Climate Change Makes Repeat ‘Dust Bowl’ Twice as Likely ; Earth's Magnetic Field Is Mysteriously Weakening ; and More Picks 5/21

Climate Change Makes Repeat ‘Dust Bowl’ Twice as Likely (Chris)

The author writes, “Nearly a decade of heatwaves and massive dust storms across the US Great Plains in the 1930s ruined agricultural land and drove tens of thousands of farming families far and wide in search for food and work. ‘The 1930s Dust Bowl heatwaves were extremely rare events that we might expect to see occur once in a hundred years,’ said Tim Cowan, a researcher at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and lead author of a study in Nature Climate Change. ‘Under today’s levels of greenhouse gases, they are more than twice as likely to occur, with their period-of-return reduced to once in around 40 years.’”

Small and Rural Hospitals May Outlast COVID-19. But Can They Survive Trump’s Tax Law? (Dana)

From the Center for Public Integrity: “Falling Medicaid enrollments and coronavirus stresses are bad enough. The repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate will only make things worse.”

Virus Forces Judges Into Life-or-Death Calls on Inmate Releases (Dana)

The author writes, “Federal judges ruled on more than 400 petitions for compassionate release in March and April, compared with only 16 in the same months last year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis of trial court-level filings.”

Footprints Capture a Lakeside Stroll by a Group of Ancient Hunter-Gatherers (Mili) 

The author writes, “Bones can tell you things about how a person lived their life, but footprints are a snapshot of action in progress. It’s one thing to know that an ancient person spent a lot of time throwing things or carrying things, and it’s something much more immediate and personal to see exactly where that person walked, climbed a slope, or crawled into a muddy cave. Footprints, in some ways, are more startlingly intimate links to the past than bones. And at Engare Sero, just south of Tanzania’s Lake Natron, 408 footprints reveal how an ancient group of hunter-gatherers foraged.”

Satellites and Spacecraft Malfunction as Earth’s Magnetic Field Mysteriously Weakens (Chris)

From Sky News: “On average the planet’s magnetic field has lost almost 10% of its strength over the last two centuries, but there is a large localised region of weakness stretching from Africa to South America.”

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