Protecting Land and Animals Will Mitigate Future Pandemics: Report

How the World Is Reacting to the 2020 US Election; Virginia Voters Approve Bipartisan Political Redistricting ; and More Picks

biodiversity, pandemics, protecting land and animals
The author writes, “Absent major policy changes and billions of dollars invested in protecting land and wildlife, the world may see another major pandemic like COVID-19, an international group of scientists warned. ... Conserving biodiversity can preserve human lives, according to their new report, which reviews the latest research on how the decline of habitat and wildlife leaves humans exposed to new, emerging diseases.” Photo credit: Sinisa Djordje Majetic / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How the World Is Reacting to the 2020 US Election (Dana)

The author writes, “As the U.S. election result proved too close to call on Wednesday morning, political figures and observers around the world reacted to the uncertainty just as Americans did. Votes are still being counted in several crucial battleground states in the U.S. election, making it unclear whether it will be President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden leading the world’s most powerful nation until 2024. … Here’s how the world is reacting.”

In Historic Change, Virginia Voters Approve Bipartisan Commission to Handle Political Redistricting (Bethany)

From the Virginia Mercury: “For years, redistricting reform advocates have been arguing something should be done to curb Virginia’s long history of political gerrymandering. On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly agreed, passing a constitutional amendment that largely strips the General Assembly of its authority to redraw legislative and congressional districts, a historic shift in a system that dates back to Virginia’s colonial beginnings.”

The Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion (Reader Jim)

From GQ: “Marc Polymeropoulos awoke with a start. The feeling of nausea was overwhelming. Food poisoning, he thought, and decided to head for the bathroom. But when he tried to get out of bed, he fell over. He tried to stand up and fell again. … Polymeropoulos was a covert CIA operative, a jovial, burly man who likes to refer to himself as ‘grizzled.’ Moscow was not the first time he had been on enemy territory. He had spent most of his career in the Middle East, fighting America’s long war on terrorism. He had hunted terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen. He did the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had been shot at, ducked under rocket fire, and had shrapnel whiz by uncomfortably close to his head. But that night, paralyzed with seasickness in the landlocked Russian capital, Polymeropoulos felt terrified and utterly helpless for the first time.”

LAPD Gets Approval to Begin Recording, Storing Aerial Footage of Protests (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Los Angeles Police Department received approval [last week] to begin recording and storing aerial footage of protests and other large gatherings from its helicopters — a new capability that the department said would expand its ‘operational readiness’ and that protesters and civil liberties advocates denounced as unconstitutional government surveillance.”

Food Stockpiling Is Back, With 3,400% Pantry Surge (Mili)

The author writes, “American consumers who’ve worked their way through the trove of shelf-stable meals they frantically bought back in March are at it again. This time, food makers are prepared. General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios and Annie’s boxed mac and cheese, added 45 external production lines through contractors since the first round of pantry loading this spring. Campbell Soup Co. spent $40 million to expand production of Goldfish crackers and is building capacity for chip brands like Cape Cod. Conagra Brands Inc. boosted third-party manufacturing and warehousing, while Stonyfield Farm, a producer of organic dairy products, is buying more milk from its direct supply network of farms.”

Lost Chameleon Last Seen Before World War I Rediscovered (Dana)

The author writes, “A decades-long disappearance has been solved. Researchers rediscovered the elusive Voeltzkow’s chameleon in Madagascar. It was last seen in 1913, before World War I. Conservation group Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) announced the extraordinary find on Friday. The chameleon was spotted during a 2018 expedition, but Friday’s announcement coincides with the publication of a paper on the lizard in the journal Salamandra. … The lizards’ short life spans and remote environment had helped to keep them hidden for decades, but the expedition found over a dozen of the chameleons.”

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