West Coast wildfires, East Coast cities, smoke, pollution, climate change
Photo credit: National Interagency Fire Center / Wikimedia

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Harmful Western Wildfire Smoke Reaches East Coast (Maria)

The author writes, “Smoke from the wildfires engulfing the US West and Canada is carrying harmful air pollution as it reaches East Coast cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., this week. The coast to coast smoke clearly visible from space comes from the nearly 300 wildfires burning in British Columbia and more than 80 large blazes in the US. Due to its small particulate matter, wildfire smoke can be hazardous to human health. The fires are also a source of carbon dioxide emissions, worsening global warming. Smoke blanketed New York City, plunging its air-quality index to 158 on Tuesday — second only to the index of 174 in Krasnoyarks, Russia.”

American Democracy Survived Its Reichstag Fire on Jan. 6. But the Threat Has Not Subsided. (Dan)

The author writes, “In September, I wrote that the United States faced a situation akin to the 1933 burning of Weimar Germany’s parliament, which Hitler used to seize power. ‘America, this is our Reichstag moment,’ the column said, citing the eminent Yale historian Timothy Snyder on the lessons of 20th-century authoritarianism. Snyder argued that President Donald Trump had ‘an authoritarian’s instinct’ and was surrounding the election in ‘the authoritarian language of a coup d’etat.’ … Now we know that 1933 was very much on the mind of the nation’s top soldier, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ‘This is a Reichstag moment,’ Milley told aides of Trump’s ‘stomach-churning’ lies about election fraud. ‘The gospel of the Führer,’ Milley labeled Trump’s claims.”

DOJ Won’t Prosecute Ex-Trump Commerce Chief Ross for Misleading Congress on Census Question (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The Justice Department will not prosecute former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for misrepresenting why a citizenship question was proposed for last year’s census, according to the Commerce Department’s inspector general. Ross ‘misrepresented the full rationale for the reinstatement of the citizenship question’ during two appearances before House committees in March 2018, said a letter from the department’s watchdog to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, both Democrats from New York.”

The Risible Launch of ‘Britain’s Fox News’ (Russ)

From Columbia Journalism Review: “Launching a new media company is hard — especially on British TV, where channels must abide by a range of impartiality and other rules. GB News pledged to stand up for ‘marginalized’ voices — but conservative outlets are, in reality, already plentiful in the UK, in print and online if not on traditional broadcast TV. In the face of such competition, GB News could nonetheless have stood out by leaning decisively into US-style culture-war content. Yet its approach has always seemed conceptually muddled: in the US, the point of such content is that it opposes traditional journalism, rather than aspiring to appear alongside it. The result has been a network that, so far, has been neither sensible enough to appeal to the sensible, nor quite outrageous enough to appeal to the outraged.”

The True Extent of America’s Food Monopolies, and Who Pays the Price (Sean)

The author writes, “A handful of powerful companies control the majority market share of almost 80% of dozens of grocery items bought regularly by ordinary Americans, new analysis reveals. A joint investigation by the Guardian and Food and Water Watch found that consumer choice is largely an illusion — despite supermarket shelves and fridges brimming with different brands. In fact, a few powerful transnational companies dominate every link of the food supply chain: from seeds and fertilizers to slaughterhouses and supermarkets to cereals and beers.”

Female Coach Trains Male Boxers in Egypt (Mili)

From Al-Monitor: “In Beni Suef in the south of Egypt, boxing coach Sabah Abdel Halim, 36, stands inside a small training hall, giving instructions to male players inside a boxing ring. She trains a group of young men two days a week. ‘I have had my share of disapproval and criticism ever since I started doing what I do. Not only because I am a woman who trains men, but also because I’m doing this while living in Upper Egypt, where it is not common for a woman to play any sport, let alone practice sports around men,’ Abdel Halim told Al-Monitor.”

Team Find Brain Mechanism That Automatically Links Objects in Our Minds (Mili)

The author writes, “When people see a toothbrush, a car, a tree — any individual object — their brain automatically associates it with other things it naturally occurs with, allowing humans to build context for their surroundings and set expectations for the world. By using machine-learning and brain imaging, researchers measured the extent of the ‘co-occurrence’ phenomenon and identified the brain region involved.”

Nearly 30 Football-Sized Goldfish Caught in Minnesota Lake (Dana)

The author writes, “Football-sized goldfish have authorities in one Minnesota community urging residents not to release in local waterways. Officials in Burnsville, Minnesota, captured nearly 30 gigantic goldfish, some measuring more than 18 inches and weighing up to 4 pounds, the Associated Press reports. The fish are believed to have been released by owners thinking it was a humane way to dispose of the unwanted pets. City employees fished out the large lunkers from Keller Lake. The invasive species, a cousin of the common carp, can grow to prodigious sizes when allowed to swim free in open water, making it difficult for native fish to survive.”


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