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The Spill: America’s Voting Early

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A Horde of Voters

This has been a strange year. Americans suddenly found themselves self-quarantined in their own homes, forced to wear masks in public, and avoid gatherings. The economy crashed as millions of people found themselves unemployed because of a virus. Then the riots took hold, some lasting months in bigger cities such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. And now we have the presidential election.

With such concerns as how to handle the pandemic, what to do about the economy, and how illegal immigration should be handled, it’s no wonder people are anxious to cast their votes. Tuesday, November 3 is Election Day, yet already more than 73 million Americans have voted, proving just how important this year’s decisions are to the people.

The number of people who have voted early is impressive – it is already more than half of the votes that were counted in the 2016 election when Donald Trump was elected. According to the United States Elections Project, more than 48 million voters sent in mail-in ballots while 24 million voted in person. In August, the Pew Research Center released a poll that said Americans feel the stakes are higher this election year; a whopping 83% of those polled expressed this concern. In comparison, 20 years ago only about half of those questioned said it mattered who won the presidency.

Happy Halloween – But Keep Your Distance!

This Saturday is Halloween – but the regular activities we are all used to doing might not be available due to the pandemic. Many cities and states are not outright forbidding trick-or-treating, but they have cautioned against it and warned that anyone participating will need to wear masks and practice social distancing. Starting with the things that have been canceled or altered:

Los Angeles County, California: Residents here, unfortunately, will not be allowed to have any large gatherings, not even outside. Haunted houses are not allowed either, neither are carnivals. Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash was canceled as well.

Denver, Colorado: The Haunted Trail Adventure will not be available this year.

Orlando, Florida: Theme park celebrations such as Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be closed.

Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous Witch Trials, will not see the traditional Haunted Happenings parades and festivals and city tours are limited to ten people.

Laconia, New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, one of the nation’s largest pumpkin carving events, has been canceled.

New York, New York: This year there will not be the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade – the largest event in the country.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa held a drive-in movie and virtual costume contest on Oct. 24.

Detroit, Michigan: Hallowe’en in Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village is celebrating its 40th anniversary and will allow guests to visit and even ride a train, although dining will not be available.

Anoka, Minnesota: Although the annual parade will not be happening, families can still drive past the Grand Day Parade which will be stationary, with marshals and performers keeping a social distance.

Arlington, Texas: Six Flags Over Texas theme park may not have haunted houses, scary mazes, or indoor shows going on, but it will still be open and have a Halloween theme.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Feargrounds will be open with updated safety measures against the virus, and a scary movie drive-in events are being considered.

Water on the Moon?

We’ve known about water on the moon for a long time. But recently scientists discovered more areas where water can be found, and this is exciting news to NASA. Casey Honniball at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said, “Water is central to human life but is expensive to launch into space. Finding water on the moon may mean we can utilize the water that is there versus bringing the water with us.” Which is important, as exploring further out into space has become a new focus for the U.S.

In 1971, water vapor was discovered on the moon. In 2009, the first evidence that there was ice on the surface was discovered. It was originally thought that water could only be found in shadowy places where sunlight does not reach, which would make trying to obtain it dangerous. Now, however, scientists have found water in sunlit areas.

Chief Exploration Scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate said, “Understanding where the water is will help us determine where to send Artemis astronauts on the moon.”

With more space travel planned, the Artemis Accords were developed as guidelines and rules for astronauts and scientists to share the data with the public. Finding more assessable water on the moon will make it easier for the astronauts to be able to stock and refresh their supplies before continuing on to another destination. It will also make it more viable for astronauts and researchers assigned to the moon for periods of time instead of trying to store and lug it from Earth.

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