global warming, climate science, record summer heat, factors, theories
Photo credit: Steve Fox / Flickr

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Scientists Look Beyond Climate Change and El Nino For Factors Heating Earth (Maria)

The author writes, “Scientists are wondering if global warming and El Nino have an accomplice in fueling this summer’s record-shattering heat. The European climate agency Copernicus reported that July was one-third of a degree Celsius (six-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit) hotter than the old record. That’s a bump in heat that is so recent and so big … that scientists are split on whether something else could be at work.”

EPA Approved a Fuel Ingredient Even Though It Could Cause Cancer in Virtually Every Person Exposed Over a Lifetime (Russ)

From ProPublica: “The Environmental Protection Agency approved a component of boat fuel made from discarded plastic that the agency’s own risk formula determined was so hazardous, everyone exposed to the substance continually over a lifetime would be expected to develop cancer. Current and former EPA scientists said that threat level is unheard of. It is a million times higher than what the agency usually considers acceptable for new chemicals and six times worse than the risk of lung cancer from a lifetime of smoking.”

‘Conscience’ Bills Let Medical Providers Opt Out of Providing a Wide Range of Care (Mili)

The author writes, “A new Montana law will provide sweeping legal protections to health care practitioners who refuse to prescribe marijuana or participate in procedures and treatments such as abortion, medically assisted death, gender-affirming care, or others that run afoul of their ethical, moral, or religious beliefs or principles. The law, which goes into effect in October, will gut patients’ ability to take legal action if they believe they didn’t receive proper care due to a conscientious objection by a provider or an institution, such as a hospital.”

11 Mustangs Die in US Roundup in Nevada Caught On Video, Showing Horses With Broken Necks (Laura)

The author writes, “Nearly a dozen wild horses [died] in the first 10 days of a big mustang roundup in Nevada, deaths that a Las Vegas congresswoman is calling tragic proof of the urgent need to outlaw helicopters to capture the animals on federal land. The 11 deaths so far include five young foals, four horses with broken necks, and a stallion with a snapped rear leg that was chased by a helicopter and horseback rider as it tried to flee on three legs for 35 minutes before it was euthanized, according to witnesses. The horse that broke the leg jumping over a trap fence [in mid-July] was a lead Palomino stallion called ‘Mr. Sunshine’ by those who’d watched him roam.”

How (Nearly) Nothing Might Solve Cosmology’s Biggest Questions (Sean)

From Quanta Magazine: “Like a bright city in the middle of a barren desert, our galactic neighborhood is enveloped by a cosmic void — an enormous, almost unfathomably empty pocket of space. Recently, sky surveys have spotted thousands more of these vacant bubbles. Now, researchers have found a way to pull information out of these cosmic voids: By counting how many of them exist in a volume of space, scientists have devised a new way to explore two of the thorniest questions in cosmology. … Now, the hope is that studying nearly nothing could lead to something big.”

How a Bay Area Startup Plans to Build and Sell the World’s First Flying Car (Reader Steve)

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Alef Aeronautics’ attempt to build and sell the world’s first flying car began in 2015 as many things do in Silicon Valley — inside a boutique coffee shop in Palo Alto. At a Coupa Cafe, Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny sat at a table with his three future co-founders … as he drew his concept of a flying car on a napkin. How long, Dukhovny asked them, would it take to successfully build such a technology?  ‘They told me it was going to take about six months,’ Dukhovny told the Chronicle. ‘Here we are eight years later. We’re still building.’”


Comments are closed.