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Before It's News
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Before It’s News is a people-powered news-sharing service. 
Before It’s News is a people-powered news-sharing service. 

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Interactive Touchscreen for Dolphins Created, They Play Games Like Whack-a-Mole with Training http://rgn.bz/vmW2

Dolphins are highly intelligent and social animals, but can they use a smartphone built just for them? Yes, scientists have discovered—they can even play games like Whack-a-Mole with little training.

Researchers at Rockefeller University and Hunter College, working with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD, have developed a touchpad for dolphins, the first of its kind, using optical technology. The system, essentially an underwater computer touchscreen through which dolphins are able to interact and make choices, will be used to investigate dolphin intelligence and communication by providing them choice and control over a number of activities.

Observing dolphins interact with a specially-made touchscreen could open new windows into dolphin cognition.

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Vietnam makes a big push for coal, while pledging to curb emissions – “If the entire region implements the coal-based plans right now, I think we are finished http://rgn.bz/uomf

Shaken by news that Vietnam had confirmed plans to build another 40 gigawatts worth of coal-fired power plants by 2030, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim ad libbed a few lines into a May 2016 speech to an audience of government and business leaders. “If Vietnam goes forward with 40GW of coal, if the entire region implements the coal-based plans right now, I think we are finished,” Kim said. “That would spell disaster for us and our planet.”

The people in Hanoi who make energy policy were very likely startled to learn that what Vietnam does or does not do as it develops its energy sector has world-shaking importance. In a mere quarter century Vietnam has raced from the back of the 3rd World pack to middle-income status. In the process, however, Vietnam’s economic growth has had an outsized environmental impact; between 1991 and 2012, the country’s GDP grew by 315 percent, while its greenhouse gas emissions rose by 937 percent.

Now that China, which took the “capitalist road” a decade earlier than Vietnam, is stepping up to the challenge of climate change and taking bold steps to clean its air, its neighbor Vietnam risks becoming the new pariah polluter.


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In a Drought, Over-Irrigated Lawns Lose 70 Billion Gallons of Water a Year http://rgn.bz/MJoA

In the summer of 2010, Los Angeles lost about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through evaporation, mostly from overwatering of lawns and trees.

Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a study published today in the journal Water Resources Research. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and conducted by Diane Pataki and Elizaveta Litvak of the University of Utah.

The scientists found that 70 percent of Los Angeles’ evapotranspiration comes from irrigated lawns.

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Trump’s EPA moves to dismantle programs that protect kids from lead paint http://rgn.bz/FXfz

Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems.

The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments.

Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure — and the EPA estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint.

Environmental groups said the elimination of the two programs, which are focused on training workers in the safe removal of lead-based paint and public education about its risks, would make it harder for the EPA to address the environmental hazard.

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About 3800 People Are Jailed In New York For The Crime Of Being Poor http://rgn.bz/4bd2

Every day of 2016, New York City held an average of 7,633 people in jail for pretrial detention. Pretrial detention means that these are people who have yet to be convicted of any crime, and who are, in one of our criminal justice system’s most important stipulations, presumed innocent. The United States is setting a new precedent for its civilians. If you’re poor, you get to face time in the slammer for the crime of not being able to post bail. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Because 3800 of New York’s jailed people are behind bars for one reason:

They don’t have enough money.

3800 of those jailed in New York do not have sufficient funds to make bail. Many of these defendants are held despite being accused of low-level, non-violent offenses like drug use. They’re held despite the fact that “pretrial detention disrupts people’s ability to work, pay rent, and take care of their families, and drastically increases the chances that one will be found guilty of a crime.” They’re held even though many may well be innocent, and many of those who are guilty pose no real risk to their community. And the tax payer gets to cover the expenses for these people who are presumably still innocent.

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Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days – “Day by day we could see the water level dropping http://rgn.bz/zGUv

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.

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World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Releases First Results http://rgn.bz/ckii

Scientists behind XENON1T, the largest dark matter experiment of its kind ever built, are encouraged by early results, describing them as the best so far in the search for dark matter.
Dark matter is one of the basic constituents of the universe, five times more abundant than ordinary matter. Several astronomical measurements have corroborated the existence of dark matter, leading to an international effort to observe it directly. Scientists are trying to detect dark matter particle interacting with ordinary matter through the use of extremely sensitive detectors. Such interactions are so feeble that they have escaped direct detection to date, forcing scientists to build detectors that are more and more sensitive and have extremely low levels of radioactivity.

On May 18, the XENON Collaboration released results from a first, 30-day run of XENON1T, showing the detector has a record low radioactivity level, many orders of magnitude below surrounding material on earth.
XENON1T installation in the underground hall of Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso. The three story building on the right houses various auxiliary systems. The cryostat containing the LXeTPC is located inside the large water tank on the left.

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Violent Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte Says His Soldiers May Rape Women http://rgn.bz/IjXS

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is a violent tyrannical fascist. He’s slaughtered thousands of his own people in an attempt to crackdown on drugs and is now condoning rape by his own soldiers.

Three days after declaring martial law in the rebellious southern Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his troops to crush the militants and gave a speech to inspire them. “You can arrest any person, search any house,” Duterte told the soldiers Friday. “I alone would be responsible” for anything they did under martial law, he said. “I will go to jail for you. If you happen to have raped three women, I will own up to it.”

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The Lively Garden of the Ediacaran 635 to 540 Million Years Ago http://rgn.bz/a07I

The Garden of the Ediacaran was a period in the ancient past when Earth’s shallow seas were populated with a bewildering variety of enigmatic, soft-bodied creatures. Scientists have pictured it as a tranquil, almost idyllic interlude that lasted from 635 to 540 million years ago. But a new interdisciplinary study suggests that the organisms living at the time may have been much more dynamic than experts have thought.

Artist’s conception of a scene from the Garden of the Ediacaran. The new study suggests a number of these strange species which predate animals may have been capable of moving about

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“Forests in Eastern U.S. Are Moving Westward in Response to Precipitation Changes” http://rgn.bz/yzNE

After analyzing extensive data collected on 86 tree species in the eastern United States, a research team led by Purdue University professor Songlin Fei found that over the past 30 years, most trees have been shifting westward or northward in response to climate change.

“Trees are shifting partially because of climate change, but their responses are species specific,” Fei said. “Deciduous trees like oak and maple are primarily moving westward. Evergreens are responding in a different way. They’re moving northwards.”

The research, based on the analysis of 30 years of data gathered by the U.S. Forest Service, was published in Science Advances on May 17. The study represented data collected on trees from 1980 to 2015.

The study, which outlined divergent responses to climate changed based on species, also revealed that precipitation was a significant factor when considering the impact climate change can have on biodiversity and the sustainability of ecosystems. Many climate change studies have generally shown a strong correlation between changes in temperature and tree shifting.

“Precipitation has a stronger near term impact on species shift than temperature,” said Fei, an associate professor at Purdue’s College of Agriculture and a researcher with Purdue’s Climate Change Research Center.

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