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River Revives After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History

‘In August 2014, workers completed the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, as the final part of the 210-foot-high (64-meter-high) Glines Canyon Dam was dismantled on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington State.The multistage project began in 2011 with the blessing of the U.S. National Park Service, which administers the surrounding Olympic National Park. The goal was to remove unneeded, outdated dams and restore a natural river system, with presumed benefits for fish and other wildlife.

Indeed, salmon have already returned to the Elwha after nearly a century of absence, and other fish and marine creatures are thriving.  But the restoration hasn’t just been about the river channel itself, says Anne Shaffer, a marine biologist with the nonprofit Coastal Watershed Institute in nearby Port Angeles, Washington. (Watch spectacular time-lapse video of another Northwest dam coming down.) Shaffer has been working on the Elwha system since the early 1990s, with a particular focus on what’s called the “nearshore environment.” This is an ecological zone of aquatic habitat along the shoreline that “offers refuge and feeding areas for fish and other organisms that helps them transition from freshwater to marine habitat,” says Shaffer. Nearshore environments include deltas and estuary systems near the mouths of rivers as well as seagrass beds in shallow water…’

Source: National Geographic

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Holy Hell the Universe Is Expanding Faster Than We Thought

‘Add this to the list of existential fears that keep you up at night: the universe appears to be expanding faster than we thought. A lot faster.That’s according to new, highly precise measurements of the distance between 19 faraway galaxies acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope. The new numbers indicate that the rate of expansion of our universe (the so-called “Hubble constant”) is approximately 45.5 miles per second per megaparsec…’

Source: Gizmodo

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Ronald Reagan was Donald Trump, until he was president

‘Though there are important differences, the parallels between Reagan’s political life and Trump’s are downright chilling, from their media careers to the way that the press and their own party establishment viewed them.

Both positioned themselves as outsiders (Reagan, absurdly, ran successfully as a political outsider while he was the sitting president of the USA, and painted his opponent as the Beltway insider). Both offered economic platforms that didn’t hold up to even the most cursory scrutiny. Both lied like crazy, about everything, and refused to answer any press questions that called them on this. Both are masters of deflection overall, brilliant at moving the focus away from their radioactively obvious shortcomings to the places where they shone.

Of course, both also had careers in forgettable, modestly successful media properties. Both had checkered pasts in which they dabbled in Democratic politics and painted that opportunism as a reason for Conservatives to vote for them. Both managed to court evangelicals despite their divorces.

Reagan’s slogan? “Let’s make America great again.” …’

Source: Boing Boing