climate crisis, biodiversity, Florida, coral reef bleaches, spiny lobster finding
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‘Knight In Spiny Armor’: Could Lobsters Help Save Florida’s Dying Corals? (Maria)

The author writes, “An unexpected champion has emerged in the increasingly grave battle to save Florida’s imperiled coral reefs: spiny lobsters that urinate in the water and scare off predatory worms and snails seeking to feast on the delicate organisms. The finding is one of the more bizarre conclusions of a three-year study by scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who are also warning it may already be too late for some species of coral to survive without significant human assistance. Last summer’s record ocean heat further accelerated a 90% decline in healthy coral in the Florida Keys since the 1970s.”

New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity (DonkeyHotey)

From The Atlantic: “For more than two decades, through two wars and domestic upheaval, the idea that al-Qaeda acted alone on 9/11 has been the basis of U.S. policy. A blue-ribbon commission concluded that Osama bin Laden had pioneered a new kind of terrorist group — combining superior technological know-how, extensive resources, and a worldwide network so well coordinated that it could carry out operations of unprecedented magnitude. … That assessment now appears wrong. And if our understanding of what transpired on 9/11 turns out to have been flawed, then the costly policies that the United States has pursued for the past quarter century have been rooted in a false premise.”

County Sheriffs Wield Lethal Power, Face Little Accountability: ‘A Failure Of Democracy’ (Sean)

From CBS News: “County sheriff’s officers are three times more lethal than city police, a CBS News investigation has found. More people were killed by U.S. law enforcement in 2023 than any other year in the past decade, outpacing population growth eightfold. But despite a focus on urban areas, fatal police violence is increasingly happening in small town America at the hands of sheriffs, the top law enforcement officials in counties nationwide. The revelation is part of the findings of a yearlong reporting effort that documented chronic misconduct in sheriff’s offices and oversight failures that can enable abuses to go unchecked. The consequences can be fatal.”

States Push Back Against Guaranteed Income With New Bans (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “After years of momentum behind guaranteed income programs that disburse no-strings-attached cash, the backlash has arrived in force. Three Republican-led states passed laws this session that will preempt localities from launching direct cash assistance initiatives. At least six other states’ legislators have tried or are trying. And now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Harris County for its just-launched pilot.”

For Boeing Max Crash Victim’s Mom, Years of Despair and Then Hope (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “It was after midnight … in Paris when Catherine Berthet learned U.S. federal prosecutors had made a decision she hoped could deliver justice for her daughter, Camille Geoffroy. Berthet pinned the blame for her daughter’s death on Boeing, the maker of the 737 Max jet that carried the 28-year-old and 345 other people to their deaths because of a flawed control system. While the Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 left Boeing with a scarred reputation and billions of dollars in legal bills, fines and losses, the company cut an unusual plea deal with federal prosecutors to avoid a criminal conviction. If it met conditions negotiated with the Justice Department until Jan. 7 of this year, Boeing could avoid further sanctions and yet another black mark related to the disaster. The families who lost loved ones when two Renton, Washington-built 737 Max planes crashed have talked almost daily for roughly five years strategizing about how to hold Boeing accountable.”

Zombie Coal Plants Could Threaten the US Energy Transition (Laura)

From Canary Media: “Maryland’s Brandon Shores can’t close down — even though its owners want it to. The coal plant is a poster child for how poor grid planning stalls climate progress.”

The USDA’s Gardening Zones Shifted. This Map Shows You What’s Changed in Vivid Detail (Dana)

From NPR: “Recently, the USDA updated its plant hardiness map for the first time in 11 years.

If you’re a gardener — and everybody can be a gardener, even on a balcony or a stoop — this is a big deal! The updated map opens up new possibilities for home gardeners, but there are limits. Let’s explore how the map has changed and what this means for your garden.”


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