environment, nature, bioversity, ants population, 20 quadrillion estimate
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An Estimated 20 Quadrillion Ants Live on Earth (Maria)

The author writes, “Researchers have come up with an astonishing new estimate for the number of ants living on Earth: 20 quadrillion. That’s 20,000,000,000,000,000 ants. In comparison, our galaxy has around 100 billion stars. For every human alive on the planet, there are roughly 2.5 million ants. ‘It’s unimaginable,’ ant researcher Patrick Schultheiss of the University of Würzburg in Germany tells The Washington Post’s Dino Grandoni. ‘We simply cannot imagine 20 quadrillion ants in one pile, for example. It just doesn’t work.’ To reach their staggering conclusion, Schultheiss and a team of researchers analyzed 489 studies that surveyed ant populations around the world.”

As More States Create Election Integrity Units, Arizona Is a Cautionary Tale (Russ)

From The Washington Post: “Republicans across the country have embraced an aggressive tactic this year as they seek to tout baseless claims that voter fraud is a serious threat: arming state agencies with more power and resources to investigate election crimes. … But a Washington Post examination of an earlier endeavor in Arizona to systematically ferret out voter fraud found it has turned up few cases — and that rather than bolster confidence in elections, the absence of massive fraud has just fueled more bogus theories and distrust.”

Retired Wrestler Says GOP Gov. Phil Bryant Cut Welfare Funding to Nonprofit Because of Democratic Support (DonkeyHotey)

From Mississippi Today: “A former professional wrestler and defendant in the Mississippi welfare scandal is alleging that he personally witnessed Republican Gov. Phil Bryant instruct an appointee to cut welfare funding to a nonprofit because its director supported Democrat Jim Hood in the 2019 governor’s race. The allegation that Bryant leveraged his control of welfare spending to punish a political opponent comes in a two-year-old federal court filing released Friday after Mississippi Today successfully motioned to unseal the case. The account echoes a similar allegation Mississippi Today published just over a week ago that the same nonprofit was forced to fire Hood’s wife in order to keep receiving welfare grant funding.”

Putin’s Top Cheerleaders Panic Over Russian Army ‘Mutiny’ (Sean)

The author writes, “Russia’s ‘partial mobilization’ cast another shadow on the already dire situation its Armed Forces are facing in Ukraine. The situation is so grotesque that even Russian President Vladimir Putin’s biggest cheerleaders find themselves trashing the way the mobilization is being conducted. Top pro-Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov and head of RT Margarita Simonyan spent much of the broadcast of the state TV show Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov by complaining about the issues with the mobilization. Solovyov said, ‘There are panicked calls on my phone, on Margarita’s phone, which shows that a number of people involved have forgotten how to do their jobs.’”

Social Media Experiment Reveals Potential to ‘Inoculate’ Millions of Users Against Misinformation (Mili)

The author writes, “Short animations giving viewers a taste of the tactics behind misinformation can help to ‘inoculate’ people against harmful content on social media when deployed in YouTube’s advert slot, according to a major online experiment led by the University of Cambridge. Working with Jigsaw, a unit within Google dedicated to tackling threats to open societies, a team of psychologists from the universities of Cambridge and Bristol created 90-second clips designed to familiarize users with manipulation techniques such as scapegoating and deliberate incoherence. This ‘pre-bunking’ strategy pre-emptively exposes people to tropes at the root of malicious propaganda, so they can better identify online falsehoods regardless of subject matter.”

The Pathway to 90 Percent Clean Electricity Is Mostly Clear. The Last 10 Percent, Not So Much (Laura)

The author writes, “The United States gets about 40 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources, including renewables and nuclear, and researchers have a pretty good idea of how to cost-effectively get to about 90 percent. But that last 10 percent? It gets expensive and there is little agreement about how to do it. A new paper in the journal Joule identifies six approaches for achieving that last 10 percent, including a reliance on wind and solar, a build-out of nuclear power and development of long-term energy storage using hydrogen.”

More Than 100 Old Books, Manuscripts, and Documents Discovered in the Attic of a Romanian Church (Dana)

From Romania Insider: “A trove of books, manuscripts, and old documents, some 1,200 years old, was recently discovered in the attic of the St. Margaret Evangelical Church in Mediaș by a team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Adinel Dincă from the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj. The Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia has published images of the discovery on its Facebook page. ‘The discovery resembles an Indiana Jones story, namely a completely forgotten archive, the struggle with the kingdom of doves to recover it, the amazement at the discoveries made, their importance for the history of the circulation of ideas in medieval Transylvania,’ says the post.”


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