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Western US Dry Season Is Turning Into a Permanent State of Being (Maria)

The authors write, “There are now both short- and long-term factors drying out the Western US. Under the influence of fast-warming temperatures, as documented in detail by last week’s report from the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the region may be entering a drier state: Drought season might be giving way to a drought era.”

What Redistricting Looks Like in Every State (DonkeyHotey)

From FiveThirtyEight: “Arguably the most important factor in the 2022 midterm elections will be congressional redistricting. Where will each party gain power? Lose power? And will the new districts even be drawn in time for next year’s primaries? Right now, though, the redistricting process is behind schedule due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Census Bureau has now released the block-level data necessary for redistricting, which is expected to set off a redistricting scramble. Many states face early constitutional or statutory deadlines to finalize their new maps — including some that are impossibly early, inspiring certain states to seek legal extensions in court.”

The Supreme Court’s Originalist Evasions (Gerry)

From The New York Review: “At the start of each summer, Supreme Court commentators are tasked with summarizing an unwieldy body of work — dozens of opinions on widely ranging areas of law, as many as nine different authors, concurrences, dissents, and a docket of unsigned orders. With a pool so big and incohesive, any attempt to sum it up runs the risk of being sunk by caveats. This term, the first with Amy Coney Barrett rounding out a decisive conservative majority, that risk was especially visible. Many observers chose, as the overall theme of the term, unexpected unanimity. These commentators marveled at the number of cases in which liberal and conservative justices joined together to produce somewhat moderate decisions, framing it as a rebuke to predictions of a sharp rightward turn. But others were quick to point out the ways in which the Court’s decisions — especially those that came in a late flurry — were decidedly conservative.”

California Surfer Dad ‘Enlightened by QAnon’ to Kill His Kids, Feds Say

The author writes, “A Santa Barbara father suspected of killing his two children in Mexico told the FBI he was a QAnon adherent and had to kill them because they had been infected with serpent DNA and he was saving the world from monsters, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday. Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, is charged with two counts of foreign murder of a United States national in the slaying of his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter. He is accused of shooting them with a spearfishing gun on Monday in Rosarito — a beach community 30 minutes south of Tijuana, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.”

Coronavirus Outbreak in Provincetown Was an Unsettling Shock (Dan)

From The Boston Globe: “On a grim Zoom call at the end of the second week of July, [Massachusetts] was sharing a new statistic that would change everything, in Provincetown and across the country: Nearly three-quarters of the people who lived in or visited the town that month and tested positive for the new and virulent Delta variant of the virus were vaccinated. … Within weeks, it was clear that whatever had happened among the partygoers of Provincetown had reshaped the scientific community’s understanding of the vaccines and shattered any illusions of a carefree post-pandemic summer for the inoculated.”

Is Biden Serious About Climate? His 2,000 Drilling and Fracking Permits Suggest Not (Inez)

The author writes, “The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a stark and sobering picture: a global future of extreme weather events that are guaranteed to become more frequent and more intense over coming decades. … The only glimmer of hope offered in the IPCC report is that immediate, aggressive action by world leaders could still prevent a future of assured climate chaos from being even worse. … Yet every indication thus far from the Biden administration suggests that this critical, urgent action won’t be coming.”

Bill Gates Pledges $1.5 Billion for Infrastructure Bill’s New Climate Projects (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said his climate investment fund will commit $1.5 billion for joint projects with the U.S. government if Congress enacts a program aimed at developing technologies that lower carbon emissions. A roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate [last] week would give the Energy Department $25 billion for demonstration projects funded through public-private partnerships, part of more than $100 billion to address climate change. The House hasn’t yet approved the legislation.”

Where Archaeology Can’t Go: Fecal Signals in Lake Reveal Mayan Secrets (Mili)

The author writes, “Research on coprolites — that is, fossilized droppings — is all the rage, and a new study led by researchers at McGill University has gone one further. The scientists studied stanols, organic molecules found in human and animal feces, detected in sediment cores taken from the bottom of a lake near the ancient Mayan city of Itzan, in present-day Guatemala. … Their finding: the size of the population varied with the climate, declining significantly both during the region’s protracted droughts and during extremely wet periods.”

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