Daily Bread for 5.13.18

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of sixty-four.  Sunrise is 5:33 AM and sunset 8:09 PM, for 14h 36m 14s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent, with 5.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the five hundred forty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1864, the Battle of Resaca, Georgia begins:

The Battle of Resaca was part of the Union’s Atlanta Campaign. From May 13-16, 1864, more than 150,000 soldiers clashed outside Georgia’s capital city, including 10 Wisconsin regiments. On May 13, the Union troops reconnoitered the Confederate lines to prepare for the next day’s combat.

Recommended for reading in full —

 Lee Bergquist reports EPA investigates possible groundwater contamination in central Wisconsin as worries grow:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigated potential groundwater contamination in central Wisconsin this week after longstanding complaints over the health impact farms may pose to drinking water.

On Monday, workers from the EPA began a large-scale project to drill wells in Juneau County near a large dairy farm to test for elevated levels of nitrates and other contamination, according state and federal officials.

The visit underscores growing concerns in rural areas over the impact manure spreading and other farming practices may have on groundwater, lakes and streams. Manure as fertilizer is a source of nitrogen. In water, it becomes nitrate.

Nick Penzenstadler, Brad Heath, and Jessica Guynn report We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Here’s what we found:

USA TODAY Network reporters reviewed each of the 3,517 ads, which were released to the public this week for the first time by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The analysis included not just the content of the ads, but also information that revealed the specific audience targeted, when the ad was posted, roughly how many views it received and how much the ad cost to post.

Among the findings:

  • Of the roughly 3,500 ads published this week, more than half — about 1,950 — made express references to race. Those accounted for 25 million ad impressions — a measure of how many times the spot was pulled from a server for transmission to a device.
  • At least 25% of the ads centered on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation. Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups.
  • Divisive racial ad buys averaged about 44 per month from 2015 through the summer of 2016 before seeing a significant increase in the run-up to Election Day. Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.
  • Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen referenced questions about the U.S. election process and voting integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.

Interactive Graphic: Explaining Russia’s Facebook campaign aimed at Americans

Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who published some of the first scientific analysis of social media influence campaigns during the election, said the ads show that the Russians are attempting to destabilize Western Democracy by targeting extreme identity groups.

Loren Grush writes With the landing of SpaceX’s powerful new Falcon 9, a new era of rocket reusability takes off:

This afternoon, SpaceX landed the most powerful version yet of its Falcon 9 rocket, after launching the vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The so-named Block 5 upgrade took off from the company’s launchpad at Kennedy Space Center, sending a communications satellite into orbit for Bangladesh and then touched down on one of the company’s drone ships in the Atlantic. It was the 25th successful rocket landing for SpaceX, and the 14th on one of the company’s drone ships.

It also marks the first launch of the Block 5, the vehicle that will carry humans to space for NASA. The Block 5 is meant to be SpaceX’s most reusable rocket yet, with many upgrades put in place that negate the need for extensive refurbishment between flights. In fact, the first Block 5 rockets will eventually be able to fly up to 10 times without the need for anymaintenance after landings, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during a pre-launch press conference. Ideally, once one of these rocket lands, SpaceX will turn it horizontal, attach a new upper stage and nose cone on top, turn it vertical on the launchpad, fill it with propellant, and then launch it again. Musk noted that the vehicles would need some kind of moderate maintenance after the 10-flight mark, but it’s possible that each rocket could fly up to 100 times in total.

It’ll be a while before SpaceX is that efficient, though. Since this is the first launch and landing of the Block 5, the company will still deconstruct the vehicle and do inspections to see if it can indeed fly again without refurbishment. “Ironically, we need to take it apart to confirm that it does not need to be taken apart,” Musk said. He noted that this particular rocket probably won’t fly again for a couple months.

Gillian Brockell writes of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘angel mother’ and the second ‘mama’ who outlived him:

Lincoln would later tell Herndon, “God bless my mother; all that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her.” Where Lincoln’s father was short, his mother was tall; where his father was dull and aimless, his mother was smart and motivated; where his father’s face was round, his mother’s had the sharp angles Lincoln inherited.

And as for Lincoln’s well-documented propensity for “melancholy,” he may have gotten that from her, too. Herndon says that, though she was kind and friendly, neighbors told him she was often “beclouded by a spirit of sadness.”

When Lincoln was seven, the family moved from Kentucky to a new settlement in Indiana, where the boy’s days were filled with farming chores and mischief with neighbor kids in the wilderness. Two years in, tragedy struck. His mother consumed milk poisoned unintentionally with white snakeroot; seven days later, at the age of 34, she was dead.

The following year, Thomas Lincoln went back to his home town, where an old crush was recently widowed. Within days, he and Sarah Bush Johnston were married. She arrived at the cabin with a wagon loaded with nice furniture, comfortable bedding and three children from her first marriage.

Young Abraham Lincoln — filthy, hungry and starved for affection — immediately began calling his new stepmother “Mama.” The good feelings were mutual. Bush soaped down her new stepchildren and outfitted them with her own kids’ clothes. She also insisted her husband install a floor, a proper door and windows to their home.

Lincoln later described his “joyous, happy boyhood,” largely due to his stepmom’s love. At 11, Herndon says, Lincoln “began that marvelous and rapid growth in stature for which he was so widely noted.” Despite being illiterate herself, she acquired books for him and encouraged his intellectual side, securing for him what little formal schooling he had.

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