environment, biodiversity, cicadas, two broods emerging, 221-year phenomenon
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The Cicadas Are Here (Maria)

The author writes, “For the first time in 221 years, two different groups of cicadas are emerging simultaneously and screaming from the treetops. … Across the country, billions of these periodical cicadas, categorized by region and year as ‘broods,’ are crawling up out of the ground to see the light of day. The first to begin emerging this spring were the members of the Great Southern Brood — the largest of all periodical-cicada groups — which came out in many states across the southeastern United States. Another big group, the Northern Illinois Brood, is now tunneling up not only in Illinois but also in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana.”

Shell Company Steering $2.6 Million to Republican PACs Raises Concerns of Illicit Funding Scheme (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleges that a shell company with ties to the former chief financial officer of the Republican State Leadership Committee illegally steered nearly $2.6 million to half a dozen political committees. The complaint filed May 7 by the nonpartisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center revolves around Ardleigh Impact Corp., a company incorporated in Delaware on Oct. 24, 2023, which appears to exist only on paper. The Campaign Legal Center found no reference to the company online or record of it doing business. But barely three months after it was organized, the company made multiple large donations to six super PACs connected to high-ranking Republicans and conservative groups.”

The Presidential Election Isn’t Playing Out How I Thought It Would (Reader Andrew)

The author writes, “When President Joe Biden made clear that he was going to run for reelection, I had a sense of what his election strategy was and thought it was an intelligent path to victory. After the chaos of Covid-19 and the administration of former President Donald Trump, Biden would stand for normalcy and a rising tide of good economic news. Trump would divide Republicans, with significant chunks of the party wishing that someone like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be their nominee. Meanwhile, Trump would unite and motivate Democrats, allowing Biden to focus on independent voters in the swing states that threw the Electoral College to Trump in 2016 and to Biden in 2020. I have to admit, none of this is playing out as I had thought.”

Three Bob Fergusons Now Running for Governor as Race Takes Turn for the Weird (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The number of Bob Fergusons running to be Washington’s next governor grew to three on Friday. A conservative Republican activist threw a monkey wrench into the race by recruiting two last-minute Democratic candidates who share the same name as the party’s presumed front-runner. … Glen Morgan, a political conservative who has a knack for annoying elected Democrats and their progressive allies, cooked up the maneuver that immediately drew flack from the attorney general’s camp as an attempt to confuse voters.”

Elon Musk’s Diplomacy: Woo Right-Wing World Leaders. Then Benefit. (Russ)

From The New York Times: “Mr. Musk has built a constellation of like-minded heads of state — including Argentina’s Javier Milei and India’s Narendra Modi — to push his own politics and expand his business empire.”

Arizona Is Boosting Efforts To Protect People From the Extreme Heat After Hundreds Died Last Summer (Laura)

The author writes, “Arizona’s new heat officer said [this month] that he is working with local governments and nonprofit groups to open more cooling centers and ensure homes have working air conditioners this summer in a more unified effort to prevent another ghastly toll of heat-related deaths, which topped 900 statewide last year.”

The Dark Heart of Modern Chess (Gerry)

From Business Insider: “Chess has never been more popular, but its ugly side has also never been more exposed. The same characteristics that have driven its popularity online — an easy-to-understand eight-by-eight grid, a strategy without chance or luck — have also made it a cheater’s paradise. Meanwhile, rampant sexism festers at chess’ heart.”

How a Giant Sunspot Unleashed Solar Storms That Spawned Global Auroras That Just Dazzled Us All (Dana)

From “2024 has been quite the year for spectacular space shows, some of them visible from our own backyards. First, it was the total solar eclipse at the beginning of April. Then, late last week, the sun became the ‘star’ attraction yet again: A huge sunspot launched a series of solar storms that supercharged the aurora, making the ethereal sight visible from much of the United States, Europe and many other parts of the globe.”


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