• U.S.
    Yahoo Life

    New COVID-19 hot spots emerge across the U.S.: Here's what you need to know

    Health experts urge caution if you live in one of the areas with rising cases and awareness that cases could still go up in areas currently seeing declines.

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  • Entertainment
    The Daily Beast

    Space Experts: Netflix’s ‘Space Force’ Is Very, Very Dumb

    The U.S. Space Force, President Donald Trump’s new military command for orbital warfare, literally began as a joke.“Maybe we need a new force— we’ll call it the ‘Space Force,’” Trump mused at a campaign rally in San Diego in February 2018. “I was not really serious. And then I said, what a great idea. Maybe we’ll have to do that.” Billions of dollars later, Space Force became a real, and really pointless, thing. An entirely redundant new bureaucracy with no clear sense of purpose and a logo that the Pentagon apparently copied from Star Trek.So many space experts were excited when, in early 2019, Netflix announced a new Space Force comedy series, produced by The Office creator Greg Daniels and starring Steve Carell, who played The Office’s bumbling boss Michael Scott. At last, someone would capture the absurdity of the real-life orbital military service. “Space! Comedy! Michael Scott in uniform! What’s not to like?” quipped Seth Shostak, an astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute.Now that Space Force’s first season has dropped on Netflix, what do Shostak and other scientists, space-policy experts and former military space-operators think of the show?Meh seems to be the consensus. U.S. Space Force begs for satirical treatment. But maybe not this satirical treatment. “Steve Carell deserves better, and so does the public,” Shostak told The Daily Beast. Steve Carell’s New Netflix Series ‘Space Force’ Is Shockingly Bad The show, while funny and even heartwarming at times, lacks the courage of its convictions. “I think it would have been better if they went full-on dark-comedy satire,” Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force space operator who is now an expert at the Secure World Foundation in Colorado, told The Daily Beast.Early in the pilot episode, it might seem like “full-on dark-comedy satire” actually is Daniels’ intent with Space Force. One of the very first jokes involves the secretary of defense, played by Dan Bakkedahl of Veep fame, explaining the origins of the show’s version of Space Force.The show’s president, an unnamed Trump, is worried about his Twitter account. What if someone takes down the satellite carrying his broadband internet? America needs a space force to protect the satellites… and the president’s tweets.The Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Carrell’s just-promoted Gen. Mark Naird, snicker. But the defense secretary is serious—and he taps Naird to lead the new force. A year later Naird is at his secret base in Colorado, juggling his chaotic family life, a staff of cranky scientists, skeptical lawmakers and a resident Russian “observer,” all while struggling to take seriously his new role commanding a decidedly unserious enterprise. Naird’s solution: double down on new space weapons, and hope they don’t blow up on launch.“Sadly, there actually is something darkly funny about the president deciding on this macho name for a set of missions that are primarily about keeping satellites in good working order and managing traffic,” Laura Grego, a space expert with the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Daily Beast. “And how creating a Space Force bureaucracy, building a base, giving the general a seat on the Joint Chiefs creates pressure to go all-out on weapons, instead,” Grego added. “Weapons which are counterproductive and make space and Earth less safe, by the way. There’s a lot you can do with that, but they barely do!”After its opening scenes, Space Force veers away from satire and toward broad comedy. The first episode only briefly probes the money-gobbling stupidity of the space-military-industrial-political complex. “The joke that landed hardest for me was the one about how much a failed weapon cost,” Grego said. That bit is a highlight of the pilot episode. An experimental anti-satellite rocket explodes on the launch pad. Naird is aghast. How much money just went up in flames? Naird asks a U.S. Army liaison officer played by Roy Wood, Jr. “Four,” the officer replies. “Million?” Naird asks. “Four middle schools,” the officer says.But for much of its first episode, Space Force is mostly concerned with Naird’s busybody routine and the usual workplace infighting, backstabbing and reluctant friends-making that you can find in many other, sharper shows (The Office, for one). The longest scene in the episode is Naird soothing himself with a dance routine set to The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.”You never see that kind of sympathetic attention to character in, say, Veep, the HBO presidential satire that ended last year. Veep was too busy skewering national politics and its vicious practitioners to make you fall in love with any of the main characters. But Space Force is no Veep, Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for the U.K. Ministry of Defense, told The Daily Beast. Veep is dense satire that gets only darker on rewatch. Space Force, by contrast, “may suffer from being over-analyzed,” Pope said.After giving up on the idea of Space Force as biting satire, the experts said they generally enjoyed the show as a vehicle for Carell. “Carell and the producers had the sense to distill it down to something more like a portrait of a late-career executive who may or may not owe his job to the Peter Principle and who’s dealing with a stack of family and professional crises,” Roush said. “Under the bluster, he turns out to have an intriguing human side.”“I think the show is supposed to be more like M*A*S*H, with a thin layer of slapstick that makes the pathos endurable,” Wade Roush, a space historian, told The Daily Beast.P.W. Singer, an analyst at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the author of the technothriller Burn-In, said he enjoyed seeing so many funny actors in Space Force, even if Space Force isn’t the kind of funny that says anything meaningful about America in 2020. “So there is the wonderful irony that much like the real Space Force, it has good people in it, but is not the right framework for them and thus not the best use of their time.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • Celebrity

    ICYMI: Scott Disick's Eventful Week, Jessica Simpson's Jaw-Dropping Selfie and More

    This week, Scott Disick celebrated his birthday--and split from Sofia Richie. Plus, Ayesha Curry & Jessica Simpson kicked off 2020's hot girl summer. Watch on below for all the moments you missed.

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  • Sports
    The Guardian

    'People are going to go hungry': pandemic effects could leave 54m Americans without food

    Demand for aid at food banks has soared since coronavirus has forced the economy to close and resulted in millions out of workA record number of Americans face hunger this year as the catastrophic economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic looks set to leave tens of millions of people unable to buy enough food to feed their families.Nationwide, the demand for aid at food banks and pantries has soared since the virus forced the economy to be shutdown, resulting in more than 40m new unemployment benefit claims, according to the latest figures.As a result, an estimated one in four children, the equivalent of 18 million minors, could need food aid this year – a 63% increase compared to 2018.Overall, about 54 million people across the US could go hungry without help from food banks, food stamps and other aid, according to an analysis by Feeding America, the national food bank network. hunger mapAmerica’s food insecurity crisis was dire even before the Covid-19 pandemic, when at least 37 million people lived in households without adequate resources to guarantee consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.Food insecurity varies vastly from state to state, and county to county, and had only recently fallen to pre-Great Recession levels. The current crisis will almost certainly reverse hard-fought for improvements, and exacerbate existing inequalities. It’s the deep south where the economic impact and food insecurity will probably penetrate deepest: more than 11 million people in the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee are projected to suffer food insecurity in 2020.The projections assume a national annual unemployment rate of 11.5% – 7.6 percentage points higher than 2018 – and a national annual poverty rate of 16.6% – 4.8 points higher than 2018.In Mississippi, proportionately the worst-affected state before and since the pandemic, almost three-quarters of a million people could need food aid this year, including one in every three children. Further west, tourist mecca Las Vegas is bracing itself for tough times as even the casinos, hotels and restaurants which survive the shutdown will take months to fully reopen.“We were on the precipice of being the first food bank to meet the meal gap but we just don’t have the food sources to meet this sudden, dramatic increase. We have to completely retool our organization to accommodate this,” said Larry Scott, chief operating officer of the Three Square food bank in the city.Here, about 65% more food aid will be needed to stop people from going hungry: one of the biggest jumps in the country. “People are going to go hungry, that’s the truth,” said Scott.The situation looks dire statewide: one in three children and one in five adults in Nevada are projected to suffer from food insecurity this year – a rise of almost 60% since 2018. Why? The Nevada jobless figure is higher than any state ever, including during the Great Depression, signaling an extraordinary turnabout in fortune after unemployment hit an all-time-low in February.“This pandemic continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors nationwide, putting millions of additional people at risk of hunger while continuing to hurt people already familiar with hardship,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.On Thursday in Tucson, Arizona, 1,400 or so cars lined up at a mobile distribution point, which was open for three hours, for grocery boxes of canned fruits, pinto beans, pasta, milk, fresh vegetables, frozen meat and bread, to help make ends meet for a month. Historically, there was a shortfall of 34m meals every year in the five counties served by the Community Food Bank of southern Arizona. Currently, the demand remains sky high – double pre-pandemic levels, and statewide 17% of the workforce have claimed unemployment since the start of the crisis.“We were getting darn close to closing the meal gap before the crisis,” said Michael McDonald, the CEO. “But if demand continues at this rate for the rest of the year or into next year, we’re going to fall way short. I don’t see us being able to keep up without a longer-term commitment from the federal government.”One in three children in Arizona could go hungry this year without food aid. Food banks aren’t in it alone.Record numbers of people have applied for food stamps, and advocates are pushing for the bump in how much people receive to be included in the next federal relief package, pointing to individual and wider economic benefits. Research shows that every $1bn spent on food stamps results in $1.54bn being added to gross domestic product.In addition, the US department of agriculture (USDA)’s $3bn coronavirus Farmers to Families Food Box programme has started delivering truckloads of surplus perishable produce like milk, meat and vegetables to food banks and pantries. But it’s unclear how long this and other federal aid will last, which is causing advocates sleepless nights.“Everything feels so unpredictable, I’ve literally no idea what’s going to happen in three months, and we got the short end of the stick from the USDA,” said Christina Maxwell, director of programs at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In this region, one in six is expected to suffer food insecurity in 2020 – a 50% rise due to Covid-19, with predominantly black and brown urban areas hardest hit. Only a tiny fraction of the USDA contracts went to distributors in New England.As states start to reopen for business, economic recovery is expected to be painfully slow especially if further outbreaks are not adequately contained, which could trigger a full-blown second wave of the pandemic. Underemployment could last for years, which means millions of Americans are likely to need help with food, utilities and rent in the medium and long term.Los Angeles county, where almost half the state of California’s Covid-19 cases have been confirmed, is projected to have 1.68 million food insecure people this year – the highest number in the country. It’s the most populous county in the US, with 10 million residents, where unemployment has risen to 20.3% – five percentage points higher than the state average – and food stamp applications have almost tripled compared with last year. “If the numbers stay like this, no way food banks can cope, it’s beyond our capabilities, a lot will depend on how long federal help lasts,” said Michael Flood, president of the Los Angeles Food Bank, which has distributed 80% more groceries since the pandemic began. Susan King, president of Feeding Northeast Florida, agrees: “It’s when the dust settles that I’m most worried about, when the federal and state help is over but the line of people waiting for food is still long.”King added: “This is a marathon, we can’t sugarcoat how scary it is; it absolutely keeps me up at night.”

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