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Saturn moon Titan shaped by same forces as Earth

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The largest of Saturn’s many moons has lakes, mountains and dunes, with its surface scarred and crafted by many of the same forces which have shaped Earth, scientists said Monday.

A team led by Rosaly Lopes at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) said Titan’s visible exterior was “one of the most geologically diverse in the Solar System.”

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“Despite the differences in materials, temperatures and gravity fields between Earth and Titan, many of their surface features are similar and can be interpreted as products of the same geologic processes,” the scientists said in an article in Nature Astronomy.

Using radar and infra-red data generated by the now defunct Cassini probe, which completed a 20-year mission by crashing into Saturn in 2017, the scientists said they could fill in many of the gaps in mapping Titan, some 1.2 billion kilometres (800 million miles) from Earth.

Dunes and lakes, they said, were relatively young while mountainous terrain appeared older.

Titan’s surface was sculpted by the accumulation and erosion of sediment and showed “clear latitudinal variation, with dunes at the equator, plains at mid-latitudes and labyrinth terrains and lakes at the poles,” they said.

The region around the equator is arid, with Titan getting wetter closer to the poles.

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Just as on Earth, Titan’s surface has been marked by impact craters, liquid- and air-driven erosion, methane-laden rainfall, tectonic plate movement and possible volcanic activity.

Alice Le Gall, one of the team and working at Paris-Saclay University, said Titan “is the only known extra-terrestrial body to have liquid bodies on its surface.”

Methane exists in three states — solid, liquid and gas — at super-cold temperatures. It produces a cycle similar to that of rain falling on Earth to form rivers and lakes, and then evaporating to form clouds again, Le Gall told AFP.

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Coronavirus data disappears from CDC dashboard after Trump hijacks info

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The Trump administration on Tuesday forced all hospitals and states to make a significant and immediate change in how they report coronavirus patient data, hijacking the information to be funneled into the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Experts warned the move could allow the administration to politicize the data, hide it, be less transparent, all of which interferes in the real-time usage of information to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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Driver hits 63-year-old man with his car after he asked him to wear a mask in a store: police

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A Rhode Island driver is being accused of hitting a 63-year-old man with his car after the man had confronted him about not wearing a face mask into a local convenience store.

Local news station WJAR 10 reports that 63-year-old William Beauchene got into an argument this week with a 30-year-old man named Ralph Buontempo, who had gone into the convenience store in the town of Lincoln, Rhode Island without wearing a mask.

Witnesses told police that the two men began yelling obscenities at one another, and that at one point Buontempo slapped a cup of coffee out of Beauchene's hand, which then splashed all over the store manager who had come outside to try to deescalate the confrontation.

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Trump has rolled out a ‘new scam’ amid internal turmoil over Fauci: op-ed

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, Greg Sargent takes a look at the Trump's administration's recent walkback of its attempts to undermine its top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, after they discovered that it wasn't being received by the public so well.

According to Sargent, President Trump's "new scam" is to present the image that his administration actually respects Fauci's advice while continuing to undermine him behind the scenes.

"What’s really going on here is a kind of two-step, a double game," Sargent writes. "Trump and his advisers want him to reap the political benefits of appearing to harbor general respect for Fauci’s expertise, while simultaneously continuing to undermine Fauci’s actual claims about the threat the novel coronavirus will continue to pose — because those claims badly undermine Trump’s reelection message."

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