US wildfires, Arctic Ocean, Laptev Sea, microscopic algae, bloom
Javelin missiles have been pulled from US military inventory to be sent to Ukraine. Ukraine needs a steady supply. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from US Army, ЦБ РФ / Wikimedia, and ЦБ РФ / Wikimedia.

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How Increasing Wildfires Could Transform the Arctic (Maria)

The author writes, “In August 2014, the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole was suddenly awash with microscopic life — gripped by an algae bloom that covered the Laptev Sea, a large chunk of the East Siberian Sea, and part of the open Arctic Ocean. In a regular year, late summer is a quiet time for the Arctic. … By August, the algae that bloomed in the spring have sucked most of the nitrogen out of the water, leaving the region practically devoid of microscopic creatures and the larger animals that eat them. So where did this bloom come from? Eventually, the scientists pinned down the most likely culprit: huge wildfires that were raging across Siberia thousands of kilometers south — fires that were burning through forests and, notably, nitrogen-rich peat.”

In Arizona, a MAGA Victory Party Takes a Sour Turn (Russ)

The author writes, “Has there ever been a more rage-filled celebration? Arizona Republicans up and down the ballot gathered at a resort here for a unified election night ‘party.’ But even after the last vote was cast, the MAGA crowd could not help themselves. They eschewed basic decency. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is ‘losing the gavel but finding the hammer,’ Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) told the crowd, laughing about the attack on Pelosi’s husband that left him with a fractured skull — just as GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake did a week earlier. The crowd laughed.”

Abortion Rights Are Reshaping American Politics (Dana)

From FiveThirtyEight: “In June, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and the court’s ultra-conservative majority wrote that they were sending the issue of abortion back to the voters. The voters are displeased. The midterm election results look like a striking rebuke of the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and the wave of near-total abortion bans that followed it. Results are still pending in some key states like Arizona, but Democrats won many contests that will shape abortion access for the next few years — and in some cases, much longer. Abortion-rights supporters managed to enshrine the right to abortion in three state constitutions.”

Elon Musk’s Twitter Laid Off More Than 90 Percent of Staff in India (Sean)

The author writes, “Twitter has laid off more than 90% of its employees in India as Elon Musk made huge cuts to the company’s global headcount, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. Over the weekend, Twitter’s workforce of about 200 in India was cut down to about 12 staff, people with knowledge of the matter and who requested to remain anonymous told Bloomberg.”

How an Army-Funded ‘Bioengineered Blood Vessel’ Is Saving Lives in Ukraine (DonkeyHotey)

From Task and Purpose: “New, cutting-edge medical technology funded by the U.S. Army may not have been approved for full use in America, but it’s already saving lives in Ukraine. The human acellular vessel (HAV) is a ‘bioengineered blood vessel’ used to treat patients in Ukraine suffering from gunshot and shrapnel wounds, mine blast injuries, and more, according to a recent Army release. A press release in September from Humacyte Inc., which developed the product, called the HAV an ‘infection resistant vascular conduit,’ which will help quickly restore a patient’s blood flow.”

Ancient Viral DNA in Human Genome Guards Against Infections (Mili)

The author writes, “Viral DNA in human genomes, embedded there from ancient infections, serve as antivirals that protect human cells against certain present-day viruses, according to new research. … Previous studies have shown that fragments of ancient viral DNA — called endogenous retroviruses — in the genomes of mice, chickens, cats and sheep provide immunity against modern viruses that originate outside the body by blocking them from entering host cells. Though this study was conducted with human cells in culture in the lab, it shows that the antiviral effect of endogenous retroviruses likely also exists for humans.”

Burning a Frida Kahlo Drawing to Sell NFTs Is a Bad Idea (Sean)

The author writes, “It’s hard out there for NFT enthusiasts — the market has slowed down significantly, sales have plummeted since peaks, and the people involved in the space are grasping for ways to get their projects some attention. For crypto businessperson Martin Mobarak, the best way he knew how to do that was to destroy art by Frida Kahlo, valued at $10 million. In July, at a party for Mobarak’s Frida.NFT project, the art collector burned a drawing by Kahlo to a cheering crowd, according to the Miami Herald, promising to use the profits from NFT sales for charity.”

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