new species, pumpkin toadlet, Brazil, biodiversity, deforestation
The author writes, “It’s orange, fluorescent, and the size of a thumbnail. Meet the newly discovered amphibian Brachycephalus rotenbergae, a type of pumpkin toadlet found in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. ... The new species, described recently in the journal PLOS ONE, was found during an extensive research effort across Brazil to find new pumpkin toadlets. Identifying the creatures is crucial to conserving Brazil’s biodiversity, especially in species-rich areas such as the Atlantic Forest.” Photo credit: Renato Augusto Martins / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Republican State Lawmakers Look to Empower Partisan Poll Watchers, Setting Off Alarms About Potential Voter Intimidation (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Voting rights activists are sounding alarms about Republican efforts in key states to empower partisan poll watchers and expand voter challenges — arguing it could lead to voter intimidation that recalls dark chapters in US history. Bills in several states would grant new authority to poll watchers — who work on behalf of candidates and political parties — to observe voters and election workers. Critics say it could lead to conflict and chaos at polling places and an improper targeting of voters of color.”

An Unusual Coalition as Supreme Court Rules For Immigrant (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “An unusual coalition of Supreme Court justices joined Thursday to rule in favor of an immigrant fighting deportation in a case that the court said turned on the meaning of the shortest word, ‘a.’ By a 6-3 vote, the court sided with Agusto Niz-Chavez, a Guatemalan immigrant who has been in the United States since 2005. Eight years later, he received a notice to appear at a deportation hearing but this notice did not include a date or time. Two months after that, a second notice instructed him when and where to show up. … The court was deciding whether immigration officials had to include all the relevant information in a single notice.”

Texas Enabled the Worst Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Catastrophe in Recent US History (Bethany)

The authors write, “After the power flicked off in millions of homes across Texas during the state’s historic freeze in mid-February, families … faced an impossible choice: risk hypothermia or improvise to keep warm. Many brought charcoal grills inside or ran cars in enclosed spaces, either unaware of the dangers or too cold to think rationally. In their desperation, thousands of Texans unwittingly unleashed deadly gases into homes and apartments that, in many cases, were not equipped with potentially lifesaving carbon monoxide alarms, resulting in the country’s ‘biggest epidemic of CO poisoning in recent history,’ according to Dr. Neil Hampson, a retired doctor who has spent more than 30 years researching carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention.”

Some Male Birds Fly Under False Colors to Attract Mates, Study Suggest (Russ)

From the New York Times: “Male tanagers are meant to be noticed. Many species of the small, tropical bird sport deep black feathers and splashes of eye-catching color — electric yellows, traffic-cone oranges and nearly neon scarlets. To achieve this flashiness, the birds must spend time and energy foraging for, and metabolizing, plants that contain special color pigments, which make their way into the feathers. A vibrantly colored male is thus sending an ‘honest signal,’ many scientists have long theorized: He is alerting nearby females that he has a good diet, is in good health and would make a worthy mate. But some birds may be guilty of false advertising, a new study suggests.” 

How a Russian Man Is Forced Into Stardom in China (Dana)

From Vice: “In a talent show where contestants compete for a spot in a boy group, you would expect to see performers sing and dance their hearts out to please viewers. But Vladislav Sidorov, a Russian man who joined an idol contest in China by accident, has emerged as the show’s star for an unlikely reason — he just wanted to go home.”

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