5 reasons the Pluto mission is a pretty big deal

Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 @ 5:37 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 @ 5:37 PM

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At 7:49 a.m. (ET) Tuesday, the New Horizons spacecraft recorded images of Pluto at its closest proximity since the probe launched nine years ago, back when Pluto was still considered a full-fledged planet.

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The mission was received by a cheering crowd of astronomers and scientists — but they're not the only ones who should be amazed by this landmark achievement. Here are five reasons the New Horizons mission is a big deal:

1. It's big news for the advancement of technology. The New Horizons spacecraft is Pluto's first visitor in its 4.5 billion-year existence. It took the spacecraft nine years to make the 3 billion-mile trip. This means the technology harbored by the spacecraft, which is said to be the size of a baby grand piano, is at least a decade old.

Nonetheless, NASA managed to deliver detailed photographs and data, making the mission an astounding technological achievement.

2. We finally know what Pluto really looks like: Scientists released the first close-up images of Pluto and Charon, its largest moon, and now we have a face to put to the dwarf planet's name. Scientists have also been able to observe a range of mountains near the planet's equator, thanks to the New Horizons photos.

3. It's the first time several people are seeing a new planet ... and the last time for us all. The 1960s had Venus and Mars, the 1970s enjoyed a trifecta of Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn, and the 1980s relished in the sights of Neptune and Uranus.

This week, we were given the chance to see a new world for the first time again. Bittersweet as it may be, this mission also means the end of the initial tour of all nine planets in our solar system.

4. The mission will teach us more about Earth. Scientists wanted primarily to learn more about Pluto because it is believed to have formed from similar materials as Earth, meaning it also went through similar early stages of growth. The new data will help scientists understand more about the place we call home.

5. It reminds us how little we are, and how vast the world beyond Earth is. Pluto takes 248 Earth years to orbit the sun, so one orbit spans the entirety of U.S. history. This means when Pluto was last in the position it's currently in, humans didn't even know it existed.

This mission just proved that quite a lot can change in a single orbit.

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WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.
denvit / Pixabay.com
File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.(denvit / Pixabay.com)

A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.

>> Huge cookout held at Oakland park where cops called on black family's barbecue

According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said the incident occurred outside her apartment near AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.

"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin says in the 15-second clip, focusing the camera on a woman holding a phone. "She's calling the police on a 8-year-old little girl."

As the woman, identified by HuffPost as Alison Ettel, crouches behind a concrete wall, Austin adds: "You can hide all you want; the whole world's gonna see you, boo."

"And illegally selling water without a permit? Yeah," Ettel says, pointing to her phone.

"On my property," Austin interjects.

"It's not your property," Ettel replies.

>> Watch the video here

Austin and the girl's cousin, Raje Leeshared the footage with the hashtag #PermitPatty, USA Today reported.

"Make this [expletive] go viral like #bbqbecky," Austin captioned the video, referring to the hashtag used after a different woman was recorded calling the police on a black family for using a charcoal grill at an Oakland park. "She's #permitpatty."

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The posts sparked a debate about whether Ettel's actions were racist.

"For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white [men] that [were] selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay?" Lee tweeted. "Don't answer. Just ask yourself that."

>> See the tweet here

"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin told KNTV.

Ettel told HuffPost that race had nothing to do with it, adding that she didn't really call the police. 

"They were screaming about what they were selling," Ettel said, claiming she had no problem with the girl, only Austin. "It was literally nonstop."

She added: "I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her."

The drama seemed to have a happy ending for Austin's daughter, who received four free tickets to Disneyland from a Twitter user who saw the video, Lee tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here or here.

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5 arrested for murder of New York teen who was hacked to death with machete

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 8:19 PM

Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was attacked and brutally murdered Wednesday. (Photo: NYPD)
Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was attacked and brutally murdered Wednesday. (Photo: NYPD)

Police arrested five people Sunday in connection with a brutal machete attack on a teen outside a Bronx bodega earlier in the week. 

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Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15, was pulled out of the Cruz and Chiky grocery Wednesday by members of the Dominican gang Trinitarios, who beat him, hacked him with a machete and left him to die on the sidewalk outside the store in what officials believe was a case of mistaken identity, according to the New York Post

Gang members wrongly believed Guzman-Feliz was in a revenge sex video posted online that featured a relative of one of the attackers, according to the Post

A leader of the gang later apologized on Facebook for the mistake, according to WPIX

The teen’s mother said her son was a good boy who had never been in a gang. He was a member of the NYPD Explorers Program for Youth and dreamed of one day becoming a detective, Leandra Feliz told the Post

“Since he was 5 years old, he told me, ‘Mommy, I want to be a police,’” she said. 

The identities of the suspects have not yet been released.

GoFundMe account, set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses and other costs has raised more than $125,000 as of Sunday evening.

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4 children killed in violent police standoff laid to rest in Florida

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 8:31 PM

The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.
The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.

Funeral services for four Orlando children killed during a 21-hour police standoff  with their mother’s boyfriend were held Saturday. 

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The services, which were open to the public, took place at St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando, according to an attorney representing the family.

The funeral marked a difficult day for the family of Dove Lindsey, 1, Aiden Lindsey, 6, Lillia Pluth, 10, and Irayan Pluth, 12.

The day also proved too emotional for the children's mother, Ciara Lopez. 

"I remain stuck in that one night, that one night where everything changed, standing outside that apartment, waiting for different news," she said in a statement. 

Detectives believe Gary Lindsey, 35, shot the children either shortly before or after police officers came to the door of his apartment June 10 in response to a domestic battery call from Lopez. She had escaped the apartment.

Lindsey fired at the responding officers, seriously wounding Officer Kevin Valencia, who remains in a coma. Lindsey was then holed up in the apartment for almost a full day. Officers found him dead in a closet when they entered the apartment the following day.

>>Related: Wife of Orlando officer in coma: ‘My kids need a daddy. This community needs a real hero'

The children were found in their beds, police said. 

Some of the officers who worked during the standoff went to the service. 

"It's heartbreaking to see, obviously a small casket, with an infant inside," said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. 

Lindsey was Lopez’s boyfriend and the mother of all four children. Lindsey was the father of two of the children.

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Trump demands major change in how U.S. legal system deals with illegal aliens

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 8:52 PM

As Republicans struggled again to gather a majority in the House this week for an immigration reform bill, President Donald Trump on Sunday seemed to hint that the effort might be a waste of time, blaming Democrats for their opposition to GOP plans, and demanding major changes in how the U.S. legal system deals with those illegally entering the United States.

“When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came,” the President tweeted on Sunday, making the argument that illegal immigrants deserve no legal standing in court, no due process after being detained.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has held the opposite, ruling in a 1982 case that “illegal aliens…may claim the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'”

“Summarily removing individuals with no opportunity for a hearing, even if they might have viable legal objections to their removal, would likely violate due process,” said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas Law School.

That idea was one of a number of tweets this weekend on immigration from the President:

Mr. Trump’s comments came as House Republicans were still preparing a vote this week on a backup immigration reform bill – but no date for the vote had been set, as GOP leaders have struggled to corral a majority on the issue.

In Congress, Mr. Trump’s idea to deny due process rights to illegal aliens landed with a big thud in both parties.

“Removing due process from immigration cases is yet another example of Trump’s extreme immigration policy and disregard for the rule of law,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

“No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), quoting the text of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

“Due process is a bedrock American legal principle,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

Democrats spent much of the weekend trying to focus more attention on the effort to reunite children of illegal immigrant families, who were separated from their parents under a Trump Administration effort to deter illegal immigrants from trying to cross the U.S. southern border.

But others on Capitol Hill saw the current immigration debate in much a different light.

“America is heading in the direction of another Harpers Ferry,” said Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a strong backer of the President’s calls for tough action on illegal immigration, referring to John Brown’s raid in 1859, in a bid to start a slave revolt.

“After that comes Ft. Sumter,” King said in a tweet, referring to the first shots of the Civil War.

 

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