Posts tagged with "ABC News"

Flaco, the owl who escaped the Central Park Zoo, adeptly survives the wilds of New York City

February 16, 2023

When he first escaped from his vandalized enclosure at New York City’s Central Park Zoo on Thursday, February 2, handlers of Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl, doubted he could survive on his own after spending most of his life in captivity, reports Good Morning America.

But 12 days after he flew the coop, the nocturnal bird of prey is proving his doubters wrong. He’s not only showing he’s an agile aviator, swooping from tree to tree along “Billionaires’ Row” on Central Park South, but he’s also a quick study when it comes to hunting, zoo officials said.

After he escaped, Central Park Zoo, officials said a major concern was whether Flaco would be able to fend for himself in the wilds of the asphalt jungle. “That is no longer a concern,” zoo officials said.

“Since that first night, our staff has intensely monitored the eagle owl each day and evening to document and observe his behavior and activity in Central Park,” zoo officials said in a statement released on Sunday, February 12. “Several days ago, we observed him successfully hunting, catching and consuming prey. We have seen a rapid improvement in his flight skills and ability to confidently maneuver around the park.”

The owl has recently been spotted several times munching on rodents while perched in trees.

Flaco’s adventures outside captivity began more than two weeks ago, when zoo staff noticed him missing around 8:30 p.m. and reported to the New York Police Department that it appeared a vandal had cut the stainless steel mesh of his exhibit, according to zoo officials.

The NYPD said the incident is still under investigation and no arrests have been made.

Zoo staffers quickly launched a search for the owl. Stunned witnesses first spotting him on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue near the famous Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store. But since then, he has mostly stayed in the southern end of Central Park, flying back and forth from the West Side to the East Side—even perching on trees inside the zoo.

A team of zoo staffers armed with nets and traps had been monitoring Flaco’s movements around-the-clock as he avoided their attempts to “rescue” him:

“Since our recovery strategies, thus far, have all been based on luring him to familiar food items, we need to rethink our approach,” zoo officials said in their update on Sunday. “Our main concern has always been for the well-being of the eagle owl. Our observations indicate that he seems to be comfortable in the area of the park where he has been hunting, and we don’t want to do anything to encourage him to leave this site.”

Zoo officials said that, while Flaco “faces potential challenges in this environment on a daily basis,” they have scaled back in their attempts to recover him.

One big concern is that Flaco could eat a poisoned rat. In August 2021, a barred owl nicknamed “Barry” by Central Park birders was killed when it flew into the path of a Central Park Conservancy maintenance vehicle. A necropsy done on Barry detected a potentially lethal level of rat poison that could have impaired the owl’s flying abilities, officials said.

“We will continue to monitor him, though not as intensely, and look to opportunistically recover him when the situation is right,” zoo officials said of Flaco.

Meanwhile, Flaco has quickly become the city’s latest celebrity bird—drawing huge crowds in the park over the weekend that rivaled those attracted by the Mandarin duck, a brilliantly colorful fowl who mysteriously appeared in the park in 2018 and stayed in the area for several months before vanishing without a trace.

“I just wanted to see him. I just think it’s really fun,” said Jen Roff, an economics professor at The City University of New York, who glimpsed Flaco through her binoculars as he slept in a tree Monday afternoon. “I think he’s beautiful. He’s gorgeous.”

Moustafa Elbeik also stopped by Central Park during his lunch break Monday to get a gander at the owl. “It’s exciting that we get to see a creature out here like this,” Elbeik told ABC News. “It’s pretty rare.”

Elbeik added that it was also a relief to hear Flaco is now catching his own food, saying, “It’s pretty impressive. “He’s helping to take care of our rat problem, so that’s much appreciated.”

Research contact: @GMA

Pence subpoenaed by special counsel probing Trump’s role in January 6 attack

February13, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence has been subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump’s effort to stay in office after the 2020 election and his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, according to a source familiar with the matter, reports NBC News

.Special Counsel Jack Smith was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the Justice Department’s inquiries into Trump’s role in the riot as well as the former president’s handling of classified documents after he left office. The subpoena is related to the January 6 investigation, the source said.

Spokespersons for Smith and Pence declined to comment on the matter. ABC News first reported that Pence has been subpoenaed.

In December, NBC News reported that Smith had subpoenaed local officials in key presidential swing states for any and all communications involving Trump, his campaign, and a series of aides and allies who assisted in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The move was an indication that Smith is probing into a scheme involving fake electors, a slate of individuals who signed documents purporting they were their states’ rightful electors and falsely asserting that Trump was the victor in those states.

The House special committee formed to investigate the attack on the Capitol gathered evidence that the fake electors submitted false certifications of Trump victories to the National Archives in hopes of having Pence substitute them for the actual electoral votes that made Joe Biden president.

The January 6 committee devoted an entire hearing to Pence’s role on that day—and the intense public and private pressure Trump applied to Pence to get his vice president to interfere with the electoral count.

Pence, as then-president of the Senate, presided over Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results—but that role was strictly ceremonial, with no power to intervene in the counting of electoral votes.

Still, Trump sought to apply pressure on his vice president even after Pence’s aides, as well as Trump’s, said it would be illegal for the then-vice president to interfere in the count, according to testimony before the January 6 committee.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion article, Pence described telling that to Trump, himself, during an Oval Office meeting with lawyer John Eastman, one of the architects of a memo that outlined a scenarioin which Pence could refuse to certify the electoral college count.

After Eastman described his plan as mere theory, Pence wrote that he turned to Trump and said, “Mr. President, did you hear that? Even your lawyer doesn’t think I have the authority to return electoral votes.”

Pence, who ultimately performed his ceremonial duty in the aftermath of the violence, has said he’s “proud” of what he did on January 6 and has declared there’s “almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

When asked on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in November if he believes Trump had committed a crime, Pence said, “Well, I don’t know if it is criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers.”

“The truth is, what the president was repeating is what he was hearing from that gaggle of attorneys around him,” Pence said. “Presidents, just like all of us that have served in public life, you have to rely on your team, you have to rely on the credibility of the people around you. And so, as time goes on, I hope we can move beyond this, beyond that prospect. And this is really a time when our country ought to be healing.”

The former vice president, who has hinted that he is considering a run for president in 2024, also has criticized Trump for his actions on that day. As a mob of the then-president’s supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol, Trump tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution—prompting chants of “hang Mike Pence” as rioters sought out the vice president who had to be rushed to a secure location.

In November, Pence called Trump’s January 6 tweet about him “reckless” and said the remark “angered” him.

“I mean, the president’s words were reckless and his actions were reckless,” Pence said in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir. He added, “The president’s words that day at the rally endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

What the ‘almond mom’ trend on TikTok says about parenting and diet culture

February 7, 2023

It was ten years ago that a conversation between a mother and daughter about eating, on an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills caught the public’s attention, reports Good Morning America.

“I’m feeling really weak. I had like, half an almond,” top model Gigi Hadid—at the time a teenager—told her mom Yolanda Hadid on a 2013 episode of the reality show.

In response, Yolanda Hadid told her daughter, “Have a couple of almonds and chew them really well.”

While Yolanda Hadid later said her comments were taken out of context and came when she was “half asleep” after undergoing surgery, the imprint of a mom seemingly encouraging her daughter to restrict food stuck.

Today, judging from social media, the term “almond mom” is used to refer to a parent who imparts unhealthy food beliefs or disordered eating on their child.

The hashtag #almondmom brings up thousands of videos on TikTok alone of mostly young women impersonating the ways they see their parents, mostly moms, doing everything from limiting their own food intake to questioning their child’s diet choices and over-exercising.

“Are you really hungry or are you just bored,” a woman says in one video, mimicking a so-called almond mom.

“I just got back from my 12-mile walk. I am starving,” another woman impersonating an “almond mom” says in a video, as she measures out two almonds to eat.

Tyler Bender, a 20-year-old digital creator in Denver, has racked up over 144,000 followers on TikTok thanks in large part to the “almond mom” videos she has created since July, when she said she filmed a quick video in a grocery store satirizing what she described as “skinny moms on diets.”

“I went to the nut vending machine and I got like one nut and put [it] in a sack and tied it up,” Bender told Good Morning America. “I just assumed that people would be like, ‘Oh, that’s so weird and quirky,’ and then there have been so many people who related to it.”

She continued, “It’s like a community in the comments, the amount of people that are like, ‘This is healing for me.'”

Bender said she continues to be surprised by how much her videos resonate with people, including her own mom: “My mom watches them and she thinks they’re hilarious, but I know she’s watched them and also been like dialing it back,” Bender said. “I think anybody who watches them knows, like, OK, time to dial it back. I don’t need to be so worried about that all the time.”

Bender said the goal of her videos is not to glamourize or amplify restricted eating, but to use humor to shine a light on the diet culture that pervades families to this day.

“It’s just kind of like raising the flags of, hey, this behavior isn’t normal. If you’re seeing this, say something, or know that it’s not cool and it’s not normal,” she said. “I think it’s made parents more aware of like, ‘I don’t want to pass down my diet culture to my daughter and have her do the diet pills I did, so I’m going to watch my mouth now because kids see everything.'”

The “almond mom” trend on social media comes as eating disorders continue to be an ongoing crisis in the United States. Eating disorders remained second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illness throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with eating disorders responsible for one death every 52 minutes in the U.S., according to data shared by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Nearly 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, according to the organization.

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are diagnosed by specific criteria defined by the American Psychiatric Association.

Disordered eating, which is more common, is not a specific diagnosis but describes irregular eating behaviors or a preoccupation with food, weight, and body image, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents nutrition and dietetics practitioners.

Virginia Sole-Smith, author of the upcoming book, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture,” said that while it’s clear that home life influences a child’s thoughts on food, it’s “reductive” to think that, as with the “almond mom” trend, it’s moms, alone, who may be causing damage.

“We know that eating disorders have a whole variety of causes, so the mom alone does not cause it,” Sole-Smith told ABC News. “There is a genetic component. There are environmental components, all these different things.”

She continued, “Parents of all genders really influence their kids’ relationships with food and body, and there’s a lot of potential to cause harm there, but it is not limited just to moms.”

That point is echoed by Maya Feller, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, who said the “almond mom” trend does track with research showing the outsized impact parents—not just mothers—have on how kids view food.

“Whatever the family culture of food is shapes the way that kids perceive, and I think that’s separate from gender,” Feller said. “If we see parents who engage in restrictive behaviors, then we know that’s what’s being passed down to the kids.”

Both Feller and Sole-Smith acknowledged that the influence of parents only goes so far, as kids are also impacted by what they see on social media and in pop culture.

Sole-Smith, also author of the Burnt Toast newsletter, said navigating diet culture and fatphobia can be particularly hard for parents. While body-positive role models like Lizzo and even the self-awareness seen in “almond mom” videos are helpful, it’s an uphill battle.

So what’s a parent to do? When it comes to helping raise kids who have healthy relationships with food and eating, parents can start by creating a “safe space” at home, according to both Sole-Smith and Feller.

“Make the home a place where kids’ bodies are respected, trusted, treated with dignity—where their food preferences are respected, treat foods aren’t demonized, and where movement is encouraged in terms of how do you love to move your body, not movement for the sake of body shape,” said Sole-Smith, adding that parents can also talk to their kids about what diet and weight messages they see in pop culture.

Feller also recommends parents be “neutral” when it comes to food. “As a parent myself, of course sometimes I see my kid not having their vegetables and I want to be like, ‘Eat your vegetables,’ but I hold myself back because I’m really not trying to create a hierarchy around food,” she said, adding, “Food is not a reward or punishment. Food is food.”

Feller said parents can also help by offering the structure—a variety of foods, served at regular mealtimes, ideally at a table and not in front of a screen—that will empower their child.

“Then the kid is the one that’s meant to decide if they eat and how much,” said Feller. “There doesn’t have to be the power struggle around what gets consumed.”

Both Feller and Sole-Smith also emphasized that the single best thing parents can do is set a good example with their own actions.

“They learn from watching us much more than they learn from having us count their broccoli bites,” said Sole-Smith, adding of her own approach, “I offer a range of foods that I would like them have access to. I sit down and eat my own meal and enjoy it, and I don’t think very hard about what they’re eating or not eating. And the more I do that, and the more relaxed I am about it, the more they try different foods.”

Research contact: @GMA

George Santos now indicates $625K of loans to his campaign might not be ‘personal’

January 27, 2023

New campaign disclosures from embattled Representative George Santos (R-New York) suggest that at least $625,000 in campaign loans he had previously reported as self-funded might not be sourced from his “personal funds,” reports ABCNews.

Campaign finance experts say Santos may be violating campaign finance laws by not properly disclosing the original sources of those loans.

In a series of amendments filed on Tuesday, January 24, Santos marked two loans that he had previously reported as loans from himself— $500,000 from March 2022 and $125,000 from October 2022—as not from “personal funds from the candidate.”

In a previous version of his campaign disclosure, the $500,000 was reported as a loan from George Anthony Devolder-Santos, with a checked box indicating it was from “personal funds of the candidate.” But in an amendment to that report filed on Tuesday, that box was left unchecked.

Similarly, in another amendment filed on Tuesday, the $125,000 loan was reported as a self-loan from Santos but it had an unmarked box now indicating that it’s not from his personal funds. That loan was previously reported under the contributions section, with a memo that it was a self-loan from Santos.

Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance expert and the deputy executive director of Documented, said a campaign loan reported under a candidate, but not marked as “personal funds of the candidate,” usually means that the loan is secured through a bank or another person.

Under campaign finance laws, disclosures of such loans are required to be accompanied by the original source of the loans as well as the due date and the interest rate, Fischer said. But Santos’ amended filings did not disclose any of that information.

Santos declined to comment on the changes when asked by reporters outside his office on Wednesday: “I have no comment for you on that … I have no clue on what you are talking about,” he said.

Fischer said Santos’ new amendments “make no sense” and added that “unchecking the box is not going to absolve Santos from any legal liabilities.”

Adav Noti, former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now senior vice president and legal director of Campaign Legal Center, said the possibility of the changes being unintentional clerical errors, which the Santos campaign has a history of, should not be discounted at this point.

“I don’t think the amendments shed light either way on anything that happened,” Noti said. “There’s one checkbox on one form that was changed. There’s no indication that that was intentional, and there’s all sorts of indication that it might have just been sloppiness.”

Regardless of the intention of the changes, campaign finance lawyer and Deputy Executive Director of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation Paul Seamus Ryan emphasized the importance of proper disclosures of campaign funds.

“Disclosure of the source and terms of such a loan is important because federal law requires that loans obtained by a candidate for use in the candidate’s campaign must be on the usual and customary terms that would be offered to any similarly situated borrower,” Ryan said.

“I’m not sure what Santos’ motivation was for the loan-related amendments, but he hasn’t cleared up potential violations of federal law,” Ryan added.

Santos, who was elected in November to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, has been under mounting scrutiny over his finances—with 2022 disclosures indicating millions in assets after previously disclosing less than $60,000 in income in 2020—as well as a string of falsehoods and embellishments he told about his background.

Democrats also have filed a complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee.

Santos has insisted he is not a criminal and has vowed to serve his term for his constituents—suggesting it’s up to them to reelect him or vote him out of office. He was recently given assignments on two lower-level congressional committees: the panels for small business and science, space and technology.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that “I will hold  him [Santos] to the same standard I hold anyone else elected.”

If Santos is found to have broken the law, then “we will remove him,” McCarthy said, though it was unclear what punishment McCarthy was promising.

Research contact: @abcnews

Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s home and turned over to DOJ

January 25, 2023

Classified documents have been found in the home of former Vice President Mike Pence and turned over to the FBI for review, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

A lawyer for Pence conducted the search of Pence’s home in Indiana last week and found around a dozen documents marked as classified, sources said. The search was done proactively and in the wake of the news that classified documents from before he was president were found in President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware and in his old office at the Penn Biden Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

The Pence documents are undergoing a review by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the FBI, sources said.

Pence previously told ABC News’ David Muir that he did not retain any classified information after leaving office.

“Let me ask you, as we sit here in your home office in Indiana, did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?” Muir asked in a November 2022 interview.

“I did not,” Pence said then. Asked if he saw “any reason for anyone to take classified documents with them, leaving the White House,” he said, “There’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area.”

CNN first reported the discovery of classified materials.

Research contact: @abcnews

Trump Organization receives maximum fine for New York tax fraud scheme

January 16, 2023

On Friday, January 13, the Trump Organization received the maximum fine under New York law after it was convicted last month of running a 15-year tax fraud scheme, reports Axios.

A New York judge ruled that a pair of the former president’s business entities must pay a $1.6 million penalty, the AP first divulged. The Trump Organization said it plans to appeal the ruling, per Reuters.

Last month, Trump Organization subsidiaries Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted of 17 felonies, which included criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records, and conspiracy.

  • Under New York law, the company faced up to a $1.6 million fine from the verdict.
  • Trump and his family were not charged in the case.
  • Earlier this week, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail for his role in the scheme. He was taken into custody and is expected to serve his sentence at Rikers Island in New York.
  • Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to assisting in the scheme and admitted to 15 felonies.

Friday’s ruling could lead to additional consequences if companies that are not allowed to conduct business with felons choose to cancel their contracts with the organization, ABC News reports.

In addition, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil lawsuit accusing the former president and members of his family of financial fraud and referring them to federal prosecutors and the IRS for criminal investigation.

Research contact: @axios

AI photography is taking over social media. Why are some concerned about privacy?

December 8, 2022

The latest social media trend among users, young and old,  is sharing virtual avatars generated through the Lensa AI app, reports ABC News.

Lensa, which has been around since 2018, enables users to upload from 10 to 20 photos of their selfies or portraits—and then it creates dozens, even hundreds, of digital images called “Magic Avatars.”

While the pictures could be considered pieces of digital art, those who are worried about personal online privacy have begun raising concerns about data collection.

Cybersecurity expert Andrew Couts is a senior editor of security at WIRED—overseeing privacy policy, national security, and surveillance coverage. He recently told ABC’s Good Morning America that it’s almost “impossible” to know what happens to a user’s photos after they are uploaded onto the app.

“It’s impossible, without a full audit of the company’s back-end systems, to know how safe or unsafe your pictures may be,” Couts said. “The company does claim to ‘delete’ face data after 24 hours and they seem to have good policies in place for their privacy and security practices.”

According to Lensa’s privacy policy, the uploaded photos are automatically deleted after the AI avatars are generated, and the face data on other parts of the app is automatically deleted within 24 hours after being processed by Lensa.

Prisma Labs, the developer of Lensa AI, told ABC News in a statement that images users upload are used “solely for the purpose of creating their very own avatars.”

“Users’ images are being leveraged solely for the purpose of creating their very own avatars. The system creates a personalized version of the model for every single user and models never intersect with each other. Both users’ photos and their models are deleted within 24 hrs after the process of creating avatars is complete,” the company said in a statement. “In very simple terms, there is no[t] a ‘one-size-fits-all collective neural network’ trained to reproduce any face, based on aggregated learnings.”

The statement continued, “We are updating our Terms & Conditions to make these more clear to everyone. The much-discussed permission to use the content for development and improving Prisma’s work and its products refers to the users’ consent for us to train the copy of the model on the 10-20 pictures each particular user has uploaded,” the statement continued. “Without this clause, we would have no right to perform this training for each subsequent generation. We are fully GDPR and CCAP compliant. We store the bare minimum of data to enable our services. To reiterate, the user’s photos are deleted from our servers as soon as the avatars are generated. The servers are located in the United States.”

Couts added that he isn’t too worried about the photos because most of us already have our faces on social media. He said his main concern is data collection that can be potentially lifted from users’ phones.

Research contact: @abcnews

Hair, be there: New study finds some natural hair loss supplements actually might work

December 5, 2022

A report published on Wednesday, November 30 by the Journal of the American Medical Association identifies which natural nutritional supplements are most likely to reverse hair loss.

Pumpkin seed oil, zinc, and other nutritional supplements may help with hair loss, according to the new research published in JAMA Dermatology, reports ABC News.

Researchers in Boston and Miami reviewed 30 different studies—some of which focused on men, while others targeted women, and yet others looked at hair loss in children—and found nutritional supplements with the best potential benefits from several hair loss brands and natural supplements.

A few of the brands include Viviscal, Nourkrin, Nutrafol, Lamdapil and Pantogar, and potentially beneficial supplements include the likes of capsaicin and isoflavone, omegas 3 and 6 with antioxidants, apple nutraceutical, total glucosides of paeony and compound glycyrrhizin tablets, zinc, tocotrienol, and pumpkin seed oil, according to the findings.

All of the supplements in the study reportedly had mild to no side effects.

Whether or not the supplements work may depend on the person and the type of hair loss that person is experiencing, according to health experts.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who has shared her own COVID-related hair loss journey, said the supplements noted in the research are “widely available.”

She said treatment options will be individual to each person. “I think the bottom line here is that you have to get at, pardon the pun, the root cause of your hair loss, because it’s not one size fits all,” Ashton said on Good Morning America. “But if you look at how these supplements produced the results that they did, according to this compilation of studies, they varied.”

Ashton recommends speaking with a dermatologist to discuss treatment options and what works best for a specific type of hair loss. She said the evidence is still emerging on the beneficial effects of supplements for hair loss.

“I want to emphasize these results can vary,” said Ashton. “They can be mild. They can be more significant, but for people suffering with significant hair loss issues, usually a visit to a dermatologist is step one.”

Ashton said she found success by varying her hair styling techniques, in addition to diet and supplements.

“It’s not just about diet and nutritional supplements, but I think the key thing here is evaluate your particular situation,” she said. “For me, diet was a big contributing factor, but then resting your hair from styling or coloring damage—and my favorite, those clip-on ponies and wigs—can be really, really helpful.”

Research contact: @abcnews

DOJ seeks to speak with Pence as part of January 6 investigation

November 25, 2022

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence for its investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 presidential election, reports HuffPost.

Sources familiar with the matter confirmed the DOJ’s efforts to The New York TimesCNN, and ABC News on Wednesday, November 23. All reported that Pence, who has developed a fraught relationship with Trump after refusing to support his election fraud claims, is open to the request.

DOJ investigators reportedly contacted Pence before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel―Jack Smith, who once led the public integrity section―to take over the probe last week. As of now, Pence has not been subpoenaed.

Although he is reportedly open to testifying before the DOJ, Pence has refused to participate in a similar investigation led by a House select committee, saying last week that Congress “has no right to my testimony.”

But that doesn’t mean that Trump is happy about it: Indeed, according to HuffPost, the former president may seek legal avenues to stop Pence from testifying by invoking executive privilege, which at the very least, could stall the DOJ’s efforts to convene with him.

Pence could be a key witness in the investigations into the efforts by Trump and his allies to subvert democracy, including a plan to create a fake slate of pro-Trump electors in several states Biden won in 2020, because of his close communications with the ex-president in the days leading up to January 6, 2021, when an angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol with Trump’s encouragement.

Pence detailed many of their exchanges in his recently released book, saying Trump summoned him to meet with attorney John Eastman, who then pressured Pence to block the electoral college certification process in Congress.

Wednesday’s news comes the week after Pence shared that he’s giving “prayerful consideration” to running for president in 2024―a race for which Trump already has announced his candidacy. Pence said there are “better choices” than Trump for president last week when asked if he’d be a good presidential candidate again.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Left out in the rain: NASA says Hurricane Nicole peeled patch of insulation off Artemis

November 16, 2022

NASA’s uber-expensive Space Launch System (SLS) Moon rocket— each successful launch of Artemis will cost about $4.1 billion, according to the U.S. space agency—is still out on the pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, having survived hurricane-level wind gusts last week, reports Futurism.

The question is, why was the rocket left out in a tropical storm? Predictions for Hurricane Nicole were that it could bring 75 mph winds during its expected landfall as a Category 1 hurricane along Florida’s east coast. Forecasters said that the upper part of the rocket could see higher wind gusts, possibly above 85 mph.

Now, that its engineers have inspected the spacecraft for damage, Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin says that a ten-foot-long piece of insulation peeled away from the rocket while Hurricane Nicole stormed by, and it’s too late to go in and fix it on the launch pad.

The piece of insulation is designed to minimize aerodynamic heating during ascent where the fairing of the rocket attaches to NASA’s Orion capsule. The strip, a caulk-like material called RTV, peeled off the base of the crew capsule’s protective nose cone.

In short, it’s news that nobody wanted to hear.

“It was an area that was about ten feet in length [on the] windward side where the storm blew through,” said Sarafin, as quoted by CBS News. “It is a very, very thin layer of RTV; it’s about .2 inches or less… in thickness.”

Additionally, according to  ABC News, one of the umbilicals, which attach to the rocket boosters, was exhibiting “erratic signals” and the team may switch to a backup harness.

NASA was forced to again postpone the launch date—this time, from Monday, November 14, to Wednesday, November 16.

NASA’s SLS rocket is currently scheduled to launch at around 1 a.m. (EST) early Wednesday morning, ferrying the capsule into orbit, and allowing it to journey on to the Moon and back.

Where the latest incident leaves that upcoming launch window remains to be seen. NASA’s teams are meeting today to discuss if the rocket is ready for launch.

The weather for a Wednesday launch, at least, is looking good.

“I feel good headed into this attempt on the 16th,” Sarafin told reporters. “The team is moving forward as one unit,” he added. “We’ve just got some work to do.”

Research contact: @futurism