A brilliant full moon rises at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017. NASA/Kim Shiflett The longest night. The shortest day. Winter solstice is here for the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s a time of both darkness and light, especially this year. Friday, Dec. 21 marks the solstice, but Saturday, Dec. 22 will gift us with a full moon known as the Full Cold Moon thanks to its wintry timing. The solstice and the full moon are happening less than a day apart. That means our lunar neighbor should be plenty bright enough all weekend to light up your solstice celebrations. Space What is the best part of the #WinterSolstice? How about daylight will now start increasing for the next 6 months!Read more about astronomical seasons here: https://t.co/rRWaknryeV pic.twitter.com/pfbiboydu5— NWS (@NWS) December 21, 2018 11 Photos Tags You can celebrate the moon simply by enjoying the luminosity it brings, but NASA program executive Gordon Johnston has another suggestion: “As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full moon.” So break out your Sailor Moon cosplay or your NASA skate shoes and stare up into space this weekend. Memorable moon photos from NASA and beyond (pictures) Share your voice The next time the full moon and solstice will come so close together is in 2029. The moon will help enliven the long night, and, as the US National Weather Service points out, we can now look forward to daylight increasing for the next six months. Google celebrates winter and summer solstices with pair of doodles This is what summer solstice looks like on other planets 1 Sci-Tech CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018.NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further. Comment Solstice sightings
Senator Bob Corker speaks with reporters after announcing his retirement at the conclusion of his term on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, on 26 September. Photo: ReutersRepublican US senator Bob Corker warned on Sunday that president Donald Trump risks setting the nation “on the path to World War Three” in an interview with The New York Times, the latest in a series public barbs traded over the day.Trump had blamed his former political ally for the Iran nuclear deal in a series of derisive Twitter posts that drew a sharp riposte from Corker, who chairs the important Senate Foreign Relations Committee.In a sweeping, 25-minute interview, Corker told the newspaper he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something” – in a reference to the reality television show that Trump had once hosted.“He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” the senator, who announced his retirement last month, said.Corker dismissed the idea that Trump may be using provocative comments about North Korea to advance US negotiations being conducted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by playing “bad cop” to the top diplomat’s “good cop” effort to broker a deal with Pyongyang.“I know he has hurt, in several instances. He’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Corker told the paper, which added that Corker did not provide details about negotiations. “A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true.”Corker had been a national security adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and on Trump’s short-list last year for both vice president and secretary of state.But the relationship between the two men has greatly deteriorated.More recently, Corker has criticised Trump, taking issue with the president’s response to a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. Critics assailed Trump for saying rival protesters were also to blame for violence.”Senator Bob Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said “NO” and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement),” Trump wrote. “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS.” He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”An hour later Corker tweeted back: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, said Trump called the senator last Monday, asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election in 2018, “and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times.”Trump’s dispute with Corker could also have implications for the president’s policy goals of repealing Obamacare and passing tax reform. Republicans control both houses of the US Congress but hold only a narrow majority, 52-48, in the Senate, which means Trump has only a slim margin for potential defections from within his own party on legislation.Even before Trump’s Twitter attacks on Corker, the senator has said he would have difficulty supporting any tax package that added to the federal deficit, posing a potential hurdle for the president’s tax plan.”Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it,” Trump posted on Twitter later on Sunday. “We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!”Key Player on IranOn Iran, Trump is expected to disclose within days a plan to decertify the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Tehran, putting the agreement’s future in the hands of Congress, where Corker would play a central role in determining its fate.Trump has long criticised the pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of Democratic former President Barack Obama in which Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear program in exchange for easing of international sanctions.During the US political fight over the agreement, which was opposed by every Republican in Congress, Corker co-wrote the law that required congressional approval for the deal and required the president to certify that Iran was complying every 90 days.Some critics on the far right have blamed Corker for that measure, which they say helped push the pact through Congress.The two-term senator’s retirement is a blow to a Republican Party struggling to balance divisions between mainstream and more populist wings.Asked last week about reported tensions between Trump and Tillerson, Corker responded with what was seen as a jab at Trump.He described Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and White House chief of staff John Kelly as “those people that help separate our country from chaos.”After Charlottesville, Corker said, “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”
The HorseShoe Casino Baltimore will stage its grand opening, Aug. 26, welcoming an estimated 10,000 guests through its doors.Over time, however, the casino’s patrons will not be distinguished so much by race but by income and education, experts said.“There is not much data on the racial breakdown of casino-goers,” said gambling expert James KarmelIn terms of general gambling patterns, Whites are more frequent gamblers (92.5 percent), followed by African Americans (87.5 percent) and Hispanics (86.6 percent), according to a 2011 study by researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.However, when it comes to the subset of casino gamblers, there are much clearer distinctions based on education and income,Karmel added.“Casino-goers tend to be slightly more educated that non-Casino-goers. And, typically, casino gambling is associated with income.For the vast majority of people, gambling at casinos is a recreational activity; they’re doing it with disposable income, money they can afford to spend,” Karmel, a professor of history at Harford Community College, said.“You just don’t find a lot of poor people in casinos,” he added. “People at lower income levels can’t afford to lose $50; they need that for food.”However, poorer Americans—who tend to prefer gambling closer to home—are more likely to spend their income on lottery games, as are African Americans.“Lottery is more dependent on lower-income people [and] African Americans are somewhat more likely to gamble on the lotterythan Whites,” Karmel said.Those assertions were borne out in a 2010 study conducted by UMBC researchers.Published in The Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, the study titled “Who Pays for Maryland Lottery? Evidence fromPoint of Sale Data” married lottery terminal locations with Census tract data and examined the results using geographic information system maps to explore how racial and income groups contribute to state lottery revenues.The findings showed “the voluntary tax collected by the Maryland lottery comes disproportionately from census tracts populatedby African Americans and low-income residents,” specifically those “with less than a high school education, and people age 65 andolder.”Again, with regards to casino gaming, even as city officials, casino owners and gambling aficionados welcome the new parlor, African Americans are more vulnerable to some of the ills of gambling.According to the 2011 UMBC study, “Gambling Prevalence in Maryland: A Baseline Analysis,” which was commissioned by Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, African Americans are 12.5 percent at risk of becoming problem gamblersand have a 4.9 percent rate of pathological gambling.Comparatively, Whites are less likely to be at risk of developing problem gambling at 8.2 percent, and experience a mere 2 percent of pathological gambling concerns.