Coronavirus Could Cut Social Security Benefits ; Barcelona Puts On Opera for Crowd of Puccini-Loving Plants; and More Picks 6/26

White House Ordered NIH to Cancel Coronavirus Research Funding, Fauci Says (Gerry)

The author writes, “The involvement of the White House is a new wrinkle in a story that has appalled and angered scientists. Since the grant was nixed in late April, scientists had speculated that politics and a conspiracy theory played a role in canceling funding for the research, which was in good scientific standing and seen as critical work.”

The Coronavirus Could Cut Your Social Security Benefits for Life (Reader Steve)

From the Los Angeles Times: “Anyone turning 60 this year could face a lifelong reduction in Social Security benefits because of a quirk in the program’s benefit formula that makes them vulnerable to this year’s economic slump. That’s almost certain to happen unless Congress takes action by enacting a one-time fix. The damage could be felt by somewhere between 3 million and 5 million workers and their families.”

It’s Time to Change the Way the Media Reports on Protests (Dana)

From Nieman Lab: “For nearly a week, there had been nationwide protests after a bystander released video showing that George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis resident, died as a local police officer knelt on his neck. And for almost a week, national media made editorial choices, mirroring a framework social scientists have dubbed the ‘protest paradigm,’ that often failed to frame the events of the day accurately … It’s the idea that ‘the press contributes to the political status quo by reinforcing whatever the government thinks,’ said Danielle Kilgo, a professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.”

Mass Extinction 450 Million Years Ago ‘Triggered by Volcanic Eruptions and Climate Change’ (Mili)

The author writes, “Earth’s first major mass extinction could have been triggered by climate change caused by volcanic eruptions, according to a new study. Scientists have previously believed the Late Ordovician event some 450 million years ago was linked to the end of an ice age, resulting in rising sea levels and plummeting oxygen levels in the oceans. Around 85 per cent of all marine-based species died out … However new research suggests volcanic eruptions released enough carbon dioxide to heat up the planet and deoxygenate the oceans, resulting in the asphyxiation of the species that lived there.”

Barcelona Puts On an Opera for a Crowd of Puccini-Loving Plants (Dana)

The author writes, “Barcelona’s Liceu opera house re-opened after months of necessary shutdown with an ingenious spectacle. Their Concert for the Biocene … involved the Uceli string quartet playing Puccini’s Crisantemi to 2,292 plants ‘seated’ in the opera house.”

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