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Photo credit: Ricardo Maria Mantero / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)

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Hurricane Otis: The Mystery of Why Storms Suddenly Intensify (Maria)

The authors write, “Hurricane Otis made landfall on the coast of southern Mexico on Wednesday as a category five hurricane, battering towns and cities in its path with 165 mph winds. It has caused widespread damage to buildings and power outages in Acapulco, a large port city and popular tourist destination, in the state of Guerrero. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) described Otis as a ‘life-threatening storm surge’ which would bring large and dangerous waves, destructive winds and heavy rainfall. This could lead to flash flooding and mudslides, NOAA warned. ‘There are no hurricanes on record even close to this intensity for this part of Mexico,’ according to the National Hurricane Center. … Now scientists are hoping to find out more about what leads these destructive storms to grow in intensity over such a short period of time.”

In Israel’s Hour of Need, Where Did Netanyahu’s Right-wing Populist Friends Go? (Gerry)

From Haaretz: “To Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appallingly long list of political and conceptual failures, add his unfathomable, myopic trust in his far-right allies around the world.”

Canada: Lawmakers Targeted by China-Linked ‘Spamouflage’ Disinformation (Sean)

The author writes, “Canada on Monday warned of a “Spamouflage” disinformation campaign linked to China that used waves of online posts and deepfake videos manipulated to try to disparage and discredit Canadian lawmakers. The Global Affairs department said in a statement it had ‘detected a “Spamouflage” campaign connected to the People’s Republic of China.’ The bot network, according to the government ministry, left thousands of messages on the social media accounts of dozens of members of parliament, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, accusing them of criminal and ethical violations.”

At Least a Quarter of a Million People Were Arrested for Weed Last Year, FBI Says (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Police made more than a quarter of a million arrests for weed-related offenses in 2022, during which time recreational marijuana use was legal in nearly half of the states in the U.S. Law enforcement officials made at least 227,108 arrests for weed-related offenses last year, according to FBI crime data released on [last] Monday. Of those arrests, 92% were related to possession charges.

Why the US Is the Only Country That Ties Your Health Insurance to Your Job (Dana)

From Vox: “In the coming weeks, the majority of Americans will engage in a bizarre, mildly terrifying, distinctly American seasonal ritual. I refer, of course, to open enrollment — the time when you sign up for your health insurance plan. … It might also be a time when you ask yourself why it has to be this way. Look around the world, as Vox did a few years ago, and it’s clear there are much simpler ways to run a health care system. Some rich countries have all public insurance, some use private coverage, but they have a few things in common: They insure pretty much everybody, their systems cost less money, and whether you have health care has nothing to do with whether you’re employed.”

The Great Cash-for-Carbon Hustle (Reader Jim)

From The New Yorker: “Offsetting has been hailed as a fix for runaway emissions and climate change — but the market’s largest firm sold millions of credits for carbon reductions that weren’t real.”

Barnes & Noble Sets Itself Free (Laura)

The author writes, “The green carpet is gone. Dark wood shelves are no longer in favor. At many Barnes & Noble stores, the green-striped wallpaper and hunter-green walls have been scraped away and painted over in sandy shades of white and pink as the nation’s biggest brick-and-mortar bookseller pursues, in fits and starts, a back-to-basics, books-first strategy. Other stores will have a different look. … Barnes & Noble has introduced the new look at several dozen of its nearly 600 locations, including the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles, and at the 20 new stores that have opened in 2023. The result has been an idiosyncratic approach to mass retail.”

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