monarch butterfly, threatened species designation, climate change, drop offThe authors write, “Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species. Stepped-up use of farm herbicides, climate change and destruction of milkweed plants on which they depend have caused a massive decline of the orange-and-black butterflies.” Photo credit: Tony Hisgett / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)
The authors write, “Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species. Stepped-up use of farm herbicides, climate change and destruction of milkweed plants on which they depend have caused a massive decline of the orange-and-black butterflies.” Photo credit: Tony Hisgett / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Undocumented Immigrants Are Half as Likely to Be Arrested for Violent Crimes as US-Born Citizens (Mili)

From Scientific American: “Studies overwhelmingly find no evidence that U.S. immigrants, including those who are undocumented, commit more crimes than native-born Americans. And now a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that draws from a detailed and well-sourced data set comes to an even more dramatic conclusion. It reports that between 2012 and 2018, compared with their U.S.-born neighbors, undocumented immigrants in Texas were less than half as likely to be arrested for violent crimes or drug offenses and less than a quarter as likely to be arrested for property crimes.”

‘War Bonds?’ With Federal Help AWOL, Here’s a Way We Could Dig Ourselves Out of the Pandemic (Reader Steve)

From the Seattle Times: “War bonds were once a popular way for the federal government to raise money for the military. They’d sell debt directly to the public, giving people a stake in the effort and the government immediate cash for its emergency needs, to be paid off later. It turns out there’s an idea floating around at the state capital in Olympia that’s sort of similar to this, called a ‘recovery bond.’ … [State Sen. Liz] Lovelett and some other Democrats, along with the green group Carbon Washington, have come up with an idea to sell bonds to pay for a slew of infrastructure projects that could start up right away. It would jump-start local economies as well as ‘green’ up the state.”

How an Algorithm Blocked Kidney Transplants to Black Patients (Dana)

The author writes, “Black people in the US suffer more from chronic diseases and receive inferior health care relative to white people. Racially skewed math can make the problem worse. Doctors often make life-changing decisions about patient care based on algorithms that interpret test results or weight risks, like whether to perform a particular procedure. Some of those formulas factor in a person’s race, meaning patients’ skin color can affect access to care. A new study of patients in the Boston area is one of the first to document the harm that can cause. It examined the effect on care of a widely used but controversial formula for estimating kidney function that by design assigns Black people healthier scores.”

COVID-19 Sparked a Run on Outdoor Heaters and Fire Pits. Which Is Better for the Planet? (Russ)

The author writes, “The chemical reactions that happen in a fire pit and a propane burner are more or less the same. … Molecules in the fuel break apart, creating heat; the resulting carbon atoms combine with oxygen in the air, producing carbon dioxide. But an inefficient fuel, or a fuel that is burning under poorly ventilated conditions, will also create other byproducts, such as carbon monoxide and methane. And these reactions don’t generate as much heat, giving you less warming bang for your carbon emissions buck.”

Portable Toilets ‘Sing’ Christmas Carols in Festive Display (Dana)

The author writes, “An Indiana portable toilet company shared a festive video of what it calls ‘a world record for the most animated faces on a single holiday light display.’ Service Sanitation posted a video to Facebook showing 32 portable toilets adorned with animated faces ‘singing’ the song ‘Hallelujah.’”