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A Healthy Environment as a Human Right

As the impact of our species on the natural world intensifies, so does the knowledge of our dependency on it: from crop-pollinating critters and wild fish populations that nourish millions, to ecosystems that inhale carbon emissions and filter air and water. These connections have bolstered a legal argument around the importance of a healthy environment—that […]

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What’s Really in Your Water?

When water is safe, there is nothing better to drink. It’s good for teeth, skin, weight control and even the ability to think straight. But drinking water contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals or other harmful substances can cause diarrhea, brain damage, infertility and cancer. Bottled water is no guarantee of water safety. Not only […]

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The Fast Lane for COVID Testing Has Opened Up in the U.S.

For a recent flight that required a negative COVID-19 test result, I went through a process so silly and laborious that it got me wondering. First, I booked an appointment at an approved testing center, about a 25-minute drive from my home. Upon arriving, I paid $175 to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. […]

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First Flight of NASA’s Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Is Delayed

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the first Mars helicopter lift off. NASA had originally aimed to conduct the first Red Planet flight of its Ingenuity helicopter—the first-ever powered flight on a world beyond Earth—on Sunday (April 11). A high-speed rotor-spinning test on Friday (April 9) didn’t go as planned, however, pushing the debut […]

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Sweeping Whale Streaming Series, Profile of CRISPR Discoverer and an Examination of Future Realities

Secrets of the Whales by Brian Skerry Streaming on Disney+, starting April 22 Despite being warm-blooded, air-breathing mammals descended from land animals, whales give birth, nurse and raise their young entirely at sea. This sweeping four-part series takes a riveting view of these mysterious and mesmerizing ocean dwellers. Executive produced by James Cameron and narrated […]

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How a Carnivorous Mushroom Poisons Its Prey

In the 1980s, scientists discovered that oyster mushrooms are carnivores. The delicious, inescapable inference is that they’re the only vegan food that can itself eat meat. The meat in question is definitely meat, too. Nematodes, also called roundworms, are little animals complete with guts, nerves, muscles and their own primitive form of hopes and dreams. […]

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Pressure Builds on Congress to Help People Afford Pricey Flood Insurance

Congress is under pressure to subsidize flood insurance costs for low-income households after the federal government announced last week that it would increase flood insurance premiums for millions of homeowners. Of the 5 million properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, about 3.9 million soon will see a hike in premiums—and 200,000 substantially so. […]

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Why People Won’t Rethink Holiday Plans during a Pandemic

In November and December of 2020, with COVID cases rising across the nation, state and city leaders across the U.S. imposed restrictions to curb the spread ahead of the holiday season. The Centers for Disease Control even recommended that people stay home. Despite these warnings, over six million Americans traveled by air the week of […]

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Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Would Make Electricity Carbon-Free by 2035

The backbone of President Biden’s plan to use infrastructure spending to advance climate policy is a clean electricity standard for the power sector that has the potential to be the most aggressive ever enacted by the federal government. Tucked into his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal is the aim of “achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by […]

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Scandal over COVID Vaccine Trial at Peruvian Universities Prompts Outrage

A clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines in Peru has sparked outrage and triggered a series of high-profile resignations at universities and in government. Politicians, researchers and some of their family members who were not enrolled as trial participants nevertheless received vaccines—breaching standard protocols. Investigations are ongoing as the country struggles to inoculate its general population […]