climate crisis, ecosystem transformation, global threat
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Climate Change and the Global Threat of Ecosystem Transformation (Maria)

The author writes, “Ecosystem transformation is emerging as a global threat under climate change. Conversion of conifer forest to shrubland, steppe, and other ecosystems is underway from Mexico to Alaska. Shrub steppe and chaparral are giving way to non-native annual grassland in the western US. Floodplain forests are yielding to savanna in Amazonia, shrubs and trees are invading Arctic tundra, and reef corals are being replaced by macroalgae. And climate change is a primary driver of these transformations, scientists say.”

The Woman Who Leaked Secret Documents Triggering a Massive Global Investigation Is Now in Prison (Reader Pat)

From BuzzFeed News: “A former Treasury Department official, [Natalie “May”] Edwards — whose decision to leak a trove of highly confidential government documents to BuzzFeed News prompted a massive investigation that exposed how dirty money moves through the global banking system and helped spur legislative action in the US and beyond — reported to Federal Prison Camp, Alderson, on Friday morning to begin her six-month sentence. The minimum-security prison is where Martha Stewart and Billie Holiday both served time. The information she provided to BuzzFeed News formed the basis of the FinCEN Files, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s highest honor.”

Abortion Bans, COVID Death and Government Neglect: You Californians Still Want to Move to Texas? (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “I imagine the reality of Texas’ reactionary politics must be hitting the wave of new residents from California pretty hard right about now. According to some estimates, San Francisco alone lost over 185,000 residents during the pandemic, many of whom left for Texas. And I certainly get why my home city of Austin, specifically, would seem a desirable choice for those leaving the Bay area. Austin’s comparatively affordable housing market and the keep-Austin-weird-liberal-hippie vibe sounds ideal, in theory. I am curious what this influx of new voters will mean to the state ballot box. Will they help push the recently purple state into blue territory? The battle for the future of Texas will be fascinating. But I have no intention of sticking around to find out how it goes.”

‘A Vast Criminal Racket’: Sebastian Junger on How the US Corrupted Afghanistan (Russ)

The author writes, “Many Americans are now fond of saying, knowingly, that the war was unwinnable because it’s Afghanistan — graveyard of empires, a rugged land filled with proud people who are happy to fight to the death. But that kind of breezy dismissal just allows us to avoid the embarrassing conversation about what actually went wrong. America had overwhelming military superiority, the approval of over 80% of Afghans polled in 2004, and the sympathy of the entire international community after the attacks of 9/11. The scale of those attacks also gave us the kind of legal, moral, and strategic justifications that were utterly lacking in Korea and Vietnam. If there could be a sure thing in warfare, this was it — and we blew it.”

The US Army Tried Portable Nuclear Power at Remote Bases 60 Years Ago — It Didn’t Go Well (Gerry)

From The Conversation: “In a tunnel 40 feet beneath the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, a Geiger counter screamed. It was 1964, the height of the Cold War. U.S. soldiers in the tunnel, 800 miles from the North Pole, were dismantling the Army’s first portable nuclear reactor. Commanding Officer Joseph Franklin grabbed the radiation detector, ordered his men out and did a quick survey before retreating from the reactor. He had spent about two minutes exposed to a radiation field he estimated at 2,000 rads per hour, enough to make a person ill. When he came home from Greenland, the Army sent Franklin to the Bethesda Naval Hospital. There, he set off a whole body radiation counter designed to assess victims of nuclear accidents. Franklin was radioactive. The Army called the reactor portable, even at 330 tons, because it was built from pieces that each fit in a C-130 cargo plane. It was powering Camp Century, one of the military’s most unusual bases.”

‘It’s a Miracle Crop’: The Pioneers Pushing the Powers of Seaweed (Inez)

The author writes, “More than 10 years ago, [Sean] Barrett, 46, created Dock to Dish, the nation’s first restaurant-supported fishery – essentially an alternative model for selling seafood sustainably where members pay a fee for a share of a local catch. In his new venture, Barrett has been mindful of the Indigenous uses of seaweed as a fertilizer, and devised a kelp-based soil amendment that home gardeners and golf courses can use on their plants rather than chemical-laden fertilizers. Describing kelp as the ‘ocean’s first regenerative crop,’ Barrett believes that by localizing seaweed production in New York he can revive the stymied maritime industry. But there’s just one catch: it is illegal to farm seaweed in New York state, despite activists’ best efforts.”

Florida Man Flies ‘Jew, I Have a Question’ Banner as Marriage Proposal (Dana)

From The Jerusalem Post: “The banner, dragged by a plane last week across the Florida sky, looked disconcerting. ‘Jew, I have a question,’ it said. Certainly it was a moment made for Twitter, attracting both jokesters and antisemitism watchdogs. … Turns out the banner wasn’t meant to be hate speech or a joke: It was a marriage proposal to a woman nicknamed ‘Jew.’ (What that’s short for — Julia? Jewel? Judith? Remains unclear.)”

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