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Happy Tuesday! October feels like it’s racing at the speed of light. But change is good. Check out the changing leaves at some of the world’s prettiest spots to enjoy fall, track changes on the election trail and meet the brilliant scientists changing the way we see the moon. And no, we haven’t forgotten — read to the end for answers to Friday’s passport question.
With one week to go, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has an 87 percent chance of victory, according to the OZY-0ptimus prediction model. President Donald Trump is keeping up a frenetic multiple-rally-per-day pace on the campaign trail, while Biden is traveling to states once thought to be solidly red: He will be in Iowa on Friday, while running mate Kamala Harris hits Texas. As early voting points to historically large turnout, tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org about how you got someone to vote who's never cast a ballot. We may feature you on OZY.
2. Courting Controversy
Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed Monday by the Senate to the Supreme Court on a party-line vote (except a “no” from endangered Maine Republican Susan Collins). The court’s 6-3 conservative majority is poised to continue the Republicans’ winning streak on election issues: On Monday, the court ruled that Wisconsin cannot accept mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day. Barrett is joining in time to hear similar cases from North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
In the global race to launch virtual currencies, that is. China’s central bank has legalized the digital yuan currency, an idea it had pitched soon after Facebook proposed its virtual currency Libra last year. Meanwhile the Jack Ma-owned Ant Group appears poised for a record $34 billion IPO, even as U.S. markets tank amid spiking COVID-19 cases. (Sources: SCMP, WSJ, FT)
Macron Muslim Mess
France is facing growing criticism from the Muslim world for President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to renounce the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad after a teacher was beheaded for discussing the images in class. France has called the protests the work of a “radical minority.” Were Macron’s comments Islamophobic? Vote on Twitter. (Source: Guardian)
‘Bulldozer’ or Democracy?
To critics of Tanzanian President John Magufuli, that’s the choice before the East African nation as it votes for its next national government on Wednesday. Magufuli has earned the moniker “The Bulldozer” for his large public works projects and unilateralism, cracking down on free speech, media and opposition rights. (Source: Reuters)
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NASA has confirmed the presence of water on the surface of the moon. Meet the women who have transformed our understanding of deep space, and continue to shape it.
As astronaut John Glenn was about to take off for what would become the first manned orbit of the Earth, he called out for Johnson: “If she says the computer is right, I'll take it.” Johnson was among a pioneering set of mathematicians known at NASA as “human computers” and she charted out the flight path for Glenn’s historic voyage. She made history herself too — graduating college at 18, she was one the first Black students integrated into West Virginia's graduate schools. Immortalized in the 2016 film Hidden Figures, she passed this year at 101.
2. Neha Satak
The 36-year-old Indian with cropped hair and a ready smile doesn’t seem like a threat to anyone. Yet she’s challenging some of the giants of the private space industry. While Elon Musk’s SpaceX is mastering launch vehicles and OneWeb, Jeff Bezos’ and Greg Wyler’s firm, is developing satellites, Satak’s startup Astrome is promising something none of those tech biggies can offer yet: satellite transponders that have 12 times more capacity than traditional transponders. This could revolutionize access to the internet in remote parts of the world. Read more.
3. Chae Kyung Sim
She can’t imagine squeezing into a space capsule to travel to the moon — just watching Ryan Gosling, as Neil Armstong, doing that in the 2018 movie First Man was painful enough. But she’s changing the way we view the moon forever. One of South Korea’s few lunar scientists, she’s developing what could be the highest-resolution camera to ever land on the moon and shoot its surface, as a part of the country’s first moon mission. She, of course, will be watching from Earth — it’s much more comfortable.
The mysteries of the moon are being unraveled millions of miles away. But there are treasures on Earth waiting for you to explore, like the mesmerizing foliage on display this season.
Jiuzhaigou means “valley of the nine villages” — but it’s peak fall beauty. Golden-yellow trees and multiple waterfalls combine to create a fairy-tale setting you won’t want to leave.
3. Torres del Paine, Chile
Snow-dusted peaks and steep cliffs in the background, red leaves and a scene that could be straight out of The Lord of the Rings — with all the special effects! We’re in the Southern Hemisphere, and fall is in March. At Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region, the sun is usually lower, which makes the lighting a bit more dramatic and sets the mood.
4. Cape Winelands, South Africa
Some 45 minutes inland from Cape Town, these gorgeous vineyards lie in the shadow of rolling hills colored clay-red and green. If it feels like I’m describing a painting, that’s exactly how you’ll feel when you visit. You’re also just a short drive away from the prison where Nelson Mandela spent the final years of his campaign against apartheid.
The Campaigns That Made History
Think contested elections are new? History repeats itself. Look back at 10 of the most extraordinary campaign moments in history — from Shirley Chisholm to Ross Perot ... all the way to Barack Obama and Donald Trump, in thistwo-hour special from OZY and HISTORY, hosted byCarlos Watson. Tune in TONIGHT at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on HISTORY.
Sure it’s only Tuesday, but if you need a bit of cinema to get you through the week, here are some must-watches.
It does not get more autumn than Todd Haynes’ 2002 melodrama Far From Heaven.Set in 1950s Connecticut, this Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid film covers it all, from racism and sexism to homophobia — as a man on the down-low has to also deal with his wife cheating with their Black gardener.
A 65-year-old widow, Clara is a retired music critic who refuses to give up her oceanfront condo after a construction company buys all the other property around her. This 2020 Brazilian–French drama is a story of resilience — and of just why we’re so emotionally attached to what we call our home.
3. The Trial of The Chicago 7
Did the seven men arrested for the Chicago riots during the 1968 National Democratic Convention actually incite the clashes — or was the police responsible? This brilliant new Aaron Sorkin film unpacks the tumultuous politics of the time, the fissures within the anti-war movement and what it means to be a patriot — a question that’s as relevant today. Watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays prosecutor Richard Schultz, on The Carlos Watson Show.
On Friday we asked you what very real passport doesn’t belong to any country. Vatican City is a state with citizens and doesn’t count. But the Holy See, specifically, does issue special limited passports. The correct answer is any of these three: the United Nations, the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Michael B., Tony R., Jon T., Nelson P. and Scott S. — congratulations!