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Top News: (4/11-4/17)

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

U.S. to resume oil, gas drilling on public land despite Biden campaign pledge:

A 3D-printed oil pump jack is placed on dollar banknotes in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

On Friday, the Biden Administration announced that it had resumed plans for oil and gas development on federal land, which could break one of the President’s pledges from his campaign. The plan, though calling for steeper royalties on the land and fewer acres being leased, was quickly denounced by environmental groups in the US and praised by the oil industry. This is the latest move to reform the leasing program used in the US as the administration faces pressure to address increasing energy prices. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised several times that he would end federal drilling auctions though that was halted by legal challenges from several Republican-led states. According to Randi Spivak, public lands director for the Center for Biological Diversity, “The Biden administration’s claim that it must hold these lease sales is pure fiction and a reckless failure of climate leadership.”

Kremlin crackdown silences war protests, from benign to bold:

A worker paints over graffiti saying 'Yes to Peace!' on a wall of an apartment building in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 18, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

Hundreds of Russians are facing charges for speaking out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Much of these charges stem from a law passed last month that outlaws disparaging the country’s military. According to human rights groups, at least 23 people have been brought up on criminal charges because of this law while another 500 are facing misdemeanors. One protestor was arrested for standing next to a Kyiv monument in Russia, built to commemorate the city’s stand against Nazi Germany in WW2 while holding a copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Pink Floyd Reunites to Record First New Material in 28 years – a Protest Song Against the Ukraine War:

Three-fifths of Pink Floyd have reunited to release a protest song against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, their first new track in 28 years. Entitled Hey Hey, Rise Up! David Gilmour described the track as a show of “anger at a superpower invading a peaceful nation,” and features a Ukrainian musician singing the chorus refrain. David Gilmour is joined by drummer Nick Mason, long-time bassist Guy Pratt, and a new entry as Nitin Sahwney joins up with the keyboard. Work began on the song seven weeks ago, after Gilmour saw Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the band Boombox standing in Kyiv’s Sofia Square armed and dressed for battle against the Russian army. In an Instagram video, Khlyvnyk was singing The Red Viburnum In The Meadow, a song from the First World War. In a strange coincidence, Gilmour had shared a stage many acts removed with Boombox when they played a London benefit gig for the Belarus Free Theatre. The great guitarist wanted to sample his singing in Hey Hey, Rise Up! Protest is all well and good, but the band hopes it will also be a morale booster to the people of Ukraine and a call to peace.

Research Suggests Mushrooms Talk to Each Other With a Vocabulary of 50 ‘Words’:

Mycologists studying the underground filaments of fungi are observing electrical signals similar to a nervous system: a normal phenomenon, except that they found the signals were remarkably similar to human language. When filaments called ‘hyphae’ of a wood-digesting fungal species discover a bit of wood to munch on the underground, the hyphae begin to light up with “spikes” of electrical signals that reach out to the hyphae of other individuals, and even trees. To see what characteristics these electrical impulse spikes share with the nervous system language of other lifeforms, Adamatzky put tiny electrodes into pieces of material, feeding on which were four species: enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. The authors set the electrical spikes against a series of human linguistic phenomena that were used to successfully decode part of the carved language of the Picts, the Bronze Age people of Scotland. The average length of a human-expressed vowel is between 300 and 70 milliseconds, and so they assumed that if there was a 0-millisecond break between spikes, that was part of the same “word.” It was found that the C. militaris fungi electrical signals were almost identical to the English language more than Greek and averaged around 50 words based on repetitive signals. The researchers believe that these signal structures are meant to keep the connection between mycelium strong so that communication is seamless between their large communication networks across the forest. However, Adamatzky explained that the electrical signals could also be a result of the fungi exploring the forest underground.


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