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Nation briefs

TEXAS, LOUISIANAFraternity extends probe

Investigations into racism at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapters have extended to college campuses in Louisiana and Texas, the organization said yesterday, after its national office received word that members in those places had direct knowledge of a racist chant caught on video in Oklahoma last weekend. Spokesman Brandon Weghorst said the chapter at the University of Texas at Austin was being "fully cooperative" and that a probe at Louisiana Tech in Ruston was in its early stages. "We had no idea of this type of behavior was going on underground," Weghorst said. "This is the type of stuff [the chant], it goes underground and it goes under the radar. It's dangerous because, if we don't know about it, we can't stop it."


Exploring magnetic fields

NASA is sending four identical spacecraft on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the magnetic fields of the Earth and sun. The unmanned Atlas rocket and NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft were to lift off last evening. The quartet, in pyramid formation between 6 miles and 250 miles apart will provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales. Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and sun come together, break apart and come together again, releasing vast energy. This process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth. This two-year mission should help scientists better understand so-called space weather.


Keeping the peace in Madison

Tony Robinson's mother hasn't said much publicly since the death of her son, who was shot and killed by a Madison police officer last week. But what she's said has delivered a powerful message as Madison struggles to respond. "I don't want violence done in his name," Andrea Irwin told a crowd of protesters gathered at an east side Madison park yesterday. Still, the shooting has forced people to address the uncomfortable reality that beyond the idyllic bubble many believe Madison to be, stark racial disparities simmer.

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