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Insects could go extinct in the next 100 years — threatening earth’s entire ecosystem

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Insects could become extinct within 100 years, threatening the collapse of nature itself.

The earth is at the start of a sixth mass extinction, with dramatic losses of larger animals, but more than 40 percent of insect species are declining and a third of them are endangered, reported The Guardian.

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The total mass of insects — which currently outweighs humanity by 17 times over — is falling by 2.5 percent a year, which suggests they could vanish altogether within the next century.

The first global scientific review finds that dramatic losses of insect populations is profoundly impacting other life forms, and the peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the journal Biological Conservation calls for major changes to save an essential component of all ecosystems.

“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” the researchers wrote. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”

The collapse of insect populations has recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the researchers say the problem is global.

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“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, of the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.”

Insect populations plummeted starting early in the 20th century but accelerated in the 1950s and 1960s, and new insecticides introduced in the past 20 years have sterilized soils, killing all the grubs, and linger in the environment.

“It is very rapid,” Sánchez-Bayo told The Guardian. “In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”

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Insects pollinate plants and recycle nutrients, and they serve as a crucial food source for many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

“If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” Sánchez-Bayo said.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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How techbros seduced the Pentagon: Moguls at Amazon and Google received unprecedented — and lucrative — access

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On Aug. 8, 2017, Roma Laster, a Pentagon employee responsible for policing conflicts of interest, emailed an urgent warning to the chief of staff of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Several department employees had arranged for Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, to be sworn into an influential Pentagon advisory board despite the fact that, in the year since he’d been nominated, Bezos had never completed a required background check to obtain a security clearance.

Mattis was about to fly to the West Coast, where he would personally swear Bezos in at Amazon’s headquarters before moving on to meetings with executives from Google and Apple. Soon phone calls and emails began bouncing around the Pentagon. Security clearances are no trivial matter to defense officials; they exist to ensure that people with access to sensitive information aren’t, say, vulnerable to blackmail and don’t have conflicts of interest. Laster also contended that it was a “noteworthy exception” for Mattis to perform the ceremony. Secretaries of defense, she wrote, don’t hold swearing-in events.

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Has anything changed since Burning Man’s sex assault and labor issues were exposed?

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The last weekend in August marks the start of Burning Man, a week-long, festival in the Nevada desert consisting of freewheeling performance art, fanciful costumes, and a lot of drugs. The anarchic party with more than 50,000 attendees constitutes a pilgrimage for many attendees, lured by the promise of leaving the “default world” behind in exchange for a transformative or even spiritual experience.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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