Is Your Favorite News Source Shilling for Big Oil? ; How Humans Can Echolocate Like Bats ; and More Picks 2/20

Natural Gas Is a Much ‘Dirtier’ Energy Source Than We Thought (Mili) 

The author writes, “Previously, geologic sources like volcanic seeps and gassy mud pots were thought to spit out about 10 percent of the methane that ended up in the atmosphere each year. But new research, published this week in Nature, suggests that natural geologic sources make up a much smaller fraction of the methane in today’s atmosphere. Instead, the researchers say, that methane is most likely attributable to industry. Added up, the results indicate we’ve underestimated the methane impacts of fossil fuel extraction by up to 40 percent.”

Is Your Favorite News Source Shilling for Big Oil? (Chris)

From the Nation: “Some media companies are creating, not just running, misleading climate ads.”

No One Is Trying to Kidnap You at the Grocery Store (Chris)

The author writes, “For years now, experts have pointed out that the reality of sex trafficking bears little resemblance to the sensationalized version depicted in public-awareness campaigns. … Victims are rarely moved against their will and seldom exhibit any of the ‘warning signs’ that would make their abuse visible to members of the public. Despite the persistent myth that human trafficking ‘could happen to anyone,’ most victims are undocumented, homeless, in foster care or otherwise marginalized.”

Some Texans Blame California for Homelessness in Austin (Reader Steve)

From the Los Angeles Times: “An influx of well-educated workers is most likely driving up housing costs throughout the city, exacerbating a shortage at the low end of the market. There is little evidence that the homeless people themselves are Californians: During a visit to a state-run camp last week, only one of about 100 people said he was from California.”

How Humans Can Echolocate Like Bats (Mili) 

The author writes, “Researchers found that the brain’s visual cortex, which processes incoming information from the eyes, plays a key role in echolocation. As a blind person learns this skill, that area (and any connecting regions) changes. It begins treating sound the same way it would treat messages from the eyes. The noggin takes in data and then forms it into various types of usable information like images or clues about depth perception.”

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