🐤 Free your mind

Just because these students are locked up doesn't mean they can't reach great heights.

Monday | November 13th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Monday, chirpers! The holidays are approaching and you might already be on the lookout for porch pirates if you’re ordering gifts for home delivery.

But what about porch bears? One Florida family found out the hard way that wild beasts are apparently also Chalupa Supreme fans when security footage revealed that a 400-pound black bear swiped their Taco Bell delivery. Adding insult to injury, the animal returned a short time later to grab a soda.

-Chris Agee

$276.66 (2.05%)
Dow Jones
$391.16 (1.15%)
S&P 500
$67.89 (1.56%)
$0.00 (0.07%)
-$135.74 (-0.37%)
-$0.70 (-8.04%)
*Market data for this issue is from November 12th, 2023 at 7:23pm EST

🏦 Markets: It seems like we just talked about this, but there’s another potential government shutdown lurking and Friday is the deadline to avert it.

There are some other economic factors to consider before the end of the week arrives, including major earnings reports from retail giants including Walmart, Home Depot, and Target.

And tomorrow will bring the Consumer Price Index result, showing how inflation impacted the U.S. economy in October.

We’ll also get the latest retail sales figures from the Census Bureau, which are expected to drop on Wednesday.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Shutterstock

🌋 Ready to erupt: Thousands of locals have been forced from their homes near Grindavik, Iceland, ahead of the likely eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano. Such an eruption would likely eclipse the damage of the Vestmannaeyjar volcano that caused widespread destruction in the region about half a century ago. Studies of the area just beneath the surface shows magma movement indicating an eruption is likely within the next few days, said one University of Iceland expert.

🏮 Record breaker: The recent celebration of Diwali across India resulted in a display that warranted a Guinness World Record for the number of earthen oil lamps lit at the same time. More than 2.2 million lamps burned brightly to mark the sacred festival near the Saryu River as celebrants sung religious songs and reflected on the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram. This year’s display lasted for about 45 minutes and eclipsed the 1.5 million lamps lit last year.

📺 Too hot for TV: Former President Donald Trump is simultaneously seeking a second term in the White House and fighting a quartet of legal cases. As his federal election trial draws near, Trump is calling for cameras to be allowed in the courtroom — and a bunch of media companies that stand to benefit from airing the proceedings are on board. As it stands, though, TV cameras aren’t allowed in federal courtrooms and there’s no indication this trial will be an exception.

✈️ Military crash: Initial details were scant, but the U.S. European Command confirmed over the weekend that an American military aircraft crashed over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The plane was reportedly completing a training exercise at the time it went down and there were no apparent signs it was targeted by another military. U.S. officials declined to provide additional information — including casualties or which branch the aircraft was assigned to — out of respect for those affected by the incident.

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Educated Behind Bars: How Northwestern University Is Leading The Way

Members of the first graduating class are about to receive their degrees.

Educated Behind Bars: How Northwestern University Is Leading The Way Northwestern University/YouTube screenshot

Far from merely a source of punishment, prison should be a way for incarcerated individuals to achieve rehabilitation and receive the essential tools that might not have been available before their convictions.

For many prisoners, this includes an education. And while there have been programs, including college courses, available inside of American prisons for generations, one university is taking the concept further.

A top 10 institution

Northwestern University has a storied reputation, including its status on U.S. News and World Reports’ list of top 10 universities in the country. But for dozens of students preparing to receive their bachelor’s degrees, there were no traditional classrooms and their dorm rooms were behind heavily guarded prison walls.

A total of 80 prisoners registered for the university’s first-ever Northwestern Prison Education Program and will officially graduate later this week.

Not only did they achieve this goal despite being locked up, but founding director Jennifer Lackey noted the other factors that could have been roadblocks to their success — most notably, a global pandemic.

“What this cohort lived through, it’s really nothing short of extraordinary,” she said.

A glimpse inside

Since there are obvious challenges for those in the prison program that traditional students don’t face, the learning environment looks much different for these individuals.

  • Professors generally show up at the prison for in-person lectures.
  • Staffers collect handwritten assignments and deliver printed lessons.
  • Students released before graduating can attend classes remotely.

While these students can benefit directly, evidence shows that the program is also good for society as a whole. For every $1 invested in prison education programs, as much as $5 is saved in the cost of future incarceration due to the fact that the recidivism rate is almost cut in half among those who successfully complete such programs.

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Anxious To Book Your Deep-Space Getaway? Consider These Factors First.

It might not be the vacation of your dreams after all.

Anxious To Book Your Deep-Space Getaway? Consider These Factors First. Giphy

The rise of private-sector space exploration in recent years has led to an increased demand for so-called “space tourism” … and some firms are already developing plans they hope will result in the installation of hotels and other vacation amenities beyond our home planet’s atmosphere.

But aside from the generally prohibitive cost of such travel, there’s an even more important question that remains unanswered: Is it safe?

We need more data

So far, all we know about the effects of prolonged exposure to space comes from studying the relatively few astronauts who have spent extended periods away from Earth.

And the thought of sending ordinary folks out into the notoriously inhospitable reaches of space adds a new layer of danger.

Of course, the possibility of making tons of money from the space tourism market is sure to keep companies (and to a lesser extent, government entities like NASA) focused on building the infrastructure necessary to make it happen. That’s why it’s important to consider the most pressing problems that are likely to surface as this nascent industry takes shape.

  • Resources: Even as many humans worry about depleting resources here on Earth, it’s important to note that virtually none of the necessities we take for granted will be easily accessible in space. From food to medicine to the very oxygen we breathe, it’ll all need to be supplied by external sources.
  • Environment: The impacts of radiation, extreme temperatures, and weightlessness can prove dangerous if not deadly unless humans develop ways to harness them. Without constantly wearing a hefty spacesuit, extraterrestrial travelers can succumb to hypoxia or other conditions almost immediately.
  • Companionship: From uncertainties about how safe it is to have sex to simply missing those you leave back on Earth, the loneliness of space could have serious, as-yet-undetermined consequences.
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This Native Tribe Is Working To Preserve The Natural Beauty Of California’s Coast

If successful, this mission would be the first of its kind in U.S. history.

This Native Tribe Is Working To Preserve The Natural Beauty Of California’s Coast Shutterstock

While the region might be known for high-tech industries or glamorous Hollywood productions, the Chumash tribe remains focused on California’s natural features. And an ongoing project seeks to preserve a stretch of coastline for generations to come.

“Stewards of these waters”

According to Northern Chumash Tribal Council leader Violet Sage Walker, the plan currently underway involves creating a protected marine sanctuary that would span about six times the size of Yosemite National Park.

The basic goal involves ensuring that species — from coral to dolphins to the Chumash people themselves — that make up the local food chain have what they need. Walker said that begins by communicating the importance of preserving what is there and restoring what has already been lost.

“In order to protect something, people have to love it, and this is like giving us the opportunity, the world stage, to share our stories and our history and why this place should love it,” she said.

Walker noted that her tribe has long been “stewards of these waters” and the effort to create a new marine sanctuary is just the latest chapter in the ancient story.

A joint effort is underway

Although there are other marine sanctuaries in place across the country, if this one becomes a reality it would be the first to be proposed by an indigenous group. So far, things look promising.

The project — tentatively known as the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary — is expected to receive its federal designation within a few months. Walker touted the tribe’s ongoing work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a promising sign.

“We’re in a place today that’s the first of its kind, and that’s because conservation efforts are being led by tribal people,” she concluded.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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