With Temperatures Rising, Can Animals Survive the Heat Stress? ; The Gig Economy Is a Public Health Risk ; and More Picks 3/23

With Temperatures Rising, Can Animals Survive the Heat Stress? (Dana)

From Yale Environment 360: “Extreme temperatures — as opposed to warmer average temperatures — are the catalyst for a growing number of local extinctions, experts say. A recent study looked at 538 plant and animal species at 581 sites around the world that had been previously surveyed. The goal was to understand what aspect of climate change was the most serious threat to biodiversity. Researchers found that 44 percent of the species at the sites had gone locally extinct, and that the culprit was an increase in the temperature of the hottest days of the year.”

Inside the Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “According to new documents and interviews with military experts … various plans — codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac — are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, ‘devolution’ could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America. ‘We’re in new territory,’ says one senior officer, the entire post-9/11 paradigm of emergency planning thrown out the window. The officer jokes, in the kind of morbid humor characteristic of this slow-moving disaster, that America had better learn who Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy is.”

‘Terrified’ Package Delivery Employees Are Going to Work Sick (Celia)

The authors write: “Public health experts said the odds were relatively low that ill warehouse workers or truck drivers would infect the recipients of packages, in part because the virus does not survive on cardboard surfaces for very long. But as state governments race to contain the fast-spreading pandemic by shutting down businesses and banning gatherings of more than a handful of people, more than 30 employees of UPS, FedEx and XPO said in interviews and emails that they were worried that their warehouses and trucks had become breeding grounds for the virus.”

The Gig Economy Is a Public Health Risk (Chris)

The authors write, “The gig economy’s plan for workers: Keep working until you get the deadly pandemic with an unknown death rate. Then self-isolate and hope you don’t die.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ‘Why Doesn’t Plague Inspire Literature the Way War Does?’ (Chris)

From the Village Voice (1987): “War is something men declare, but epidemics are a force of nature, and until we unravel their codes and learn how to repel them, they subject us to assault on their own, inhuman, terms. War is politics by other means, but epidemics have no purpose or intention; they happen, often as an unintended consequence of social mobility, sometimes by chance. War is, in some sense, as deliberate as fiction. But plague is accidental history. … There are no epics about the epidemics that struck New Orleans with such regularity that the death rate in that city remained higher than the birthrate for the entire 19th century; no chronicles of the devastation that disease wrought upon the ’49ers as they headed west. You can read all about cannibalism on the Donner Pass, but not about diarrhea.”