coral reefs. health, monitoring, biodiversity, decibel levelcoral reefs. health, monitoring, biodiversity, decibel level
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Click, Clack, and Pop: Sounds Indicate Health of Coral Reefs, Study Finds (Maria)

The author writes, “The popping sound, like milk hitting puffed rice cereal, that you hear when putting your head underwater is not your ear adjusting to a different atmosphere — it is the sound of the submarine world. Fish chat to each other, or move water with their fins; hard-shelled creatures scrape against the surfaces; molluscs drag themselves to their nooks. There’s more to these clicks, clacks, and pops than just the tuneful wonder of it all. Oceanographers now say that monitoring the sounds of coral reefs can serve as a non-intrusive, inexpensive, and efficient method for tracking the state of their health — and for planning better conservation interventions. … New research shows that degraded coral communities do not sound as crackling and vibrant as healthy ones because their reduced biodiversity means less activity, so you can in effect judge the health of a reef by its decibel level.”

A Decade of Congressional Inaction on Gun Control (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Democrats in Congress are trying, again, to pass legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers in the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. But the prospects seem dim in the 50-50 Senate, with most Republicans opposed to significant changes in the nation’s gun laws. It’s a familiar scenario for Democrats, who have been trying to expand the checks and otherwise boost gun control laws since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde. A look at Democrats’ mostly failed efforts to strengthen gun control over the past decade.”

If Republicans Win in 2024 by Fraud… (Reader Steve)

From The American Prospect: “The year is 2025. President Ron DeSantis lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College, after Republican election officials flipped results in several states. The United States has a national government that by any measure is illegitimate. It’s hard to miss the irony. MAGA Republicans convinced themselves that the honest election of 2020 was stolen. So they responded by stealing the next one. The Republicans now control both houses of Congress. The Senate 52-48 majority (representing 36 percent of the American people) votes to abolish the filibuster for all legislation.”

Putin’s Ukraine Gambit Was ‘Self-Defeating’ (Sean)

From Foreign Policy: “As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattles the global order, the world faces one of the biggest energy shocks in decades. Supply and demand have both been critically impacted as nations around the world rush to replace their dependence on Russian imports. With historically high prices rippling around the world, what are the alternatives? Can we avoid major economic pain? What happens next, and what are ways we can get out of this mess?”

The Faces From China’s Uyghur Detention Camps (Sean)

From the BBC: “Thousands of photographs from the heart of China’s highly secretive system of mass incarceration in Xinjiang, as well as a shoot-to-kill policy for those who try to escape, are among a huge cache of data hacked from police computer servers in the region. The Xinjiang Police Files, as they’re being called, were passed to the BBC earlier this year. After a months-long effort to investigate and authenticate them, they can be shown to offer significant new insights into the internment of the region’s Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities.”

Brittney Griner Still Isn’t Getting Enough Attention (Dana)

The author writes, “Two months ago, I wrote a piece about WNBA star Brittney Griner that garnered a lot of attention in a way that ended up making me uncomfortable. The article examined the circumstances of Griner’s arrest at the hands of Russian authorities, who claim to have found hashish oil in her carry-on bag. The central contention of the piece was that Griner’s detention had not received media coverage commensurate with her status as one of the best women’s basketball players on earth — a point that resonated broadly. … The unusual reach of my story resulted in two people connected to Griner contacting me, each representative of the different sides of that debate. One asked me to keep shouting about Griner from the mountaintops, reasoning that more publicity would force the Russians’ hand. The other person asked me to kindly stop talking about her. Some close to Griner wanted to tamp down discussion of her plight, lest Russia attempt to use her as some sort of trading chip; the idea was, I guess, to make her look like a lower-profile detainee than she really was.”

Researchers Grew Tiny Plants in Moon Dirt Collected Decades Ago (Mili)

The author writes, “Anna-Lisa Paul had tried for years to get her hands on some real samples of lunar soil collected by Apollo-era astronauts. After she’d refined her research proposal multiple times, NASA finally granted her request in 2021, allowing her team to try growing tiny plants in moon dirt that had been lifeless for billions of years. Her efforts paid off: Although the plants clearly struggled in the harsh, foreign material, they nonetheless managed to sprout. Paul’s team published their findings in a new study … arguing that their experiment shows that lunar astronauts could do their own greenhouse farming in a couple decades, making them able to provide some of their own sustenance.”

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