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Vox Sentences: Warm water, frozen land

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A “bomb cylone” causes destructive flooding in Middle America; a milestone win for women in mathematics.

After the storm comes the flood

A freight train sits idle in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Nebraska on March 17, 2019. Nati Harnik/AP
  • Communities in Middle America are grappling with record flood levels after a “bomb cyclone” hit last week and killed at least three people. A combination of wind, rain, and snow has left large areas across the country flooded as runoff rushes over non-absorbent frozen ground. [Vox / Brian Resnick and Kainaz Amaria]
  • Reports call the mega-storm a “snowy hurricane,” with dry desert air clashing with wetter air from the Gulf of Mexico. The bomb cyclone hit Colorado last Wednesday and reached the Midwest by Thursday, bringing whiteout snow and heavy rains to the region, and even a tornado in Kansas. Evacuations of thousands of people ensued. [CBS News]
  • After the storm came the flooding. Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska declared states of emergency due to record-high overflows. In many cases, helicopters are the only way to access stranded people. The flooding may take days to go down, and in Nebraska, officials were concerned for the life-threatening impact of a breached levee. [NPR / Shannon Van Sant]
  • There’s too much water, but also too little. Potable water is an issue in flooded areas due to power losses cutting off city wells. On Sunday, Lincoln, Nebraska, restricted water usage, with a 50 percent reduction in residential use to protect usable resources. [Lincoln Journal Star / Nancy Hicks]
  • The devastation is becoming a reality for farmers, especially in Nebraska, who lost not only livestock but also valuable cropland as rivers overflowed with runoff water. Record-high water levels destroyed gas stations, and infrastructure was crippled by the ice that drove the melted water into roads. The already tenuous farm economy could suffer millions of dollars’ worth of losses. [Washington Post / Laura Reiley]
  • Overflowing rivers have washing away family homes, railways, and roads. In some areas, flooding reached over 10 feet. [NYT / Blacki Migliozzi and Scott Reinhard]

Math’s highest prize goes to a woman for the first time

  • American Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize for Mathematics on Tuesday. The professor at the University of Texas Austin will receive the award, sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of math,” from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for her work in the field of geometric analysis. [NYT / Kenneth Chang]
  • Uhlenbeck said she was leaving church when she received a call from Norway and rushed home to return it. The Abel Prize, which is presented by the king of Norway and includes $700,000 worth of Norwegian kroner, has been awarded since 2003 — to men. [New York magazine / Kimberly Truong]
  • One of Uhlenbeck’s most famous discoveries was influenced by the “minimal surface” of soap bubbles — a shape that takes up as little space as possible. Experts say her discoveries have formed new understandings of minimal surfaces. Uhlenbeck’s studies have also contributed to the fields of physics, geometry, and quantum theory. [CNN / A.J. Willingham]
  • This award is one among Uhlenbeck’s many achievements. She was the first woman accepted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1986, and she earned the National Medal of Science in 2000 and a 2007 Steele Prize from the American Mathematical Society. In the ’90s she started the Women and Mathematics program to foster growth for women in the field. [NPR / Bill Chappell]


  • The Trump reelection campaign has already spent twice the amount as all Democratic candidates combined on Facebook and Google ads, despite a relatively low number of public appearances. [Axios / Sara Fischer]
  • The US women’s national soccer team filed a class-action lawsuit on International Women’s Day, demanding equal pay for equal work. Now the team is combating assumptions that women’s physical efforts aren’t worth as much as men’s. [Atlantic / Maggie Mertens]
  • 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for an end to the Electoral College during a CNN town hall on Monday. She cited the need for a system in which “every vote matters” so the national popular vote winner is not ignored. [Washington Post / Deanna Paul and Michael Brice-Saddler]
  • “Crypto winter” refers to dark, long days ahead for cryptocurrency. A downturn is making it difficult for cryptocurrencies to draw in investors. Bitcoin is experiencing its longest-running upset, and companies don’t know when the market’s next upswing could be. [WSJ / Paul Vigna]
  • MLB player Mike Trout is finalizing a record-breaking 12-year, $430 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Trout would earn six-figures on a daily basis, setting a bar that beats Bryce Harper’s agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this year. [Bleacher Report / Kyle Newport]


“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless. And to others, I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing.” [New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an address to Parliament concerning Friday’s mass shooting at two mosques]

Watch this: The 3 Trump-Russia ties we know about

Don’t lose sight of these three connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. [YouTube / Alvin Chang]

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