Amazon, union vote, worker's rights, wage inequality
The authors write, “Roughly 500 ballots submitted in Inc’s landmark union election have been challenged in a contest that will determine whether an Alabama warehouse becomes the online retailer’s first organized workplace in the US, people familiar with the matter said.” Photo credit: PictureCapital / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

How mRNA Technology Could Change the World ; In Bipartisan Unity, Police Reform Bills Advanced in OR ; and More Picks 4/9

How mRNA Technology Could Change the World (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Synthetic mRNA, the ingenious technology behind the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, might seem like a sudden breakthrough, or a new discovery. One year ago, almost nobody in the world knew what an mRNA vaccine was, for the good reason that no country in the world had ever approved one. Months later, the same technology powered the two fastest vaccine trials in the history of science. Like so many breakthroughs, this apparent overnight success was many decades in the making. More than 40 years had passed between the 1970s, when a Hungarian scientist pioneered early mRNA research, and the day the first authorized mRNA vaccine was administered in the United States, on December 14, 2020. In the interim, the idea’s long road to viability nearly destroyed several careers and almost bankrupted several companies.”

In Bipartisan Unity, Police Reform Bills Advanced in Oregon (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Republicans and Democrats on the Oregon House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved almost a dozen bills on police reform, a show of bipartisan unity in a Legislature that has been bitterly divided. The bills approved Tuesday evening involve regulating use of tear gas, requiring a publicly accessible database that names officers disciplined for misconduct, and limiting arbitrators’ decisions on officers’ misconduct cases.”

Meet Arizona’s Water One-Percenters (Dana)

The author writes, “Every two weeks, Dawn Upton floods her lawn. She treks into her back yard, twists open two valves big as dinner plates, and within minutes is ankle-deep in water. … Upton is among a handful of homeowners — by one accounting, just 1% — of metro Phoenix’s 4.4 million people to receive flood irrigation. The Salt River Project, the area’s largest supplier of such water, delivered almost 60,000 acre-feet of water to that small number of residents in 2019, or 7.5% of the water it delivered that year to all customers combined. … To provide scale for that type of usage: one acre-foot of water can sustain three Phoenix-area families for a year. The entire city of Chandler, Arizona, population 261,000, uses 60,000 acre-feet of water annually.”

Crises, Alerts, and DEFCONS, 1961-1976 — Part II (Doug)

From the National Security Archive: “The United States and its European allies disagreed over the advisability of using nuclear weapons to signal resolve and deter war if a serious crisis with Moscow over West Berlin broke out, according to a review of declassified records posted [yesterday] by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. During a July 1962 Allied discussion of contingency planning, published today for the first time, a French diplomat argued that nuclear demonstration shots would send a message to the Soviets without triggering ‘all-out war.’ Doing so ‘would bring to bear in Moscow the idea that their next move may be their last.’ A West German official took a similar position.”

Woman Discovers Her Son’s Bride Is Her Long Lost Daughter (Dana)

The author writes, “A woman in eastern China had the shock of her life when she found out that her son was marrying her long-lost daughter. The reunion occurred right at the would-be spouses’ wedding in Suzhou, Jiangsu province on March 31, according to Sohu News. The shocking discovery was made after the woman noticed a birthmark on the bride’s hand, which looked strikingly similar to that of her long-lost child.”

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