science, biodiversity, Indonesia, rare Siamang gibbons,forest chorus, pair released
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Hope for Rare Singing Gibbons as Pair Are Released Into Wild (Maria)

The author writes, “The forest chorus of South Sumatra in Indonesia has some of its finest singers back: a pair of rare Siamang gibbons, rescued from the illegal pet trade, have been released into the wild. Siamang gibbons (Symphalangus syndactylus) are known for their distinctive large throat sacs. But their powerful, haunting voices, used for communication and marking territory, are a blessing and a curse. ‘Gibbons are one of the most popular primates for pets in the illegal wildlife trade and Siamangs are one of the biggest targets because of their beautiful forest singing,’ said Made Wedana, country director for the Indonesia program of the Aspinall Foundation wildlife charity.”

Could a Trump Win Put His Running Mate in Office? (Reader Jim)

From The New Yorker: “The possibility that Trump cannot hold office until Congress votes to let him is the centerpiece of the amicus brief [filed last week] on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. … The brief states that, ‘even if the Colorado Supreme Court were correct that President Trump cannot take office on Inauguration Day,’ he is still permitted to run ‘and also seek removal of any alleged disqualification from Congress if necessary.’ What happens in the meantime, according to the N.R.S.C., is specified in the Twentieth Amendment, which Trump’s petition acknowledges only in passing: ‘if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified.’”

Would Ranked Choice Voting Enhance Democracy? (Al)

From Urban Milwaukee: “Perhaps the most obvious benefit of ranked choice voting is that it solves the third-party quandary. Most third parties share values and goals with one or another of the two major parties, Thus, they hurt the major party that these voters would otherwise support. This is bad for the third party, which may be blamed for an election loss. This hurts the major party which loses potential voters. And it means that the voters who choose the third party effectively throw away their vote.”

Judge Orders New North Dakota Legislative District for 2 Native American Tribes (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A federal judge on Monday ordered a new joint North Dakota legislative district for two Native American tribes that successfully argued a map created through redistricting in 2021 violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting their voting strength. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter Welte’s decision to adopt and implement a new map comes after a flurry of court filings in the lawsuit since his Nov. 17 ruling that the state’s 2021 redistricting map ‘prevents Native American voters from having an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.’”

New Study Finds Microplastics in Nearly 90 Percent of Proteins Sampled, Including Plant-Based Meat Alternatives (Sean)

The author writes, “A new study led by researchers at Ocean Conservancy and the University of Toronto and published [this week] in the journal Environmental Pollution found microplastic particles in 88% of protein food samples tested. The samples were drawn from 16 different protein types destined for U.S. consumers, including seafood, pork, beef, chicken, tofu, and three different plant-based meat alternatives.”

Satellite Maps Reveal Rampant Fishing by Untracked ‘Dark Vessels’ in the World’s Oceans (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “It has sometimes been said that we know less about our ocean’s depths than we know about the moon. Now, a new study puts a twist on that old (and, some say, outdated) analogy, suggesting we know staggeringly less about our oceans’ surfaces than previously assumed. For the first time ever, researchers have created a global map of human activity in the oceans and on coastlines, published last week in the journal Nature. By harnessing satellite imagery, GPS data and artificial intelligence, the team uncovered rampant, unregulated activity on the high seas, including untracked fishing vessels and a spike in offshore energy development.”

The Duolingo Effect: How Keeping the ‘Streak’ Is Changing People’s Behavior (Laura)

From Fast Company: “An activity streak has the power to compel behavior, and marketers have taken note. Marketing researchers Jackie Silverman and Alixandra Barasch recently documented 101 unique instances, including Snapchat, Candy Crush Saga, Wordle, and the Duolingo language learning platform, of apps that have incorporated streaks into their architecture by tracking the number of consecutive days users complete a task. There are even apps dedicated solely to tracking streaks.”


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