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The history and significance of Juneteenth

On C-SPAN‘s Washington Journal, Assistant Professor R. Xach Williams shared the importance of learning about #Juneteenth—the day in 1865 the last remaining enslaved people were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom in Galvaston, TX—and learning about the impact of segregation, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, gerrymandering, and more that followed.

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How heat affects the mind

Policy and infrastructure changes are urgently needed to protect our mental health from the impact of high temperatures.

Extreme heat days are an inevitable consequence of a warming world, and things are not cooling down. Globally, 2023 was the hottest year on record, and the Met Office—the United Kingdom’s national weather service—predicts that 2024 may be worse. It could even be the first year on record to surpass 1.5°C of warming above the preindustrial era.

The physical consequences of heat, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, are well-known. But heat has psychological consequences as well—consequences ranging from irritability to impulsivity to trouble concentrating. The impacts can put already-vulnerable people in crisis during heat waves but may also lead to general mental health impacts and increased friction within society.

“The way we are headed right now, things are only going to get worse,” said Kim Meidenbauer, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University who studies the effect of heat stress and other environmental factors on cognition and emotion. “If we don’t even understand the scope of the effect heat is having on us, that bodes poorly for our ability to protect people from the negative psychological consequences.”

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Monitor on Psychology



A devil and its cancer

The Tasmanian marsupial devil suffers from tumors that are even contagious. This has already killed off 85 percent of the population.

[The] disappearance of the Tasmanian devil is already changing the ecosystem. With its decline, the population of all those animals that also feed on carcasses and carrion is increasing. For example, the number of giant pouched martens (Dasyurus maculatus) is increasing. The new conditions are even reflected in its genes, said Andrew Storfer, evolutionary geneticist at Washington State University, in the journal “Nature”. He and his team found that genes that control muscle development, for example, were linked to the population density of Tasmanian devils. At least this is very easy to understand: In areas where the marsupial devil has already been killed off, the giant marsupials have to move around far less to find enough food.

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Welt am Sonntag (Germany)

Strange Theories that Defy Logic but Have Scientific Backing

(A Twitter thread)

5. Negative Mass
Negative mass is a hypothetical type of exotic matter whose mass is of opposite sign to the mass of normal matter. For example, if a normal object has a mass of 5 kg, a negative-mass object would have a mass of -5 kg. Unlike normal matter, negative mass would exhibit strange properties such as the oppositely oriented acceleration for an applied force orientation. This means that if you push an object with negative mass, it accelerates towards you instead of away from you.

In 2017, physicists at Washington State University created a fluid with negative mass in laboratory conditions. They cooled rubidium atoms to just above absolute zero, creating a Bose-Einstein condensate. By using lasers to change the way the atoms spin, they created conditions where the rubidium behaved as if it had negative mass.

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Law experts chime in on first criminal conviction of a president in U.S. history

When news broke Thursday that the first president in U.S. history was convicted of a crime, animated responses rang out from politicians and legal experts all across Washington state.

University of Washington Law Professor Jessica West said in an interview, “It’s a good and strong system. They had a chance to present their testimony. Mr. Trump could have testified if he wanted to. There were lots of protections in place.”

Cornell Clayton, professor of political science and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, agreed with West in saying he was not shocked by the jury’s verdict in the trial.

“It wasn’t surprising for those who had followed the trial, given how the evidence came in,” Clayton said, adding that the defense “didn’t provide any sort of alternative narrative to rebut the prosecutors’ case.”

Clayton said the verdict may have more of an impact on the institution of the presidency in the long run than it does on the 2024 election.

“I think, historically, it’s extremely important that for the first time we have a president who’s been convicted, criminally convicted, and that will change the way we think about the presidency,” he said, comparing the trial’s outcome to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

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The Spokesman-Review
Yahoo! News