One-Third of Plant and Animal Species Could Be Gone by 2070 ; Generating Electricity out of Thin Air ; and More Picks 2/18

Migrant Kids Separated for Six Years From Family by US Government (Chris)

The author writes, “An unknown number of kids … have simply disappeared into the U.S. immigration system — specifically, into the bowels of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, or ORR, the federal agency charged with the care and reunification of unaccompanied minors. … There are laws, rules and legal settlements guiding ORR’s handling of children … But I have learned through my reporting that the government can pretty much do whatever it wants. It can take a child from their family without explanation. It can detain a child indefinitely.”

PODCAST: The National Archives Is Deleting Records About Trump’s ICE Policies (Chris)

From WNYC: “In 2017, the Archives agreed to let Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials delete or destroy documents that detail the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants, and despite receiving tens of thousands of comments and hearing the objections of dozens of lawmakers, they moved forward with a plan last month.” 

Study: One-Third of Plant and Animal Species Could Be Gone in 50 Years (Mili)

The author writes, “A new study by University of Arizona researchers presents detailed estimates of global extinction from climate change by 2070. By combining information on recent extinctions from climate change, rates of species movement and different projections of future climate, they estimate that one in three species of plants and animals may face extinction. Their results are based on data from hundreds of plant and animal species surveyed around the globe. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study likely is the first to estimate broad-scale extinction patterns from climate change by incorporating data from recent climate-related extinctions and from rates of species movements.”

New Green Technology Generates Electricity Out of Thin Air (Mili) 

The author writes, “Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air, a new technology they say could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and in the future of medicine.”

Scientists Theorize That Space Aliens May Already Be Here, but We Don’t Recognize Them (Reader Steve)

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Stargazing scientists have recently begun to focus on the prospect of encountering intelligent extraterrestrials, and the more they think about it the more they realize the first meeting probably won’t be with little green men in flying saucers. What aliens might look like is a growing question among astrobiologists, who are increasingly conjuring up creatures more Lilliputian than mega-brained or reptilian.”

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