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Nick Ut / AP

A new theory of how the Moon was formed, published in Scientific American:

Earth collided with another planet, vaporizing the outer layers and forming a continuous body of material called a synestia.This likely happened several times in Earth's history, but in one case, as it condensed, the Moon was formed.Why it matters, per author Simon Lock: "The discovery of synestias is a game changer for our understanding of how the Earth formed. It is likely that several times during formation, the body that would become the Earth was transformed into an extended, substantially vaporized body. This dictates how the core of the Earth formed, how we acquired our ocean and atmosphere, and maybe how our planetary companion, the Moon, came into being."

Current theory: A Mars-sized planet called Theia slowly bumped up against Earth, knocking off material that formed into a disk of molten rock around our planet. But more recently, researchers found that the speed of rotation for the Earth and Moon could have been much greater when they first formed and scientists began to study how else the Moon may have been created. Lock says synestias come in many shapes and sizes and could change our understanding of how planet formation beyond our solar system.

Go deeper

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).

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