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Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise.

Legal briefs, in even the most high profile cases, rarely make headlines. They are technical documents intended to persuade judges in a case about particular points of law.

In American law schools, students now take courses to help them master the arcane genre of brief writing. Their persuasiveness depends on carefully marshaling legal precedents and complex, factual arguments. As a result, they seldom interest anyone outside the legal community.

On Aug. 12, we witnessed a rare exception.

Why do people cheat?

When we hear that a poor person scammed others out of money, we may attribute this behavior to their poverty, rationalizing that the person violated ethics and the law because they needed the money.

But the rich and powerful also cheat: falsifying loan applications, evading taxes, and running Ponzi schemes that defraud investors of millions.

Around the world thousands of people are on organ donor waiting lists. While some of those people will receive the organ transplants they need in time, the sad reality is that many will die waiting. But controversial new research may provide a way to address this crisis.

Japan has recently overturned its ban on the creation of human-animal hybrids, or “chimeras”, and approved a request by researchers from the University of Tokyo to create a human-mouse hybrid.


Since the first use of electric lamps in the 19th century, society hasn’t looked back. Homes and streets are lit at all hours so that people can go about their business when they’d once have been asleep. Besides the obvious benefits to societies and the economy, there’s growing awareness of the negative impact of artificial light.

Light pollution has been blamed for wasting energy, disrupting wildlife behavior and harming mental health. One aspect has avoided the spotlight though. Namely, that light not only allows one to see, but also to be seen. This could well attract unwelcome attention – and not just from moths.

Could Lyme disease in the U.S. be the result of an accidental release from a secret bioweapons experiment? Could the military have specifically engineered the Lyme disease bacterium to be more insidious and destructive – and then let it somehow escape the lab and spread in nature?

Is this why 300,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with this potentially debilitating disease?