climate change, extreme weather, improving warning systems, UN report
The author writes, “A new UN report says the world needs to rapidly raise investment in early warning systems for extreme weather events. Over the past 50 years, recorded disasters have increased fivefold, thanks in part to climate change. The study warns that one in three people on Earth are not adequately covered by warning systems. The number of people in need after natural disasters could increase by 50% over the next decade. ... Effective early warning systems are key.” Photo credit: Texas Military Department / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

What Pollsters Have Changed Since 2016 ; The Carnival Cruise Ship That Spread Coronavirus Around the World ; and More Picks 10/14

What Pollsters Have Changed Since 2016 — and What Still Worries Them About 2020 (Dan)

From FiveThirtyEight: “If you ask Americans whether they trust the polls, many seem unable to let go of what happened in 2016. Polls taken since then have generally found that a majority of Americans have at least some doubts about what polls say. But as FiveThirtyEight wrote in the run-up to the 2016 election, Donald Trump was always a normal polling error behind Hillary Clinton. … That doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of polling lessons to be gleaned from 2016, though. The importance of education in predicting a person’s political preferences was a big one. And so to better understand those takeaways, we contacted 21 well-known pollsters to find out how they adjusted their methodologies, if at all, and what concerns them most about polling in 2020.”

Why the Richest Americans Are Refusing to Take Sides in the Presidential Race

From Vox: “The nation’s very richest people are sitting out the presidential race. Not a single one of the 10 wealthiest people in the US — almost all of them tech billionaires — have shared who they’re voting for in November. … These high-profile figures don’t typically endorse presidential candidates. But most of the tech giants and their leaders are consistently at odds with Trump’s White House on issues ranging from immigration to climate change. Many tech leaders have consolidated around former Vice President Joe Biden. … But at the tippy top of America’s billionaire rankings — the rich who are prominent outside of Silicon Valley, who measure their net worth not by the billions but by the tens of billions, the few who have celebrity cachet — there is silence.”

The Carnival Cruise Ship That Spread Coronavirus Around the World (Dana)

The author writes, “Despite the accelerating Covid-19 pandemic, Australian officials had cleared the Ruby to disembark without restrictions. Passengers didn’t even need to show their passport, let alone get their temperature checked. … The decision to allow the Ruby to dock would have profound consequences. The ship turned out to be the single most important vector for the coronavirus in Australia, accounting at one point for more than 10% of the country’s cases.”

Asbestos Could Be a Powerful Weapon Against Climate Change (Peg)

The author writes, “a scorching day this August, Caleb Woodall wielded his shovel like a spear, stabbing it into the hardened crust of an asbestos-filled pit near Coalinga, California. … He and his colleagues are trying to determine the makeup and structure of the materials pulled from the pits, and to answer two critical questions: How much carbon dioxide do they contain—and how much more could they store?

Extraterrestrial Object Coming Home? ‘Asteroid’ Nearing Earth May Be Old NASA Rocket (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The jig may be up for an “asteroid” that’s expected to get nabbed by Earth’s gravity and become a mini-moon next month. Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that’s finally making its way back home, according to NASA’s leading asteroid expert. Observations should help nail its identity.”

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