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Destler Dodge

Researchers discover an eighth continent

Geologists claim to have identified an underwater landmass that qualifies as a new continent, according to USA Today. This discovery comes only days after uncovering the microcontinent “Mauritia.”

The 1.9 million square mile continent is about the size of greater India. Although about 94 percent of the continent is submerged underwater, it does peak to the surface to create New Zeland and New Caledonia according to the complete publishings by Geological Society of America.

Over years of reassessing data researchers finally decided it that Zealandia wasn’t a collection of a fragmented continent but its own, “coherent” continent. This realization will allow scientists to further understand the breakdown of the continental crust.

Although the classification of Zealandia as a continent may have a huge impact on the scientific community, not everyone is so easily impressed.

A geologist from Northwestern University, Christopher Scotese told National Geographic, “I appreciate the author's attempt to change the definition of [a] continent, but definitions change slowly. Consider the word ‘planet’ ... Just as Pluto is 'almost' a planet, Zealandia is 'almost' a continent.”

SpaceX launches first private rocket

SpaceX used a historic NASA launch pad to fire off their first private rocket, and it landed successfully!

According to Space, the company’s “Falcon 9 rocket launched a robotic Dragon cargo capsule." The rocket lifted off from the famous Kennedy SpaceCenter pad 39A where Apollo was launched and headed towards the International Space Station.

The rocket was originally scheduled to liftoff on Saturday but plans were scrubbed out of precaution after receiving an unexpected reading. Falcon 9’s first stage landing was a complete success, landing only miles from the Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The CEO of the California-based company, Elon Musk, posted on Instagram shortly after the landing, “Baby came back.”

As the first stage flew back the second stage continued to power Dragon into orbit. The capsule was delivered safely and deployed in solar arrays to begin its two-day journey to the space station. When Dragon arrives on Tuesday, Feb. 21 it will be retrieved by the Canadarm2 robotic arm, piloted by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet with assistance from NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will oversee the spacecraft’s approach into the orbiting lab.

If the cargo mission is successful more commercial launches are likely to come.

Trump calls media “the enemy.”

After arriving at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Trump posted on Twitter:

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN. @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People. SICK!”

Shortly after, he deleted the tweet and reposted it removing “sick” and adding ABC and NBC to the lineup. Trump has famously sparred with the media in the past but never has resorted to calling the free press “the enemy."

Journalist Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the Watergate scandal, told NYTimes, “Donald Trump is demonstrating an authoritarian attitude and inclination that shows no understanding of the role of the free press.”

Political figures’ reactions to Trump’s latest comments have been split between defense and outrage. John Mccain went on Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” and expressed, “That’s how dictatorships get started," according to The Hill.

“They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power," McCain said. "I am not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I am just saying we need to learn the lessons of history."