deforestation, coffee pulp, growth boost, Costa Rican rainforests
The author writes, “Just like us, forests move faster with a little coffee in their system. A recent experiment tested whether coffee pulp, a byproduct of coffee growing, could help bring Costa Rica’s rainforests back to life. Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa tested two plots to see how the coffee waste would affect deforested land, covering one parcel of grass with about 20 inches of the pulp and leaving the other untouched. ... After two years, the plot of land given a boost from coffee showed a dramatic improvement. Eighty percent of the plot was covered by young tree canopy, with some trees already 15 feet tall.” Photo credit: Converse Study Travel / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Minimum Wage Would Be $44 Today if It Grew at Same Pace as Wall Street Bonuses (Dana)

The author writes, “The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street has perhaps never been more glaring in the past year, when the stock market hit new records even as tens of millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But it’s part of a longer-term trend, with Wall Street bonuses surging 1,217% since 1985, or about 10 times the pace for minimum wage workers during the same stretch. If the federal minimum wage had kept up with the same growth as Wall Street bonuses, the baseline rate would be $44, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank that examines income and pay inequality. The baseline wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for more than 11 years, the longest period it’s gone without an increase since it began in 1938.”

Supreme Court Lets FCC Ease Media Ownership Rules, Sides With Facebook in Robocall Case (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The Supreme Court said Thursday that the Federal Communications Commission could begin to relax the rules restricting single-company ownership of multiple media outlets in a community, clearing the way for more industry consolidation. In a separate ruling, the court said Facebook did not violate the federal law governing robocalls when it sent text messages to a man who said he never had an account with the social media company. Both decisions were unanimous.”

A Police Union Contract Puts Taxpayers on the Hook to Defend Officers When the City Won’t (Reader Steve)

From ProPublica: “Every year, the [New York City] treasury effectively bankrolls a union-controlled legal defense fund for officers. The little-known fund is financed in part by a direct city contribution of nearly $2 million a year that is expressly intended to pay for lawyers in civil cases … where the Law Department has decided an officer’s conduct is essentially indefensible. Or, as the police union’s legal plan puts it, ‘when the City of New York fails or otherwise refuses to provide a legal defense.’”

How Iceland Clamped Down to Conquer Coronavirus (Mili)

The author writes, “Yes, Iceland is a remote island in the North Atlantic, with just one international airport. And yes, it is home to fewer than half a million people. So it would be fair to assume that it has luck to thank for becoming the first country in Europe to virtually rid itself of Covid. But say that to Icelanders, and you won’t make many friends. Because when you peel back the geography and look at the detail, there is more to it, and these islanders are pretty proud of their success.”

Astronomers Have Captured the Most Detailed Photo of a Black Hole Ever (Dana)

From Artnet: “Two years ago, astronomers managed to photograph a black hole for the very first time. … Now, the same astronomers have captured the most detailed photograph to date of a black hole, one of the universe’s most enigmatic features, which was once thought to be unobservable. Seen in polarized light, the fuzzy ring of light in the original image is now in focus, with crisp lines swirling in toward the center of what appears to be a bottomless pit, sucking in anything and everything within its grasp.”

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