science, nature, wildlife, bird names, US, Canada, American Ornithological Society
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Why Dozens of North American Birds Will Soon Get New Names (Maria)

The author writes, “Birds in North America will no longer be named after people, the American Ornithological Society announced Wednesday. Next year, the organization will begin to rename around 80 species found in the US and Canada. ‘There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today,’ the organization’s president, Colleen Handel, said in a statement.”

The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False (Gerry)

From The Atlantic: “Peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict had already been difficult to achieve before Hamas’s barbarous October 7 attack and Israel’s military response. … Whatever the enormous complexities and challenges of bringing about this future, one truth should be obvious among decent people: killing 1,400 people and kidnapping more than 200, including scores of civilians, was deeply wrong. … All sorts of things are at play here, but much of the justification for killing civilians is based on a fashionable ideology, ‘decolonization,’ which, taken at face value, rules out the negotiation of two states — the only real solution to this century of conflict — and is as dangerous as it is false.”

Outraised and Embattled, Lauren Boebert Heads Back to Colorado With a Revamped Campaign Strategy (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Retreating from the turmoil in Washington, D.C., Rep. Lauren Boebert arrived in bucolic southwest Colorado to turmoil of a different sort — the lingering impact of an embarrassing moment when she was caught on tape vaping and groping with a date during a musical production of Beetlejuice. The scandal threw a wrench into an already tough reelection bid. After Boebert won her last race by just 546 votes, she began revamping her campaign strategy. It now includes apologies to voters at campaign events for an episode that has rattled even loyal Republicans.”

The Southern Cross of Honor: How Insurrections Become Legitimized (Al)

From History@Work: “The murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked a renewed push to critically examine Confederate monuments located across the US South in prominent places such as courthouses, college campuses, and public parks. This blog post explores a lesser-known piece of Confederate iconography called the Southern Cross of Honor, a symbol that has often been strategically placed on grave markers for the Confederate dead. The US government’s gradual complicity in the establishment of these markers reveals how, and why, some insurrections become legitimized over time.”

More Than 2,800 Stores Are Closing Across the US in 2023. Here’s the Full List. (Sean)

From Insider: “It’s not exactly the retail apocalypse of prior years, but it’s a shake-up nonetheless. An Insider tally of announcements by 20 major retailers in 2023 finds as many as 2,847 stores have closed or are set to close across the US. The rationales are varied: Some companies are navigating bankruptcy proceedings, while others say they’re aiming to cut costs. Several are adjusting store formats to meet changing shopping trends.”

Drought Turns Amazonian Capital Into Climate Dystopia (Laura)

The author writes, “A withering drought has turned the Amazonian capital of Manaus into a climate dystopia with the second worst air quality in the world and rivers at the lowest levels in 121 years. The city of 1 million people, which is surrounded by a forest of trees, normally basks under blue skies. Tourists take pleasure boats to the nearby meeting of the Negro and Amazon (known locally as the Solimões) rivers, where dolphins can often be seen enjoying what are usually the most abundant freshwater resources in the world. But an unusually dry season, worsened by an El Niño and human-driven global heating, has threatened the city’s self-image, the wellbeing of its residents and the survival prospects for the entire Amazon basin.”

A Secret Room in a 16th-Century Italian Chapel, Where Michelangelo Hid — and Drew — for Months, Opens to the Public (Dana)

The author writes, “Guidebooks to the Italian city of Florence have long noted that the Basilica of San Lorenzo is home to a secret room believed to have been decorated by Michelangelo while the famed Renaissance master was in hiding from the pope for two months in 1530. Now, the chamber, which is part of the Museum of the Medici Chapels (itself one of the five sites of the city’s Bargello Museums), will be open to the public for the first time.”

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