Deadly Virus Spreads Among Marine Mammals as Arctic Ice Melts

Fracking May Indeed Be Causing Earthquakes ; The Case for Breaking Up Disney ; and More Picks

Marine virus, climate change
The author writes, “When sea otters in Alaska were diagnosed with phocine distemper virus (PDV) in 2004, scientists were confused. The pathogen in the Morbillivirus genus that contains viruses like measles had then only been found in Europe and on the eastern coast of North America. ... Using 15 years of data from 2001 to 2016, Goldstein and her research team were able to see upticks in PDV that corresponded with declines in Arctic sea ice. ... The results of the study, published [last week] in the journal ‘Scientific Reports,’ shows how climate change may be opening up new pathways for disease to spread.” Photo credit: Lee Dyer / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Fracking May Indeed Be Causing Earthquakes in Texas (Judy)

From the Dallas Morning News: “Since Texas earthquake rates first picked up in 2008, academic scientists, regulators and oil and gas companies have publicly agreed on one thing: fracking was not to blame. Instead, studies tied the quakes to the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production. Now, a new study suggests for the first time that some Texas earthquakes — specifically, those in West Texas — may indeed be connected to hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting fluid, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to release oil and gas.”

The Future of Salmon in the Pacific Northwest (Chris)

The author writes, “Today, about 300 million salmon are planted annually in the American Pacific Northwest (Alaska and Canada plant hundreds of millions more). … Four out of five salmon in the Pacific Northwest are now born in hatcheries, and the vast majority will die. This has led the Northwest Power and Conservation Council … to estimate that for fish spawned in the lower river hatcheries, where success is relatively easy, it costs $66 to produce a harvested fish that navigates the trip home. In the middle regions of the watershed, where fewer fish survive the journey, it can cost up to $9,000 to bring a fish back. And the program to breed Chinook in the high mountains of Washington has been even less successful. The Council estimates that the true cost of bringing a single spawner back to that uppermost region is as much as $68,031.”

The Case for Breaking Up Disney (Chris)

From Boing Boing: “If Disney is able to establish and then maintain a monopoly on both home entertainment and theatrical exhibition, it needn’t fear the market — it can dictate to its audience what they will watch.”

Portugal Solved Its Drug Crisis. Why Can’t America Do the Same? (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “When 1% of its population was caught in the grips of a heroin epidemic, Portugal took the radical step to decriminalize drugs. It worked.” 

Sleep Is Literally a Deep Clean for Your Brain (Mili)

The author writes, “A new study [has demonstrated that] … sleep allows your brain to take a bath, washing off all the toxins that build up just as part of the day’s daily business.”

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