environment, biodiversity, wildlife, elephants, domestication
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Elephants May Be Domesticating Themselves: Study (Maria)

The author writes, “Elephants are the gentle giants of the animal kingdom. They will often empathetically reach out their trunks to console a distressed sister or attempt to lift up those that are ill and suffering. They recognize the bones of deceased elephants and appear to mourn their dead. They also recognize themselves in mirrors — a sign they’re self-aware. These traits may have evolved because elephants have domesticated themselves, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If so, that would make them the only known animal besides humans and bonobos to have done so.”

No Labels Group Raises Alarms With Third-Party Presidential Preparations (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Former senator Joe Lieberman knows better than most the impact third-party bids can have on presidential elections. His 2000 Democratic campaign for vice president fell just 537 Florida votes short of victory, in a state where Ralph Nader, the liberal activist and Green Party nominee, won more than 97,000 votes. But that didn’t stop the Connecticut Democrat turned independent from joining a meeting Thursday in support of plans by the centrist group No Labels to get presidential ballot lines in all 50 states for 2024. The group calls its effort an ‘insurance policy’ against the major parties nominating two ‘unacceptable’ candidates next year. Asked if President Biden, his former Senate colleague, would be unacceptable, Lieberman said the answer was uncertain.”

How King Charles Got Thrown Into Disney’s Fight With Florida Gov. DeSantis (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The newly appointed board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which governs municipal services in Disney’s Florida resort area, said in a meeting this week that their powers have been hamstrung by a contract enacted in February before they took office. The agreement limits the new board’s authority over things like advertising and design reviews. The terms exist in perpetuity, or if that isn’t legal, ‘until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England living as of the date of this declaration.’ It’s called a royal lives clause, and it has less to do with Disney’s obsession with fairy tales and everything to do with extending a contract as long as possible.”

What Would a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine Look Like? (Sean)

From the World Economic Forum: “Europe hasn’t witnessed a conflict like this since World War Two. Now, an even more ambitious reconstruction effort may be required. Russia’s devastating attack has stirred calls to muster a Marshall Plan for Ukraine in response, in reference to the US-funded rehabilitation of western Europe that began not long after Adolf Hitler’s defeat. At the springtime Davos convened last year, references to a Marshall Plan for Ukraine were both explicit and implied; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy borrowed words used to initiate the plan three-quarters of a century earlier for his special address.”

Biden Moves Forward With Mining Project That Will Obliterate a Sacred Apache Religious Site (Laura)

From The Intercept: “Biden administration attorneys were in court [last month] to defend a mining project that will obliterate one of the most sacred Apache religious sites in the American Southwest. … The U.S. Forest Service said it was nearing completion of an environmental impact study that will transfer land east of Phoenix to two of the world’s largest mining companies for the purpose of building one of the largest copper mines on the planet. The massive project will hinge on the destruction of Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, a plateau otherwise known as Oak Flat, that is sacred to many Native American tribes, particularly the San Carlos Apache, who consider the area among their most holy of sites.”

The Secret Behind Japan’s Delicious Strawberries: Kerosene (Russ)

The author writes, “The growing season has become completely reversed thanks to kerosene-burning greenhouses and the big prices paid for the earliest, best berries.”

Inside the Very Real (And Very Complicated) World of Luxury Water Collectors (Dana)

From Bon Appétit: “The water sommelier movement — yes, that’s the term — has been growing in the US and around the world for years now. In fact, some argue that the seltzer boom has opened a door for a mineral water renaissance. These water sommeliers taste bottled waters as if they’re fine wines, expounding upon the water’s terroir and ‘virginality,’ or a water’s level of protection from its surroundings. They help to design bespoke water menus for restaurants; they judge contests in which bottled waters compete on taste, texture, and mouthfeel; and they collect bottles of tasteless water from icebergs that cost as much as $300 (more on that later).”


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