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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • 1-13

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago Tribune Section 1 Wednesday, December 20, 2017 13 Vegas victim donations stretched thin People visit a makeshift memorial for victims of the Vegas mass shooting. Millions of dollars have been raised in response. JOHN LOCHERAP 'Compassion number of people a challenge By David Montero Los Angeles Times LAS VEGAS She's jumpy, sitting outside the Starbucks on a bright morning in an upscale Las Vegas neighborhood. People walk by, and she watches most of them closely. A helicopter flying toward the Las Vegas Strip causes her to jerk her head upward.

She stops talking. "Helicopters are a trigger" Christine Caria said. The 49-year-old Las Vegas resident said she is living with post-traumatic stress disorder, torn leg ligaments and a wrenched back after being trampled amid the mass shooting on Oct 1. Stephen Paddock, stationed on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, fired on an open-air concert attended by about 22,000 people that night, killing 58 and injuring hundreds of others. Caria is one of thousands who likely won't be eligible for funds collected by the Las Vegas Victims Fund.

Scott Nielsen, chairman of the Las Vegas Victims Fund Committee, said the size of the victim pool, coupled with the amount raised, about $16 million, will make it difficult for everyone to get what is needed. "When we had our town hall meetings and listened to the survivors, they told us very touching stories and heartfelt stories about not being able to go back to what they were doing before," Nielsen said. "It's cost them jobs, their apartments, relationships, and the problem is trying to financially help those people because there are so many of them." After past tragedies, such as the 2012 movie theater massacre in Aurora, the process of distributing monetary gifts to victims has been open to criticism. The Las Vegas shooting presents a unique problem: a massive victim pool with contributions coming in far below donations made for attacks such as those in Boston and Orlando, Fla The Las Vegas Victims Fund Committee on Friday was expected to finalize the criteria for those who will By comparison, the One Orlando fund did allow people who were in the nightclub to make a claim even if they didn't suffer a physical injury requiring treatment However, that category was the lowest priority behind those who died, were severely injured or required hospitalization. Last year's shooting in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and nearly 60 injured, resulted in $27 million in cash disbursements.

More than $17 million was distributed to families of those who died. Those who spent time in a hospital were given $65,000 to $300,000. Of the people in the lowest category those who were present at the nightclub but weren't hospitalized 186 each got $25,000. The fund for the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 eclipsed $80 million. In that blast, three people were killed and hundreds were injured, including many who lost limbs.

The Arrowhead United Way's fund for the San Bernardino, Calif, shooting that left 14 dead and 24 injured had $2.4 million to distribute to vic victims matter, and everyone deserves some help." Ken Feinberg, an expert on disaster funds and a consultant to the Las Vegas fund, said that's not possible. "PTSD is a very legitimate injury, but there's not enough money," said Feinberg, who oversaw fund disbursement after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and the Boston Marathon bombing. "You're talking about thousands of people," he said. "Do you know how long it would take to process claims where the allegation is PTSD? It would tie up the fund in knots in terms of speed and efficiency." Under the current protocols, the highest level of payment would go to death claims, victims who suffered permanent brain damage or paralysis and those who require continuous home medical assistance. The second category would be those who were admitted to a hospital within the first 48 hours and spent more than one night in a hospital from Oct 1 to Jan.

31, 2018. tims of the 2015 attack. In San Bernardino, families of those who died were eligible for about $140,000 and the 24 injured were eligible for $5,000 plus $1,000 for each night spent in the hospital. For the 37 present during the shooting, each was eligible for $2,993. Several fundraising experts said the Las Vegas collection may trail other donation efforts for several reasons, including "compassion fatigue," the ongoing mystery surrounding the shooter's motive and the timing of the massacre.

Sandy Rees, who has 20 years of experience fund-raising and runs Get Fully Funded from its headquarters in Tennessee, said that in recent months, people also gave money to help victims of the hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. There also were fires that swept through Northern California and a mass shooting at a church in Texas. "Compassion fatigue is a real thing. There have been so many things that happened this year," Rees said. "But it does get overwhelming, and I think people start Faraway star system yields hot discovery Navy pilot describes UFO he snw 4nnt from tfip F.nrtlV qualify for cash disbursements with critics asking for a delay to see whether more money can be raised to get more victims covered.

Nielsen noted that a separate fund formed largely by the casino industry the Vegas Strong Fund has about $13 million in donations, and a portion of that amount eventually will end up in the Las Vegas Victims Fund. Jennifer Holub, a 38-year-old from Utah who said she was at the concert, said she suffers from severe PTSD. Her physical injuries include a dislocated shoulder, rib and thumb, and she is going to a chiropractor. Her trauma therapist is an hour's drive away and, as a small business owner, those sessions aren't covered by insurance. She also said more money needs to be raised to help everyone without getting into "a competition of injuries." "We all have different relationships, different support systems, different insurance coverages," she said.

"You can say you can see someone's gunshot wound, but you can't see my nightmares. All Las Vegas The Pentagon acknowledged its most significant questions the nature of the object and what it was doing have remained unanswered. Fravor says he is certain about one thing: "It was a real object, it exists and I saw it," he said in a phone interview Monday, as he described the sighting, on Nov. 14, 2004. Asked what he believes it was, 13 years later, he was unequivocal.

"Something not from the Earth," he said. Fravor was the commanding officer of the A-41 Black Aces, a squadron of FA-18 Hornet fighter planes doing an exercise some 60 to 100 miles off the coast between San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, he said. An order came in for him to suspend the exercise and do some "real-world tasking," about 60 miles west of their location, Fravor said. He said he was told by the command that there were some unidentified flying objects descending from 80,000 feet to to tune out" She also said that with 22,000 concertgoers, 58 dead and more than 500 wounded, the numbers in Las Vegas obscure the individual tragedies. Donors, she said, respond to personal stories.

"Fundraising is an emotional act We do it with our heart and reinforce it with our head. You have to tell a story about one person or one family and why that matters," Rees said. "You talk about large numbers in need, people are more likely to glaze over and tune out." Larry Johnson, a Boise, Idaho-based fundraising consultant who runs the Eight Principles, said he thinks the Las Vegas shooting remains shrouded in mystery and has allowed conspiracy theories to bloom something that makes giving less attractive to donors. "Yes, it's clear people died and were injured, but there is not clarity of resolution," Johnson said. "The hurricane happens, and you see rebuilding.

In Vegas, there is a sense of still waiting." machine-learning computer program. It focuses on weak planetary signals so feeble and numerous it would take humans ages to examine. While machine learning has been used before in the search for planets beyond our solar system, it's believed to be the first time an artificial neural network like this has been used to find a new world. "This is a really exciting discovery, and we consider it to be a successful proof of concept to be using neural networks to identify planets, even in challenging situations where the signals are very weak," said Christopher Shallue, a senior software engineer at Google. Shallue teamed up with astronomer Andrew Van-derburg of the University of Texas at Austin to develop the program.

They essentially trained a computer to identify exoplanets based on Kepler's observations in changing stellar brightness the subtle, fleeting dip in a star's brightness when a planet passes in front of it. The two used a technique similar to what had been used by others to enable machines to distinguish between pictures of cats and dogs. Besides identifying Kep-ler-90i, the machine-learning program also confirmed an exoplanet missed by astronomers in yet another solar system: Kepler-80g, the sixth planet in that particular solar system. In all, more than 3,560 exoplanets have been confirmed two-thirds of them spotted by the 2009-launched Kepler with another approximately 4,500 awaiting verification. SAUL LOEBGETTY-AFP recently that it monitors and investigates UFO activity.

Machine observes 8th planet closely orbiting its sun By Marcia Dunn Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla A record-tying eighth planet has been found in one faraway solar system, matching our own in number. Machines, not humans, made the discovery. NASA joined with Google last week to announce the finding. This eighth planet orbits the star known as Kep-ler-90. Like Earth, this new planet, Kepler-90i, is the third rock from its sun.

But it's much closer to its sun orbiting in just 14 days and therefore a scorching 800 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface. All eight planets are scrunched up around this star, orbiting closer than Earth does to our sun. This is the only eight-planet solar system found like ours so far tying for the most planets observed around a single star. Our solar system had nine planets until Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. Some astronomers, however, suspect there could be a large ninth planet out there: an elusive Planet the size of Neptune but much farther out The Kepler-90 system also could have a ninth planet or more, according to the researchers.

It is 2,545 light-years away; a light-year is 5.8 trillion miles. Google used data collected by NASA's keen planet hunter, the Kepler Space Telescope, to develop the By Eli Rosenberg The Washington Post For most of his 18-year career as a U.S. Navy pilot, Cmdr. David Fravor said his mother-in-law used to ask him a question: had he seen a UFO? For 15 years, the answer was no. But one clear afternoon off the coast of California in 2004, he says, that changed.

Fravor, the commanding officer of a Navy squadron at the time, said he saw a flying object about the size of his plane that looked like a Tic-Tac after a break in a routine training mission. The object moved rapidly and unlike any other thing he had ever seen in the air. He has not forgotten. Fravor's story emerged this week after the Pentagon publicly acknowledged for the first time the existence of a recent program dedicated to studying unidentified flying objects. The funding for what was known as the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ran from 2007 to 2012.

But officials familiar with it said some of its efforts have continued. And the news of its existence marks one of the significant disclosures about government research into flying objects, and the so-far-unproven possibility of extraterrestrial aircraft, since Project Blue Book, a lengthy Air Force study of thousands of UFOs, was shut down in 1969. The encounter Fravor described was analyzed by the recent Defense Department program, he said, but that had taken off toward it began to search for it, tracking it for about a minute and a half and shooting a video, Fravor said. But Navy superiors didn't seem that interested in the event, so those like Fravor who had seen it, took a ribbing and "Men in Black" jokes from their colleagues, and didn't talk about it much after, Fravor said. Fravor, who retired from the Navy in 2006 later shared the story with his wife and children, and some others who'd ask.

But nothing really came of it until 2009 when a government official he declined to name contacted him while doing "an unofficial investigation." Fravor declined to give more details about the official. He said he's been inundated with phone calls since his story was first told on Saturday. Still, the "Men in Black" jokes continue. "There is no mercy in my family or my friends," he said. 20,000 feet and disappearing; he said officials told him that they had been tracking a couple dozen of these objects for a few weeks.

When they arrived closer to the point, they saw the object, flying around a patch of white-water in the ocean beneath. "A White Tic-Tac, about the same size as a Hornet, 40-feet long with no wings," Fravor described. "Just hanging close to the water." The object created no rotor wash the visible air turbulence left by the blades of a helicopter he said, and began to mirror the pilots as they pursued it, before it vanished. "As I get closer, as my nose is starting to pull back up, it accelerates and it's gone," he said. 'Taster than I'd ever seen anything in my life.

We turn around, say let's go see what's in the water and there's nothing. Just blue water." Fravor's plane headed back to USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, but a separate crew.

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