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The Spill: Wisconsin Riots

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Riots Break Out in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has become the newest state to become a hotspot for riots as a result of a black man being shot by local police officers. Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back while he was trying to get inside his vehicle. Luckily, he did not die from the gunshot wounds, but he is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down. According to reports and cell phone video footage taken from the scene, Blake had repeatedly been told to stop, but he continued walking around his car, opening the door and leaning inside. A police officer grabbed the back of Blake’s shirt, trying to pull him out of the vehicle when several shots were fired at the suspect. Three of Blake’s children were in the back seat of the car at the time. According to the state’s Attorney General Josh Kaul, Blake was reaching for a knife later found in the vehicle.

The country, especially in active areas such as Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR, has been under siege with protests and riots since the death of George Floyd in May. This latest shooting has added more fuel to the fire, sparking upset and unrest across Wisconsin. The national guard has been called in to help protect buildings as well as to control the mobs.

Democratic governor Tony Evers condemned the shooting and said Blake was “not the first black man or person to have been hurt or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or country.”

This statement did not go over very well with some who feel strong statements such as that from state leadership only adds more negativity to the situation. Pete Deates, head of the city of Kenosha’s police union, where the shooting took place, said Evers’ statement was “wholly irresponsible” and that the governor should have waited until all the facts were known before condemning the police department or its officers.

Two people have already been killed during the rioting and looting. President Donald Trump tweeted out his irritation at the violence, saying, “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)”

A Nazi Enigma Machine and the Importance of Codebreaking

How would you like to find a secret coding machine? What would you pay for it? One professor was lucky enough to find an antique one used during WWII and only had to pay 100 euros (about $118) to get it. The seller had it listed only as a typewriter, but in fact it was an Enigma I machine that had been used by the Germans during the war to send secret coded messages. The lucky buyer bought it at a Romanian auction and then was able to turn around and sell it for about $51,500. In June, someone else had one of the Enigma machines and sold it for a whopping $547,500. Besides being a WWII relic, what makes this “typewriter” so special?

The Wehrmacht were branches of the German army during the late 1920s that decided to use the machine to send private communications with each other. Although Allied forces retrieved many of these messages, they were beyond frustrated when they could not crack the code. Scientists began working day and night to try and decode the important messages.

British logician Alan Turing began working on a decryption machine in 1939. He named his project Bombe, which is similar to Bomba, the name the Polish gave to their deciphering device. In 1940, Turing was successful, and then hundreds of the decoding machines were built. Now able to understand the secret messages being sent, the Allied forces gained the upper hand they needed. Some analysts suggest that the decoding devices likely cut the war short by two years.

Republican National Convention Supports Trump

August 27 is the last day of the Republican National Convention and also when President Donald Trump is expected to officially accept the Republican nomination to compete in the next election. Just as the Democratic National Convention lasted for four days, the RNC will as well.

On day one of the event, state representatives from the Grand Old Party (GOP) cast their nomination votes for their candidate to run for 2020 president of the United States. Trump was nominated unanimously, amongst cheers and praise among the party members.

Night two was a little different, highlighting women and their accomplishments. Natalie Harp, a bone cancer survivor, spoke, thanking the president for virtually saving her life by enacting the “right to try” bill. “When I failed the chemotherapies that were on the market, no one wanted me in their clinical trials,” she said. “They didn’t give me the right to try experimental treatments, Mr. President. You did, and without you, I’d have died waiting for them to be approved.”

Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter, spoke on the problem of censored information. She said, “Ask yourselves, why are we prevented from seeing certain information? Why is one viewpoint promoted while others are hidden? The answer is control because division and controversy breed a profit.”

And then first lady Melania Trump spoke; her message was about her migration to the nation of America where she had always wanted to live, and how achieving that goal as an immigrant was rewarding.

Night three focused on “heroes” such as police officers and the ongoing support Mr. Trump has for law enforcement. Today the nation is in the grips of civil unrest where states and cities are either considering defunding the police or, in some cases, already have, so law and order is expected to be one of Trump’s main platforms leading up to the vote.

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