12.18.2017

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
12.18.2017
NEED TO KNOW.
Atlanta Airport Crippled by Blackout.
The world's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, was hit with a nearly 11-hour long power outage, stranding passengers and disrupting flights across the country. The outage started with a fire in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility, damaging two substations that served the airport - including the redundant system that would've provided backup power. Toxic fumes prevented workers from entering the facility to conduct emergency repairs. 1,000 flights in and out of Atlanta - which is Delta's primary hub - were canceled, and travel delays are expected to continue throughout Monday. 

Star Wars Forces Way to Box Office Records.
The Last Jedi, the ninth major motion film in the Star Wars cinematic universe and the sequel to 2017's The Force Awakens, was the top debut of the year, bringing in $220M domestically. The haul makes it the second best domestic opening ever right behind...its predecessor, The Force Awakens (2015's Jurassic World comes in third with a $208M opening weekend). The film, led by indie director Rian Johnson (who has reportedly been tapped for a new trilogy separate from the Last Jedi story line), rode a wave of praise, with critics lauding his break (potential spoilers) from past Star Wars stereotypes and an emphasis on new heroes. 


Pentagon Actively Investigates UFOs.
According to reports over the weekend (NYT paywall), the Pentagon has carried on a decades-long program to investigate US Air Force encounters with what are classified as unidentified flying objects. The program, known as Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, was funded at the behest of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at $22M over five years. At a practical level, the program was a channel for Air Force and Navy pilots to report observations of aircraft they could not identify. Luis Elizondo, the career intelligence official who ran the program before it ended in 2012, described scores of unexplained sightings by military pilots of aircraft with capabilities far beyond what is currently considered aerodynamically possible. At least one video from a F/A-18F Super Hornet was released. 

 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Carolina Panthers owner to sell team after sexual harassment allegations surface (More)
Watch: Teaser released of Prince Harry's interview with Barack Obama (More)
> Kiss bassist Gene Simmons denies sexual assault allegations brought against him over the weekend (More)
 

Science & Technology.

Google parent Alphabet to install open air laser-based optical internet in India next year (More)
SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship successfully docks with International Space Station, delivering 4,800 lbs of supplies (More)
Scientists unveil design for all-silicon quantum computing chip - next step is to make it (More)
 

Business & Markets.

CME - world's largest futures exchange - launched Bitcoin futures on Sunday (More) | Bitcoin flirts with $20k (More)
Famed Railroad Turnaround CEO Hunter Harrison, Dies at 73 (More)
US holiday spending up 5.8% over last November, largest increase since 2011 (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

Report: US provides critical intelligence to Russia to stop St. Petersburg bombing (More)
Thomas Fire in CA picks up speed from new winds, only 40% contained (More) | Multimillion-dollar houses reduced to ashes (More)
Australia arrests naturalized North Korean citizen for aiding international weapon sales (More)
ETCETERA.
The most hilarious wildlife photos of 2017

Ugh Millennials: People are making fun of their New Year's resolutions.  


ISS astronauts can look forward to their own Star Wars premiere - in space

Two Facebook social scientists acknowledge social media can be bad for your mood.

Rolling Stone ranks the 150 best Simpsons episodes of all time

Beautiful photos show India’s centuries-old romance with the elephant

The year in books, in charts (from Amazon).

Studies say even small amounts of alcohol impair memory

Clickbait: Judge dismisses 54-year-old juror after they fall in love for first time

Historybook: Mayflower arrives at Plymouth Harbor (1620); 13th Amendment formally adopted in Constitution, abolishing slavery (1865); Joseph Stalin born (1878); HBD Steven Spielberg (1946); HBD Brad Pitt (1963).
"ALL OF US EVERY SINGLE YEAR, WE'RE A DIFFERENT PERSON. I DON'T THINK WE'RE THE SAME PERSON ALL OF OUR LIVES. "
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Steven Spielberg
 
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