Sunday, December 16, 2018
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In Weaponized Courts, Judge Who Halted Affordable Care Act Is a Conservative Favorite

Two decades ago, Judge O’Connor — a native Houstonian who is married and has two daughters — was a Dallas-area federal prosecutor in his 30s. He had climbed up the legal ladder after trying local criminal cases as an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County, which includes part of Fort Worth. But his political and legal orbit changed in 2003.

He was tapped by the Justice Department to serve in Washington as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, advising the Republican chairman at the time, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, and drafting legislation on terrorism and sentencing reform. He provided behind-the-scenes legal guidance, and impressed the Republican ranks of senators, including the two who represented Texas at the time, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

A few years later, in June 2007, few were surprised when Mr. Bush nominated him to become a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate that November.

In one of his first major rulings, in 2008, Judge O’Connor dismissed a voting-rights lawsuit against the city of Farmers Branch, Tex., in which Hispanic residents claimed that the at-large system for City Council seats diluted the voting strength of minorities.

In August 2016, he blocked the Obama administration from enforcing guidelines intended to strengthen transgender rights. The administration had issued a letter to public schools stating that transgender students should be free to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities, and that schools that refused to comply could lose federal funds. A Republican coalition of states, led by Texas, sued the administration, saying the administration overstepped its authority, and Judge O’Connor agreed.

Just a few months after that ruling, the judge halted another Obama administration effort to protect transgender rights. Texas and other Republican-led states had filed a suit challenging rules that would ban doctors and hospitals from discriminating against transgender people. Social conservatives said the rules would force some doctors to act against their religious beliefs. Judge O’Connor agreed, finding that the rules likely violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Conservatives have also been disappointed by some of his rulings, including one on immigration, a realm in which Democrats have often scored victories by turning to federal judges.

Family Of Migrant Girl Disputes U.S. Officials’ Story Of Her Death

Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas, told The Associated Press that he spoke with the Jakelin’s father. The consul said Nery Caal told him the group they were traveling with was dropped off in Mexico about a 90-minute walk from the border.

Article source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guatemala-child-7-year-old-migrant-death_us_5c15cbcce4b049efa752e581

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Yellowstone opens to winter travel

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Select roads in Yellowstone National Park have opened to the public for motorized oversnow travel.

Visitors on Saturday morning were able to travel the park’s interior roads on commercially-guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches from the West and South Entrances. Visitors who have proper permits can also participate in the non-commercially guided snowmobile trips.

Travel between the North Entrance and Swan Lake Flat is being limited to commercially-guided snowcoaches. This section will remain closed to visitor snowmobile use until more snow accumulates on the road.

Travel from the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass is scheduled to begin next Friday if the weather permits.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to wheeled vehicle travel all year.

Highest Resolution Atomic Movie Of Photosynthesis In The World

An international collaboration of scientists have created the highest resolution atomic movie of photosynthesis in the world. Photosynthesis is one of the most important processes for life and without it you would not be able to have the vital oxygen you need to breathe and survive. It is thought that photosynthesis came about in the early days of Earth when a single-celled organism developed a mutation. It meant the organism could take in the Sun’s rays and convert it into energy and oxygen for other life forms to live. Because of this, the early Earth-atmosphere changed from a toxic carbon-dioxide reach environment to the one you know today: oxygen-rich. That single mutation helped create life on Earth as you know it, hence photosynthesis is a process that has been popular amongst scientists to investigate.

Photosynthesis is the process that has helped us live on this Earth and is needed for us to continue to breathe. (Image of plants grown in test tubes in laboratory from Getty).Getty

The work described in this article was published in Nature. The research work was carried out by scientists that made up an international collaboration involving those from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California as well as other institutions. The team managed to capture all four stable states of photosynthesis using the x-ray laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. With the aim of investigating photosynthesis on the atomic level, a ‘thick green slush’ of cyanobacteria was grown in a large, illuminated container. Cyanobacteria are aquatic bacteria that carry out photosynthesis to get the energy they need to survive. They are thought to be ancient bacteria that photosynthesised for the first time ever. After harvesting the cells, the researchers zapped them with the x-ray laser at LCLS.

The x-rays helped scientists find out more about how the electrons in the processes that occur in the photosynthesising bacteria flow. In particular, the team used both x-ray crystallography and x-ray spectroscopy to gain a detailed picture of the key protein complex in photosynthesising organisms: Photosystem II. It is here, where the sun’s rays are used to break down water into oxygen and hydrogen. The aim of the experiment was to make an atomic movie of this essential process in high resolution. Photosystem II goes through four stable states which were imaged by the team during their experiments. They were able to get the structure of all four states in greater detail than ever before. Previous experiments managed to retrieve the structure of two of the states at a resolution of 2.25 angstroms which is about the diameter of 2 hydrogen atoms. The latest experiment has an improved resolution to 2 angstroms which allowed the scientists to see the position of lighter atoms. With this information, they hope to use the results to help create artificial photosynthetic systems that can produce energy that is clean and renewable.

You can find out more about the research carried out by the team here and watch the YouTube video below too.

Wealthy family willing to pay $100k for photographer to travel world – KGO

Calling all photographers! Pack your passport and camera and get ready for an adventure.

A family in the United Kingdom is looking for someone to travel the world and take vacation photos.

They’ll pay one lucky person $100,000 dollars a year plus, travel expenses.

The perks are pretty amazing. Some of the places this family travels include, Abu Dhabi, Rio De Janeiro and Australia. Of course, there is a catch.

You have to be willing to travel for up to three months at a time and work ten hours a day.

You need five years experience and the ability to pass an extensive background check.
If you want to apply, you can check out the posting Perfocal, a website that posts jobs for photographers. The family wants the job to start in February.

Article source: https://abc7news.com/travel/wealthy-family-willing-to-pay-$100k-for-photographer-to-travel-world/4898329/

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‘1,000 little steps’: Global climate talks end in progress but fail to address the galloping pace of climate change

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Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/12/15/negotiators-strike-deal-global-climate-talks-questions-linger-over-whether-it-measures-up/

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Busy week ahead for Georgia Tech basketball

After playing one game over a 15-day stretch, Georgia Tech will begin its final approach to the start of the ACC this week with three games in six days.

The Yellow Jackets will start with a Monday night home game against Gardner-Webb, then travel to Arkansas for a Wednesday night game before finishing the week at home against Georgia on Saturday.

“We’ve been able to make some adjustments because we have the practice time to do so,” coach Josh Pastner said Thursday.

During the final-exam period that ended Thursday, Pastner practiced the team heavily, often training twice a day. A priority for Pastner and his staff has been forward James Banks, who was cleared to play only hours before the second game of the season. A transfer from Texas in May, he received an eligibility waiver after transferring in part for family reasons.

His playing time and productivity have increased, and he has started the past two games. In the past three games, he has had two double-doubles and one five-assist, four-block game. Coaches are figuring out ways to use him both in the high post –as they did with center Ben Lammers to great effect – but also closer to the basket.

“He’s a little different than Ben, where Ben didn’t want to maybe go post, he was more face-up,” Pastner said. “James is

Article source: https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/busy-week-ahead-for-georgia-tech/9BhluYtNRui0c2Z0nHtKqJ/

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Busy week ahead for Georgia Tech basketball

After playing one game over a 15-day stretch, Georgia Tech will begin its final approach to the start of the ACC this week with three games in six days.

The Yellow Jackets will start with a Monday night home game against Gardner-Webb, then travel to Arkansas for a Wednesday night game before finishing the week at home against Georgia on Saturday.

“We’ve been able to make some adjustments because we have the practice time to do so,” coach Josh Pastner said Thursday.

During the final-exam period that ended Thursday, Pastner practiced the team heavily, often training twice a day. A priority for Pastner and his staff has been forward James Banks, who was cleared to play only hours before the second game of the season. A transfer from Texas in May, he received an eligibility waiver after transferring in part for family reasons.

His playing time and productivity have increased, and he has started the past two games. In the past three games, he has had two double-doubles and one five-assist, four-block game. Coaches are figuring out ways to use him both in the high post –as they did with center Ben Lammers to great effect – but also closer to the basket.

“He’s a little different than Ben, where Ben didn’t want to maybe go post, he was more face-up,” Pastner said. “James is

Article source: https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/busy-week-ahead-for-georgia-tech/9BhluYtNRui0c2Z0nHtKqJ/

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