Wednesday, May 24, 2023

24: Seagrass

A Powerful Climate Solution Just Below the Ocean’s Surface Restoring seagrass meadows is one tool that coastal communities can use to address climate change, both by capturing emissions and mitigating their effects........ They can bolster the coastlines, break the force of hurtling waves, provide housing for fish, shellfish, and migrating birds, clean the water, store as much as 5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, and pump oxygen into the ocean, in part making it possible for life on Earth as we know it. ....... they are one of nature’s earliest floral creations: seagrasses. Anchored on the shorelines of every continent except Antarctica, these plants (and they are plants, not algae, that sprout, flower, fruit and go to seed) are one of the most powerful but unheralded climate solutions that already exist on the planet. .......... It’s estimated that a third of seagrass around the world has disappeared in the last few decades ........

“Globally, a soccer field of seagrass is lost every 30 minutes”

...... nutrient pollution, largely from agricultural runoff and wastewater, and subsequent algal blooms and die-offs, which first choke out other plants like seagrass (a process called eutrophication) and then, as they decompose, take up all the oxygen in the water (hypoxia).

What’s Next for Russia After Spilling So Much Blood for Bakhmut? Seizing the city took 10 months and untold lives. Most likely, analysts say, Russia’s exhausted forces will settle into a defensive crouch, preparing for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. ....... The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is essentially over, for now. After 10 months of brutal artillery duels, frantic troop advances and thousands of Russian and Ukrainian casualties, Moscow’s formations are in control of the industrial hub, while Kyiv’s troops are trying to put pressure on the city’s flanks. ...... Earlier in the battle, Moscow had hoped to use the capture of Bakhmut as a springboard for further advances to the west — aspirationally toward the larger cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. That goal seems out of reach for now. ...... Russian troops appear spent, military analysts say, after suffering extensive losses in securing Bakhmut. ........... In the south, which some military analysts predict will be the focus of Ukraine’s offensive, Russian forces have dug an intricate network of primary and secondary trench lines and minefields to thwart any Ukrainian advance ........ If Ukraine does manage to retake territory, analysts say, that could give Russia’s far larger air force an upper hand as Ukrainian troops push forward, outside the range of their air defenses. ....... To the north, Ukrainian-backed proxy units have penetrated the Russian border in recent days, seizing a small batch of territory in what is considered a propaganda move to tie up Russian forces and embarrass the Kremlin following the seizure of Bakhmut........... Russian forces were defeated on three fronts last year — around Kyiv, in the northeastern Kharkiv region and at Kherson. Moscow is nursing its exhausted and casualty-ridden formations after brutal urban combat in Bakhmut. Ukraine, too, is plagued by casualties, but is digging in along far more favorable and higher terrain outside Bakhmut....... The head of the Wagner paramilitary force, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, whose fighters were primarily responsible for the seizure of Bakhmut, has pledged to pull them from the city and turn its defense over to Russia’s uniformed ranks, risking a disorganized turnover of troops....... Western estimates early this year put Russia’s casualties in wounded and dead at about 200,000 since its invasion, and Ukraine’s are thought to be similar .

Four Forces Bind Trump’s Supporters More Tightly Than Ever Reckoning with their enduring adherence to a broken man ........ During a CNN town hall earlier this month, Donald Trump acted as expected. He used the phrase “wack job” to describe E. Jean Carroll, who was awarded $5 million in damages because a jury unanimously concluded that Trump had sexually abused and defamed her. His statement elicited applause and laughter from the mostly pro-Trump crowd. He also described the January 6 insurrection as a “beautiful day” and declared that, if reelected president in 2024, he would pardon a “large portion” of the rioters. Those statements, too, brought applause from the raucous audience............. There was more. Trump called the Black police officer who had shot and killed one of the rioters storming the Capitol a “thug,” falsely claiming that the officer had bragged about the incident. Trump defended taking top-secret documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate. He wouldn’t say whether he hoped that Ukraine would win the war against Russia. And he spewed lie after lie after lie about the 2020 election and virtually every other topic that came up. ........ As the CNN anchor Jake Tapper said of Trump, summing up the night, “He declared war on the truth, and I’m not sure that he didn’t win.” ......... The day after the town hall, I asked a person in the talk-radio world how his listeners had responded. “One hundred percent approval of Trump’s performance,” this individual, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly, told me. “I even tried to get people to call me who didn’t think he did well, but no luck. And I received a number of calls saying they had been either leaning towards [Ron] DeSantis or were firmly in his camp, and they said they have now decided to fully support Trump, based on the town hall.”

‘Time Shelter’ Wins International Booker Prize Georgi Gospodinov’s acclaimed satire, translated by Angela Rodel, is the first Bulgarian novel to win the prestigious award. ........ “Time Shelter,” a novel in which a wave of nostalgia sweeps Europe and entire countries consider living in past eras ......... A complex novel, “Time Shelter” centers on a psychiatrist who creates a clinic in Switzerland to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. The clinic includes spaces that recreate past eras in intricate detail to help patients retain their memories, and the experiment proves so successful that the idea is taken up far beyond the hospital’s walls. .......... the book was also “a great novel about Europe, a continent in need of a future, where the past is reinvented and nostalgia is a poison.”......... when reading “Time Shelter” it was impossible “not to think of the reactionary sentiments behind Brexit and MAGA and even Putin’s Greater Russia irredentism.” ........ “thrust him into the forefront of his generation of Bulgarian writers, the first to emerge after the country’s transition to democracy.” ........ His novel “The Physics of Sorrow” followed a protagonist in the saddest country in the world — inspired by Western clichés about the temperament of Eastern Europeans. ......... Gospodinov said “Time Shelter” looked beyond his country’s borders and was inspired by the global turn toward populism. “I come from a system that sold a ‘bright future’ under communism,” he said. “Now the stakes have shifted, and

populists are selling a ‘bright past.’

.... “I know via my own skin that both checks bounce,” Gospodinov added. “They are backed by nothing.”

Cleopatra’s Daughter Led a Life as Eventful as Her Mother’s A new biography by Jane Draycott shines a light on an African queen whose career has been overshadowed by that of her famous forebear.

Anti-Kremlin Fighters Take War to Russian Territory for a Second Day The cross-border attacks by fighters aligned with Ukraine were an effort to force Russia’s military to divert troops from the front line, an official said. ....... Ukraine has denied any direct involvement in the incursions, casting the border attacks as a sign of internal division in Russia. A Ukrainian deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, described the fighters as “Russian patriots” rebelling against President Vladimir V. Putin’s government....... A group called the Free Russia Legion, made up of Russians who have taken up arms for Ukraine, claimed responsibility for taking the war to Russian territory. The volunteer unit operates under the umbrella of Ukraine’s International Legion, forces overseen by Ukrainian officers. .......... Ilya Ponomarev, an exiled former member of the Russian Parliament who described himself as the political representative of the legion, said by telephone on Tuesday that the incursions were an effort to force Moscow’s military to divert troops fighting in Ukraine and to destabilize Mr. Putin’s government by showing its inability to defend its long border with Ukraine........ In March, the Russian Volunteer Corps said it had staged a brief incursion into villages in the Russian region of Bryansk, and the Kremlin’s Security Council called an emergency session. ....... The corps is led by a Russian nationalist in exile and is part of a motley collection of Russians who oppose Mr. Putin’s rule........ “Some of the more hawkish segments of Russian society will see these attacks as another sign of the Kremlin’s weakness and incompetence,” he said. “So Putin can potentially lose some popularity among those who strongly support the war.”...... Yuriy Karin, an analyst with a group debunking Russian propaganda, said that after years of Russia’s denying its military interventions in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine may now be doing the same in southern Russia.

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