- 63.3%: The percentage of voters who voted for “none of these candidates” in Nevada’s Republican Primary
- 156.4 Seconds: The length of the longest Super Bowl National Anthem performance (set by Alicia Keys)
- $9,157: The average cost of a 2024 Super Bowl ticket (an all-time high)
- $233,333: The airtime cost per second for a 2024 Super Bowl commercial
- $22.4 Million: The number of renters that spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. (an all-time high)
- $23.1 Billion: The amount expected to be wagered by sports bettors during the Super Bowl
The Weirdest Thing about Nevada is not its Pronunciation
Nikki Haley’s campaign suffered another blow this week when she lost in Nevada – to no one. With the option to vote for either Haley or “none of these contenders,” the second option was the more popular choice. Nevada is a state with both a primary and a caucus, and Haley was the only contender for the primary (as Trump was the only contender for the Nevada Caucuses). To make matters worse, the Nevada delegates she won will not count toward her delegates for the Republican National Convention as only votes from Nevada’s caucus are counted nationally. Team Haley claims the state’s split primary and caucus system was “rigged for Trump.”
Losing the vote to the “none” option has happened before – most recently in none other than – wait for it – Nevada. When Nevada Democrats were faced with choosing the most qualified gubernatorial candidate in 2014, the option of “none of these candidates” superseded other candidates. For candidates, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
Despite facing the uncommon phenomenon of losing with no competitors, Haley still holds hope for her home state. The South Carolina primary, which takes place on February 24, is integral to her bid for the White House. Without momentum in the Palmetto State, the “only one option” available may not just be a Nevada thing.
California Just Can’t Find the Goldilocks Weather
Despite Hollywood’s portrayal of Californian climate being heavenly year-round, the state has some notoriously wicked weather patterns. Last year, California endured drought after drought and, with them, horrendous wildfires. This year, it is facing down “atmospheric rivers,” slow-moving air currents that can carry up to 25 times more water than the Mississippi River. These “rivers” form over the Pacific Ocean at 10,000 feet and can be 500-by-2,000 miles in size. The currents soar across the sky – only to run directly into mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada causing them to rise higher, cool down, and then inevitably condense into liquid. The result is rain or snowstorms that can sometimes equal half of the state’s annual rainfall over one week. Relentless downpours, flash flooding, infrastructure damage, saturated farm soil, landslides, and mudslides are just some of the outcomes.
While these are not a new phenomenon and were the result of the combination of several factors including El Nino, it does appear climate change is making them hit harder. Since warm water likes to be gaseous, and cool water likes to be liquid, warmer atmospheric conditions hold more water vapor and create more destructive atmospheric rivers. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that these rivers in the West will become 15% larger in size for every 1.8-degree Fahrenheit rise in global temperatures.
Resources for Parents: Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media
If you watched the Senate hearing last week featuring social media moguls, your weekly screen time probably experienced a spike. The nearly four-hour hearing featured CEOS from Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, Discord, and X discussing the impact of posts, snaps, and TikToks on teens’ online safety, including the social media links to rising rates of bullying, extortion, suicide, and eating disorders.
Parents shouldn’t look to the government for a quick social media solution. The Washington Post reports five proposed pieces of legislation were mentioned in the hearing, but none are likely to see passage. But with half of U.S. parents concerned that social media harms their kids, some actions can be taken to mitigate feelings of helplessness.
Researchers show that simple actions like setting limits can increase a teenager’s sleep, thus increasing their likelihood for mental health fortitude. Parents should also delay introducing social media as long as possible, and monitor algorithms to ensure susceptible minds aren’t being subjected to conspiracy theories, hate speech, or videos that could lead to a poor self-image.
At the end of the day, parents should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the content their kids are consuming. Honest conversations may be simplest yet most profound ways to protect teenagers in an increasingly virtual world.
What’s New with H2 Drive-Throughs
#1 on the periodic table could soon be #1 for travel. As the simplest of all atoms with only a single proton and single electron, hydrogen (H2) is a jack of all trades. While its simplest and most widespread application is keeping stars across the universe alive and well, the impressive “Little Molecule That Could” may end up changing how humanity moves about our planet.
Hydrogen fuel cells have been one of the main focuses of 21st-century technological innovation. By mixing hydrogen and air, these fuel cells produce electricity and leave water vapor as their only byproduct. Naturally, the potential of these generators releasing nothing but H2O into the atmosphere is nothing short of magic, considering a few short decades ago leaded gasoline fumes were outright poisoning entire populations. Hydrogen fuel cells offer longer driving ranges than traditional electric car batteries, and refueling is far faster too.
Hydrogen can be created from renewables or produced from natural gas, but right now, the U.S. does not have a national distribution network to implement H2 solutions at scale. The Biden Administration sought to change that with 2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which establishes seven regional hydrogen production hubs. The Inflation Reduction Act also contained measures including tax incentives for fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen infrastructure, and energy storage. In short, the government is investing in the new tech in the hopes that cells sell.
General Motors and Honda, tasting the H2 in the water, began producing fuel cells at a factory near Detroit. Honda will use these to power its new 2024 CR-V powered by H2. Meanwhile, GM is brewing a venture with Komatsu to develop fuel cell-powered mining trucks. Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW, despite lower investment, are still heavily interested in the promise of vehicles that only release H20 as a byproduct. As for consumer price, it’s difficult to determine how the nascent technology will compare to owning an EV or internal combustion engine, especially since there is little refueling infrastructure outside of California.
These developments prove, once again, that we exist at the pinnacle of human technological understanding. In the near future, we may be using the same fuel source that our sun uses to take our children to Little League. That’s pretty neat.
Senate Fails to Bridge the Gap on Border Bill
A bipartisan bill merging aid to Ukraine and Israel with border security reform has been consuming the Capitol Hill spotlight over the past few months – only to fail in the Senate after broad negotiations from both parties. On Wednesday, the Senate voted the package down after most Republican Senators plus several Democrats rejected it. The bill would have allocated more than $60 billion supporting Ukraine’s defensive operations against Russian aggression and $14 billion for Israel in its war in Gaza.
The outcome is a stark departure from Senate Republican leaders who have spent the past two years voicing solidarity for Ukraine President Zelenskyy’s fight with Russia. Not to mention the broader Senate GOP’s near unanimity in their support for Israel over Hamas – or their calls for border reform at every turn. This $118 billion national security package was negotiated tirelessly by Republicans… So, what happened?
Well, politics in the MAGA era.
Former President Trump, who wholly intends to campaign on immigration reform and who publicly stated he does not want Republicans to give President Biden the win, began disparaging the bill. In less than three days, 44 GOP Senators (who originally ordained the package) gave way to Trump’s point of view and voted against it.
The bill is still clinging to life, or parts of it are. The Senate intends to strip out any border reform provisions and vote on a $96 billion package focused on foreign aid, but Senators are shaky given uncertainty about the amendment process. Still, no progress will be made without the GOP-controlled House of Representatives signing on. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson said any package that includes border reform would be “dead on arrival.”
See you next week!