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Honestly: 1860

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"Abraham Lincoln, presidential candidate, half-length portrait, facing right." Circa 1881 albumen silver print from a glass negative by Alexander Hesler. View full size.
        Photo of Lincoln made from a negative taken in Springfield, Illinois, by Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860. "Wrote Lincoln's law partner, William H. Herndon, 'There is the peculiar curve of the lower lip, the lone mole on the right cheek, and a pose of the head so essentially Lincolnian; no other artist has ever caught it.' "
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fxer
57 minutes ago
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Bend, Oregon
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121 University Of Washington Students Infected In Greek Row Outbreak

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The Seattle campus of the University of Washington, pictured in March, is seeing a growing outbreak of COVID-19 cases among fraternity house residents this summer.

At least 112 fraternity house residents, as well as nine additional students identified as close contacts, have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday.

(Image credit: Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

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fxer
1 hour ago
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Bend, Oregon
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Why I’m Writing a Book on Cryptography

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fxer
1 hour ago
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New crypto books always welcome, and published by Manning as well
Bend, Oregon
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The Racism Never Stopped

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We Americans love to tell ourselves a story about how Black people were oppressed and then the Civil Rights Movement happened and Rosa Parks refused to move and Martin Luther King gave a speech and then racism was, if not ended, abated. But not only is that a narrative much more about ameliorating white fragility about their own complicity in racism than true, but it also just covers up the fact that on schooling, policing, poverty, and so much else, the structural conditions of racism are just as bad as they were at the end of World War II. Take the racial wage gap for instance:

The black-white wage gap shrunk substantially from 1950 to 1980, and especially during the 1960s. Civil-rights laws and a decline in legally sanctioned racism most likely played some role. But the main reasons, Mr. Charles said, appear to have been trends that benefited all blue-collar workers, like strong unions and a rising minimum wage. Because black workers were disproportionately in blue-collar jobs, the general rise of incomes for the poor and middle class shrank the racial wage gap.

One law was especially important: the 1966 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. When Congress passed the original law, during the New Deal, it deliberately exempted service and other industries with many black workers from the minimum wage. “Just expanding the minimum wage to those industries,” Ellora Derenoncourt, a University of California, Berkeley, economist, said, “boosted the relative wages of black workers substantially.”

Since 1980, however, the wage gap has increased again, and is now back roughly to where it was in 1950. The same economic forces are at work, only in the opposite direction: The minimum wage has stagnated in some states, unions have shrunk, tax rates on the wealthy have fallen more than they have for anyone else and incomes for the bottom 90 percent — and especially the bottom half — have trailed economic growth. Black workers, again, are disproportionately in these lower-income groups.

It’s not just that we need to revisit Reconstruction as the place where building positive movements for justice in American history begins (arguably anyway). It’s that we need a Third Reconstruction, to borrow from historians going back several decades, to even begin to move this nation toward something like equality. We aren’t even close to it.

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fxer
13 hours ago
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Bend, Oregon
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The Kung Fu Nuns Of Kathmandu

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Nuns practice kung fu as a part of their daily routine at Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal.

They call themselves the "fearless ones." They've built a reputation not just for their martial arts prowess but for teaching girls to stand up for their rights. And they love watching horror movies.

(Image credit: Uma Bista/ For NPR)

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fxer
14 hours ago
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Bend, Oregon
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NASA’s most iconic building is 55 years old and just getting started

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NASA's Kennedy Space Center is now nearly six decades old—it was formally created on July 1, 1962 as a separate entity from Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Construction began soon after.

At the time, the "Launch Operations Directorate" under Wernher von Braun and his team of German scientists was based at Marshall. But NASA's leaders realized they would need their own facilities in Florida alongside the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. So they created a new "Launch Operations Center" on nearby Merritt Island. President Lyndon B. Johnson would rename the facility Kennedy Space Center a week after President John F. Kennedy's November 1963 assassination in Dallas.

As plans for the Apollo Program developed, NASA also soon realized it would need a large building in which to assemble the Saturn V rocket that would power the Moon landings. Work began on what was then known as the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB), where the big rocket would be stacked in a vertical configuration before rolling out to the launch pad.

The 160-meter-tall building was topped off in 1965 and completed in 1966. Construction photos of the VAB's development—the building required almost 90,000 metric tons of steel—are as incredible as those of the finished building itself. But NASA officials wanted to make clear at the time that this building was not an end in itself. Rather, it was a means to an end.

"This building is not a monument," said Kurt Debus, the German rocket scientist who supervised construction of the Florida facilities, in 1965. "It is a tool, if you will, capable of accommodating heavy launch vehicles. So if people are impressed by its bigness, they should be mindful that bigness in this case is a factor of the rocket-powered transportation systems necessary to provide the United States with a broad capability to do whatever is the national purpose in outer space."

Even before it was completed, the VAB's name was changed from Vertical to Vehicle Assembly Building because it was felt that the building might well be used for launch vehicles other than the Saturn V. And indeed it would, serving the space shuttle from 1981 to 2011. After returning to Earth, the space plane would roll into the VAB for refurbishment after each mission.

Following the shuttle's retirement nine years ago, the cavernous building sat empty for a time. But as Debus noted back in 1965, the building was built to serve the nation's large rockets and would soon be called upon again. The VAB has four high bays, which will be used for various purposes during the coming decade. One will be used to stack NASA's big Space Launch System rocket, and another is presently in use for Northrop Grumman's Omega rocket.

The future of both these large rockets is far from certain—each is likely to only exist as long as the government foots the bill (NASA for the SLS rocket, the US Space Force for Omega)—but as rockets come and go, the VAB remains the same.

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fxer
14 hours ago
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Bend, Oregon
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