Mars News

Sky & Telescope

Boy, has the Red Planet seen a lot of activity this past week! Click the links below to read about a success, a failure, and new science. Plus, check in on the hard-working robots on the planet’s surface.

ExoMars Orbiter Reaches Red Planet
ESA’s Schiaparelli Lander: Missing in Action
MAVEN’s Mars: in Ultraviolet (Video)
What Are Curiosity and Opportunity Up To?

Big Kuiper Object 2007 OR10 Has a Moon

Sky & Telescope

Hubble images reveal a satellite orbiting one of the Kuiper Belt’s biggest objects.

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Mysterious X-ray Flashes from Faraway Black Holes?

Sky & Telescope

Two sources tens of millions of light-years away have sent puzzling X-ray flares blazing our way. Now astronomers think they might have the answer: intermediate-mass black holes.

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NASA’s Juno Suffers Engine Anomaly, Briefly Enters Safe Mode

Sky & Telescope

Engineers have decided to keep the Jupiter probe, Juno, in its current wide-ranging orbit until an issue with its engine can be addressed.

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More Evidence for Volcanoes on Venus

Sky & Telescope
Planetary scientists haven’t yet witnessed an active volcano on Venus, but a new study pinpoints a likely set of still-warm lava flows.

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Two Stars, Three Planet-forming Disks

Sky & Telescope
A young pair of stars hosts three potentially planet-forming disks, and all three of them are wildly tilted with respect to each other.

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, October 21 – 29
Sky & Telescope
Saturn and Antares form a compact right triangle with bright Venus, low in the southwest at dusk on Friday evening. The triangle will narrow every day as, Venus moves toward the upper left.

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Halley On Fire! See the Orionid Meteor Shower

Sky & Telescope

Though the annual Orionids peaked early Friday morning, October 21st, look up in the early morning hours of the next few nights for a chance to see some meteors.

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Tour October’s Sky: Planets in Transition

Sky & Telescope

Download our monthly astronomy podcast to track down Saturn in the evening sky one last time. Mars is still hanging around, and Venus is climbing higher each evening.

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Remembering Ewen A. Whitaker, 1922-2016

Sky & Telescope

An amateur who devoted his live to chronicling the Moon, and became one of the world’s most renowned lunar specialists, has died at age 94.

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Meet Some Amazing Young Astronomers

Sky & Telescope

This year’s youth awards from the Astronomical League showcase some talented students and their dedication to astronomy.

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Spektrum: A Pro-Am Journal for Spectroscopy

Sky & Telescope

If you’re interested in how celestial objects reveal themselves simply by analyzing their light, you’ll enjoy this free online international journal.

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#GOPHandsOffMe Protest Co-Organizer: ‘This is Just the Beginning’

We spoke to co-organizer Jodeen Olguín-Tayler about why it was important to bring together a multiracial group of women—including sexual assault survivors—to protest the Republican presidential nominee.

Meet Swet Shop Boys, the Desi Hip-Hop Group Powering Through Racial Profiling

Made up of former-Das Racist member Himanshu “Heems” Suri, actor/rapper Riz “Riz MC” Ahmed and producer Tom “Redinho” Calvert, the Swet Shop Boys explore the everyday struggles of South Asian and other Brown people moving through a world full of racial profiling and dangerous stereotypes.

Queer Visual Artist Julio Salgado On Documenting the Undocumented

This “undocu-queer artivist” shares his vision for uplifting the humanity of immigrants and the LGBTQ community.


Native Activists Fight to Bring Attention to Police Killings

Texas HS Football Team Faces Season Cancellation for Kneeling Protests

Charges Dropped Against Amy Goodman for Covering DAPL

Pu**y Grabs Back Protests Spread Nationwide

REPORT: America’s Natural Gas Storage Situation is Subpar, Unsafe

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October 21, 2016

Kobach thinks ‘alien votes’ are rigging the election; Trump’s scary effect on kids; How to rescue Twitter from hate? and more.


Politico: Donald Trump’s ‘immigration whisperer’ Kris Kobach thinks the election is rigged with ‘the votes of aliens’.

Vox: Trump’s scary effect on how kids think: ‘All the black and brown people have to leave.’

The Guardian (UK): Trump loyalists plan their own ‘exit polls’ on Election Day in key cities amid ‘rigged election’ claims.

New York Times: Trump creates a schism within the American religious right.

Media Matters: Trump adviser Roger Stone once again appears on radio program aligned with white nationalists.

Associated Press: In the age of Trump, profile of Maryland white supremacist Heimbach grows.

The Verge: What should we do about these white supremacists who have turned Twitter into a portal to mainstream hate?

Forward: Online neo-Nazi hit list website is shut down after report on harassment.

40/29 News (Fort Smith, AR): Two mosques in Fort Smith vandalized with hate graffiti, but perpetrators are caught on video cameras.

Mashable: White supremacist banned from Twitter still directs anti-Semitic harassment on social media.

Right Wing Watch: Patrick Buchanan complains that the system is rigged against white men.



A remarkable level of vitriol has characterized the contest for president. And it’s showing no signs of letting up.

Editor’s Note: This article will be continuously updated. It was last updated on Oct. 18, 2016.

Summer Issue
July 06, 2016

October 18, 2016

With only weeks left before Election Day, Talk of ‘Rigged Election’ Leads to Promised Violence

With only weeks left before Election Day, and Donald Trump refusing to say if he will accept the legitimacy of the vote, the radical right is warning of civil war and violence if Hillary Clinton wins.

October 20, 2016

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WORLD STATISTICS DAY: OCTOBER 20, 2016 (every five years, beginning in 2010)


World Statistics Day 2015

  • United Nations Secretary-General message on World Statistics Day 2015


  • World Statistics Day Forum 2015 in Japan

  • UNICEF actively observed World Statistics Day online and through social media

  • International Statistical Institute launched new website on World Statistics Day

More posts


2016 Theme: “Better Data, Better Lives”

20 October 2015

Official statistics help decision makers develop informed policies that impact millions of people. Improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies and strengthened statistical systems enable better decisions that eventually result in better lives for all of us. On 20 October 2015, the global statistical community will showcase their achievements and their ongoing work to help this vision come true.

DataViz Challenge Winner

#StatsDay15 Data Visualisation Challenge

On World Statistics Day 2015, the finalists and winning solution to the #StatsDay15 Data Visualisation Challenge competition were announced. This digital exhibition displays the the winning solution, submitted by Jeremy Boy from France, as well as other five finalist solutions submitted by talented participants from all around the World.


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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed on October 17 each year since 1993. It promotes people’s awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide, particularly in developing countries.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty promotes awareness of the need to eradicate poverty worldwide.

What Do People Do?

Various non-government organizations and community charities support the Day for the Eradication of Poverty by actively calling for country leaders and governments to make the fight against poverty a central part of foreign policy. Other activities may include signing “Call to action” petitions, organizing concerts and cultural events, and holding interfaith gatherings that may include a moment of silence.

Public Life

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a global observance and not a public holiday.


The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to October 17, 1987. On that date, more than 100,000 people gathered in Paris, France, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. Since that moment, individuals and organizations worldwide observed October 17 as a day to renew their commitment in collaborating towards eradicating poverty. In December, 1992, the UN General Assembly officially declared October 17 as the date for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (resolution 47/196 of December 22, 1992).

In December 1995, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997–2006), following the Copenhagen Social Summit. At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015.


The United Nations Postal Administration previously issued six commemorative stamps and a souvenir card on the theme “We Can End Poverty”.  These stamps and the souvenir card featured drawings or paintings of people, particularly children, working together in the fight against poverty. Many of these images used strong colors and contrasts.  These stamps resulted from an art competition where six designs were selected from more than 12,000 children from 124 countries.

Note: Although the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was first officially celebrated by the UN in 1993, many people around the world celebrated the day annually on October 17 since 1987.

External Links

2016 Theme: “Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms”

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Sun Oct 17 2010 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Mon Oct 17 2011 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Wed Oct 17 2012 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Thu Oct 17 2013 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Fri Oct 17 2014 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Sat Oct 17 2015 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Mon Oct 17 2016 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Tue Oct 17 2017 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Wed Oct 17 2018 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Thu Oct 17 2019 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance
Sat Oct 17 2020 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty United Nations observance

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World Food Day

World Food Day is annually held on October 16 to commemorate the founding of the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Each year has a different theme.

World Food Day helps raise people’s awareness of problems in food supply and distribution.
© aluxum

What Do People Do?

Many events are organized on and around World Food Day. On and around October 16, a wide-ranging program is organized at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome, Italy. The program is aimed at leaders of political and non-political organizations at all levels and at increasing press attention on topical issues around food supply. Other UN organizations and universities around the world organize symposia, conferences, workshops and presentations of particular issues around food production, distribution and security. In addition, special initiatives, such as the “International Year of Rice” in 2004 and the “International Year of the Potato” in 2008 were launched.

Across the globe, many different events are organized to raise awareness of problems in food supply and distribution and to raise money to support projects to aid in the cultivation of food plants and the distribution of food. An example of this is TeleFood, which funds micro projects to help small-scale farmers at the grassroots level. The projects aim to help farmers be more productive and improve both local communities’ access to food and farmers’ cash income. Fundraising events include sponsored sports events, charity auctions, concerts, and marches.

Public Life

World Food Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.


The FAO aims to raise levels of nutrition across the globe, improve agricultural productivity at all levels, enhance the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. It also provides assistance to countries changing their agricultural policy, to aid regions out of famine situations, to help implement appropriate technology and facilitate a neutral environment to discuss issues around food production.

At the FAO’s 20th session in Rome, Italy, in November 1979 the conference called for the observance of World Food Day on October 16, 1981, and on the same date each year. The UN General Assembly ratified this decision on December 5, 1980, and urged governments and international, national and local organizations to contribute to observing World Food Day. World Food Day has been held each year since 1981.


The FAO’s symbol consists of a circle. Inside the circle is a graphical image of an ear of wheat and the letters F, A and O. The FAO’s motto “fiat panis” (let there be bread) appears under the ear of wheat. The first version of this design was a badge distributed to delegates at an FAO conference in Copenhagen in 1946. The current version was registered with the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property on July 1, 1964, and has been used widely since about 1977.

A World Food Day official symbol consists of three abstract human figures harvesting, distributing and sharing food. The figures are depicted in a bluish-grey color and the food in an orange shade. This draws attention to the food. The whole image aims to bring attention to the necessity and joy of growing, harvesting and distributing food.

World Food Day Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Sat Oct 16 2010 World Food Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 16 2011 World Food Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 16 2012 World Food Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 16 2013 World Food Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 16 2014 World Food Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 16 2015 World Food Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 16 2016 World Food Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 16 2017 World Food Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 16 2018 World Food Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 16 2019 World Food Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 16 2020 World Food Day United Nations observance

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 10-16-2016


Thomas Mikal Ford, left, in 1996 with other cast members of the television series “Martin.” Credit Fox

Thomas Mikal Ford, who played the pragmatic yet charming character Tommy on the 1990s sitcom “Martin,” died on Wednesday. He was 52.

His family confirmed his death in a statement released by the J Pervis Talent Agency but did not give a cause. News accounts said that Mr. Ford had had an abdominal aneurysm and died in a hospital in Atlanta. He had knee replacement surgery last week, according to his Instagram account.

Mr. Ford, whose first and middle names were Tommy Mykal but who used a slightly different stage name, appeared in more than 75 movies and television series in a career that began in the mid-1980s.

He was probably best remembered for his role as Tommy Strawn from 1992 to 1997 on “Martin,” which starred the comedian Martin Lawrence as an often ornery Detroit disc jockey who later became the host of a public-access television talk show. Mr. Ford’s Tommy was often Mr. Lawrence’s straight man and the subject of his jokes.

A running gag on the show was the disconnect between Tommy’s lofty aspirations and his fuzzy employment status, which often played out with other characters reminding him that he had no job.

His performance earned him a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series at the 1996 N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards.

He was born on Sept. 5, 1964, in Los Angeles. Information on survivors was not immediately available.

On television he played a police lieutenant on the detective drama “New York Undercover” in 1998 and 1999 and Mel Parker, a fun-loving father, in seven episodes of the sitcom “The Parkers” from 1999 to 2001.

Mr. Ford was a regular on four seasons of “Who’s Got Jokes?,” a comedy competition in which he was billed as “the Pope of Comedy,” on the TV One cable channel.

Mr. Ford had turned his attention to directing and producing both dramas and comedies for television, according to his website. He was most recently filming “Reverse the Lynch Curse,” a documentary about curses of distrust and envy.

His website noted that, pursuing a longtime dream, he had also begun writing a series of children’s books intended to promote healthy, spiritual and nonviolent living.




Patricia Barry and Val Dufour as a couple in “First Love,” a 1950s soap opera on NBC. Credit NBC

Patricia Barry, a prolific television actress who appeared in more than 100 series and movies, beginning in the medium’s earliest days, died on Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 93.

Her death was confirmed by her publicist, The Associated Press said.

Ms. Barry’s career began in the 1940s, when she won a Rita Hayworth look-alike contest; the victory led her to Hollywood and a contract with Warner Brothers.

After three uncredited screen roles (as “nurse,” “showgirl” and “music student”), she finally got a character name in “The Beast With Five Fingers,” a 1947 horror film remembered best for scenes in which a dead pianist’s disembodied hand, up to no good, creeps its way around an Italian mansion.

Ms. Barry, then billed as Patricia White, made more than 20 movies over the next four years. In 1950 she discovered the new medium television, and vice versa.

Her first appearance was as a guest on “The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse,” in an episode about Vincent van Gogh. Over the next decade she appeared in series as different as “Playhouse 90” (she was Jordan Baker in a version of “The Great Gatsby”) and “77 Sunset Strip.”

She had a particularly good year in 1964, when she appeared in three feature films: “Send Me No Flowers” (with Rock Hudson and Doris Day), “Kitten With a Whip” (with Ann-Margret) and “Dear Heart” (with Glenn Ford). That fall she was cast as Jack Klugman’s wife in a new sitcom, “Harris Against the World.” When the series was canceled after 13 episodes, she returned to a busy schedule on series television.

Her soap-opera period began in 1972, when she appeared on several episodes of “Days of Our Lives.” She was later on “All My Children” (1981) and “Guiding Light” (1985-87).

She also acted in television movies, among them “First, You Cry” (1978), in which Mary Tyler Moore played a newswoman with breast cancer; “Crowhaven Farm” (1970), a horror tale about a coven of witches; and “Bogie” (1980), about Humphrey Bogart.

Ms. Barry also still did the occasional film, among them “Sea of Love” (1989), with Al Pacino, as a lonely older woman who answers a personals ad.

She had appeared on two episodes of the original “Twilight Zone” series as well, as a genie with a mild-mannered new master and as a glamorous single woman who unwittingly drinks an all-too-effective love potion. Her last film was “Delusional” (2014), a thriller about a mental patient.

Patricia Allen White was born on Nov. 16, 1922, in Davenport, Iowa, the daughter of a physician. She graduated from Stephens College in Missouri, where she studied theater with the actress Maude Adams.

She began her career doing summer theater in New Hampshire and made her Broadway debut in 1945 in a short-lived comedy, “Calico Wedding.” In 1950 she married Philip Barry Jr., a producer, whom she met during a production of his father’s play “Holiday.”

Her survivors include two daughters, Miranda Barry and Stephanie Barry Agnew, and two grandchildren. Mr. Barry died in 1998.

Ms. Barry was a founding member and a past president of Women in Film, a nonprofit that promotes gender parity on and off screen. She also ran a business in Southern California, leasing fully furnished houses to visiting stars and directors.




Benjamin F. Payton was president of Tuskegee University, founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, for nearly three decades. Credit Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser

Benjamin F. Payton, a civil rights advocate who was instrumental in transforming the historically black Tuskegee Institute in Alabama into the more broadly encompassing Tuskegee University over nearly three decades as its president, died on Sept. 28 in Estero, Fla. He was 83.

His death was announced by the university, which was founded in a shanty in Tuskegee, Ala., in 1881 by Booker T. Washington.

Almost 100 years later, overcoming alumni objections and hoping to broaden its appeal, Dr. Payton enlarged the scope and the very identity of Tuskegee by pushing to give it university status.

His plan was adopted in 1985, and soon afterward he established Tuskegee’s first doctoral program, created a College of Business and Information Science, the General Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education, and the Continuing Education Program. He oversaw fund-raising campaigns that generated about $240 million.

He also won an apology from the United States, delivered by President Bill Clinton in 1997, for the federal government’s infamous four-decade “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” In the study, beginning in 1932, penicillin and other available treatments were deliberately withheld from more than 600 research subjects with venereal disease: poor black men from Macon County, whose county seat is Tuskegee.

The government, in association with the staff at Tuskegee, had enlisted the men under the guise of providing free health care. Dozens of men died, and many of their families were infected.

“People call it the Tuskegee experiment, but it wasn’t Tuskegee that did it — it was the United States Public Health Service, and it went on for 40 years,” Dr. Payton told The Montgomery Advertiser in 2010. “The apology was long overdue.”

Mr. Clinton also announced a $200,000 grant to start a National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee.

Dr. Payton’s tenure as Tuskegee’s fifth president, from 1981 to 2010, capped a lifelong religious commitment to racial justice. It began in the mid-1960s, when he was the director of the Office of Church and Race of the Protestant Council of the City of New York (now the Council of Churches of the City of New York) and then executive director of the National Council of Churches’ Commission on Religion and Race.

Dr. Payton and other critics argued that focusing on unwed mothers and their children debased blacks and blamed victims. Rather, they said, the government’s agenda should be integration, education and jobs.

Two years later, Dr. Payton urged Congress not to upend the will of Harlem voters by expelling their elected representative, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., over corruption allegations. Powell, he said, was “the one great symbol of power that Negroes have developed so painfully over the years.” Congress did expel Powell, but he was elected again.

Dr. Payton served for five years, until 1972, as president of Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., a Baptist-affiliated black institution. Returning to New York, he became program officer for higher education and research at the Ford Foundation, a position he held for nearly a decade until his appointment at Tuskegee.

When Dr. Payton retired to Florida in 2010, leaving Tuskegee as president emeritus, Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama said he had “fostered innovation and academic excellence, playing a key role in Tuskegee University becoming the outstanding institution of higher learning that it is today.”

Benjamin Franklin Payton was born on Dec. 27, 1932, in Orangeburg, S.C., the second of nine children of the Rev. Leroy Ralph Payton, an impoverished minister, farmer and teacher, and the former Sarah Mack.

Despite their meager circumstances, the family had a passion for education; all of Dr. Payton’s siblings earned college degrees. Dr. Payton received four: a bachelor’s degree in sociology from South Carolina State University in 1955, a bachelor of divinity in philosophical theology from Harvard, a master’s in philosophy from Columbia University and a doctorate in ethics from Yale.

His wife, the former Thelma Plane, died in 2013. He is survived by their children, Mark and Deborah; four grandchildren; three brothers, Cecil Warren Payton, William Mack Payton and Bernard Simpson Payton; and three sisters, Mary Edith Padgett, Annette Dolores Thorpe and Gail Priscilla Floyd.

“You end black colleges, and youngsters will end up as serious social misfits,” he told The New York Times in 1981. “It will cost far more to keep them in prison than to develop their competencies. If the American people understood better what we are talking about, they would see that it is less costly, more humane and contributes more to the welfare of society to educate people than to neglect them.”

Even as integrated colleges became more accessible, he said, “these students no longer want the kind of environment that places the burden of proof on them to demonstrate that they’re not there to meet someone’s affirmative action quota.”

In 1990, he reported progress: “We are beginning to see a collection of institutions, both black and white, that are helping black students understand again that the single most important route out of poverty is education,” he said.

By the time he had retired, Dr. Payton had been president of Tuskegee longer than every one of his predecessors except Booker T. Washington himself. “There was just so much to do,” he told The Montgomery Advertiser, “that I forgot about the time.”


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