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Oklahoma State Bans Oklahoma Towns From Banning Fracking

An 80-year-old staute allowing local control of drilling was just overturned by state legislators.

Mixing water with hydraulic fracturing fluids to be injected into the ground. Image by Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma residents have been looking for ways to protect themselves after an alarming and unprecedented number of earthquakes—widely believed to be a direct result of oil and gas drilling operations—have rocked the state over the last year. But now, Reuters reports, state lawmakers are finalizing legislation to actually block towns and cities from enacting their own local bans or regulations on drilling activity.


Spurred by the jobs and economic rewards created by drilling, Oklahoma’s politicians have been happy to aid the energy industry in its attempts to silence critics and cover up the connection between seismic activity and the disposal of byproducts from natural gas production. But the mind-blowing 600 percent increase in tremors is becoming more and more difficult to plausibly write off as a natural occurrence.

Recently, municipalities have been trying to take matters into their own hands, looking to an existing state statute from 1935 that allows them to control localized oil-and-gas-related activity. But now, the new law, passed by both houses of Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled legislature, will overturn the 80-year-old precedent, taking the power away from individual communities and ceding it to the state. Oil producers and conservatives claim the old law unfairly discriminated against energy companies. “We don't feel it's appropriate that the oil and gas industry should be singled out,” said Kim Hatfield of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. According to Reuters:

The bill was championed by energy companies, which contend that local interference in drilling practices would endanger the production bonanza that has boosted their profits and brought the United States within sight of energy independence.

Chart from the United States Geological Survey shows earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and greater in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s move mirrors a recent decision in Texas—a similar ban on regulation by towns and cities was enacted on Monday. Laws like these, written to handcuff local legislation, are an interesting conundrum for conservatives; their zeal for commerce and oil reveals the meager limits of the “small government” ideology they often claim to believe in.

Oklahoma is predicted to experience 941 earthquakes of a 3.0 or greater magnitude this year, according to a survey by the state’s Secretary of Energy and the Environment.

Articles
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture
NASA

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Science

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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Health