A Massive Star Has Disappeared From a Distant Galaxy, And No One’s Sure Where It Went
Jul 1, 2020

By Michelle Starr Massive stars aren’t like your car keys. They’re not going to disappear under a pile of mail on your kitchen counter, or end up in the washing machine. But a massive star that astronomers were observing for a decade now appears to be totally missing. The star, in the very late stages …

Trump’s white evangelical approval slips, Pew finds, but 82 percent still likely to vote for him
Jul 1, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey As cases of the novel coronavirus rise and protests have erupted over racial injustice across the nation, President Trump’s approval rating has dropped among his base of white evangelicals, though the vast majority still plan to vote for him, a new survey shows. White evangelicals remain the religious group most supportive of the president, …

How Do Flying Snakes Glide Through the Air? ‘It’s Hard to Believe’
Jun 30, 2020

By David Waldstein Jake Socha is an expert on flying snakes who uses detailed scientific terminology such as “this big, wiggly, ribbon thing” to describe his soaring quarry. It is an apt description, but don’t be fooled. When a snake launches off a tree in its Southeast Asian habitat and lands on another tree dozens …

Trump appointee at USAID repeatedly made anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ comments, said ‘female empowerment is a civilizational calamity’
Jun 30, 2020

By Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott A Trump administration appointee at the United States’ agency responsible for foreign aid has a history of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at refugees, the LGBTQ community and women. The comments come from Merritt Corrigan, the recently appointed deputy White House liaison at the US Agency for International Development, in tweets …

Despite a culture ‘entrenched in fear,’ LGBTQ students find ways to thrive at Liberty University
Jun 30, 2020

By Jack Jenkins When LeeQuan McLaurin enrolled at Liberty University as an undergraduate in 2012, he was still trying to understand his sexuality. So McLaurin, a Christian who now identifies as queer, did what many students at the conservative Christian school do: He joined a Bible study. Specifically, he joined “Armor Bearers,” which McLaurin said …

Supreme Court opens door to state funding for religious schools
Jun 30, 2020

By Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole In a ruling that will open the door to more public funding for religious education, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of parents in Montana seeking to use a state scholarship program to send their children to religious schools. The court said that a Montana tax credit program …

Betelgeuse’s Mystery Dimming Caused By A Star Spot A Hundred Times Larger Than The Sun, Say Scientists
Jun 29, 2020

By Jamie Carter Betelgeuse, the closest red supergiant star to us, is growing a super-sized star spot as it cools down at the end of its life, according to a new study. A massive star spot a hundred times larger than the Sun could explain its recent odd behavior. Betelgeuse—pronounced “betelgerz” or “beetlejuice” and also known …

Mississippi Lawmakers Vote to Replace Racist State Flag With Religious One
Jun 29, 2020 · 3 

By Hemant Mehta Mississippi lawmakers voted today to replace the state flag and remove the Confederate symbol that’s currently on it. Governor Tate Reeves has already said he plans to sign the bill. But whatever the new flag will look like, it will have to include the words “In God We Trust,” replacing racism with religion. I posted about this possibility …

The Separation of Church and State Is Breaking Down Under Trump
Jun 29, 2020

By Micah Schwartzman, Richard Schragger, and Nelson Tebbe The separation of Church and state is supposed to prevent government favoritism of religion in the United States. For most of the past century, the Supreme Court interpreted the establishment clause of the First Amendment to mean that government cannot “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, …

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law
Jun 29, 2020

By Mark Sherman The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with his four more liberal colleagues in ruling that the law requiring doctors …

CRISPR gene editing in human embryos wreaks chromosomal mayhem
Jun 26, 2020

By Heidi Ledford A suite of experiments that use the gene-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 to modify human embryos have revealed how the process can make large, unwanted changes to the genome at or near the target site. The studies were published this month on the preprint server bioRxiv, and have not yet been peer-reviewed1,2,3. But taken together, they …

Catholic group files lawsuit against Rehoboth Beach over Nativity scene ban
Jun 26, 2020

By Randall Chase A Catholic fraternal organization is suing a popular Delaware beach resort in federal court over its decision to end a decades-long practice of allowing the display of a Christmas Nativity scene on public property. The Knights of Columbus Star of the Sea Council contends that the 2018 decision by Rehoboth Beach officials …