The bar is on the floor: Huge congrats to the state and the Washington State Patrol for clearing its backlog of 10,000 sexual assault kits, some of which were decades old. Those kits were just sitting untested and gathering dust until new laws, new funding, and actual effort got officials off their asses. According to Attorney General Bob Ferguson, "nearly 99% of the kits have been tested, and the rest are currently being tested." Not only that, Ferguson said, but "at least 20 sexual assault cases had been solved as a result and more are expected." Crazy how that works. A huge congrats to everybody for doing their jobs.

US war machine keeps chugging: The US carried out airstrikes against Iran in Syria. The strikes targeted "Iranian-backed militant groups believed to be responsible for more than a dozen rocket and drone attacks on American troops in Iraq and Syria." The strikes—which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called "self-defense strikes"—hit two facilities in eastern Syria. President Joe Biden directed the strikes. 

Got blood? Please give it away. Washington is desperate for your life juice. Blood banks across the state are running dangerously low on the stuff. Vampires are not to blame. No, the real culprit is indifference. If you consider yourself a good person, then you should sign up to donate your blood. It'll save someone's life, and it takes very little effort on your part. Plus, you get free snacks.

Relish in the chill: Fall snapped into place just in time. Put your hot apple cider on the stove and watch the last leaves fall away from the tree outside your window. Don a thick, scratchy scarf, too, while you're at it. 

Israel raids continue: For the second day in a row, Israel conducted a "limited ground raid" into Gaza in preparation for a "long" ground invasion to root out and destroy Hamas, Israeli officials said. During this ground raid, Israel's troops, fighter jets, and drones targeted "anti-tank missile launch sites and command and control centers," the Israel Defense Forces reported. So far, Palestinian health officials estimate that more than 7,000 Gazan people have been killed by Israel's retaliation to Hamas's killings on Oct 7. A ground invasion will increase civilian death. 

Sell-outs: The Tacoma ferry in the Washington state fleet of ferries went red on the bow and stern this fall. Why? A big, fat Coca-Cola ad. The people are not happy about this. So unhappy, in fact, that the ferries won't be buying exterior ads again any time soon, according to a spokesman. 

Missing fisherman found: One of two fisherman who went missing on Oct 12 was found alive. The two departed from Westport in Grays Harbor County on a 43-foot vessel. They were supposed to return Oct 15. No such luck. On Thursday, passersby found one of the two fisherman in a life raft about 70 miles northwest of Cape Flattery. He was alone on the raft for 13 days and caught salmon to survive. I would be so dead in any sort of survival situation like this. It really makes you think, huh. 

The Postman is here to stay: The Central District store closed after a shooting last week shattered its windows. The shooting came almost exactly a year after the fatal shooting that killed the store's co-founder, D’Vonne Pickett Jr. Now, after five days of closure, the Postman indicated it will reopen and is here to stay

Don't forget to get your jabs: Since the release of the newly updated COVID-19 vaccine—which is better prepared against new variants—only 7% of US adults and 2% of children have gotten a shot. According to the Associated Press, "nearly 40% of adults said they probably or definitely will not get the shot" and "a similar percentage of parents said they did not plan to vaccinate their children." 

Bodied by a bear: A Colorado hotel security guard got into it with a bear. He sustained scratches. The bear, meanwhile, was euthanized. 

Day 3 of Maine shooting manhunt: More than 36 hours after a gunman killed 18 people and injured 13 others, police are still looking for the shooter, Robert R. Card Jr. They're now searching a vast, largely rural area of southern Maine. Most businesses and schools in Lewiston, the town the shooting occurred in, remain closed. 

More on the shooter: According to the gunman's family, his mental health rapidly deteriorated this year. The gunman, a 40-year-old firearm instructor and Army Reserve member, started hearing voices when he was fitted for high-power hearing aids a couple months ago, his sister-in-law said. Family members reportedly reached out to the police and the Army Reserve base when his mental state turned increasingly paranoid and manic. Unit commanders allegedly sent him to receive psychiatric treatment and he spent two weeks in inpatient psychiatric treatment. The gun he allegedly used to kill 18 people was legally purchased this year. 

The World Series starts tonight: The Texas Rangers play the Arizona Diamondbacks. George W. Bush will throw out the opening pitch. I guess they don't do background checks about whether first-pitch-throwers have perpetuated any sort of war crimes in their past?

Somebody tell Mudede about this: A Longview, Washington man is accused of trying to hire a prostitute for himself and his horse. He "allegedly offered to pay $440 to a person to travel to Longview to touch him and his miniature horse sexually." He told the woman that the "last two gals I asked said it was noticeably outside their comfort zone."

Avoid all whiskey ghosts: Halloween is near. Please protect yourself against ghost peer pressure. It could be deadly.

Artists fight back against AI: A new tool called "Nightshade" allows artists to add invisible changes to the pixels in their digital art that can break artificial intelligence models. AI companies have been using artists' work without their permission to train AI models to generate AI images. Nightshade confuses these AIs and breaks them with chaos. As the MIT Technology review writes, an AI encountering Nightshade makes "dogs become cats, cars become cows, and so forth." The team behind Nightshade plans to make the tool "open source," so it's free and entirely customizable. As the creator said, "The more people use it and make their own versions of it, the more powerful the tool becomes."

A song podcast for your Friday: I recently discovered the podcast "Heavyweight," and I love it. I would describe the premise as journalism used to solve interpersonal dramas and mysteries. Mostly, it's just good, sweet storytelling. I've only listened to a handful of episodes so far, so my recommendations are limited. However, here is one episode that made me tear up. Here is one episode that made me laugh