Winter 2019-20 Has So Far Been the Warmest on Record in the Contiguous US

‘Where Are the World’s Diplomats?’ ; Utah Is Sending Workers to Mexico to Buy Medicine ; and More Picks

winter 2020, warmest to date
The author writes, “The first two months of meteorological winter (December 2019 – January 2020) were the warmest on record for the contiguous US in data going back to 1895. NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] provided the January data and images [last week] ahead of its monthly US climate report. The average national temperature for the first two of winter's three months was 35.95°F, topping the 35.82°F observed in December 2005 – January 2006.” Photo credit: Carol VanHook / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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VIDEO: ‘Where Are the World’s Diplomats?’ (Chris)

From CNN: “Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland tells [Christiane] Amanpour the Russian, Iranian and Syrian governments must stop their onslaught in Idlib, now a ‘gigantic refugee camp.’”

UCSC Graduate Students Go on Strike (Chris)

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “Graduate students began an open-ended wildcat strike Monday at UC Santa Cruz as they continue to call for a substantial pay increase. Hundreds of demonstrators rallied at both campus entrances Monday, blocking the main entrance for hours throughout the afternoon and appearing to briefly close the campus to outside traffic altogether. Because the strike was not authorized by the students’ union, participation was difficult to determine. Tony Boardman, co-president of the UCSC Graduate Student Association and among the striking teaching assistants, said he believes approximately half of UCSC’s 750 teaching assistants and graduate-student instructors were striking.”

California Newspaper Faced Threats After Requesting Gun Permits (Reader Steve)

The author writes, The San Francisco Chronicle’s request to Sutter County’s sheriff may have appeared routine to a journalist used to requesting government documents. But asking for information about the 3,700 concealed weapons permit holders in the conservative rural county quickly set off a cascade of threats and vitriol — after the sheriff announced on Facebook he was legally obligated to provide the names. Now, the Chronicle has been forced to increase security at its newsroom and for its reporters.”

Utah Is Sending Workers to Mexico to Buy Medicine (Gerry)

From Vox: “The state’s plan to send patients to Mexico to buy cheap drugs is an indictment of US health care.”

The Best Board Games of the Ancient World (Mili)

The author writes, “Long before Settlers of Catan, Scrabble and Risk won legions of fans, actual Roman legions passed the time by playing Ludus Latrunculorum, a strategic showdown whose Latin name translates loosely to ‘Game of Mercenaries.’ In northwest Europe, meanwhile, the Viking game Hnefatafl popped up in such far-flung locales as Scotland, Norway and Iceland. Farther south, the ancient Egyptian games of Senet and Mehen dominated. To the east in India, Chaturanga emerged as a precursor to modern chess. And 5,000 years ago, in what is now southeast Turkey, a group of Bronze Age humans created an elaborate set of sculpted stones hailed as the world’s oldest gaming pieces upon their discovery in 2013.”

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