Doomed From The Start

Grind for January 19th, 2019
“Life loves the liver of it.”

– Maya Angelou

That Was Quick

The Headline

First biological matter to grow on the moon dies after 1 day

The Grind

On Tuesday, headlines across the globe announced the first-ever seed to sprout on the moon.

The cotton seed was carried to the moon by China’s Chang’e 4 lander, which earlier this month became the first spacecraft to land on the dark side of the moon.

Tuesday’s sprout marked “the completion of humankind’s first biological experiment on the moon,” tweeted China’s People’s Daily.

Unfortunately the tiny plant was unable to survive its first lunar night – when temperatures dropped below -270° F.

The Chang’e 4 also carried rapeseed and potato seeds, which germinated but failed to sprout.

The Background

The Chang’e-4 lunar lander was launched in early December. Aside from the failed biology experiment, goals of the mission include:

— Exploring the Von Kármán crater to learn more about the moon’s “internal structure and thermal evolution”

— Studying the effects of solar wind on the moon’s surface

By communicating with the Queqiao satellite, the Chang’e-4 has already been successful in sending images and data back to Earth.

As Chang’e 4 continues to explore the dark side of the moon, scientists at the China National Space Administration (CNSA) are working on plans to send a spacecraft to Mars in 2020.

Not So Fast

The Headline

Federal judge orders Trump Administration to remove citizenship question from 2020 census

The Grind

New York Judge Jesse Furman on Tuesday ordered the Commerce Department to remove a controversial citizenship question from the 2020 census.

The primary function of the census is to obtain a population count used to allocate the seats of the House of Representatives. Trump had sought to use the census to obtain data on illegal immigrants by including the question “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

Such a question hasn’t been included in a census since 1950.

The question is an “unlawful” violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, wrote Furman in his 277-page opinion. Furman also ruled that the citizenship question was not intended to discriminate against Latinos and other minorities.

The Details

Furman’s ruling makes matters even more difficult for the United States Census Bureau, which is currently running without funding as it prepares for the 2020 census.

“We are disappointed and are still reviewing the ruling,” said Justice Department Spokesperson Kelly Laco. “Reinstating the citizenship question ultimately protects the right to vote and helps ensure free and fair elections for all Americans.”

Furman’s ruling will likely be appealed to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court, which in February will hear oral arguments on the case and decide whether Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross can be questioned under oath about his decision to include the citizenship question.

In the meantime, Ross has the opportunity to move forward with the citizenship question if he can provide “real rationale” for including it.

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