science, biodiversity, evolutionary shift, plants, pollination
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Plant Turns Suspected Crop Pest Into Pollinator (Maria)

The author writes, “The agricultural pests known as plant bugs can be a farmer’s worst enemy. These winged insects — the size of a pea or smaller — suck the sap from crops … causing millions of dollars in damages globally each year. A Costa Rican flower has turned this foe into friend, however, according to a new study. One species of the so-called arum plant has evolved to attract a species of plant bug instead of a typical beetle pollinator, helping them spread their pollen far and wide. The find is the first known example of a plant harnessing plant bugs to help them reproduce.”

Fourteen Members of Laxalt family Endorse Democratic Rival, Cortez Masto, in Senate Race (Reader Steve)

From The Nevada Independent: “Fourteen members of Republican Senate candidate and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s family announced Wednesday that they would collectively endorse his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, in the heated race for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat. The three-page letter, obtained by The Nevada Independent, does not mention Laxalt by name or his Senate campaign, focusing instead on praising Cortez Masto. That includes her positions on women’s issues, opposition to a proposed federal mining tax, public land preservation and her record as the state’s attorney general from 2007 to 2015.”

US Firm Supplied Networking Tech to Maker of Russian Missiles (Sean)

The authors write, “Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, American companies have been prohibited from dealing with MMZ Avangard, a state-owned firm that makes missiles for one of Russia’s most sophisticated weapons, the S-400 air-defense system. … But even as the United States was taking actions to blunt MMZ Avangard’s business, a publicly traded American technology company, Extreme Networks (EXTR.O), was providing MMZ Avangard with computer networking equipment for its office IT systems.”

CPS Workers Search Millions of Homes a Year. A Mom Who Resisted Paid a Price. (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “By law, ACS caseworkers are not allowed to enter and search a home without either permission to enter or an entry order, which is the legal equivalent of a search warrant, unless a child is in imminent danger. But many parents don’t know that they have the right to deny these government agents or don’t push back for fear of losing their children, according to parents and their advocates. And caseworkers frequently say things that are coercive and manipulative in order to get inside homes without going to a judge.”

California Spends Billions Rebuilding Burned Towns. The Case for Calling It Quits (Laura)

From the Los Angeles Times: “One day, in a not-so-distant future ravaged by climate change, many of Northern California’s far-flung rural towns — founded in another time and for another economy — might not get rebuilt at all. Gone could be the political and public will to spend hundreds of millions of dollars — with Southern California taxpayers footing a big chunk of the bill — to replace homes and businesses for a small number of people, knowing that it’s all likely to burn down again as extreme heat and drought keep decimating unmanaged forests.”

Giant Methane Leak From Nord Stream Pipeline Detected From Space (Mili)

The author writes, “On 26 September 2022, leaks were discovered in the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, located near Denmark and Sweden. Both pipelines are owned by Russia and were built to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Officials have said the leaks were caused by deliberate action, not accidents, and were likely intentional sabotage. While accusations have abounded, the motives behind the damage are not yet known.”

Live Brain Cells in Dish Quickly Learn to Play Pong (Dana)

From CNET: “Watch out, gamers. Scientists have created a worthy gaming opponent — in a lab. An Australian-led team of researchers placed 800,000 live human and mouse brain cells into a dish, connected them to electrodes and a simulation of the classic game Pong. The scientists then watched as the biological conglomerate quickly taught itself the game and improved its play the more it practiced. They were able to follow along by converting the cellular responses into a visual depiction of the game that looks much like the original.”


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