Winfried Wisniewski/Getty Images
Climate change has put organisms on the move. In her new book, The Next Great Migration, Science writer Sonia Shah writes about migration — and the ways in which outmoded notions of “belonging” have been used throughout history to curb what she sees as a biological imperative.
There is a tendency to view plants, animals and people who cross into a new territory as a threat to the current habitat. But Shah says there’s another way to think about these “invaders.”
Humans “thrive in such widely variable places — from the Tibetan plateau to the middle of rainforests,” she says. “You have to think about the whole picture of, why did we evolve this way? It’s because its benefits outweighed its risks over the long term.”
Ultimately, Shah wants to challenge the idea of migration as a problem: “It seems to me that it could be just the opposite: That migration isn’t the crisis. Migration is the solution.”
Shah’s 2016 book, Pandemic, explored the increasing threat of viral outbreaks.
On the origins of the idea that human migration was problematic
I traced most of these ideas back to Carl Linnaeus, who’s considered the father of modern taxonomy. He’s this 18th-century Swedish naturalist, and he kind of decided for all of us: Where does everything belong? He named everything. He came from a very Christian household, and like most naturalists of the time, he was very religious. He thought of nature as an expression of God’s perfection. So everything was in its rightful place for him. …
Wherever he found things, that’s where they “belonged,” and that extended to his human taxonomy. So he decided that the people in Africa belong in Africa, that people in America, they belong in America, etc., to such an extent that he decided that all of these different peoples on different continents didn’t have a shared ancestry, a shared migration history, but were actually separate subspecies of humans. And, in fact, he called Africans even less than human, that they were sort of a hybrid between real humans and this other archaic, mythical human that he called “troglodytes.”
But those ideas were incredibly influential because we see them today in our ideas about race and about where people belong and where wild species belong. When a wild creature crosses from a different place into a new territory, we think of it as an invasive; we call it an alien. We see hints of all of that in the way we make policy around immigration and newcomers in places around the world.
On how Linnaeus’ ideas opened the door for junk “race science” within the scientific community
[The “race” scientists] really felt like immigration would cause a biological catastrophe, because they thought that people from Africa or Polynesia or elsewhere in the world were biologically distinct. And so if they came into our country and started to partner with “native” people, with local people, that they would have these hybrid children that would be like deformed, essentially degenerated and deformed. They did all this science to try to prove that, which, by modern standards is not scientific, as we understand it at all. But they were scientists. So they had that kind of authority of being people who are looking into this really deeply.
But even leading people in the American Public Health Association and President Calvin Coolidge actually wrote about what he called “biological laws,” according to which divergent people could not mix or blend. And the Public Health Association said that if we allowed immigrants in, and these are people who are of different subspecies to mix with native people, that would lead to hybrid generations that would lead to, I think the quote, was “absolute ruin” for American society.
On what we’ve learned from tracking the migrations of animals
With solar technology and GPS, we can track animals 24/7 over the course of their lifetimes, sort of continuously. So you can see the full picture of the way they move. And what they’re finding is that these creatures are moving farther and faster and in more complex and responsive ways, dynamic ways than anyone ever thought before. What’s funny is we’ve created all these parks and reservations to kind of protect animals, and when we’ve actually now studied well, where do they actually go? It turns out the giraffes, they’re supposed to stay in the park in Ethiopia that we set aside for them, in fact, they’re crossing borders and going much farther than that. The turtles are swimming well beyond the boundaries of the marine protected-zones we’ve made up for them. We see animals are moving sort of en masse now because of the climate crisis.
I don’t deny that those disruptions are occurring, but I dispute what the reason is behind it. There’s so many species that are moving around, and to think that every newcomer who comes into your territory is sort of alien to it as opposed to the natives who belong there, I think that’s where we go wrong. I mean, it’s interesting with the hornets. This is very typical of how we respond to new novel creatures that we think are out of place. I mean, we were calling these hornets, “murder hornets,” which is a very pejorative way to talk about anything, really. Lions also are predators, we don’t call them “murder cats.” …
What they’re really threatening is honeybees and stuff, which are also not native either. They’re from Europe. So, I’m not saying the disruption doesn’t exist — but it’s the way we think about it. What we know is that only 10 percent of species that move into new places are able to establish themselves. And then only 10 percent of those become sort of pests, cause disruptions, unwanted effects on either human health or our economies or on already resident species. So we’re talking about one percent of all the species that are moving around actually causing these problems of what we call invasiveness. And yet we have this approach that’s embedded in our conservation policies, like the Convention on Biological Diversity, which recommends that we detect species that are new in our environments early, that we repel them and that we eradicate them before they are able to establish themselves. And the idea there is that you get rid of them because you’re presuming that they’re going to cause problems. And so that presumption, I think, is what is problematic, because especially right now, because the climate is changing, and we need species to move into new places and we don’t want to repel them as invaders or aliens just because they’re moving into new places, which is what’s going to allow them to survive.
On going to borders to report on human migration
Right now, we have more borders around the world … fortified with walls and other barriers than ever before. And … it hasn’t repelled movement. It hasn’t made people stay home. It’s just made migration a lot more deadly. So people are risking their lives now to find refuge from bombs and beheadings and poverty and the rest of it. So that was what was most striking to me. And the thing about reporting on migration is you basically can go anywhere because there’s migration happening sort of behind-the-scenes everywhere you go. So what I wanted to do is look at, well, where are people getting stuck? Whether it’s refugee camps or border checks or dying in the desert on the U.S.-Mexico border.
On the underlying biodiversity crisis behind the coronavirus and other pathogens
I think we need to look more deeply at the way we’re interacting with nature. We need to look more deeply at the crisis of biodiversity, which is really the fundamental driver of all of these spillover pathogens coming into human populations. I mean, it’s not just the novel coronavirus. It’s also Ebola and Zika and HIV in the 1980s and West Nile Virus and new kinds of Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease. We have a whole host of these pathogens that are coming out of animal populations into humans because we are destroying wildlife habitat at such a huge rate. We’re losing 150 species every day. So this biodiversity crisis is the fundamental driver. So we need to, I think, look at that more deeply and consider human health to be connected to the health of our livestock, our wildlife and our ecosystems more generally.
Sam Briger and Seth Kelley produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Meghan Sullivan adapted it for the Web.
Eiffel Tower Reopens In Paris, After A 3-Month Shutdown
The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday morning, after being shut down for more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the Paris landmark’s longest closure since World War II.
The reopening is a dramatic sign of people finally reclaiming public spaces in France, after more than 100 days of restrictions. But the tower’s highest point is still not open – and for now, visitors will need to take the stairs.
The stairs-only rule is one of several restrictions at the site, which draws millions of tourists during a normal year. Face masks are compulsory for all visitors over the age of 11, and physical distancing markers are in place.
To keep people from crossing paths on the stairs, visitors will ascend on the Eiffel Tower’s East pillar and descent on the West pillar, the Eiffel Tower website states.
🇫🇷 Premiers visiteurs aux 1er et 2e étages 😃 10 mn de montée par étage seulement ! 💖
🇬🇧 Our first visitors arrive at the 1st and 2nd floors. 10 minutes only to climb each level 💪#tourEiffel #EiffelTower pic.twitter.com/GBf26ElSAD
— La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) June 25, 2020
The reopening took place on a sunny and clear morning, promising wide views of the city. The tower’s return was widely celebrated, with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo hailing the reopening. As the first visitors prepared to make their way up, a band of drummers performed in the plaza at the tower’s base.
Elevator service inside the monument is slated to return on July 1. For those who can’t wait, a ticket to walk up to the Eiffel Tower’s second floor – the wider area that cuts off just as the tower narrows toward its spire – costs 10.40 euros (about $11.65).
Tickets are being sold online, in 30-minute increments. Shortly after noon local time Thursday, spots were still open through the afternoon, although the evening tickets had all been claimed, presumably by people eager to see how the City of Lights comes to life in the night, even during a pandemic.
A French government official declared the coronavirus to be “under control” in early June. Days later, France joined the rest of the European Union in lifting many border restrictions within the bloc – part of a plan to salvage part of the summer tourism season.
There are signs that the virus is remaining under control. France’s positive test rate for the coronavirus is 1.5%, according to the most recent data from the national public health agency. Only two of its 104 departments are considered to be in a highly vulnerable situation – and those are in islands in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
France has confirmed 161,348 coronavirus cases, including 29,731 deaths, according to government data.
‘Gone With The Wind’ Returns To HBO Max With New Introduction
Gone With The Wind has returned to the streaming service HBO Max after it was removed earlier this month because of its benign portrayal of American slavery. The film now features a new introduction by film scholar and Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart.
In the introduction, Stewart addresses the film’s problematic depiction of the Antebellum South.
“Eighty years after its initial release, ‘Gone With the Wind’ is a film of undeniable cultural significance,” she says. “It is not only a major document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past but also an enduring work of popular culture that speaks directly to the racial inequalities that persist in media and society today.”
Stewart adds that the film depicts a “world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.”
The streaming service also added two companion videos along with the return of the film. One video features a panel discussion on the film’s controversial legacy and another provides more information about Hattie McDaniel, who in 1940 became the first African American to win an Oscar for her portrayal of the enslaved “Mammy.”
The 1939 film has long been the subject of criticism, with some saying it portrayed the Confederacy with sentimentality and fondness. Recent protests for racial justice sparked by the police killing of George Floyd renewed these concerns. Screenwriter, producer and director John Ridley wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times earlier this month calling on HBO Max to remove Gone With the Wind from its library.
“The movie had the very best talents in Hollywood at that time working together to sentimentalize a history that never was,” Ridley wrote. “And it continues to give cover to those who falsely claim that clinging to the iconography of the plantation era is a matter of ‘heritage, not hate.’ “
A spokesperson for the streaming service told NPR in a statement at the time of the film’s removal that the “racist depictions” in the film were “wrong then and wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
The spokesperson added that aside from the new introduction, the movie itself would not be altered once it returned, “because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
Stewart reiterated those sentiments in her introduction, acknowledging that while watching Gone With The Wind and other classic films could be uncomfortable or painful, the films should be available in their original form to “invite viewers to reflect on their own beliefs when watching them now.”
Both Chambers Of Congress Back For First Time During Pandemic Amid Questions On Tests
On Thursday, the House and Senate will be in session at the same time, for the first time, since the pandemic began more than three months ago.
While the 100-member Senate resumed its regular floor business in May, the much larger House of Representatives has met sparingly. With more than 430 members, the lower chamber faces higher risks for an outbreak.
And like many other workplaces around the country, Congress has had to ration tests for the coronavirus. Much of the work by employees, aides and lawmakers is being done remotely. Last month, the House approved new rules allowing proxy voting and hearings by video conference.
“Rationing tests for members of Congress … to me, it’s maddening,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “Like, this is no way to run a country.”
But there have been some improvements. The attending physician to Congress can now test asymptomatic members, a senior Democratic aide told NPR. Previously, only some sick members could access tests.
Meanwhile, the Capitol remains closed to the general public for tours and visits. And those still meeting there largely adhere to the attending physician’s guidance to maintain social distancing and wear masks.
“Everyone should just wear a damn mask, like you guys are, like I am right now,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told reporters Wednesday.
Members of Congress saw a spike in cases at the start of the pandemic but have largely flattened their curve, with a total of nine cases.
But Capitol workers — which include staff members, Capitol Police officers and those who maintain operations — have seen a larger influx of cases, with more than 60 by mid-June, according to a congressional aide.
“Those are the ones that we should be concerned about developing some long-term testing protocols for, because it’s not just about the members,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., ranking member on the House Administration Committee, told NPR recently.
Davis has been on the hunt for a new testing program for Congress. This month, he wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for the attending physician to partner with the military or a private vendor to test 2,000 people or more a week.
But so far Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have said Congress shouldn’t get prioritized testing ahead of essential workers.
The chair of the House Administration Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., agrees with that plan — for now.
“I think until the country is in better shape, we’re not going to be in a position to test everybody who comes into the Capitol,” Lofgren said.
Experts such as Jha say national testing still hasn’t reached recommended levels. Among those showing little interest in boosting it is President Trump, who told a rally last weekend in Tulsa, Okla., that he asked for testing to be slowed.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters he wasn’t kidding when he made the comments.
“Testing is a double-edged sword,” he said.
On The COVID-19 Campaign Trail, Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock May Be Getting A Boost
At a free, mass testing site on Montana’s Flathead Reservation, hundreds of people are queued up in idling cars. They’re waiting an hour or more for the irritating nose swab test for COVID-19, but most like Francine Van Maanen are just grateful to finally get one.
“We enjoyed the fact that they had this testing available to us so why not get checked,” she says, while waiting in line with her husband.
Nurses wearing face shields put the swabs in plastic tubes while busily scribbling notes on clipboards. This “mass surveillance” testing event was part of Gov. Steve Bullock’s recent goal to do community surveillance testing of 60,000 Montanans a month — the state has yet to come close to hitting that.
“This is big, this is overwhelming,” Bullock told tribal and county health officials working the recent Flathead event. “Now let’s start talking about when we’re going to do it again.”
Under Bullock’s watch, Montana now has the lowest coronavirus infection rate in the nation, and among its lowest hospitalizations and deaths. Daily new case numbers have been going up for the last two weeks, but only by single or double digits. The pandemic — and Bullock’s handling of it as the state’s top leader — is fast becoming a central issue in his campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Steve Daines.
The race is one of a few around the country that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate next year. It’s also expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation, and likely the most expensive in Montana’s history.
Bullock, citing advice from local public health officials, implemented a statewide stay-at-home order and closed most schools down earlier than some neighboring states on March 28. Montana also began a phased reopening earlier than most, around the middle of last month. By June 1, citing the low number of cases, Bullock lifted a 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers, saying there is ample contact tracing now.
“We may see positive cases,” he says. “But we’ll also identify those positive cases before they start spreading.”
On the Flathead, the one-time presidential candidate was in his element, wearing jeans and cowboy boots, his Ray-Bans shielding against the glare from the sun hitting the late season snow high on the Mission Mountains.
Bullock is termed out as governor after this year. After months of insisting he wouldn’t run for Senate, just before the filing deadline, he changed his mind in March. Then a few days later, the pandemic hit.
“I think there’ll be a time for the campaigning side of that,” he says. “But that hasn’t been where I’ve really been putting the time.”
But the pandemic is in the news every day, which so far hasn’t exactly hurt Bullock who until recently had been seen as the underdog.
“He’s dominating the airwaves, you can’t turn around without seeing a story about the governor,” says Chris Mehl, the non-partisan mayor of Bozeman.
Bozeman is the state’s fastest growing city. It’s swung blue lately, in part due to a wave of newcomers attracted by the area’s outdoor and recreation amenities and the increased ability to telecommute. The university town near to ski resorts and Yellowstone National Park was also Montana’s initial hotspot for cases.
“It’s in a sense become what he’s tied to,” Mehl says. “The issue for him is the competency of handling the pandemic, both on a health side but also on an economic recovery side.”
‘Jobs and economy’ election
Bozeman is also the hometown of Republican Steve Daines. Lately Daines has struggled to get into the local news as much as Bullock even after he helped pass a sweeping public lands conservation bill. If these were normal times, that would have been big news considering the growing influence of the outdoor recreation economy in the state.
Nevertheless, in a phone interview, the senator says he doesn’t think the public health crisis itself will be much of a factor come Fall.
“I think by the time voters start to cast their ballots, this election is going to be a jobs and economy election,” Daines says.
Daines touted his experience helping small businesses, and he predicted unemployment claims will continue to mount if the pandemic continues to hamper economic recovery.
But in Montana right now, Daines’ reelection chances may depend mostly on President Trump remaining popular here.
Daines has positioned himself as one of the president’s staunch supporters. When Trump tweeted the so-called “squad” should go back where they came from, Daines doubled down in support. He was also one of the few Republican senators to publicly praise the president when peaceful protesters were cleared out from in front of the White House so Trump could pose holding a bible.
“Montanans are going to vote for President Trump, he’s going to win Montana,” Daines says. “They’re going to be glad that he’s coming here.”
Trump also came to Montana four times in 2018, failing to unseat the state’s other senator, Democrat Jon Tester. While no dates have been set, his return on behalf of Daines is widely expected and that’s prompting the same public health concerns as at recent rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix.
“That bridge will be crossed when there is a decision made to have a rally,” Daines says.
Montana ticket splitting
Montana is famously all over the map politically. When Daines was elected in 2014, he took over a Senate seat that Democrats had held for 100 years. In 2016, when Trump won Montana by nearly 20 points, Steve Bullock was re-elected as governor.
Just like during his long-shot presidential bid, Bullock is touting his bipartisan record from COVID-19, to Medicaid expansion and showing support for the Keystone pipeline which crosses the state.
“Look, I stood up to President Obama multiple times,” Bullock says. “I’ll work with whoever it is when it’s in the best interest of Montana.
One place Bullock has taken some heat for his handling of the pandemic is in national park gateway towns like West Yellowstone. Montana’s entrance gates opened three weeks after Wyoming’s, as per Bullock’s order.
“I would have loved to have seen us open earlier,” says Travis Watt, general manager for a hotel and a couple other businesses in the tourist-dependent town. “I’m glad he didn’t wait till longer, I know there was a lot of pressure to push until later.”
Watt didn’t vote for Bullock for Governor but he says he likes how he’s managed the pandemic so far.
“It’s a unique situation and you look at some of the things going around in the country and I think Montana sits pretty good,” Watt says.
While Sen. Daines can probably win Montana with a big turnout from Trump’s base and rural voters, Bullock will need people like Watt to consider crossing over, just as he needs coronavirus cases to stay low and the economy to rebound.
Dota 2 Patch 7.29 Will Reveal a New Hero
Pokemon GO announces details for Rivals Week
Drift0r Opens Up About Harassment By Eight Thoughts
Valorant Redeem Codes: How to redeem?
Bitcoin Miner hodln ihre BTC anstatt sie zu verkaufen
MicroStrategy kauft weitere 253 BTC für 15 Millionen US-Dollar
Reports suggest G2 Esports is reviewing its Valorant roster
Call of Duty streamer and host TeePee joins Envy Gaming
How to watch the TFT Fates Championship
Best Warzone guns: the weapons you need to use in Black Ops Cold War Season 2
The top three weapons in Black Ops Cold War Season 2 Reloaded
Ludwig passes 200,000 Twitch subscribers, closes in on Ninja’s record
W33 Removed From Team Nigma’s Active Roster
Playa del Carmen: Krypto-Hotspot mit HODLversity
Team Mahi’s owner Sentinel’s Nirbhaya Rape reference demands severe course correction
“Lost control,” TM Sentinel issues apology; seeks forgiveness for ‘disgraceful’ comments
Hexagrams and Wolf No Longer Casting the Overwatch League 2021
Leading SME finance provider Capify breaking new ground with the launch of their exclusive solution for finance brokers
Code S RO16: Bunny & Hurricane advance, TY & DRG eliminated
Unternehmen gründen Crypto Council: Fidelity und Coinbase mit dabei
Esports1 week ago
Riot gives insight into Gwen’s origin and gameplay design process for League of Legends
Esports1 week ago
Everything you need to know about the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational
Blockchain7 days ago
Bitcoin Cash Price Prediction: BCH/USD Price Turns Bearish; Can the $540 Support Hold?
Esports1 week ago
Glitched Market 2K21: What is it and How to Unlock it
Esports1 week ago
Oddworld: Soulstorm, Days Gone, and Zombie Army 4 are PlayStation Plus’ free games for April
Blockchain7 days ago
How Chainlink will help secure Polkadot’s environment
Esports6 days ago
GeneRaL is replaced by RAMZES666 on Na’Vi
Blockchain7 days ago
Blockchain-based renewable energy marketplaces gain traction in 2021
Cleantech1 week ago
Volkswagen’s European Factories Up To 95% Powered By Renewables
Aviation1 week ago
World2Fly gears up for July launch with roll-out of Airbus A350-900
PR Newswire1 week ago
Stärkung von Frauen in einer aufstrebenden Branche
Blockchain7 days ago
Mark Cuban Thinks Dogecoin ($DOGE) Could Get to $1, but Could It Get to $10?