climate crisis, carbon, biodiversity role, new report
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Our Response to Climate Change Is Missing Something Big, Scientists Say (Maria)

The author writes, “Some environmental solutions are win-win, helping to rein in global warming and protecting biodiversity too. But others address one crisis at the expense of the other. Growing trees on grasslands, for example, can destroy the plant and animal life of a rich ecosystem, even if the new trees ultimately suck up carbon. … Unless the world stops treating climate change and biodiversity collapse as separate issues, neither problem can be addressed effectively, according to a report issued [last week] by researchers from two leading international scientific panels.”

14 GOP-Controlled States Have Passed Laws to Impede Free Elections (Reader Pat)

From Mother Jones: “Donald Trump will not be ‘reinstated’ as president by August, as some of his supporters and allegedly the former president himself seem to believe. But Republicans are rushing to change the rules to make it easier for their party to overturn the will of the voters in future elections. While GOP-controlled legislatures rush to make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote, they are also intensifying their control over how elections are run and how votes are counted, after Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results. Twenty-four new laws have been passed in 14 states this year that will allow state legislatures to ‘politicize, criminalize, and interfere in election administration,’ according to a report released Thursday.”

The Drug That Could Break American Health Care (Bethany)

The authors write, “[Last] week, the Food and Drug Administration overruled — to much criticism  — its own scientific advisory committee and approved the Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm. The agency made this decision despite thin evidence of the drug’s clinical efficacy and despite its serious side effects, including brain swelling and bleeding. As a result, a serious risk now exists that millions of people will be prescribed a drug that does more harm than good. Less appreciated is how the drug’s approval could trigger hundreds of billions of dollars of new government spending, all without a vote in Congress or indeed any public debate over the drug’s value. Aduhelm’s manufacturer, Biogen, announced on Monday that it would price the drug at an average of $56,000 a year per patient, a figure that doesn’t include the additional imaging and scans needed to diagnose patients or to monitor them for serious side effects.”

Chinese-Owned TikTok Can Now Collect Your Kids’ Faceprints and Voiceprints (Sean)

From Blaze Media: “Chinese-owned TikTok made a quiet update to its privacy policy in the United States this [month]. The massively popular social video app gave itself permission to collect biometric data of U.S. users, which includes faceprints and voiceprints. ‘We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content,’ the new privacy policy … stated.”

‘Electronic Nose’ Accurately Sniffs Out Hard-to-Detect Cancers (Mili)

The author writes, “An odor-based test that sniffs out vapors emanating from blood samples was able to distinguish between benign and pancreatic and ovarian cancer cells with up to 95% accuracy.”

A Top Editor Becomes Her ‘True Self’ (Dan)

The author writes, “For most people, the pandemic lockdowns will be remembered as a time that shrank our worlds, stripping away most of life as we knew it. For Gina Chua, the executive editor of Reuters, it was when her world opened up. Ms. Chua, 60, transitioned genders during 2020, using the time at home and away from the office to, as she describes it, ‘grow into this skin.’ On Dec. 18, she wrote to her colleagues at Reuters to inform them of the change.”

Hundreds of Mysterious Fast Radio Bursts Detected in Space (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Hundreds of mysterious fast radio bursts have been detected in space thanks to a Canadian telescope and an international group of researchers. The origins of these bright, millisecond-long flashes of light are unknown because the bursts, or FRBs, are unpredictable and vanish quickly. Scientists first observed them in 2007. In the decade following, they only observed about 140 bursts across the universe.”


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