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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Will Not Face Mass Oil Drilling—for Now

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Will Not Face Mass Oil Drilling—for Now

For the last 40 years, politicians, oil companies, environmentalists, and Indigenous peoples have clashed over whether or not the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)—the largest stretch of intact wilderness in the United States—should be opened up for drilling. Now, that battle is finally coming to a close, reports Joel K. Bourne, Jr. for .The ANWR is located within the Arctic Circle in the northeastern corner of Alaska. It is home to an abundance of wildlife like polar bears and caribou, which the region's Indigenous communities rely on and hold sacred. But billions of barrels of oil...

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Rasha Aridi
Jan 8
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Who Was Charles Curtis, the First Vice President of Color?

Who Was Charles Curtis, the First Vice President of Color?

Next week, when she takes the oath of office, Senator Kamala Harris will make history as the first woman, first African American, and first person of South Asian heritage to become vice president of the United States. But she won’t be the first person of color in the office. That honor belongs to Charles Curtis, an enrolled member of the who served as President Herbert Hoover’s veep for his entire first term from 1929 to 1933. Prejudice against Native Americans was widespread and intense at the time, but Curtis’s ascent to the office speaks to his skillful navigation of the political...

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Livia Gershon
Jan 13
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Caligula's Gardens, Long Hidden Beneath Italian Apartment Building, to Go on View

Caligula's Gardens, Long Hidden Beneath Italian Apartment Building, to Go on View

By the time of his assassination in 41 A.D., the Roman emperor was infamous for his violent streak and extravagant amusements, including a huge compound featuring a bathhouse adorned with precious colored marble and space for exotic animals. Now, reports Franz Lidz for the , the remains of this pleasure garden—known as —are set to go on public display beneath the streets of Rome., the ministry’s director of excavations, tells the New York Times. “It is not hard to imagine animals, some caged and some running wild, in this enchanted setting.”Speaking with the New York Times, historian and...

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Livia Gershon
Jan 13
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Gorillas at California Zoo Test Positive for Covid-19

Gorillas at California Zoo Test Positive for Covid-19

On Monday, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park that some of its gorillas had tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The gorillas are the first known great apes to become infected with the virus.The park decided to test its gorillas for the virus when two of them began coughing on January 6. The staff sent fecal samples to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System and the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, which gave a presumptive positive on Friday and confirmed the diagnosis on Monday, according to a by the park. Officials suspect that the...

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Theresa Machemer
Jan 13
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In the 1980s, a Far-Left, Female-Led Domestic Terrorism Group Bombed the U.S. Capitol

In the 1980s, a Far-Left, Female-Led Domestic Terrorism Group Bombed the U.S. Capitol

Amidst the social and political turmoil of the 1970s, a handful of women—among them a onetime Barnard student, a Texas sorority sister, the daughter of a former communist journalist—joined and became leaders of the May 19th Communist Organization. Named to honor the shared birthday of civil rights icon Malcolm X and Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, M19 took its belief in “revolutionary anti-imperialism” to violent extremes: It is “the first and only women-created and women-led terrorist group,” says national security expert and historian William Rosenau.M19’s status as an “incredible outlier”...

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Lila Thulin
Jan 6
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Authorities in Israel Seize Thousands of Artifacts Looted From Ancient Graves

Authorities in Israel Seize Thousands of Artifacts Looted From Ancient Graves

Investigators in Israel have recovered a of stolen archaeological artifacts, including gold coins, jewelry, Egyptian sarcophagus lids, bronze statues, clay vessels and votive objects.According to a from the (IAA), which located the items in partnership with the Israeli police and tax authority, the operation was “one of the largest” of its kind in Israel’s history.Officials seized the artifacts, which span the 1st millennium B.C. through the 11th century A.D., during raids at three sites in central Israel, reports Aryeh Savir for the .Archaeologists involved in the operation were “stunned...

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Isis Davis-Marks
Jan 13
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How the Smithsonian and Other Museums Are Responding to the U.S. Capitol Riot

How the Smithsonian and Other Museums Are Responding to the U.S. Capitol Riot

Last Wednesday, a mob of far-right insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee for safety and temporarily delaying Congress’ certification of November’s election, which will put Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in the White House.Over of chaos, the insurrectionists assaulted , ransacked offices, stole objects, smashed windows and smeared across a bust of President Zachary Taylor. Rioters also erected near the Capitol Reflecting Pool; footage captured at the scene showed some members of the crowd , “Hang Mike Pence!” In total, the attack...

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Nora McGreevy
Jan 12
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Why a Virginia Museum Wants to Display a Defaced Sculpture of Jefferson Davis

Why a Virginia Museum Wants to Display a Defaced Sculpture of Jefferson Davis

During his lifetime, American sculptor was known for his skillful carvings of past presidents, including and , as well as busts and monuments that perpetuated the myth of the . Nearly a century after Valentine’s death in 1930, his sculptures continue to garner as much attention as when they were first displayed—albeit for very different reasons.As Gregory S. Schneider reports for the , the museum in Richmond, Virginia, wants to exhibit the sculptor’s likeness of Confederate President , which was during Black Lives Matter protests last June, in hopes of reckoning with the statue’s difficult...

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Isis Davis-Marks
Jan 12
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The History of Violent Attacks on the U.S. Capitol

The History of Violent Attacks on the U.S. Capitol

On Wednesday, far-right insurrectionists stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. The mob forced lawmakers to flee for safety, smashed windows, vandalized offices and posed for photos in the House chambers. One woman died after being shot by law enforcement, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police died from injuries sustained during the fighting,And while the attack on the Capitol shocked many, it was also predictable: Plans to invade the Capitol building have been for weeks, as Sheera Frenkel and Dan Barry report for...

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Nora McGreevy
Jan 8
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Los Angeles Rated Most Susceptible to Natural Disasters, According to FEMA Data

Los Angeles Rated Most Susceptible to Natural Disasters, According to FEMA Data

California has been ravaged by wildfires and droughts in recent years, with over alone. New data suggests Los Angeles County is the most at risk for climate-related disasters out of 3,000 counties analyzed in the United States, according to a federal risk assessment released in last fall.The National Risk Index is an online tool created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that rates counties by their likelihood of facing 18 different natural disasters and how devastating the aftermath would be in each location, reports Dharna Noor for . Each county’s rating is primarily ranked...

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Elizabeth Gamillo
Jan 8
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A Tombstone Inscribed in Ancient Greek Is Found in Southern Israel

A Tombstone Inscribed in Ancient Greek Is Found in Southern Israel

that the stone’s inscription reads “Blessed Maria, who lived an immaculate life.”, an archaeologist with the (IAA), says in a . “Among other things, it had a military fortress as well as churches, a monastery and a roadside inn that served Christian pilgrims traveling to Santa Katarina, which believers regarded as the site of Mount Sinai.”lived in the area between Syria and Arabia at that time, benefiting from the caravan trade between Arabia and the Mediterranean coast. The kingdom grew for centuries and eventually became an ally to the Roman Empire. Nitzana continued to be inhabited at...

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Livia Gershon
Jan 8
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Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,500-Year-Old Temple of Aphrodite

Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,500-Year-Old Temple of Aphrodite

Researchers surveying the Urla-Çeşme peninsula in western Turkey have unearthed a sixth-century B.C. temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite., an archaeologist at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, tells the .was the ancient Greek goddess of beauty, love and procreation. At times, she was also associated with seafaring and war. Early sculptures show her clothed and largely similar to other goddesses, but around the fifth century B.C., artists began portraying her naked or mostly nude, according to . Many temples and shrines were devoted to , with particular areas of strength in Cyprus and...

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Livia Gershon
Jan 6
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The 'Last' Female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle Died in 2019. Now, Researchers Found Another, Renewing Hope for the Species

The 'Last' Female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle Died in 2019. Now, Researchers Found Another, Renewing Hope for the Species

The last known female Swinhoe's softshell turtle—the most endangered turtle species in the world—died in April 2019, leaving the last known male without a mate and the species headed for extinction, reports Harry Baker for .While monitoring the lake, the team of conservationists managed to capture the nearly 190-pound giant, examine her, collecte blood samples and insert a microchip. To their relief, she was in great shape, and they later released her back into the lake that day, according to a ."In a year full of bad news and sadness across the globe, the discovery of this female can offer...

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Rasha Aridi
Jan 7
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Study Estimates Clean Air Act Has Saved 1.5 Billion Birds

Study Estimates Clean Air Act Has Saved 1.5 Billion Birds

Over the past 40 years, the improved air quality demanded by the United States’ Clean Air Act saved the lives of roughly 1.5 billion birds across the country, according to a study published last week in the journal the . That whopping total equates to roughly one fifth of all birds fluttering in U.S. skies today, reports Sara Tabin for .“Our research shows that the benefits of environmental regulation have likely been underestimated,” says Ivan Rudik, an economist at Cornell University and co-author of the study, in a . “Reducing pollution has positive impacts in unexpected places and...

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Alex Fox
Dec 2
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A Brief History of Peanut Butter

A Brief History of Peanut Butter

North Americans weren't the first to grind peanuts—the Inca beat us to it by a few thousand years—but peanut butter reappeared in the modern world because of an American, the doctor, nutritionist and cereal pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, who filed a patent for a proto-peanut butter in 1895. Kellogg’s “food compound” involved boiling nuts and grinding them into an easily digestible paste for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a spa for all kinds of ailments. The original patent didn’t specify what type of nut to use, and Kellogg experimented with almonds as well as peanuts, which had the...

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Emily Moon
Jan 5
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Scientists Eavesdrop on New Population of Blue Whales Singing in the Indian Ocean

Scientists Eavesdrop on New Population of Blue Whales Singing in the Indian Ocean

off the coast of Madagascar when they picked up the powerful song of another species: the blue whale, the largest animal to ever live on the planet and .In some ways, this wasn’t surprising. Blue whales had previously been documented in this area of the western Indian Ocean and they are known to be talkative creatures, with each population emitting unique songs. But the vocalizations recorded nearly four years ago had never been heard before, leading scientists to conclude that they had discovered an entirely new population of blue whales.underwater, allowing them to communicate across vast...

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Brigit Katz
Dec 30
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Five Things We Learned from Victor Glover

Five Things We Learned from Victor Glover

Astronaut Victor Glover has had a busy holiday season.On Wednesday, December 3, NASA announced 18 astronauts that will part of the Artemis team, working towards a series of missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars, and Glover made the cut for that historic list. Remarkably, it is only one of many recent accomplishments for the astronaut. Last month, on Sunday, November 15, Glover along with an international crew of astronauts launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. After a successful trip and...

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Ewald
Dec 23
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Fatal Skin Disease Outbreak in Dolphins Linked to Climate Change–Fueled Storm Surges

Fatal Skin Disease Outbreak in Dolphins Linked to Climate Change–Fueled Storm Surges

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, scientists noticed bottlenose dolphins had developed ulcers and lesions all over their bodies after being caught in a brackish lake. Since Hurricane Katrina, reports of these gruesome sores on dolphins have increased in the United States, Australia and South America—and puzzled scientists have been working to identify the disease, Elle Hunt reports for the .Fifteen years later, they finally have an answer. In a study published in in December, the team of scientists named climate change as the root cause of this painful skin condition,...

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Rasha Aridi
Dec 31
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Oldest-Ever Python Fossil Found in Europe

Oldest-Ever Python Fossil Found in Europe

Paleontologists have identified four fossilized snake skeletons as belonging to a new species of ancient python. At roughly 47 million years old, the specimens are the oldest python fossils ever found, a discovery which has reconfigured the evolutionary tree of these serpents, reports Katherine Kornei for the .The fossils emerged from Germany’s Messel Pit, a former shale mine that is now a . The fossil bed is famous for providing a window into the evolution of early mammals during the Eocene (57 to 36 million years ago).Discovering this early python, named Messelopython freyi, in Europe...

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Alex Fox
Dec 31
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Six Free Natural History Programs Streaming in January

Six Free Natural History Programs Streaming in January

A virtual field trip to the ; a guided, at-home scientific illustration activity and a behind-the-scenes tour of the ; stream these free programs and more this January through the .Jan. 6, 11 a.m. ETJoin Insect Zoo Lead Chris Mooney as he takes you behind-the-scenes at the National Museum of Natural History’s . See real insects, including beetles, leaf cutter ants and walking sticks; learn about the unique features that help them survive and find out what it takes to be an animal keeper and scientist.is designed for students in grades 3-5. It will be archived and available on the museum’s...

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Anna Torres
Dec 28
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Alligators Are Now the Largest Species Known to Regrow Severed Limbs

Alligators Are Now the Largest Species Known to Regrow Severed Limbs

Small reptiles, like lizards, geckos and iguanas, are famous for being able to sprout new limbs if they lose a body part, like a leg or a tail. The regenerated limb usually isn't exactly the same as the original, but it's enough to give the critter a new leg up on survival.Despite also being reptiles, little was known about whether or not alligators could regenerate their thick, massive tails. Gators can reach , so regrowing a tail is no small feat. But in a surprising new discovery, scientists found that young American alligators can regrow their tails up to nine inches, or around 18...

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Rasha Aridi
Dec 30
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Astronomers Discover Mysterious Radio Signal From Proxima Centauri

Astronomers Discover Mysterious Radio Signal From Proxima Centauri

Scientists detected a mysterious radio signal from a nearby galaxy, which begs the question—could it be aliens?odd radio emissions seemed to be coming from the direction of Proxima Centauri, our closest neighboring star system at 4.2 light-years away,'s Ian SampleThe scientists behind the discovery explain that there are several potential non-alien explanations for the strange signal. But they have yet to find a terrestrial culprit and have not yet ruled out an extraterrestrial intelligence origin story.“It has some particular properties that caused it to pass many of our checks, and we...

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Claire Bugos
Dec 22
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Why Monarch Butterflies Aren't Getting Endangered Species Status

Why Monarch Butterflies Aren't Getting Endangered Species Status

Monarch butterflies will not be added to the federal endangered species list this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday. The agency found that the butterfly qualifies for the status but, for now, the species is precluded from protections and will be reconsidered annually until 2024, according to the report published in the .The orange-and-black insects have faced decades of difficulties. In 40 years, America’s eastern population of monarchs, which flock to Mexico each winter, has seen its numbers drop by about 80 percent, reports Farah Eltohamy for . Western monarchs, which...

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Theresa Machemer
Dec 21
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How Pepper Plants Pick the Perfect Path for Putting Down Roots

How Pepper Plants Pick the Perfect Path for Putting Down Roots

When plants grow close together, an invisible competition is underway. Each plant must reach and absorb as many nutrients with its roots as possible, all while its neighbor attempts to do the same.Scientists have long wondered whether plants grow long roots in an attempt to reach more nutrients, or fewer, shorter roots because they’re stymied by competition. A new study published on December 4 in the journal presents a new model of root growth that suggests the truth may be somewhere in between. The mathematical model takes into account both the mass of the roots and their distance from the...

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Theresa Machemer
Dec 18
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Human-Made Materials Now Weigh More Than All Life on Earth Combined

Human-Made Materials Now Weigh More Than All Life on Earth Combined

Collectively, humans have a gargantuan ecological footprint—and the evidence is all around us. Forests are razed down to build highways, cities keep growing taller and wider, roads are paved to accommodate millions of cars and has permeated every ecosystem on Earth.All those human-made materials—like steel, concrete and plastic—may now outweigh all life on Earth, reports Sandra Laville for the . In a report published yesterday in , a team of scientists calculated that in 2020, human-made materials reached 1.1 trillion tons, exceeding the mass of all living things on the planet, which...

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Rasha Aridi
Dec 11
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