Health, Science and Environment

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OK. Naked mole rats are these blind rodents that live underground in East Africa. And over time, they've developed some special traits that help them thrive in tough spaces. NPR's Pien Huang makes the case for why they deserve some respect.

A few days ago, my dad gave me a call. "When we land in D.C., it's going to be Eid al-Adha," he said. "You know, the one where we eat kharouf."

No, I did not know. I had never observed the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Although my father is a Muslim, my mother is Filipino and a strict Catholic. My parents divorced when I was a child. For most of my life, my dad lived in Cairo while I grew up in Southern California. I'd visit him in the summertime. But the trips never intersected with an Eid celebration.

Like any good story about a scientific discovery, Walter A. Brown's account of the history of lithium features plenty of improvisation, conjecture and straight-up kismet.

Unlike many such stories, though, it also features a fair share of personal bias, senseless puttering and random speculation — on part of these scientific researchers.

On July 9, 2019, a facility operated by mining company Grupo Mexico spilled thousands of liters of sulfuric acid into the Sea of Cortez, raising environmental concerns and doubts about the Mexican government's willingness to hold extraction companies accountable when they pollute.

"Water, water everywhere." That line from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge could be the mantra for rain-weary residents across the country. Some regions have seen record amounts of rain since early spring. The Mississippi River and tributaries spent months above flood stage, while all of the Great Lakes are nearly at or above historic highs.

Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, says data show that the Great Lakes have been on the rise for several years, especially in recent months.

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