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UN Climate Boss: ‘Good Compromise’ Beats No Deal on Warming (Maria)

The author writes, “It was no deal or a lump of coal at Glasgow climate talks and for Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations’ climate secretary, there was no choice. ‘No deal was the worst possible result there. Nobody wins,’ Espinosa said in an interview with The Associated Press Sunday, about 15 hours after nearly 200 nations agreed on what is now being called the Glasgow Climate Pact. The world got a climate deal that outside experts said showed progress, but not success.”

These Maps Show How Republicans Are Blatantly Rigging Elections (DonkeyHotey)

The authors write, “As politicians undertake the once-a-decade process of redrawing political districts across the country, they are essentially rigging the system by deciding among themselves exactly which voters in which areas they want to represent. It’s a process called gerrymandering that allows them to virtually choose their voters and guarantee their re-election. … Republicans have control of the process in many states this year. And so far, they’re maximizing their advantage wherever they can. The new lines will likely help Republicans retake control of the US House next year. Let us show you how the Republicans are gerrymandering in four important parts of the country.”

No, Constitutional Scholars Are Not ‘50/50’ in Agreement With Donald Trump About Jan. 6 (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Donald J. Trump, constitutional scholar, has entered the chat. In a remarkable interview with Jon Karl published by Axios on Friday, Trump defended the Jan. 6 rioters chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ on the grounds that ‘it’s common sense’ that Pence should have overturned the Electoral College count. Beneath the horrifying justification of political violence — the attempted assassination of the sitting vice president — there is a rotten foundation of truly terrible legal analysis. As I’ve explained in Slate and in scholarship, the vice president has no constitutional authority to reject electoral votes he doesn’t like. In the interview, Trump claimed that ‘50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them’ on the vice president’s authority to unilaterally throw out election results. He’s wrong — at least if ‘constitutional scholars’ means people who have read and understand the Constitution.”

How the Coronavirus Stays One Step Ahead of Us (Sean)

The author writes, “As a science journalist entrenched in daily COVID-19 news, I’ve recently noticed some public health officials forecasting Delta as the last major wave of the pandemic. They tend to qualify their remarks with something akin to ‘assuming nothing else happens.’ We can’t assume that. … The question of whether anything else happens in the evolution of this virus is moot. It will. As long as there are vulnerable populations that can be infected, the virus will transmit, replicate, and mutate, evolving as it spreads. Evolution by natural selection is a law of biology in the same way that gravity is a law of physics; it is a literal force of nature. Continued spread of this virus will lead to further mutation, new variants, more deaths, and an ongoing pandemic.”

Death of Pregnant Woman Ignites Debate About Abortion Ban in Poland (Mili)

The authors write, “The death of a pregnant Polish woman has reignited debate over abortion in one of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic countries, with activists saying she could still be alive if it were not for a near total ban on terminating pregnancies. Tens of thousands of Poles took to the streets to protest in January this year when a Constitutional Tribunal ruling from October 2020 that terminating pregnancies with foetal defects was unconstitutional came into effect, eliminating the most frequently used case for legal abortion. Activists say Izabela, a 30-year-old woman in the 22nd week of pregnancy who her family said died of septic shock after doctors waited for her unborn baby’s heart to stop beating, is the first woman to die as a result of the ruling.”

A German Museum Acquired 15,000 Objects Tracing the History of Antisemitism in Europe as the Country Sees a Rise in Attacks on Jew (Dan)

From Artnet News: “The German Historical Museum in Berlin has acquired the Wolfgang Haney Collection, a formidable and important collection of objects and artifacts that document antisemitism across two centuries of European history. Wolfgang Haney, who died in 2017 at age 93, spent three decades collecting 15,000 objects that trace the history of antisemitism in Europe, from documents showing how European Jews were persecuted to items that capture the media’s cover-up of atrocities that took place under National Socialism after 1945, as well as contemporary manifestations of right-wing extremism.”

Are We on the Verge of Chatting with Whales? (Laura)

From Hakai Magazine: “‘I don’t know much about whales. I have never seen a whale in my life,’ says Michael Bronstein. The Israeli computer scientist, teaching at Imperial College London, England, might not seem the ideal candidate for a project involving the communication of sperm whales. But his skills as an expert in machine learning could be key to an ambitious endeavor that officially started in March 2020: an interdisciplinary group of scientists wants to use artificial intelligence (AI) to decode the language of these marine mammals. If Project CETI (for Cetacean Translation Initiative) succeeds, it would be the first time that we actually understand what animals are chatting about — and maybe we could even have a conversation with them.”


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