In early April, a paleontology graduate student, Robert DePalma, published a major find in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and hyped the discovery in The New Yorker. Locked in layers of North Dakota rock, he had found an impressive collection of ancient fish, microorganisms and plants that date to the same time period as the infamous global extinction event that killed the dinosaurs. That extinction is widely believed to have been caused by an asteroid impact, and DePalma’s site seems to offer further evidence supporting that theory.
Russian hackers, town budgets, Windows updates: Officials grapple with realities of election security
Inside a 21-seat conference room in Silver Spring, Maryland, a meeting of the Election Assistance Commission convened to talk about a software update touched on much more.
Where is the loudest place in America? You might think New York City, or a major airport hub, or a concert you have suddenly become too old to appreciate.
Mauricio Urbina was trying to save the planet on the day he realized he was simultaneously destroying it. A biologist who studies the bodies of fish and other sea creatures, Urbina was working on a project to understand what happens to crabs that eat tiny particles of plastic waste thrown out by careless humans. But after one particularly long day in the lab, he looked down and noticed — he was a careless human. A lot of his tools were plastic and would be thrown out after a single use, contributing to the stream of waste packing landfills and polluting waterways. He was working on the solution, but he was part of the problem.
A man wearing a red flannel shirt and brown suspenders walks into a clearing. His beard is well kempt, the same off-white as the snowmelt behind him. “Good afternoon,” he says to the camera. “It’s Friday, Oct. 12.” Slowly, he extends his arms. Two birds swoop down from the trees, alighting on his hands. “You can see how much I love my whiskey jacks. I’m feeding them my home-baked bread,” he says. The whiskey jacks peck, then take off with their spoils. “Gotta love it,” the man says. “They’ve been my friends for years.” A small wave at the camera: “I hope you have a great day where you live.”
The Affordable Care Act gave Amy McKay a chance to do something she never thought would be possible. It had nothing to do with her health care. The only pre-existing condition McKay was worried about was metaphorical, an infection colonizing the body of the federal government.
Shortly before killing 50 people at two New Zealand mosques, the man arrested for the Christchurch massacre posted an online manifesto that alluded to the “Great Replacement” — a racist demographic theory that stokes fears of white people becoming, effectively, extinct. Within hours of the shootings, this act of terrorism inspired by a conspiracy theory had already gone on to birth conspiracy theories about itself. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh speculated that the shooter was a secret leftist hoping to use the attack to smear the reputation of the political right.
The Midwest has been drenched by rain and beset by floods. California is bracing for wildfires after several years of record-breaking burns. Hurricane season is just getting into gear in the Atlantic Ocean, which has been hit by more storms than usual over the past three years, and those storms have been above-average in intensity. Heat waves have been increasing across the country for decades. Just last weekend, New Yorkers were being warned to use less air conditioning to prevent blackouts — and to charge their phones for when the blackouts would inevitably happen.