Let's start our morning looking to the heavens: NASA's Perseverance rover journeyed 293 million miles over the past seven months to our twin red planet, Mars. It's scheduled to touch down on Mars's dusty surface at around 12:55 p.m. PST inside the Jezero Crater. It will apparently take seven minutes for the $2.4 billion rover to complete the landing process, what NASA has called "seven minutes of terror." Once it's landed (fingers crossed), Perseverance will search for signs of microbes, collect rocks in hopes of finding "biosignatures," and carry around a mini-helicopter for NASA to fly around for it's first controlled flight on another planet. The live broadcast starts at 11:15 a.m.!
Today’s the day. Trip to Mars, 99.9% complete. The most dangerous part comes last: the final seven minutes.
Watch my landing live starting at 11:15 a.m. PST / 2:15 p.m. EST / 19:15 UTC. #CountdownToMarshttps://t.co/EeLjRU9D3Z
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 2021
356-foot fishing vessel in the Port of Tacoma erupted into flames last night: Firefighters battled the blaze on the Aleutian Falcon for several hours, extinguishing the majority of the fire by 5:15 a.m. Officials were concerned about the reported 48,000 gallons diesel fuel and 10,000 pounds of ammonia onboard the ship catching on fire, which thankfully did not. There have been no reported injuries.
Malia Obama and Donald Glover join forces: The eldest Obama daughter landed a writing role on one of Glover's untitled forthcoming projects, according to Vulture. This news comes after Glover reportedly signed an eight figure overall multiyear deal with Amazon Studios. Of course, the Biden cultural era would be shaped by an Obama.
Texas is still suffering from the extreme winter weather: Half a million people are still without power in the Lone Star state. Scores of Texans were sent boil water notices after water systems across the state became paralyzed due to the loss of power. Relief is still, unbelievably, days away as some resort to burning furniture in order to stay warm and try to brace themselves for yet another winter storm.
And Senator Ted Cruz? He's in Cancún! Though his office has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment, AP confirmed that images of the wormy senator traveling to warmer climates were indeed taken while Texas shivered in the cold. He's pathetic!
Not the turtles! Volunteers in Texas are rescuing thousands of "cold-stunned" turtles as the region is hit with a historic winter storm over this past week. Sea Turtle, Inc., the organization behind the rescue effort, had to get creative with housing, keeping these gentle sea creatures warm by placing them in plastic kiddie pools, tarps, and boxes.
Point Roberts residents: Will no longer be required to show a negative COVID-19 test negative when traveling to Canada "for essential services," says Daddy Inslee.
Seattle Police Department release body cam footage from Tuesday's shooting: Here we are again. Two nights ago, SPD shot and killed a man in crisis near the waterfront on Alaskan Way. The victim wielded a knife and threatened to cut his own throat. SPD claims that Port of Seattle Police tried to use a less-lethal tool but the device was "ineffective"—though watching the footage, it's unclear what tool was used. With knife in hand, the victim approached a SPD police officer asking him to "do it" and "please kill me" before the officer shoots and kills him. You can watch the disturbing video here, but be warned, it's graphic.
Facebook blocks Australian users from sharing or viewing news content on its platform, causing an uproar: All major and local news outlets were blocked from the social media site Thursday morning. The drastic move is in response to a proposed law that would "make tech giants pay for news content on their platforms." While behemoths like Facebook and Google claim that it unfairly penalizes them, lawmakers believing the proposed bill would level the playing field for smaller publishers.
OK, ugh, did anyone else see the Cruella de Vil origin story trailer? Others have rightly pointed out that Disney's Cruella starring Emma Stone as the eponymous character feels a little Joker-meets-girlboss. My first thought is that Stone's accent reminds me Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen which isn't a compliment!
Charges came down for Seattle firefighter at the center of Sawant email threat case: Andrew Finseth has been charged with second degree identity theft and two counts of misdemeanor cyberstalking, says CHS Blog. Finseth was arrested on Friday for allegedly using another firefighter's email to send threatening emails to Councilmember Sawant. He has yet to enter a plea in the case.
Another 861,000 Americans applied for unemployment last week: A reflection of our pandemic-afflicted job market, this number is 100,000 claims more than economists predicted and has not meaningful improved in months. On top of that, 516,299 Americans filed claims through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, bringing total first-time claims to 1.4 million last week. Continued jobless claims stood at 4.5 million.
Seattle will pay $10,000 in encampment removal case: To Ada Yeager, who sued the city in federal court in December over its plan to remove her from her tent in Cal Anderson where she had been living since last June. Her lawsuit argued that "giving Yeager and others 48-hours notice to remove their belongings from the park violated their civil rights through 'warrantless seizure and destruction of personal property,' among other claims." Sydney Brownstone has more on the case over at the Seattle Times.
And now for the weather: More rain!
Rain is approaching the coast this morning with rain at times through today. A rain/snow mix is possible this morning for areas of the Hood Canal and Whatcom County with no snow accumulation expected. Mountain snow through tonight. #WAwx pic.twitter.com/eYP9Jj4ERj
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) February 18, 2021
Prince Philip is in the hospital: The 99 year old was admitted as a "precautionary measure" after not feeling well. Before you ask, it's probably not COVID.
CNN's Chris Cuomo can't cover his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, anymore: Though the governor appeared on his brother's TV show early on in the pandemic, a CNN spokesperson confirmed that the Cuomo-on-Cuomo coverage ban is back in place.
That being said, Gov. Cuomo isn't doing so hot right now: Andy and his coronavirus task force is currently under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office over his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths. No allegation of wrongdoing has been made yet, but the feds are looking into his delaying of data regarding COVID-19 long-term care facility deaths. This is on top of an effort in the New York state Assembly to repeal Cuomo's emergency pandemic powers. Do the #Resistance mommies think he's still competent and sexy?
I could not stop laughing at this headline: "Man, 32, offered Covid jab because NHS thought he was 6cm tall giving him BMI of 28,000."
OneBusAway gets an iOS update that's ready for beta testing: This open source software has saved my butt! You can try out the beta version of the app using Apple's TestFlight, which you can download from the App Store on your iPhone. For an explainer on what's new, OneBusAway developer Aaron Brethorst has a blog post here.
For your listening pleasure: "Not About You (Extended Mix)" by Honey Dijon featuring Hadiya George.