Scattered throughout the U.S. are places with populations you can count on one hand. Somewere evacuated after devastating environmental disasters, others simply saw residents move away as businesses closed and economic opportunities faded. But each has a story worth telling, and each one is home to some unique residents — or at least one.
12 U.S. places where your visit could double the population
Hot on the heels of the second year of Black Friday protests last week, fast-food restaurant workers in 100 cities around the U.S. plan to strike on Thursday, organizers have announced.
Their call is for a $15 an hour minimum wage, a major but necessary, hike from the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. While one-day strikes have been happening for the last year in major cities like Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles, they’ll be happening for the first time this week in Providence, Rhode Island; Charleston, South Carolina; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the New York Times reported.
It has been a big year for both retail and fast-food industry worker public actions. This spring and summer were dotted with one-day fast-food strikes of McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s restaurants around the country. In August, retail and fast-food workers in 50 cities staged a one-day walkout for their cause. The calls come as cities are grappling with growing class inequality and poverty. One solution is to raise the minimum wage. Last week, Seattle area voters approved a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in SeaTac to $15 an hour, a harbinger of changes to come, advocates hope.
Path Through Juvenile Redwoods
(Van Damme Park, California - 10/2013)
[Senator Fulbright] is a revolving son of a bitch. You know what a revolving son of a bitch is, don’t you? That’s a son of a bitch any way you look at him.
According to data from the National Abortion Federation, nearly 70 percent of medical students in the United States have received less than 30 minutes of class training about abortion by the time they finish medical school. This disregard for reproductive health education is an experience Dr. Nancy Stanwood, associate professor and section chief of Family Planning at the Yale School of Medicine and board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, remembers well. “We spent literally an hour and a half learning about birth control in two years of lectures,” she says. “We spent more time on cochlear implants — an important, but far less common, procedure.”
The problem with this kind of uneven training is that a lack of early exposure to reproductive health issues not only hurts a student’s ability to become, as Stanwood notes, “informed physician citizens,” it also shapes their career choices. It’s far less likely for students to choose a specialization in reproductive health care if it’s not something they’re hearing about during their training.
Social stigma around abortion may drive the marginalization of this training in medical school curricula, but the scarcity of students being trained to perform the procedure is also directly connected to the proliferation of GOP-backed state-level restrictions — on funding, on clinics and on physicians themselves.
Bargain hunters, West Hastings, ca. 1927
Outside W. Woolworth’s 5-10-15 Cent Store, West Hastings between Homer and Hamilton.
Source: Photo by WJ Moore (cropped), City of Vancouver Archives #Bu N62
In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years.
The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found.
The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years. It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA. Scientists hope that further studies of extremely ancient human DNA will clarify the mystery.
“Right now, we’ve basically generated a big question mark,” said Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author of the new study.
Hints at new hidden complexities in the human story came from a 400,000-year-old femur found in a cave in Spain called Sima de los Huesos (“the pit of bones” in Spanish). The scientific team used new methods to extract the ancient DNA from the fossil.
See also the further discussion of the discovery at Carl Zimmer’s blog.
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis).
Inhabitants of lakes and marshes for nearly 80 million years, grebes require long takeoff runs across water to become airborne. Having relatively small wings in proportion to their body weight, they must build up sufficient speed to rise and take flight.
During migration, grebes can mistake wet roads or parking lots for rivers, land on them, and become stranded. Due to the far back positioning of their legs, even just standing on land is incredibly awkward.
If you happen to find a grounded grebe in need, please call your local wildlife authorities!
This buzzard looks like it’s given up flying as it goes for a short stroll in pursuit of worms. Only very rarely seen on the ground, let alone walking, the photgraph was taken near Liverpool by wildlife photographer Steve Ward, who had to set up at 6am in his own hide about 25 yards from where he had seen the birds before near Ince Woods, Thornton. They were attracted by digging and posts set up to mark out a new road. Picture: Steve Ward/NATIONAL (via Pictures of the day: 21 November 2013 - Telegraph)
Forty years ago today, Pioneer 10 made its closest approach to Jupiter and sent back these images. It was the first spacecraft to venture beyond the asteroid belt and get close-ups of Jupiter.
Can we just talk about how awesome this image is? Pioneer 10 had an artsy streak. I would totes hang on my wall.
(image via NASA)