Barr’s Removal of Career National Security Official Raises Concerns ; Did Pangolin Trafficking Cause the COVID-19 Pandemic? ; and More Picks 9/2

Barr’s Removal of Career National Security Official Raises Concerns (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Current and former national security officials are raising concerns over Attorney General William Barr’s recent decision to remove the head of a Justice Department office that helps ensure federal counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities are legal — and replace him with a political appointee with relatively limited experience.”

Appeals Court Suspends Protections for Journalists, Legal Observers Covering Protests (DonkeyHotey)

From Oregon Public Broadcasting: “A split panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily suspended restrictions on federal officers interactions with legal observers and journalists documenting nightly protests against police brutality and for racial justice in Portland. The decision comes as protesters return their attention to federal property, meaning neutral observers are likely to face federal officers whose ability to physically force them out of the area is, once again, unrestrained.”

California Could Soon End Its Dumb Policy on Inmate Firefighters (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “We use thousands of prisoners to do the grunt work of fighting fires, pay them a slave wage to do it and then, when they get out, we refuse to offer them a job doing the same thing for an actual living wage with benefits. And then we have the nerve to crow about our progressive values on criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, the state’s recidivism rate remains ‘stubbornly high,’ averaging 50% in the last decade, according to a recent state audit.”

Did Pangolin Trafficking Cause the COVID-19 Pandemic? (Dana)

From the New Yorker: “Pangolins are … susceptible to coronaviruses, and that trait has given them an unexpected role in the mystery of how SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, found its way into people. Sampling of tissues from dead pangolins has shown that some carry viruses very similar to SARS-CoV-2. Did a population of these animals serve as intermediate hosts, within which a bat virus lived briefly—or maybe for some decades, acquiring adaptations that could make it devastating to humans? The evidence is complicated. And the question is only more charged given that all eight pangolin species are presently being pushed toward extinction.”

‘Stonehenge Lego’ Scale Model Reveals the Pagan Monument’s Unique Soundscape (Mili)

The author writes, “Scientists built a scale model of Stonehenge, the famous megalithic structure of stones in Wiltshire, England, and used it to recreate how sound would have been reflected off the surfaces of the stones. They found that the arrangement of the stones likely would have amplified speech and enhanced music but only if one was within the circle, according to a recent study in the Journal of Archaeological Science.”

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