ships of the Potomac River (excellent visuals). 
Nine-year-old Pearl Johnson becomes the youngest to climb El Capitan
Superstar gymnast Simone Biles throws out an amazing first pitch

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Once-mighty Newsweek isn't sure why it exists anymore
This Danish power plant has gorgeous rooftop ski slope
Central Park is about to get its first female statue (w/photo).
Moderate screen time may actually be good for children
This beer (supposedly) helps get rid of your beer belly
Clickbait: You had us at "drenched by slime"
Historybook: Artist Pablo Picasso born (1881); Benjamin O. Davis, Sr becomes first African American general in US Army (1940); HBD Katy Perry (1984); Hall of Fame golfer Payne Stewart dies in plane crash (1999).
You made it. Have a great weekend.
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"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."
- Pablo Picasso
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