science, biodiversity, marine life, fish, evolution, living fossils, gars
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Timeless Species: ‘Living Fossil’ Gar Fish Among the Most Primitive Animals on Earth (Maria)

The author writes, “If you could hop into a time machine and travel back 150 million years, the world would have looked very different. The supercontinent known as Pangaea was just beginning to break up, stegosaurs plodded across the land, and ichthyosaurs plied the seas. But if you stuck your head into a stream, you might have spotted a familiar face: gars. Known as ‘living fossils,’ gars are a group of toothy, torpedo-shaped fish that have remained relatively unchanged across vast expanses of time. Ancient gar fossils show a surprising number of similarities to the seven gar species alive today.”

Biden Is Building a ‘Superstructure’ to Stop Trump From Stealing the Election (Sean)

From Rolling Stone: “For years, Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that if he doesn’t win the 2024 presidential election, he is willing to cheat and steal it. Since President Joe Biden’s inaugural address, according to sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, Biden and his inner circle have been drawing up meticulous plans and creating a large legal network focused on wargaming a close election finish, in which the former president and Republican Party launch a scorched-earth, Big Lie–fueled crusade.”

Elon Musk Has a Giant Charity. Its Money Stays Close to Home (Reader Jim)

The authors write, “Before March 2021, Elon Musk’s charitable foundation had never announced any donations to Cameron County, an impoverished region at the southern tip of Texas that is home to his SpaceX launch site and local officials who help regulate it. Then, at 8:05 one morning that month, a SpaceX rocket blew up, showering the area with a rain of twisted metal. The Musk Foundation began giving at 9:27 a.m. local time.”

L.A. Times Reporters Attacked by Minnesota Troopers Will Settle Lawsuit for $1.2 Million (DonkeyHotey)

From the Los Angeles Times: “Two journalists who were cornered and attacked by the Minnesota State Patrol as they covered protests over George Floyd’s murder for the Los Angeles Times will soon settle a lawsuit with the state for $1.2 million. The pair, one current and one former L.A. Times employee, alleged the troopers violated their 1st Amendment rights. The settlement stems from a violent May 30, 2020, incident, when staff photographer Carolyn Cole and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, then The Times’ Houston bureau chief, were in Minneapolis covering the community’s response to Floyd’s murder. … Even though they were wearing credentials, carrying media equipment and identified themselves as press, the journalists said, the troopers then backed them and other media personnel into a corner against a wall and began firing projectiles and pepper-spraying the group.”

Lead in Water a Threat to Two-Thirds of Young Children in Chicago (Laura)

From the Chicago Sun-Times: “Two out of three very young children in Chicago were exposed to at least trace amounts of lead in their home tap water, a study found, highlighting the need for City Hall to speed up replacements of brain-damaging lead pipes. A study by Johns Hopkins and Stanford researchers, published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, used artificial intelligence to estimate the extent of exposure of children across the city to water from home faucets containing lead. In all, 129,000 children, 68% of those 5 or younger had lead in their home drinking water, the study found. Young children in Black and Latino communities were potentially exposed at even higher rates.”

The Surprising US Region That’s Home to the World’s Oldest Forests (Mili)

The author writes, “Picture a hot, tropical landscape near the equator full of shallow seas. Birds and invertebrates don’t yet exist. Neither does the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, a mountain range the height of the Andes looms over fragile stretches of trees that resemble palms. This is what New York state looked like during the Devonian period, roughly 400 million years ago. … There are Devonian rocks scattered across the world, but during the 19th and 20th Centuries, the town of Gilboa, New York, became world famous for the discovery of its rare fossil forests (groups of preserved tree stumps containing the remnants of ancient trees). They were recognized as the oldest in the world at around 380 million years old. That is, until the 2018 discovery at a quarry in nearby Cairo, New York, revealed evidence of a 385-million-year-old forest.”

Pollinators Flock to Flower-Filled Solar Panel Fields (Dana)

From Scientific American: “Sprawling plains of solar panels can help nature more than just by providing clean energy: As populations of crucial pollinators decline, developers have been seeding the grounds of their solar arrays with native wildflowers. Now a five-year study published in Environmental Research Letters confirms that this approach boosts the pollinators’ abundance and diversity — with spillover benefits for surrounding farms.”

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