Monday, August 7, 2017

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is larger than ever

Scientists just measured the largest dead zone ever recorded for the Gulf of Mexico, a whopping 8,776 square miles, massive enough to cover all of New Jersey. And only dramatic shifts in farming practices are likely to prevent even bigger problems in the future. These Dead Zones, as they are called can disrupt fishing industries and threaten aquatic species since they are caused by industrial and agricultural runoff. Every spring, the Mississippi River funnels a rush of nutrients into the gulf that fuels an explosion of growth of microscopic algae called phytoplankton. The bloom of life for the algae is short lived, and their corpses sink to the depths below, where their decomposition gives rise to a burst in bacterial growth. The microbes rapidly consume not only the plankton but also all of the oxygen dissolved in the deep. At the same time, the incoming river water forms a layer on the surface of the gulf, preventing new oxygen from dissolving and mixing with the depleted waters below. Fish that do not flee suffocate, as do all stationary species and plant life. Dead zones occur throughout the world and persist through the summer until plunging water temperatures — and often hurricanes — mix oxygen back into the depths each fall. The hundreds of dead zones throughout the world cover nearly 100,000 square miles, with one in the Baltic Sea spanning more than 23,000 square miles several years ago. Collectively, nearly 10 million tons of biomass either moves from or dies in dead zones every year. (Washington Post)


Republican donor sues GOP for fraud over ObamaCare repeal failure

A Republican donor in Virginia has filed a lawsuit against the national and Virginia Republican parties, accusing them of fraud and racketeering for raising millions of dollars in donations knowing they wouldn’t be able to repeal ObamaCare. Bob Heghmann, a retired attorney in Virginia Beach, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Thursday. The suit blasts the Republican Party, saying it “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats.” The lawsuit’s defendants include the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Republican Party of Virginia, as well as Virginia’s two members of the RNC and the chairman of the state Republican Party, John Whitbeck. The suit alleges that both the national and state GOP raised millions of dollars from 2009 to 2016 by promising to repeal ObamaCare, but that Republicans knew they would be unable to repeal the law when former President Obama won re-election in 2012. (The Virginian Pilot)


Apple Is Reportedly Releasing A Cellular Version Of The Apple Watch Later This Year

The Apple Watch could soon no longer rely solely on the iPhone to download or stream data, and would be able to connect to an LTE network. You may be able to leave your iPhone at home and receive incoming calls or texts to your watch — a capability that many cellular-enabled Android smartwatches, such as the Samsung Gear S3 and LG Watch Sport, already offer. The smartwatch will be equipped with an Intel-supplied chip and that the company is in talks with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile about carrying the cellular version. Last year’s model, the Apple Watch Series 2, introduced GPS, which decreased the watch’s reliance on an iPhone connection. With GPS tracking turned on, however, the device’s battery life is reduced from about 18 hours to 5 hours. A cellular connection would also impact battery life. (Bloomberg News)


U.S. submits formal notice of withdrawal from Paris climate pact

The U.S. State Department has officially informed the United Nations it will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement in a document issued on Friday, but left the door open to re-engaging if the terms improved for the United States. The State Department said in a press release the United States would continue to participate in United Nations climate change meetings during the withdrawal process, which is expected to take at least three years. President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris deal in June, saying the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries. The earliest date for the United States to completely withdraw from the agreement is Nov. 4, 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election. (Reuters)


Poll: Trump’s leadership ratings sink to a new low

The latest Quinnipiac poll was taken between July 27 and August 1, at the end of another chaotic week for the White House — one that had the president publicly criticizing his “beleaguered” attorney general, giving a politically charged speech to the Boy Scouts that was widely panned as inappropriate, failing to notch a win with the Senate’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and weathering a foul-mouthed tirade from his now former communications director. The Quinnipiac numbers came the same day another poll also showed declines in views of Trump’s leadership. Each week, The Economist-YouGov poll asks Americans whether they view the president as a strong or weak leader. In March, 50 percent of the U.S. adults who responded said Trump was a “very strong” or “somewhat strong” leader; by the first Wednesday in August, it had ticked down to 47 percent. (The number who said the same shortly after the inauguration was 61 percent.) (Washington Post)


Two people were arrested in Ohio accused of transporting five children in the back of a U-Haul truck

Authorities say they were called to the Speedway station in Elyria on Wednesday (8/2) after they received a report of people in the back of a U-Haul. When officers arrived, they found Jamie Adkins, 25, had been in the back of the truck with five children. Brian Dekam, 55, was allegedly driving the truck, with Adkins’ fiance in the passenger seat. The children had bed bugs, lice, and fleas on them. The youngest, 2 years old, was later air-lifted to UH Rainbow in Cleveland due to heat exhaustion. None of the children had major injuries. Officers said Jamie Adkins told them that she was babysitting the children and had all left Cleveland to go to Jamie’s Flea Market in Amherst. They were on their way back to Cleveland when they decided to stop for drinks at a Speedway gas station. A customer at the station saw the children in the truck and called the police. Adkins also told police that the children’s biological mother, 29-year-old Kimberly Hull, knew about the plan to transport the children to the flea market in back of the truck and called it “fun.” Adkins, who describes herself as the children’s godmother, had been in charge of the children for almost two weeks, and told police their mother has not seen them at all during that time. Officials say the couple were facing multiple counts of endangering children, including one third degree felony charge for each. All five children are in the custody of Cuyahoga County children services. Police say the four younger ones, whom Adkins had been watching, will be placed in foster care. (Fox 8)


Girls team disqualified from championship game due to photo

Atlee Little League’s Junior softball team has been disqualified from its World Series championship matchup over what officials say was an inappropriate social media posting. Little League officials announced the disqualification Saturday (8/5) morning, just hours ahead of the championship game which was broadcast live on ESPN2. Little League described the offending post only as “an inappropriate social media post.” The team is made up of 12- to 14-year-old girls from the Atlee area near Richmond, VirginiaAn Atlee team member posted a photo on Snapchat showing six of the girls giving the middle finger. “It’s a travesty for these girls,” Atlee manager Scott Currie said during an interview. “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.” The post was directed at the host club from Kirkland, Washington, which Atlee defeated in the semifinals. The host Kirkland team replaced Atlee in the championship. The Kirkland team lost in Saturday’s title game to a team from Poland, Ohio. (Richmond Times Dispatch)



Today Is Not Only Monday, But It’s:

*Assistance Dog Day (Monday of Assistance Dog Week)
*Lighthouse Day 
*National Psychic Day  (Monday of Psychic Week) 
*Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day 
*Professional Speakers Day 
*Purple Heart Day 
*Dalek Day


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