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News Brief: Sept 25-30

An Overview:

Russia to Formally Annex Four Areas of Ukraine

FDA Approves ALS Drug Partly Funded by Ice Bucket Challenge

NASA Celebrates World First: Smashing a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid

Hurricane Ian “Street Shark” Video

OKC Officer Killed in Head-on Collision


Russia to Formally Annex Four Areas of Ukraine

Annexing is the act of adding to one’s territory via appropriation. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea with most of the international community not recognizing it as official. Now, Russia looks to annex four areas of Ukraine.

The possible areas to annex include Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Votes for or against annexation were supposedly held in each area, although Russia lacks full control of them and their voting methods are questionable.

Allegedly soldiers would ask yes or no, mark the response down and move to the next person.

The US intends to impose further sanctions as the EU considers similar responses. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, does not approve of Russia’s actions.

“The territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored and our recognition of the results by Russia will be very harsh,” Zelensky said.

Read more about this here.


FDA Approves ALS Drug Partly Funded by Ice Bucket Challenge

Remember the viral Ice Bucket Challenge? Turns out, unlike most viral challenges, it has made a difference: an ALS-treating drug, funded in part by a grant from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has just received FDA approval.

“This approval provides another important treatment option for ALS, a life-threatening disease which currently has no cure,” Dr. Billy Dunn, director of the Office of Neuroscience in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said.

The drug, an oral medication called Relyvrio, was developed by Amylyx Pharmaceuticals and has been shown to slow progression of the disease.

Read more about it here.

NASA Celebrates World First: Smashing a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid

Celebrating the destruction of a “nice thing” is rare, but that is precisely what NASA has done after the spacecraft they launched months ago successfully impacted the target asteroid as a test of planetary defense.

“Planetary Defense is a globally unifying effort that affects everyone living on Earth,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said.

About 7 million miles from Earth sits Dimorphus, an asteroid orbiting a larger asteroid called Didymos. Although neither are threats to Earth, they made for good targets to test both the effectiveness and accuracy of the aptly named “DART” spacecraft, or Double-Asteroid Redirection Test.

“Now we know we can aim a spacecraft with the precision needed to impact even a small body in space. Just a small change in its speed is all we need to make a significant difference in the path an asteroid travels.”

With its destruction in mind, the DART was not equipped with much other than the necessary navigation systems and a camera for both navigation and documentation. An additional satellite was attached to take photos of the impact.

A video of the DART’s final approach is available to see here along with some of the final photos it took, though the satellite’s pictures post-impact are not expected for a few more days.

DART’s accuracy is a clear success but its effectiveness is yet to be known. The goal was to shorten Dimoorphus’ orbit by about 10 minutes, or roughly 1%. As data is available, crater size, effectiveness and more will be determined.

Until then, read more on this story here.

Hurricane Ian “Street Shark” Video

Hurricane Ian is leaving more than just people in need of relocation – a video of something swimming through the flooded streets has surfaced, and authorities have confirmed the possibility of it being a shark.

George Burgess, former director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark program, said in an email it “appears to be a juvenile shark,” while Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, director of the University of Miami’s shark conservation program, wrote “it’s pretty hard to tell.”

Click here to read more about why it might or might not be a shark.

Or click here to see how Hurricane Ian, after hitting Florida, is reforming.


OKC Officer Killed in Head-on Collision

Around noon on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, there was a head-on collision along I-44 and S.W. 29th street when, according to authorities, a driver swerved and was propelled over the center guardrail and hit the vehicle of Sgt. Meagan Burke, 31, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“When we arrived, we learned one of the involved drivers was one of our officers who unfortunately was pronounced deceased,” said Capt. Valerie Littlejohn with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Burke, who had been an officer in Oklahoma City since 2016, was simply heading home.

As of yet, no information regarding the other driver has been released.

Read more here.

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