NSA telephone metadata collection ruled illegal

Yesterday the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government’s broad collection program of telephone metadata — involving both international and domestic calls — is illegal. The opinion is lengthy and tackles several issues, and is worth picking apart a bit.

Sometimes Nature Isn’t Intuitive

A new study released by Washington State University shows a very unintuitive result: killing gray wolves increases the likelihood of livestock killings the following year.  The explanation makes sense, once you hear it.

Ending the Elephant Program at Woodland Park Zoo

Today the Woodland Park Zoo announced, with great sadness, that it would be phasing out its elephant exhibit and transferring its two Asian elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to another AZA-accredited facility. Their reasoning is clear yet nuanced. Let’s take a moment to walk through it.

Same-sex Marriage Laws Just Got Interesting Again

Today the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling supporting four states’ ban on marriage for same-sex couples.  And with that, it is virtually assured that the Supreme Court will finally take up the issue.

Lies

By all appearances, the Republicans are about to have a very good midterm election — including potentially taking control of the Senate. This baffles and depresses me for one simple reason:  the Republicans are shameless, baldface liars, and voters are unwilling to call them on it.

Posner’s at it again

Fresh off his recent brilliant decimation of bans against marriage for same-sex couples,  last week Judge Posner served up some fresh vitriol against the recent strain of Republican-backed “voter ID” laws.

Posner is my hero

A three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down their decision today in the same-sex marriage cases originating in Wisconsin and Indiana. They unanimously affirmed the district court’s rulings that the same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Louisiana’s coastline: don’t get too attached to it.

ProPublica has a very informative feature on the rapidly shrinking Louisiana coastline. This is another man-made natural disaster, but surprisingly sea level rise from climate change is only a tertiary factor.  The story goes much farther back than that, and could largely be attributed to naïve good intentions in a time when we thought we […]

Vip

Check out this report on Vip, one of the silverback male gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo, and his recent surgery.

Ebola

  Ebola is all over the news the last couple of weeks — eclipsing talk of MERS in many places. There is lots of scary reports out there, and plenty of bad information, so it’s probably worth a recap of solid, useful information.

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