Good morning. Let’s start your day with some breaking news🚨
“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
Life on Venus?
An international team of astronomers, in a groundbreaking discovery, found traces of a pungent gas called phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere, raising the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Earth’s inner neighbor.
Too Hot To Handle As the hottest planet in the solar system, the conditions on Venus are so deeply unpleasant – with its atmosphere consisting mainly of CO2 with thick clouds of sulfuric acid – that many scientists believe the planet is dead.
In 2016, NASA researchersfound that Venus may have been able to support life during the first 2 billion years of the planet’s early history, but a runaway greenhouse gas effect over billions of years contributed to its current hellish landscape.
Each mission to land a spacecraft on the planet has resulted in the probe’s destruction within a few hours (record: 127 minutes), eventually succumbing to temperatures that reach up to 880ºF – hot enough to melt lead.
However, on rocky planets such as Venus, phosphine is considered a marker for life. “All the geological and photochemical routes we can think of are far too unproductive to make the phosphine we see,” said Prof. Jane Greaves, the lead astronomer who made the discovery.
So, where did it come from? According to some scientists, the “mind-boggling” discovery could be evidence for Venusian microbes that survived the planet’s seemingly-inhospitable atmospheric transition over billions of years.
Others say that rather than hinting at signs of life on Venus, the discovery raises questions about phosphine as a reliable marker for life.
“I should emphasize that life, as an explanation for our discovery, should be, as always, the last resort,” said Clara Sousa-Silva, MIT molecular astrophysicist and co-author of the discovery.
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So, Astronomers *May* Have Found Evidence Of Life On Venus
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Japan’s Almost Prime Minister
Yoshihide Suga was elected to replace retiring PM Shinzo Abe as the head of Japan’s ruling party on Monday. Suga’s victory to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party all but guarantees he will be elected the next PM in tomorrow’s parliamentary election.
U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will resign from his post effective next month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the news in a series of tweets commending Branstad for his years of service. (View them here)
Tropical Storm Sally officially turned into a Category Two hurricane on Monday ahead of an expected landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi later today or Wednesday. The Atlantic Ocean at one point on Monday had five simultaneous active tropical cyclones – including Sally – for just the second time in recorded history.
Worth Noting: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a second nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 on Monday. This lockdown will begin with Rosh Hashanah on Friday and last through the Jewish High Holidays (which end in mid-October).
😤Breathe Freely… poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was successfully removed from mechanical ventilation and briefly left his hospital bed on Monday.
🦃Parade Remade… this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be recorded over two days without crowds in attendance, and air on NBC Thanksgiving morning from 9 am ET to 12 pm ET.
More details are emerging regarding ByteDance’s bid to comply with an Aug. 6 executive order mandating the company sell its U.S. TikTok business by Sept. 20:
The Treasury Department will review a proposal submitted by ByteDance on Monday that would establish Oracle as the “trusted technology partner” of TikTok’s U.S. business.
Under the terms of the deal, Oracle would work with TikTok to move data on American users to Oracle’s cloud-computing infrastructure housed solely in the U.S.
Oracle would not receive TikTok’s video-recommendation algorithm widely considered to be its ‘secret sauce.’
Billionaire investor Steve Cohen reached an agreement to buy the New York Mets baseball team from the Wilpon and Katz families on Monday. While Cohen already owns a minority stake in the team, his purchase must be approved by 23 of the 30 MLB team owners before it becomes official. With a net worth of $14.6B, Cohen would be the wealthiest majority owner in the league by about $10B, according to Forbes.
Take A Flyer
Delta announced plans to raise $6.5B in loans backed by its SkyMiles program, joining United and American as the third major airline to use its frequent-flyer program to secure cash. Last week, Delta said it had raised $16.5B since the pandemic began, but is currently losing around $27M per day.
New Product Launch: PepsiCo unveiled Driftwell, a new drink intended to help consumers relax and wind down before going to sleep. It will be available nationwide starting in December.
🚛 Worth Noting: Shares of Nikola rose 11% on Monday (after falling 14% on Friday) as the company disputed a report from short-selling firm Hindenburg that accused the EV maker of widespread fraudulent behavior.
📶 Fast Trac… Verizon agreed to buy prepaid wireless service provider Tracfone in a $6.25B cash-and-stock deal expected to close in the second half of 2021.
💼Work To Do… Amazon will hire 100,000 new workers in the U.S. and Canada over the next several months, bringing its total worldwide workforce to roughly one million employees.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
In 2017, Andrea Mason was diagnosed with severe endometriosis and cervical cancer. Following a successful operation that saved her life, the always adventurous Andrea – who competed in her first three-mile race at age four – decided to pursue a series of increasingly stunning physical challenges to raise awareness for women’s reproductive health.
This month, Andrea became the first woman to complete a ‘Sea to Summit’ triathlon, in which she swam the circumference of France’s Lake Annecy, cycled 205 miles through the French Alps, and ran 105 miles up Mont Blanc (the second-highest peak in Europe) for a total distance of 330 miles. The courageous cancer survivor, who had previously swum the English channel in 2019, completed the astonishing task in less than five days.
From XBox To LifeBoKx
Last year, Richard Redman of Panama City Beach, FL, drowned in the ocean while attempting to save a struggling toddler caught in a rip current. Per city officials, the number of drownings has increased recently, with as many as 12 deaths in 2019. The beach has already experienced eight such deaths in 2020.
Wanting to help his community after hearing about recent drownings, 13-year-old Kaial Hajik teamed up with the city’s beach safety unit to create LifeBoKx, an emergency kit designed to provide essential equipment to those responding to drownings. Kaial plans to install the kits, including two life vests, a life preserver, and lifesaving visual aids, along the shoreline once the city council approves them.
Got Your Goat
The Goats of Anarchy animal sanctuary in Hampton, NJ, is home to over 130 farm animals and is primarily devoted to the care and rehabilitation of goats with special needs. Earlier this year, a blind lamb named Gigi arrived at the farm shortly after being born and has since taken on a vital role – cuddling with the other animals.
It has become customary for Gigi to spend her days tenderly looking after newborn goats, but she recently found a new friend on the farm who she felt needed special attention – a disabled duck named Merlin. Gigi quickly established an adorable friendship with Merlin – their favorite pastime is lying together in the warm sun each day, with Merlin happily grooming her cuddly companion with his bill.
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