More than 3 million Texans are still without power, stuck heating their homes with unsafe methods like gas stoves and generators while watching as icicles form on indoor ceiling fans. Texas Republicans, who have fully controlled the state government since 2003, blamed renewable energy and the Green New Deal, while the state’s own energy department said the problem was failing to winterize fossil fuel pipelines. Meanwhile, carbon monoxide poisoning and car accident deaths are racking up, and so many frozen pipes have burst that Gov. Greg Abbott is recruiting plumbers from other states.
This is no hoax. In the first half of 2020, Americans’ average life expectancy dropped a full year to 77.8 years according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Having largely increased for much of history, life expectancy hasn’t dropped this much since World War II. People of color saw even worse declines, with Black Americans losing 2.7 years and Latinos 1.9, compared to 0.8 for white people. “This is a huge impact,” said Steven Woolf, a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher who’s working on compiling data for the full year.
It’s not a free country. At least not for news content, which Australia’s government appears on the verge of forcing tech giants to pay for. Now Facebook, arguing the law will hurt publishers craving digital exposure, has banned users Down Under from viewing or sharing articles, and blocked Australian news sites from posting content. It’s a high-stakes game of digital chicken, since other nations could follow suit. Meanwhile, Google has taken a different path, forming a partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Australia’s biggest media owner, which will finally get paid when people Google the news.
4. Russian Coronavirus Vaccine Takes Off Across Latin America
Sputnik has landed. Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V is spreading through Latin America as a new form of diplomatic soft power. Six nations have gladly accepted the aid, and even staunch U.S. ally Colombia seems poised to join them — while looking past ongoing human rights protests in Moscow and its own expulsion of two Russian diplomats just three months ago. Their eagerness to accept the vaccine may stem from the recent publication of a positive peer review in well-respected British medical journal The Lancet, leading Latin American politicians to choose health over politics.
Based on the HISTORY channel documentary series, OZY and HISTORY are proud to bring you The Food That Built America. Hear about the bold visionaries behind some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Today, part two of the cereal saga: As corn flakes take over the world, the Kellogg brothers go to war against a former patient turned rival, C.W. Post. Listen now onApple Podcasts,Spotify,Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
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In 30 seconds, it was gone. Trump Plaza, once Atlantic City’s most successful casino, collapsed into a pile of rubble Wednesday morning. Mayor Marty Small had planned to auction the chance to press the demolition button, but was prevented by its current owner Carl Icahn, a billionaire supporter of former President Donald Trump. But opponents of President Trump, who severed ties with the bankrupt property in 2009, still got to savor the moment when his failed business venture met a swift, destructive end. Small said the demolition was bittersweet, noting that Trump had “hurt a lot of people, small businesses in Atlantic City.”
DNA extracted from 1.2 million-year-old mammoth molars has enabled scientists to sequence the world’s oldest genome, eclipsing the previous oldest DNA of a 780,000-year-old Canadian horse. The prehistoric teeth came from Siberia, where permafrost preserved the fragile genetic material, which helped researchers plot where the extinct 15-foot-tall beasts belong on the elephant family tree. And unfortunately for Jurassic Park fans, this may be the oldest readable DNA we’ll see: Stockholm-based evolutionary geneticist Love Dalén, who led the research, described the discovery as “quite close to the limit of what is possible.”
He transformed the conversation. The bombastic radio host whose syndicated show galvanized conservative thought in America died Wednesday at the age of 70 after battling lung cancer. “He is a legend,” said former President Trump, who last year honored Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Rush Limbaugh Show launched nationwide 33 years ago, eventually airing on more than 600 stations with an audience, affectionately known as “Dittoheads” for agreeing with the host, of 15 million listeners. Limbaugh was also reviled for bigoted comments, and most recently, “stolen” election claims that helped foment the Capitol riot.
They’ve got some of the world’s slowest internet speeds, so it stands to reason they’d find shortcuts. Uzbekistan has become a haven for encrypted messaging app Telegram, which has an edge thanks to its relatively small size. While the app’s security and privacy features have made it a favorite of protest movements the world over, it’s more of an all-purpose platform for Uzbeks, OZY reports. Telegram has replaced everything from social networks to the telephone, becoming more popular with users in the former Soviet republic — from police officers to drug dealers — than anywhere else in the world.
5. Osaka Beats Williams Again in Grand Slam Rematch
“Make a shot!” That exclamation by tennis legend Serena Williams wasn’t enough to psych herself up to take on world No. 2 Naomi Osaka in today’s Australian Open semifinals. Despite Osaka’s shaky start against Williams, who’s chasing Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record of 24, the 23-year-old Japanese star won easily, 6-3, 6-4 — an echo of their 2018 U.S. Open final matchup. When Williams was asked if it was her last Melbourne bid, the 39-year-old said she “wouldn’t tell anyone” and walked away in tears. Osaka is aiming for her fourth major title against 25-year-old American Jennifer Brady on Saturday.