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Nanette’s News 8/21/20

Hello friends and welcome to the first edition of Nanette’s News, for the stories that make you go hmm…

  • Chocolate snow in Switzerland – Residents of Olten, Switzerland woke up to a shower of cocoa powder that fell from the sky like snow last week. A malfunctioning ventilation system at the Lindt and Sprungli chocolate factory led to the powder getting sprayed all across town, making Olten, if only for a day, one of the most delicious places on Earth.
  • Three cars drive into lake in eight days – In what local news is calling a “weird coincidence,” three separate cars have driven into three separate bodies of water over the course of eight days in Arlington, Texas. Two drivers ended up in residential swimming pools, while the third and most recent aquatic explorer managed to take a dip in Arlington Lake. Two of the incidents involved a Jeep. Addressing the strange pattern, the Arlington Police Department tweeted, “You know the old saying, ‘what comes in twos comes in threes’…”
  • Genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in Florida Keys – 750 million Oxitec genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in Florida, after local authorities agreed to the procedure. The modified mosquitoes contain a protein that, when passed down to female offspring, will be lethal and potentially reduce the number of biting mosquitoes. Environmentalists feel this move may have unintended consequences, however, as reducing the natural mosquito population, they say, could harm the ecosystem and affect endangered species. Releases of genetically modified mosquitoes have already occurred in the Cayman Islands and an area of Brazil, and in both cases mosquito populations fell over 90%
  • Sinkhole swallows cars in China – An immense sinkhole in China managed to gobble up over 20 cars this week. The incident was captured on CCTV on August 19, 2020. 14 of the vehicles have been recovered, and officials state the weather may have played a role in the opening of the sinkhole.

Will we miss the night sky?

I’ll leave you with a personal note: News that Amazon’s Kuiper satellite constellation has been given the go ahead has me thinking about the future of skywatching. There’s nothing quite like sitting out late at night, staring up at the bright stars and planets shining from lightyears away. When we look up at those stars, we’re seeing not only the vast cosmos stretched out before us, but also the history of the universe itself. We’re seeing into the past.

While SpaceX’s Starlink satellites and Amazon’s thousands-strong satellite constellation are technical leaps into the future, are we swiftly heading towards a day when the only things we’ll see in the night sky will be what we’ve put there? Will the children of the future be able to make out the natural constellations we’re all familiar with today, or will the night sky be polluted with man-made artifice? In our march toward progress, should we ever stop to consider what we’re leaving behind?

Something to think about.

That’s about it for this week’s Nanette’s News. Stick around for daily updates on the homepage, and I’ll see you right here next week.