Newsy 13 Oct 2020

Political Outreach Enters The World Of 'Animal Crossing'


With the pandemic making traditional campaigning more risky, some 2020 campaigns are reaching out to voters through gaming.

With the pandemic making traditional campaigning more risky, some 2020 campaigns are reaching out to voters through gaming.
Steve Chaggaris, Political Editor for, talked about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her legacy and the politics of replacing her.
Melina Abdullah was at home on a typical August evening when she realised heavily-armed police had gathered outside her house in Los Angeles as a helicopter hovered above.

The prominent Black Lives Matter activist was, according to police, the victim of a prank known as "swatting", which involves falsely reporting to emergency services that an armed response is necessary at a particular address. Abdullah live streamed the encounter on Instagram.

And it was in the world of live streaming where swatting first came to attention as sometimes feuding gamers took to sending SWAT teams to each other's houses while streaming on sites such as Twitch.

The prank, though, can turn deadly. Last year, a California man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a swatting that resulted in police killing 28-year-old Andrew Finch on his doorstep, in an incident rooted in gaming disputes.

Examples such as that of Melina Abdullah, though, highlight that the practice has transcended gaming and is now being weaponised against activists and political opponents. There is particular concern that people of colour are more at risk of death or serious harm should armed police be called to their homes or workplaces.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by Abdullah and a panel of law enforcement experts to discuss the politicisation of swatting and to ask what police can do to combat it.
It's an extraordinary possibility - the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus.

But this is what astronomers are now considering after detecting a gas in the atmosphere they can't explain.

That gas is phosphine - a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms.

On Earth, phosphine is associated with life, with microbes living in the guts of animals like penguins, or in oxygen-poor environments such as swamps.

For sure, you can make it industrially, but there are no factories on Venus; and there are certainly no penguins.

So why is this gas there, 50km up from the planet's surface? Prof Jane Greaves, from Cardiff University, UK and colleagues are asking just this question.

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