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“PAY THIS FORWARD”

During a commencement address, a billionaire promised to pay the student debt held by an entire graduating class.

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“Between doubt and destiny is action.”

Robert Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, posed his offer to pay the student loan debt for the graduating class of Morehouse College as a challenge. While he said his family will make a grant for the class of 2019 to eliminate their student loans, he encouraged the alumni to do the same as well for other future classes. Smith's estimated total gift to Morehouse Class of 2019? 40M.
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Morehouse College:

  • The Atlanta-based University: “the world’s only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for men.”
  • Dates back to 1867; originally founded as a seminary.
  • Just under 2200 students enrolled.
  • Famous graduates include: Martin Luther King Jr. who entered the college at age 15.
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Robert Smith

  • Named richest black man in America; est. worth $5B (Forbes).
  • Currently leads a private equity firm that invests in technology.
  • He also donated $50M to his alma mater Cornell University in 2016.
  • Graduated from Cornell with an engineering degree before getting his Masters in Business from Columbia University.
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The cost of attending Morehouse College (room & board, books etc) is just under $50,000 a year (about average for a private university in America). Total student loan debt in America totals an estimated $1.5 T.

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“I do not know God’s plan. All I can do is try to find meaning in what has happened. And to use this borrowed time to make my life matter more.”

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, a victim of the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue outside of San Diego, provides a personal, compelling account of the crime.
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One person died in shooting at the San Diego synagogue; Rabbi Goldstein was among the injured. The alleged shooter will appear in court Wednesday.

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First Image Of A Black Hole

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Black Hole 101:

What Exactly Is A Black Hole: The AP describes it as “the cosmic place of no return” – a part in the universe that has such a strong gravitational pull everything (and conceivably everyone) would be pulled into it.

Our Take: Imagine celestial quicksand for gravity, sucking light, gas, and beyond into its abyss.

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“From a scale of zero to amazing, it was amazing.”

Erin Bonning, an astrophysicist and black hole researcher at Emory University. The photo confirms not only that black holes exist, but adds weight to Einstein's *theory* of relativity (how gravity behaves) - a pillar of modern physics law.
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FUN FACTS:

  • The black hole pictured is 53 million light-years from Earth.
  • 8 international telescopes worked together to capture the image.
  • There’s already talk of a Nobel prize for the photo.
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Just for fun: This picture only adds weight to our commonly used expressions that “things REALLY DO get lost in a black hole”!

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Better Than
The Super Bowl?

 

Seattle Seahawk’s Shaquem Griffin, who made it to the NFL despite not having a left hand, accepts an award for this year’s football season and gives some profound advice.

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Shaquem Griffin was awarded "The Game Changer" award during the NFL Honors (the league's annual award reception) for his positive impact on the league and his community.

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Justice Alan Page received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, on Friday. His list of accomplishments is long but someone very important was missing during the ceremony. Read more about why this is our Photo Of The Week:

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World’s Tallest Statue

India’s “Statue of Unity” unveiled, at twice the height of Statue of Liberty. But it won’t hold the record for long.

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THE STATS

  • Honoring founding father Sardar Patel, country’s first minister after British colonialists left in 1947.
  • 597 feet tall.
  • Took 33 months & more than 2,000 workers to build costing $430M.
  • Will include a museum with 40K documents & 2K photographs on Patel’s life and work.
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WHY TIMING MATTERS

  • Prime Minister Modi, elected in 2014, up for re-election next year.
  • Statue is a metaphor for India’s status as a rising superpower.
  • Meanwhile, records show Modi’s economic promises have not been fulfilled.
  • Critics call project “election gimmick” with money that could have been spent on the poor.
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It's the world's tallest statue - for now. Elsewhere in India, Modi's political party just started construction on a statue that would be 100 feet taller, costing $100M more at $500M. It's expected to be completed in 3 years.

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How Well Do You Know America?

While 90% of new immigrants applying for American citizenship pass the required civics exam, only 1 out of 3 current Americans can.

Test your U.S.A. GPA
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Background

The civics part of the naturalization exam requires applicants to correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions out of 100 possible civics questions.

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services administers the questions in person; the questions are picked at random.

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Example Questions

1. When was the U.S. Constitution written?

2. How many justices serve on the U.S. Supreme Court?

3. Who did the U.S. fight in World War II?

 

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1. Constitution written? 1787
(13% Answered Correctly)

2. Supreme Court Justices? 9
(43% Answered Correctly)

3. WWII enemy? Japan, Germany, and Italy
(40% Answered Correctly)

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“Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test.”

Woodrow Wilson Foundation Pres. Arthur Levine on the first of its kind survey. Since it's the first survey, we can't compare to past results, but the foundation intends to do further research.
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Something To Consider:

  • Younger Americans did the worst. Only 19% of those younger than 45 passed the exam.
  • More than 70% of respondents couldn’t name original 13 colonies.
  • While survey was given to respondents on paper with multiple choice answers, those trying to pass citizenship test must answer questions verbally.
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Informed or not, voters are headed to the polls next month, and both parties use American history to bolster their platforms. The question is: do Americans know enough to understand what's true American history and what's not?

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“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

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“Going, Going, Gone…”

Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” sold for an artist record $1.4M at a Sotheby’s auction on Friday.

Moments after the gavel fell, an alarm sounded and the painting began to self destruct running through a shredder in the frame, emerging in strips.

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Who Is Banksy?

  • Graffiti artist, painter, activist, filmmaker & provocateur who’s identity hasn’t been confirmed.
  • Began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England in 1993, retreated into anonymity to avoid police & create buzz.
  • Calls art world the “world’s biggest joke” and “a rest home for the overprivileged, pretentious & weak.”
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Banksy Was Here

Known for his mischievous & satirical images of the art world he loathes, even sneaking into famous spots adding his own artwork:

  • Mona Lisa plastered with a smiley face sticker at the Louvre.
  • Inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner at Disneyland.
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As his notoriety has grown, critics charge he’s too far removed to truly represent the subculture he works to represent.

“I give away thousands of paintings for free. I don’t think it’s possible to make art about world poverty and trouser all the cash.”

Banksy to The New Yorker
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Fetching more than 3 times estimates, “Girl With Balloon” may increase in value following the historic shredding. Sotheby’s insists it was not in on the joke, but critics wonder. As for Banksy, despite posting about the incident on social media, he's got no plans to reveal his identity.

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Rare Quintuple Rainbow

 

 

 

 

“The colors were incredible. It didn’t seem real.”

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“Rainbow Insanity”

Photographer John Entwistle was on his Jersey Shore patio with his 11-year-old daughter as the remnants of Hurricane Florence rolled through leaving 5 rainbows in its wake.

After sharing the photo on his social media, NASA featured its as its “Astronomy Picture of the Day.”

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“In general, supernumeraries are quite common. There are many pictures of 2 or 3 supernumeraries, but the appearance in nature of 5 supernumeraries is exceptional.”

Gunther Können, a retired climate scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
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NASA explains supernumerary rainbows only form "when falling water droplets are nearly all the same size" with sunlight not only reflecting from inside the raindrops, but "interfere, a wave phenomenon similar to ripples on a pond when a stone is thrown in."

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Watch the first person to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan 3,200 wall of granite – WITHOUT a rope or harness.

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Alex Honnold (33) completed this amazing feat June 2017. His journey is featured in a National Geographic documentary entitled "Free Solo." It hits theaters on Friday, September 28th.

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“…in the blink of an eye…”

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for the opportunity to go back to that day and make it different. But now we have the opportunity to make other parents day’s different.”

Morgan Beck Miller, wife of skier Bode Miller, speaking about the drowning death of daughter, Emeline. The Millers want to educate the public about the dangers of drowning.
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Every single day in America…

3 children will die from drowning.

The CDC also states "drowning kills more children 1-4 than anything else except birth defects."
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What You Should Know:

  • Drowning is #2 cause of accidental death in kids (0-14); #1 cause of death is car crashes.
  • Men & boys are more likely to drown; 80% of deaths are male.
  • For adolescents and adults, alcohol involved in up to 70% of drowning deaths.
  • July/August = deadliest months.
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“A child under 30 pounds can drown in 30 seconds....And I just keep counting to 30 in my head. That was all I needed.” Morgan Beck Miller

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Ever Dream of Flying?

 

The Iron Man-like suit that has James Bond, Tom Cruise & *YOU* ready for take-off …
for a price.

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Gravity Schmavity

HOW THE SUIT WORKS:

  • 5 mini jet-fuel engines: 2 worn on each arm & 1 on the back.
  • Set a Guinness World Record flying at 32mph.
  • Flights last 3-4 minutes.
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Ready for Liftoff?

  • It costs $450K, and only 9 are available for sale at Selfridges Department Store in London.
  • Gravity, the suit’s maker, has requests from Mission Impossible & James Bond filmmakers.
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The US Army is also testing & prototyping Iron Man-like suits in order to test how electricity production can be used to avoid dangerous resupply stops, reducing logistics on the battlefield. Read on here:

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