climate change, environment, agriculture, farm soil, reviving
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From Ashes to Fly Larvae, New Ideas to Revive Farm Soil (Maria)

The author writes, “As extreme weather and human activity degrade the world’s arable land, scientists and developers are looking at new and largely unproven methods to save soil for agriculture. One company is injecting liquid clay into [the] California desert to trap moisture and help fruit to grow. …  Long-established soil preservation techniques, such as tilling less and sowing crops during off-seasons, are proving no match for more frequent droughts, floods and temperature extremes.”

Former ABC News Producer Arrested on Charge of Transporting Child Pornography (Sean)

The author writes, “A former producer for ABC News has been arrested on a charge of transportation of child pornography, nine months after he resigned abruptly at the network amid an FBI search of his home. James Gordon Meek, 53, was arrested on Tuesday, according to the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors say that an investigation was started with a lead that was sent by Dropbox to the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. That led to a search, authorized by a judge, of Meek’s Arlington, VA home where officers ‘seized multiple devices that allegedly contained evidence of the transportation of images of child sexual abuse,’ according to the DOJ.”

Voter Fraud at a GOP Stronghold Leads to Another Light Sentence (DonkeyHotey)

From MSNBC: “To the extent that the United States has a retirement community known to national audiences, it’s probably The Villages in central Florida. As regular readers probably recall, it has also earned a reputation as a far-right Republican stronghold. A few years ago, for example, when Donald Trump promoted a video showing a parade of supporters in golf carts — one of whom shouted, ‘White power!’ — it was recorded at The Villages. It was against this backdrop that we learned in 2021 that three residents of The Villages were charged with voter fraud. A fourth soon followed. As we discussed at the time, according to local police reports, the accused tried to game the system by voting in Florida, while also trying to cast absentee ballots in other states. Not surprisingly, they got caught. Whatever happened to these charges? I’m glad you asked.”

Vaccine Makers Kept $1.4 Billion in Prepayments for Canceled COVID-19 Shots for the World’s Poor (Russ)

The authors write, “As global demand for Covid-19 vaccines dries up, the program responsible for vaccinating the world’s poor has been urgently negotiating to try to get out of its deals with pharmaceutical companies for shots it no longer needs. Drug companies have so far declined to refund $1.4 billion in advance payments for now-canceled doses, according to confidential documents obtained by The New York Times.”

Tyre Nichols Beating Raises Scrutiny on ‘Elite’ Police Units (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The beating and death of Tyre Nichols by five former Memphis police officers who were members of an anti-crime task force has renewed scrutiny on such squads, which frequently wear street clothes and often are involved in a disproportionate number of violent incidents and civilian complaints. Memphis police officials — after initially defending the SCORPION unit — permanently disbanded the team Saturday just hours after the release of video that showed immediate and prolonged aggression from its officers.”

‘America’s Frontline Doctors’ Continue to Misinform on COVID (Sean)

From MedPageToday: “A physician group that rampantly spread COVID-19 misinformation is back in the spotlight — but this time, sowing doubt about the vaccine. America’s Frontline Doctors, an organization that claims to provide uncensored, accurate information about the pandemic, became infamous in July after a viral press conference that protested government lockdown restrictions and spread inaccuracies ranging from the ineffectiveness of masks to claims that hydroxychloroquine could ‘cure’ COVID-19. Now, those same doctors — the majority of which have no experience treating COVID-19 patients — have launched a campaign to warn Americans that they should not be forced to take an ‘experimental vaccine,’ while failing to mention the safety trials and large phase III efficacy trials, along with the fact that no vaccine mandate exists.”

A ‘De-Extinction’ Company Wants to Bring Back the Dodo (Dana)

From Scientific American: “Colossal Biosciences, the headline-grabbing, venture-capital-funded juggernaut of de-extinction science, announced plans on January 31 to bring back the dodo. Whether ‘bringing back’ a semblance of the extinct flightless bird is feasible is a matter of debate. Founded in 2021 by tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard University geneticist George Church, the company first said it would recreate the mammoth. And a year later it announced such an effort for the thylacine, aka the Tasmanian tiger. Now, with the launch of a new Avian Genomics Group and a reported $150 million of additional investment, the long-gone dodo joins the lineup.”

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