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You can blame a ‘medicane’ for this week’s deadly flooding in Greece.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria, public health researchers in Puerto Rico are limited by the same lack of power, clean water, and infrastructure they are there to study.

Puerto Rico–born José Cordero is one such scientist. In the journal Nature, he describes leading a team through the devastated landscape to collect data on how drinking water contamination affects pregnant women. The scientists have to hurry to finish their work everyday, before night falls across the largely powerless island. Limited telephone access makes it difficult to get in touch with subjects.

Cordero’s project started six years ago to focus on water pollution and pre-term births, but this year’s hurricane has changed both the focus and the level of difficulty of the work. Other researchers have been hampered by hospitals that can’t administer routine tests and hurricane-damaged equipment, making it difficult to collect data on how air and water pollution are affecting health.

Still, Cordero’s team has managed to contact several hundred woman and collect samples of groundwater and tap water from homes near flooded Superfund sites. As he told Nature: “The kind of work we’re doing … has to be done now, because a few years from now, it’s too late.”

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You can blame a ‘medicane’ for this week’s deadly flooding in Greece.

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Another side effect of Puerto Rico’s power problems: Scientists struggle to do their work.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria, public health researchers in Puerto Rico are limited by the same lack of power, clean water, and infrastructure they are there to study.

Puerto Rico–born José Cordero is one such scientist. In the journal Nature, he describes leading a team through the devastated landscape to collect data on how drinking water contamination affects pregnant women. The scientists have to hurry to finish their work everyday, before night falls across the largely powerless island. Limited telephone access makes it difficult to get in touch with subjects.

Cordero’s project started six years ago to focus on water pollution and pre-term births, but this year’s hurricane has changed both the focus and the level of difficulty of the work. Other researchers have been hampered by hospitals that can’t administer routine tests and hurricane-damaged equipment, making it difficult to collect data on how air and water pollution are affecting health.

Still, Cordero’s team has managed to contact several hundred woman and collect samples of groundwater and tap water from homes near flooded Superfund sites. As he told Nature: “The kind of work we’re doing … has to be done now, because a few years from now, it’s too late.”

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Another side effect of Puerto Rico’s power problems: Scientists struggle to do their work.

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Hurricane Irma has made landfall in the Florida Keys

One of the strongest storms ever to touch U.S. soil  arrived on Sunday morning, crossing near Key West as a Category 4 hurricane. With sustained winds of 130 mph, a storm surge as high as 15 feet, and waves an additional 30 feet on top of that, Irma is expected to lash nearly the entire state for at least 24 hours.

The storm is so huge that tropical storm watches extend as far inland as Atlanta. As of midday Sunday, it yielded around 80 terajoules of energy, more than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The biggest worry for meteorologists is Irma’s immense coastal flooding potential, which could perfectly align to create a worst-case scenario for Gulf Coast cities like Naples, Ft. Myers, and Tampa. Nearly 7 million people have fled the path of the storm, the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, photos of complete devastation continue to pour in from the Caribbean. On the island of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, forests were flattened and twisted into mangled messes. In the Bahamas, Irma’s offshore winds were so strong on one beach that they pushed the ocean completely out of sight. Barbuda was so ravaged that the normally lush island appeared brown from space.

And if you’re wondering, climate change is a huge part of the story here. Since 2010, seas have risen in Florida at one of the fastest rates anywhere in the world.

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Hurricane Irma has made landfall in the Florida Keys

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Obamacare Is Doing Fine Unless Trump Kills It

Mother Jones

The Congressional Budget Office says that Obamacare is in good shape:

Under current law, most subsidized enrollees purchasing health insurance coverage in the nongroup market are largely insulated from increases in premiums because their out-of-pocket payments for premiums are based on a percentage of their income; the government pays the difference. The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable.

Insurance companies are starting to make money on Obamacare. Nearly 20 million people have health insurance because of Obamacare. Premiums will probably go up next year, but not by a huge amount. And even if they do go up, federal subsidies will shield most people from having to pay any more than this year. Because of all this, CBO believes that Obamacare will stay stable and strong:

President Trump tweeted the opposite today, saying once again that Obamacare was on the verge of failing. This is a lie, one that he’s repeated over and over. Obamacare will fail only if he cuts off its funding.

The reason for this post isn’t so much to mention that Trump lied again today. The sun also rose in the east, and I didn’t write about that. It’s to remind everyone—including me—to stop writing tweets and blog posts that say something like this:

Trump says Obamacare is in a death spiral. He’s wrong.

When we repeat the lie, we just give it more exposure. The end result is that people vaguely know something about Obamacare and death spiral and controversial, and that’s it. They don’t really know who’s right, they just know that they keep seeing stuff about Obamacare being in trouble.

So don’t do it. Instead, just write the truth and then mention that Trump has lied about it.

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Obamacare Is Doing Fine Unless Trump Kills It

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These Charts Show the Cost Of Renting a 2-Bedroom Apartment In the 5 Most-Expensive Cities In America

Mother Jones

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A little more than a year ago, my former colleague Erika Eichelberger wrote about the fact that, for many, the rent is simply too damn high (I chipped in with some pretty charts illustrating an ugly problem). This story has been told time and time again, but a recent report from Bloomberg takes it one step further, at least for those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to be entering the job market while living in San Francisco or New York City.

“The Starter Apartment Is Nearly Extinct in San Francisco and New York,” according the the article’s headline. Citing data compiled by real estate listings site Trulia, Bloomberg points out some depressing statistics: In San Francisco, 91 percent of one-bedroom apartments rent for more than $2,000 per month. It’s almost as bad in Manhattan, where 89 percent of one-bedroom apartments will set you back $2,000 month.

Trying to find a two bedroom? In San Francisco, almost every two-bedroom apartment rents for more than $2,000 (98 percent). Many are more than $2,500 (96 percent), or $3,000 (91 percent). More than half the two-bedrooms in San Francisco will put you back $4,000 per month. Take a look:

Trulia.com

Obviously this applies to certain parts of these cities and, indeed, if you read through Trulia’s report, it breaks the data down by neighborhood. For instance, take a look at the interactive map of San Francisco below, which breaks down the cost of 1-bedroom units:

Here’s one for New York City:

So yes, chances are you can still find something, somewhere. But the point is that for many of us, that dream of life in the big city—for a reasonable amount of money and in a convenient location—is just that: a dream.

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These Charts Show the Cost Of Renting a 2-Bedroom Apartment In the 5 Most-Expensive Cities In America

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This Commercial Might Be One of the Only Factual Things to Air During Tonight’s GOP Debate

Mother Jones

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If you watch tonight’s Republican primary debate on CBNC, you can expect to hear opinions on the economy and pot, attacks on newly annointed front-runner Ben Carson, and more. You can also expect to see the ad above, which lays out the economic case for action on climate change.

The 30-second spot is part of a six-figure TV and digital ad buy from NextGen Climate, the advocacy group run by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. At the beginning of the primary season, Steyer promised to focus his group’s energy on holding Republican presidential candidates accountable for their lack of climate action, and to pursue a campaign to “disqualify” any candidate who doesn’t accept mainstream climate science.

“America has never been a country of quitters,” the ad states, over bucolic b-roll of farmers, veterans, and small town Main Streets. “We don’t ignore threats like climate change.”

Then the scene changes to wind farms and solar panels, as the narrator promises that American-made clean energy will produce jobs, innovation, and energy independence. At the end, it advocates a specific goal of getting half the country’s power from renewable sources by 2030. (We’re at about 7 percent now.)

Steyer is clearly right that clean energy is a major 21st-century growth industry. Solar is the fastest-growing energy source in the country, and employment in that sector already outnumbers coal miners two-to-one. Nearly $40 billion was invested in clean energy in the United States in 2014, 7 percent higher than the previous year. Earlier this month, California adopted the same ambitious target that Steyer is calling for: The state’s power companies will be required to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030.

But the message hasn’t yet gotten through to most of the Republican presidential candidates. Marco Rubio’s energy plan is basically the exact opposite of what Steyer wants. Jeb Bush wants to eliminate all energy subsidies, including those for renewables. Other candidates have variously denied the existence of climate change, championed fossil fuels, and taken pot shots at President Barack Obama’s climate agenda.

The one exception, believe it or not, is Ben Carson, who—despite engaging in climate change skepticism—recently said he wants “more than 50 percent” clean energy. Maybe tonight we’ll learn more about how exactly he plans to get us there.

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This Commercial Might Be One of the Only Factual Things to Air During Tonight’s GOP Debate

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This GOP Congressman’s Solution to Homelessness Involves Getting Eaten By Wolves

Mother Jones

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Homelessness is a very serious problem. Nearly 600,000 Americans don’t have a home, including one in every 30 children. Recently, we’ve reported on some innovative solutions, including tiny houses and free, no-strings-attached apartments.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has a different idea. It involves wolves. Specifically, releasing grey wolves into the districts of 79 of his peers in Congress who had recently called for greater protections for the endangered species.

From the Washington Post:

“How many of you have got wolves in your district?” he asked. “None. None. Not one.”

“They haven’t got a damn wolf in their whole district,” Young continued. “I’d like to introduce them in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless problem anymore.”

Wow.

If you’re unfamiliar with Don Young, he is renowned for his outlandish antics, mostly about animals, like that time he brandished an 18-inch walrus penis bone on the House floor or the time he called climate change the “biggest scam since Teapot Dome” (a major bribery scandal in the 1920s involving the Harding administration).

A Young spokesperson told the Post that the comment was “purposely hyperbolic.”

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This GOP Congressman’s Solution to Homelessness Involves Getting Eaten By Wolves

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Devo’s "The Men Who Make the Music" is Hilarious and Unsettling

Mother Jones

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Devo
The Men Who Make the Music plus Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig
MVD Visual

Best known, perhaps, for the giddy 1980 smash, “Whip It,” Devo was much more than the disposable New Wave novelty act that hit implied, as this enticing DVD proves. Mixing high concepts and low humor, the Ohio-bred band specialized in raucous punk-electronica drenched in pessimism and misanthropy, and delivered the goods with an irresistible, wild-eyed spirit, attracting support from the likes of David Bowie and Neil Young. The Men Who Make the Music draws primarily from Devo’s groundbreaking ’70s work, with raucous live footage and the still-amazing (if extremely low-budget) videos that preceded their major-label deal. Nearly four decades on, the clips for “Jocko Homo” and their savage deconstruction of the Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” are both hilarious and unsettling, while testifying to the band’s keen visual sense and absurdist flair. Capturing a live show at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s still entertaining.

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Devo’s "The Men Who Make the Music" is Hilarious and Unsettling

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Honduras Grants Land to Indigenous Group, in Bid to Help It Protect Forests

A title agreement gives the indigenous people ownership of nearly 4,000 square miles of their traditional land. Read more: Honduras Grants Land to Indigenous Group, in Bid to Help It Protect Forests Related Articles Dot Earth Blog: From the Fire Hose: Warming Slowdown, Deep-Ocean Waves, Canadian Crude Inferno Dot Earth Blog: First Hurricane Brews After Silent First Half to the Atlantic Storm Season Economic Scene: Counting the Cost of Fixing the Future

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Honduras Grants Land to Indigenous Group, in Bid to Help It Protect Forests

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