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Why it matters: A look at the scientific breakthroughs changing the world, explorations in space and in worlds beyond our own and the threats posed to us by our own planet, both out of our control and of our own making.

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta slams U.S. Gulf Coast

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a 55-year-old man was "electrocuted by a downed power line" in Louisiana as the storm caused widespread power outages Wednesday night, per AP.

What's happening: Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 hurricane earlier Wednesday before weakening to Category 1. But it was still "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain" late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

What the 2020 election means for science

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 presidential election presents two stark paths for the direction of future-focused scientific research.

Why it matters: Science is a long game, with today's breakthroughs often stemming from research carried out decades ago, often with government help. That means the person who occupies the White House over the next four years will help shape the state of technology for decades into the future.

Scientists discover reef that's taller than the Empire State Building

A plane flies over the Great Barrier Reef, at Queensland, Australia, on Oct. 10. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Scientists have discovered a 1,600-foot-tall detached coral reef at Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The shoal of coral that's taller than New York City's Empire State Building is the first detached reef to be found in more than 120 years.

Southern California wildfires grow as extreme winds fan flames

The Blue Ridge Fire behind cars on a highway overpass in Chino, California, on Tuesday, choking much of the region with smokey, unhealthy air. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Orange County, Southern California, battled into the night two growing wildfires that have burned across more than 27,000 acres and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

The state of play: The blazes have been driven by strong Santa Ana winds and forced the evacuation of some 92,000 people Monday, per Orange County Fire Authority officials. Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for some parts of the city of Irvine late Tuesday as the fires continued to grow.

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