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NASA gets go-ahead to bring Mars rocks back to Earth

This illustration shows a NASA Mars Ascent Vehicle concept carrying samples into Mars orbit.


NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s one thing to send a spacecraft to Mars. It’s another to land on the surface, pick up some pieces of the planet and then bring them all the way back to Earth. But NASA is going to try to do just that.

On Tuesday, NASA announced the results of an Independent Review Board (IRB) evaluation of its planned Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission that would at long last bring a bit of the red planet back for our scientists to study.

“Following an examination of the agency’s ambitious Mars Sample Return plan, the board’s report concludes that NASA is prepared for the campaign, building on decades of scientific advancements and technical progress in Mars exploration,” NASA said in a

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When SEC commissioner is ‘troubled’ by COVID-19 impact on college football, we must listen

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is college football’s most disciplined, careful messenger, a man who has conditioned himself to reduce every thought in his head to its most bland, non-controversial form for public consumption. He is the Dikembe Mutombo of swatting away hypotheticals, and his answers to most questions are meant to be as satisfying as 50-calorie beer. 

How has the pandemic impacted college football in 2020?

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a close up of a sign: SEC logo


© USA TODAY Sports
SEC logo

So when Sankey suggests that the college football season is in some real trouble, as he did Wednesday during a media conference call, it’s probably wise to pay attention. 

“I have to acknowledge (we’re) troubled by what’s happened this week,” Sankey said. “There’s still an opportunity to focus on (Dec.) 19th, but we have to adjust further within our programs to maintain the health that we did such a great job of early

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Notre Dame’s biggest win in years comes with an addendum

No. 4 Notre Dame’s double-overtime victory over No. 1 Clemson will be remembered as a game of historical consequence that may have few consequences. It was steeped in history, but could be recast in just a few months. It had the requisite historical touchstones, officiating controversies (and delays) and a scintillating performance by a star — freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei — that we’ll be gazing at for many more autumns.

Make no mistake, Notre Dame outlasting Clemson, 47-40, in double overtime will be a vintage bottle in the most elite of Notre Dame collections. Even if a speech by President-elect Biden bumped it off NBC for a while. It showcased the onions of senior quarterback Ian Book, the otherworldly disruptive ability of linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and highlighted Notre Dame’s ability to dominate in the trenches against one of the standards in college football.

It’s the most impressive regular season victory

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Fall Signing Day 2020: Where are New Jersey’s best softball players going to college?

Bella Truelove

Steinert’s Carli Backlund celebrates teammate Bella Truelove’s 1st inning 3-run homer against St. John Vianney in Wednesday evening’s Tournament of Champions high school softball semifinals in South Orange. Steinert held on to win 3-2 to advance. 06/06/2018 Steve Hockstein | For NJ Advance MediaSteve Hockstein | For NJ Advance

The spring season was stripped by the pandemic but the Class of 2021 will finally have something to celebrate with the early signing period beginning Wednesday.

Listed below are New Jersey softball players who have made commitments to play in college. Check to see where the Class of 2021 will be playing at the next level.

Did we miss someone? Send an e-mail to [email protected] and [email protected] so she can be added to the list.

  • Bryele Anthony, Shawnee, Immaculata
  • Laila Aponte, DePaul, Post
  • Emily Arnold, Parsippany Hills. Rowan
  • Bella Arrigo, Pequannock, DeSales
  • Brooke Bachonski, Old Bridge,
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Opinion: University funding formula shortchanges female students

Jacqueline Strenio, Carey Jean Sojka and Kylan Mattias de Vries

Strenio is an assistant economics professor, Sojka is an assistant professor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies and de Vries is an associate professor in sociology and gender, sexuality and women’s studies. All three teach at Southern Oregon University.

The vision statement of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission describes a future in which all Oregonians ­– “especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized” ­– can benefit from the life-changing nature of our state’s higher education institutions.

We congratulate the commission for recognizing that its vision has not yet been fully realized. But the commission will not be able to achieve its goals until it addresses the inequities built into its formula for funding Oregon’s seven public universities.

As currently designed, the “Student Success and Completion Model” that governs funding perpetuates advantages for institutions that graduate the most students

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Biden’s education transition team gets California leader

Linda Darling-Hammond, a leading figure in California education policy, is heading the education transition team for President-elect Joe Biden.

Darling-Hammond, 68, the president of the state Board of Education, said she would not accept the job of U.S. education secretary. Still, her role as leader of the transition suggests how Biden will likely move to alter policy, emphasizing stronger support for the nation’s public schools and their teachers.

The Stanford education professor emeritus has long stressed the importance of teacher quality, with research and advocacy that stresses the value of top-tier teacher preparation programs, continued professional development and retention in the profession.

Going into 2020, she helped set priorities for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s increased funding for education that were sharply curtailed amid the coronavirus emergency.

She is the founding president of the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute and also founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and helped

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Ascendis Pharma A/S to Host Virtual Oncology R&D Day on Friday, November 20

Event will provide an overview of how Ascendis is applying its TransCon technology platform and its unique algorithm for product innovation to the therapeutic area of oncology

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND), a biopharmaceutical company that utilizes its innovative TransCon™ technologies to create product candidates that address unmet medical needs, today announced that the company will host a virtual Oncology R&D Day on Friday, November 20, 2020.

The event will provide an overview on the company’s strategy to apply the TransCon technology platform, which has been clinically validated in endocrinology rare disease, to our second therapeutic area of oncology to create product opportunities that have the potential to represent a paradigm shift in treating patients with cancer.

The event will include updates on Ascendis’ two leading oncology programs: TransCon TLR7/8 Agonist and TransCon IL-2 β/γ, for

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Eastern Michigan University asking for submissions to chronicle 2020

YPSILANTI, MI — Eastern Michigan University Archives is asking for submissions for a special project to document the tumultuous year that has been 2020.

The 20/20 Project invites the EMU community to contribute any materials to assist documenting the coronavirus pandemic, political turmoil and racial unrest of 2020, according to a university release. Official communications will be collected, but EMU Archives wants to ensure the personal stories and experiences of the EMU community are preserved, the release states.

Content can be submitted in any format, including recorded meetings on videoconferencing platform Zoom, photos and videos, journal entries, poetry, school assignments, reactions to decisions made on and off campus, and all other representations of 2020, the release states.

“This collection will document the personal and professional experiences of EMU in a much more intimate way than what you may find in public relations reports and official press releases,” said Matt Jones,

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Education employment falls 8.8 percent: Pew

Employment in state and local education positions in October dropped a dramatic 8.8 percent in the past year, according to Pew Charitable Trusts, outpacing the 6.2 percent drop in private sector employment.



a person sitting at a table in a room: Education employment falls 8.8 percent: Pew


© Getty Images
Education employment falls 8.8 percent: Pew

“The cuts were mostly driven by temporary layoffs and positions left unfilled in the new school year,” Pew researchers Barb Rosewicz and Mike Maciag wrote in their report.

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The decline in education jobs shines a light on cash-strapped state and local governments. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made funding state and local government a central issue in failed negotiations with the White House over a fifth COVID-19 relief package.

While Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had put down a $1.8 trillion offer for the package before the election, Pelosi said that funding for state and local governments did not go far enough, and cited a slew of other policy

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Stanford scientists’ computer model predicts COVID-19 spread in cities

A computer model using cellphone data to map the places people frequent every day in large cities may indicate that most COVID-19 infections occur at “superspreader” sites such as full-service restaurants, gyms and cafes.

The report, published Tuesday in the journal Nature, examined the data of 98 million Americans collected at 10 large U.S. cities, including San Francisco, for two months beginning in March. The data was then fed into an epidemiological model developed by a Stanford University-led team.

Jure Leskovec, the Stanford computer scientist who led the study, told Stanford News that the model analyzed how people of different demographic backgrounds and neighborhoods visited establishments that are more or less crowded.


“Based on all of this, we could predict the likelihood of new infections occurring at any given place or time,” he said.

Those predictions would later prove accurate based on the number of infections officially recorded by the

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