Vox Sentences: Moon 2024

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NASA is asking for $1.6 billion to help fund its new mission to the moon; a new treaty attempts to regulate the plastic waste trade.


New NASA mission will send a woman to the moon

 Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • NASA has announced that it will put a woman on the moon in the next five years, although a hefty bill is attached to the mission. [Reuters / Joey Roulette]
  • This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, and in celebration, NASA has announced a special name for the upcoming initiative. It will be called “Artemis,” the Greek goddess of the moon who is also Apollo’s twin sister. [The Verge / Loren Grush]
  • The price tag isn’t cheap though: The space agency has asked for a$1.6 billion in addition to the $21 billion that has already been requested for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in October. [Quartz / Tim Fernholz]
  • The program is so expensive in part because of the White House’s push to accelerate the program. In March, Vice President Mike Pence said he wanted people back on the moon by 2024, four years ahead of NASA’s timeline at the time. [Politico / Jacqueline Klimas]
  • The catch about the additional $1.6 billion: The Trump administration is trying to pull the money from a surplus in Pell Grant funds, which provide financial aid to low-income college students. Despite voices of concern, the administration said that current grant recipients will not be affected by this reallocation of funds. [AP / Jill Colvin]
  • It’s now up to Congress to approve the budget, and lawmakers have serious concerns about whether an expedited space trip is worth the extra money. [Politico / Jacqueline Klimas]

Nations try to combat the plastic waste epidemic

  • Governments of 187 countries have agreed to reduce pollution for plastic waste — but that doesn’t include the United States. [Reuters / Tom Miles]
  • Plastic has now been added to the Basel Convention, a UN-backed environmental treaty that regulates the movement of hazardous material from one country to another. The United States, however, will not be a part of this agreement, as it is one of two countries to not ratify the treaty. [CNN / Rob Picheta and Sarah Dean]
  • Countries that export their plastic waste, including the United States, will now have to gain consent from the receiving country. Prior to the updated treaty, countries could send plastic waste to private entities without the approval of the government. [Guardian / Emily Holden]
  • Plastic waste trade became a massive issue when China, the world’s largest plastic scraps importer, pulled out of the market last year. Since then, other importers have been overwhelmed with extra shipments, and exporters are looking for new buyers as their waste piles up on docks. [National Geographic / Laura Parker]
  • Experts hope this will make the plastic waste trade more transparent, especially since developed nations will not be allowed to dump their plastic waste in less wealthy countries. [Guardian / Emily Holden]
  • The treaty sends a strong message to the rest of the world, especially the private sector: Immediate action is needed to address plastic waste. [The Hill / Rachel Frazin]

Miscellaneous

  • A major security flaw in WhatsApp allowed hackers to install spyware on users’ phones with only a voice call. [CNN / Donie O’Sullivan]
  • Go ahead and eat that chicken parm hoagie as your first meal: Breakfast foods are a social construct. [Atlantic / Amanda Mull]
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy wants world leaders to know that the world is burning because of global warming. And he didn’t sugarcoat his words. [Washington Post / Reis Thebault]
  • An explorer completed the deepest dive ever. And at the bottom of unexplored grounds, he found human trash. [Reuters / Daniel Fastenberg]
  • A high school senior in Ohio decorated her graduation cap with a QR code that directs people to a list of students killed in school shootings. [BuzzFeed News / Tanya Chen]

Verbatim

“Grow up. You’re not children anymore. I didn’t mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12. But you’re adults now, and this is an actual crisis; got it?” [Bill Nye warning people about the threats of global warming (minus the swearing]


Listen to this: The fight for your face

Today, San Francisco voted on whether to become the first American city to ban government agencies from using facial recognition technology. Vox’s Sigal Samuel explains how this sci-fi feature could wreak havoc on civil liberties in a new episode of Today, Explained. [Spotify | Apple Podcasts]


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