science, environment, nature rights, global campaign, new coalitions
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Could 2024 Be the Year Nature Rights Enter the Political Mainstream? (Maria)

The author writes, “Two new coalitions of scientists, lawyers, philosophers and artists have joined the burgeoning global campaign for ecosystems and other species to have legal rights and even political representation. The More Than Human Rights (Moth) project and Animals in the Room (Air) are exploring bold tactics to further their cause, including authorship claims for forests. … They represent a new wave of nature and animal rights movements gaining traction amid frustration over humanity’s ultra-exploitative relationship with other species and growing concern about the shortcomings of the technology-and-markets approach to the climate crisis.”

American Democracy Is Cracking. These Ideas Could Help Repair It.  (Gerry)

The author writes, “The problems with the US political system can, at times, feel overwhelming and intractable. But solutions can become reality when ordinary citizens engage.”

‘Stakes Are Really High’: Misinformation Researcher Changes Tack for 2024 US Election (DonkeyHotey)

From The Guardian: “A key researcher in the fight against election misinformation — who herself became the subject of an intensive misinformation campaign — has said her field gets accused of ‘bias’ precisely because it’s now mainly rightwingers who spread the worst lies. Kate Starbird, co-founder of the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, added that she feared that the entirely false story of rigged elections has now ‘sunk in’ for many Americans on the right. ‘The idea that they’re already going to the polls with the belief that they’re being cheated means they’ll misinterpret everything they see through that lens.’”

Nobody’s Ever Lost Their Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Will Trump Be the First? (Reader Steve)

From the Los Angeles Times: “‘The reasonably conveyed message to the millions who have walked past that plaque since 2021 is the city’s endorsement of a man who attempted a coup against the United States,’ [Andrew] Rudick said at a Los Angeles City Council meeting earlier this month. Although multiple City Council members said they do not support the former president and would like to see his star removed, nobody knows exactly how to make that happen. Several groups with varying levels of jurisdiction have a hand in operating the Walk of Fame, including the City Council, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and the Hollywood Historic Trust. The removal of a star is unprecedented, and a process for doing so has never been established. Rudick’s activism, however, is forcing city officials to confront the unknown.”

Strawberry Case Study: What If Farmers Had to Pay for Water? (Russ)

The author writes, “The strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry fields of the Pajaro Valley stretch for 10 miles along the coast of California’s Monterey Bay, jeweled with fruit from April through early December. The valley’s 30,000 acres of farmland are also ruffled with emerald lettuces, brussels sprouts, and varieties of kale, bringing in roughly $1 billion in revenue to the region each year. All that abundance doesn’t come cheap. While American farmers elsewhere have watered their crops by freely pumping the groundwater beneath their land, growers in Pajaro must pay hefty fees for irrigation water — making it one of the most expensive places to grow food in the country, if not the world.”

When Will Google Fix Maps for Cyclists? (Reader Jim)

From Bloomberg: “Ask 10 cyclists their opinion, the joke goes, and you’ll get 11 different answers. That adage holds true for navigating the urban environment by bike — where trial and error and paper maps meet a host of modern apps and, if that fails, folklore. The question of which method is best very much depends on who you ask. … Google’s Maps app is notorious for sending riders inexplicably onto main roads, sometimes even choosing such routes over quiet streets or dedicated cycle infrastructure.”

What Was It Like When No Stars Yet Existed? (Laura)

From Big Think: “After the hot Big Bang, it took minutes for atomic nuclei to form and then hundreds of thousands of years to make neutral atoms, but the first stars wouldn’t form until nearly 100 million years had passed. Those in-between times, after neutral atoms form but before the first stars were created, represents a unique, darkness-filled time in the Universe’s history: the cosmic dark ages. What was the Universe like during that time, when no stars yet existed but neutral atoms were everywhere? It’s a fascinating epoch that science is only beginning to explore.”


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