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Vox Sentences: American carnage

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At least 58 people in Las Vegas are dead after the nation's deadliest mass shooting in recent history; tensions are high in Spain after Catalonia votes to secede; three US scientists win the Nobel Prize for their discoveries on circadian rhythms.

America sets a bloody new record

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  • At least 58 people died and more than 500 were injured after a gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas country music festival Sunday night in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent history. [Vox / Aja Romano, Libby Nelson, Alex Abad-Santos, and German Lopez]
  • The gunman has been identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Nevada. So far, police have not established a motive for the shooting; family members said Paddock was a high-stakes gambler who regularly gambled tens of thousands. [Washington Post / William Wan, Sandhya Somashekhar, Aaron C. Davis, and Barbara Liston]
  • We are also starting to learn more about Paddock’s victims, who included a surgeon from Tennessee, a special education teacher from California, and a University of Nevada Las Vegas student. [Las Vegas Journal Review]
  • Paddock fired at concertgoers from his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, 32 floors above the ground. It’s not yet known what type of weapon he used, though there has been one report that he had at least one automatic weapon and many more semiautomatic ones. [WSJ / Joe Palazzolo and Zusha Elinson]
  • This is far from the first mass shooting this year; as a matter of fact, three people were killed in a separate shooting in Kansas on Sunday as well. Since 2013, there have been 1,516 mass shootings in America, which have claimed the lives of more than 1,700 people. [The Guardian]
  • There’s a proliferation of gun homicides in America, and a proliferation of guns. With about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, America has almost half of the world’s civilian-owned guns. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • What’s more, researchers have found a link between states that have more guns and higher rates of gun deaths. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Though authorities have so far hesitated to call the Las Vegas shooting “domestic terrorism,” it underscores the fact that statistically, acts of mass violence in the United States tend to be carried out by white American men. [Vox / Jennifer Williams]
  • In the wake of the shooting, there has been an outpouring of community support and a steady stream of volunteers providing basic items and donating blood to help victims. [Nevada Independent / Jackie Valley]

Catalonia votes to break up with Spain

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  • The political situation in Spain erupted this weekend, as people in the region of Catalonia overwhelmingly voted to leave the country and form an autonomous government. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • Monday, regional president Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia would start moving toward making secession a reality. He called on the European Union to recognize Catalonia and asked Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to take part in talks. [The Guardian / Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen]
  • About 2.2 million people voted in Sunday’s referendum, and of those who voted, about 90 percent favored Catalan independence, according to local officials. [BBC]
  • However, fewer than 50 percent of the region’s residents voted in the referendum, which Spanish officials are already using to question its legitimacy. [Washington Post / William Booth]
  • Spain’s constitutional court has already declared that the referendum be suspended, and under Spanish law, Madrid can take control of Catalonia if it tries to proceed with independence. [NYT / Raphael Minder]
  • The fact that the vote happened at all kicked off a spate of violence, as Spanish police clashed with Catalan voters. At least 337 people were injured, and videos went viral of riot police beating people and firing rubber bullets. [NYT / Steven Erlanger]
  • It’s highly unlikely that Rajoy will agree to succession, but the vote could kick off negotiations for increased Catalan autonomy. The images of violence on Sunday could give a boost to the separatists. [Politico EU / Diego Torres]

A tale of fruit flies and biological clocks

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  • Three American scientists are sharing the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discoveries on circadian rhythms — the technical term for an internal clock. [Vox / Julia Belluz]
  • Professors Jeffrey C. Hall of the University of Maine, Michael Rosbash of Brandeis University, and Michael W. Young of Rockefeller University were all announced as Nobel laureates today for their research into circadian rhythms. [The Nobel Prize]
  • Using fruit flies as their primary research subjects, the three researchers found the so-called “period gene,” which essentially governed when organisms woke up and went to sleep, following a typical 24-hour day and night pattern. [NYT / Gina Kolata]
  • Hall, Rosbash, and Young’s research showed the period gene formulated a protein that built up in the cells of animals and plants alike during the night and gradually fell off during the day. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • The gene doesn't just determine when we get up and go to bed; it's also responsible for how our bodies regulate blood pressure, body temperature, and responsiveness. [Stat / Sharon Begley]
  • This discovery has had big implications for health and wellness. It also means that night owls who stay up well past the rest of us have gone to bed aren’t just doing this because they want to; their biological clock is actually different. [Vox / Brian Resnick]


  • Students in a Queens high school radio club are helping Puerto Rico residents still without cell service or electricity connect with their loved ones. [DNAInfo / Katie Honan]
  • Legendary rock star Tom Petty has reportedly been hospitalized after suffering a cardiac arrest. [Rolling Stone / Kory Grow and Andy Greene]
  • New research shows you can’t always trust lotions that promise to be fragrance-free — a good portion of them actually contain traces of fragrances, which can cause skin allergies. [NPR / Patti Neighmond]
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed American diplomats have a couple of lines of communications open with North Korea, pushing back on the idea that there’s a blackout between the two countries. [Washington Post / Emily Rauhala]
  • The push for electric cars is growing from carmakers themselves; GM and Ford just announced new electric models will be coming, and GM said it plans to eventually stop producing gas and diesel engines altogether. [WSJ / Mike Colias]


Watch this: Why Puerto Rico will be without power for months

The island was ill-prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. [YouTube / Liz Scheltens, Carlos Waters, Mac Schneider and Aleli May Vuelta]

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