NY Times - Firefighters often talk about wildfires as living things, each one different in its inherently dangerous behavior and fickle shifts of temper. They are so unpredictable that even a seemingly mundane part of the day - getting to the job - can turn deadly. It did it here on Wednesday, in the middle of the worst wildlife summers in the West on record, when three firefighters died after their vehicle crashed near a blaze here in north-central Washington State.
Washington Post - The global warming problem seemed to take on a new level of urgency last year, when a NASA study suggested that a key region the massive West Antarctic ice sheet may have been destabilized. "We conclude that this sector of West Antarctica is undergoing a marine ice sheet instability that will significantly contribute to sea level rise in decades to centuries to come," the NASA study concluded. Research suggests that if all of West Antarctica were to melt, global sea level could potentially rise by 3.3 meters, or about 11 feet. However, the NASA study did not directly address how quickly this could occur - a question with implications from Miami to Bangkok.
Government Executive - Civilian agencies face sequestration cuts of $1.8 billion in 2016 if lawmakers pass House spending proposals, according to a new report from the Office of Management and Budget. The proposed spending levels would trigger a sequester because they surpass the caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, OMB found. Those caps were lowered in fiscal 2014 and 2015 thanks to a budget deal that offset some of the required cuts, but are scheduled to fully kick back in starting Oct. 1. The Defense side of the budget would be virtually unaffected by sequestration, with the BCA requiring just $1 million in cuts under a House bill and $3 million in cuts under a Senate proposal.
Christian Science Monitor - Normally, pouring water onto a book is an unfortunate accident. Aside from using the Yellow Pages to mop up a spill, there aren't many reasons to intentionally get a book wet. Scientists have just come up with a really good reason, one that could be an answer to water scarcity around the world. The "drinkable book" is not just a manual on why and how to drink clean water; the pages themselves are imbued with silver and copper particles that act as water filters, making even the filthiest water potable when torn out and used with a special holding device. With 750 million people worldwide lacking access to clean water, an easy and inexpensive solution has been a pressing yet elusive need.
Chelsea Now - Almost three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated several parts of New York and New Jersey, the US Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a $3 million study of the region. The study will also analyze possible protective measures, including a storm barrier between the Rockaways in New York to Sandy Hook in New Jersey - a five-mile passage between the two states. For Robert Trentlyon, longtime Chelsea resident, former newspaper publisher (including our sister publication, Downtown Express) and waterfront and park advocate, this is welcome news.
St. Louis Public Radio - More than a hundred people packed into a room at the Hazelwood Civic Center last night to hear about radioactive contamination outside homes near Coldwater Creek. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found radioactive soil in three backyards on Palm Drive in Hazelwood and is continuing to test the neighborhood for contamination. For now, the testing is limited to yards near the creek, but the Corps said it would likely start testing residential basements in the future, if they have been flooded by creek water. Representatives of the Corps, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health all gave brief presentations.