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Park Service to raise fees in 117 parks, but that still won't solve its looming problem
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The National Park Service decided Thursday that it will raise fees at 117 national park sites, but the increases are quite modest compared to the previous proposal. Facing a more than $11 billion backlog in the upkeep of national parks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke previously proposed raising fees to $70 in 17 of the most popular parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.  The government allowed the public to weigh in on the fee increases, and the responses showed overwhelming opposition to the dramatic increase. SEE ALSO: Hey, how about we helicopter grizzly bears into this remote National Park? After being rebuffed, the Park Service will now increase fees by $5 per vehicle for 117 national park sites beginning on June 1, 2018. However, the service notes that two-thirds of parks will remain free. (That said, there are nuances in the fee increases for different parks, such as increases in annual passes, which can be found here.) "We commend the administration for listening to the outcry of Americans who want their parks to remain affordable," John Garder, Senior Director of Budget and Appropriations at the National Parks Conservation Association, said in an interview.  The Park Service estimates that this fee increase will bring in $60 million a year.  When compared with the considerable maintenance backlog facing parks and their antiquated water, sewage, and transportation systems, along with general preservation needs, this amount is diminutive.  "Given the large scope of the maintenance backlog, amounts of money like this are not going to make an appreciable difference," said Garder.  A park ranger standing in front of the Statue of Liberty.Image: John Moore/Getty ImagesPreviously, former Park Service Director John Jarvis said that even a $70 million annual increase to $300 million in total collected fees each year wouldn't "make much of a dent." Interior Secretary Zinke, after hearing back from the public and reviewing matters, appears to accept this reality. "The $11.6 billion maintenance backlog isn’t going to be solved overnight and will require a multi-tiered approach as we work to provide badly needed revenue to repair infrastructure," Zinke said in a statement.  Garder noted that the fee increases will put more money into some parks, which could prove helpful, but dedicated funding from Congress is the only way to realistically solve the maintenance backlog problem.  "Congress needs to pass legislation with dedicated, robust, and reliable funding to address the deferred maintenance backlog," said Garder. One of the bills in Congress, the National Parks Legacy Act, has gained some support in Congress, but it's nowhere near a vote in either in the Senate or House. The bill would draw from the billions of dollars the federal government collects from companies who extract fossil fuels both onshore and offshore of the United States.  Such a funding source might seem incongruous with the mission of Park Service, which is to promote conservation and stewardship of lands, as opposed to the extraction of resources. But the Park Service has few realistic options for obtaining a sizeable stream of cash.  Fee increases aren't just unpopular — they won't do the trick.  WATCH: NASA is using dummies to test the impact aircraft crashes may have on the human body
Female trucker says she keeps a knife, mace after being attacked
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
She is one of several working women who spoke with ABC's Diane Sawyer for her "20/20" special report, "My Reality: A Hidden America."
Climate change is slowing Atlantic currents that help keep Europe warm
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
How we showed the Atlantic circulation system is its weakest for 1,600 years.
Teen Who Suffocated in Minivan Seat Used Siri to Call 911 Twice. But Police Couldn't Find Him
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'Send officers immediately,' said the 16-year-old. 'I’m almost dead'
The 'King of Kong' Gamer Just Had His Reigning King Kong Records Taken Away
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Video gamer and 'King of Kong' star Billy Mitchell has been stripped of his record-breaking 'Donkey Kong' scores after a dispute.
You Can Now Get Those Trendy ‘Bleeding’ Veggie Burgers at White Castle
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For White Castle fans craving a meatless burger
The Human Body Is Too Complex for Easy Fixes
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In 2016, I became the lucky parent of a newborn who slept horribly. Of course, this meant that my wife and I slept horribly, too. We rested in small snatches and were constantly irritable. We were a mess.
SpaceX's Valuation Climbs to $25 Billion With New Funding Round
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The value of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. keeps reaching new heights.
Three ‘coronal holes’ appear on the sun as solar storm buffets Earth
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The huge holes appeared last week
Mike Pompeo Wants to Be the Top U.S. Diplomat. His First Job May Be Building a War Coalition
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mike Pompeo tried to shed his reputation as a war hawk but his first job may be building a war coalition
What's in James Comey's book?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Former FBI director James Comey’s account of his turbulent career in law enforcement, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” is officially out next week, but reviews and excerpts began appearing Thursday. The book is scathing about Comey’s interactions with President Trump, who fired Comey last year over his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible links to the Trump campaign.
Trump Judicial Nominee Won't Say If She Supports Brown v. Board of Education
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The ruling, which integrated schools, has been settled law since 1954
A Parkland Teacher Was Arrested After Leaving a Loaded Gun in a Public Bathroom
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He previously said he'd be willing to arm himself while at school
President Trump Says He Supports 'Cooperative' Approach to Mueller Investigation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He said he has "full confidence" in his White House lawyer
Black Holes: This is What It Sounds Like When Two Collide At Astonishing Speed
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Take a deep breath, put on your headphones and watch the video above. You’re about to hear something truly astronomical: the sound of two black holes smashing together. By converting background wave data into sound waves, researchers writing in Physical Review X think they can single out individual events from the static. When black holes collide they don't bang—they pop.
Los Angeles Prosecutors Are Reviewing Kevin Spacey's Sexual Assault Case
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He is also under police investigation in London
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Has Been Using Three 'Secret' Email Addresses, Senators Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
EPA officials rejected any allegations of wrongdoing
Devon village is rising 2cm a year, and scientists have no idea why
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It is arguably the most upwardly-mobile village in Britain. But the small parish of Willand in Devon is not enjoying an unexpected economic boom, but rather a strange geological upsurge. Scientists have discovered the village is rising by 0.7 inches (2cm) a year, and are utterly baffled about the reason. The curious elevation was spotted by researchers from the University of Nottingham's spin-off company Geomatic Ventures Limited (GML) who have been compiling satellite images between 2015 and 2017 to create the first country-wide map of land motion in Britain. The area of Willand which is rising up  Credit: GVL “We generally see this sort of uplift where there has been mining works and the pumps have been switched off, allowing the water to gradually seep back into the ground,” said Dr Andy Sowter, Chief Technical Officer at GVL. “But I contacted the British Geological Society to ask if there was any history of mining in the area and there is none. Willand is in the middle of nowhere, and there were no mines, so we have no idea what is going on. “For people living in the village it would be imperceptible and there is unlikely to be any structural damage, but it is concerning that there is a high speed railway line running in the area and the M5. “If you’re running a railway over that you may notice you have to maintain a bit of rail a little more if the ground is rising.” The rising area, which is elliptical in shape,  measures around 1.2 miles (2km) wide and has been detected by several satellites. Experts think there could be a leak deep underground  Credit: SWNS.com Experts say the fact that both fields and urban areas are rising together suggests that the answer ‘lies deep underground,' and are concerned that it could be the result of a large environmental discharge, or huge leak. “It’s fairly sizable, the whole town is moving here,” added Dr Sowter. “I think the authorities definitely need to go down there and investigate what is going on. “If it is down to liquid seeping underground, or some sort of discharge of waste then that could be a threat to the environment. “If this is not a natural occurrence then it is symptomatic of something happening underground so it’s important to find our what that is.” The new map was created using a technique called satellite interferometry, which overlays repeat radar pictures of the same location over time, so that tiny changes in land height can be seen. The images were taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite mission which orbits 500 miles above Earth. The images were taken using the European Space Agency's satellite Sentinal-1 Credit: ESA It offers the most detailed look ever at the UK’s shifting topography and highlights areas of hazards due to coal mining, soil compaction, landslides, coastal erosion, landfill subsidence and tunnelling for the London Underground. As well as the village movement, the map also unveiled a subsidence bowl more than 500 yards wide at Kennington Park, just east of The Oval in London. The Team believes it was due to the sinking of a shaft for the Northern Line extension in November 2017. Britain’s coal mining heritage is also evidence, with large regions of ‘rebound’ where underground workings have flooded after closure, as well as subsidence where shafts have collapsed. Examples can be seen extensively over former coalfields such as Leigh, Greater Manchester; North Nottinghamshire; South Yorkshire; Stoke-on-Trent; and Midlothian. Scientists say villagers in Willand will not notice the shift but said it might cause problems with local railways and roads  Credit:  SWNS.com Dr Stephen Grebby, Assistant Professor in Earth Observation, at Nottingham University said, “With the new map we are able to better understand how the entire UK landscape is being affected by various natural and anthropogenic processes. “Whilst providing us with detailed information to study the individual mechanisms of these processes, the technique also offers a means of identifying and mitigating any potential risk that these may also pose to infrastructure, society and the environment.” The team hope the map will be useful for policymakers and a wide range of industries, including onshore oil and gas, civil engineering, insurance, mining and carbon trading. Dr John Kupiec, Innovation Manager at the Environment Agency added: “The Environment Agency and other government and public sector organisations will be able to make use of the rich information for a variety of applications in monitoring both the natural and built environments for the benefit of people and to promote sustainable development.”
Teacher Resigns After Firing Gun During Safety Lesson in Classroom
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He made an emotional apology during a city council meeting
End of the world is set to begin on April 23, Christian numerologist claims
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Don't make any long-term plans
Three Vast 'Holes' Just Appeared on the Sun—and They're Bombarding Earth with Geomagnetic Storms
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Three vast “holes” have opened up on the Sun over the past week, according to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), allowing high-speed solar winds to escape into space and bombard the Earth. The holes spew out charged particles which can affect animals and electronic systems on Earth, and cause auroras to appear at lower latitudes than normal if they interact with the magnetosphere—the region around our planet dominated by its magnetic field.
Former doorman says he got hush money over Trump love
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The doorman, Dino Sajudin, reportedly signed a contract with American Media that carried a $1 million penalty for disclosing details of the explosive story.
Mother's obituary helps officers nab 1981 prison escapee
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Investigators say a woman's obituary helped federal agents capture her fugitive son nearly four decades after he escaped from an Oklahoma prison.
Russian consumerism may be poisoning this town. But nascent civil society is pushing back.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Few in Volokolamsk have any doubt that the two are connected. To try to remedy the situation, the parents, with their lawyer, are doing something that may be a first in Russia: file a class action suit on environmental grounds, seeking the dump's closure and damages for the harm it has done to locals. Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia?
Neri Oxman, MIT Professor Linked to Brad Pitt, Once Called Him a ‘Stereotype’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's been over a year since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie called it quits, leaving the world to mourn Brangelina, and the true love that portmanteau represented. Since then, eyes have been on Pitt and who he might date next. Perhaps that’s why speculation is building this week that Pitt is dating Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Neri Oxman.
Congress Never Wanted to Regulate Facebook. Until Now
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Washington has been happy to let high-tech companies police themselves--until now
This Hummingbird's Tail Whistles, and No One's Sure Why
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In early spring, people walking through the deserts of California might be able to hear a high-pitched whistle. That noise comes from a male Costa’s hummingbird, but not from his throat—it’s all in his tail.
President Trump Says Syria Attack Could Happen 'Very Soon or Not So Soon at All'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He was tweeting Thursday morning
Japan's Tech Future Is Looking Brighter After a Monumental Discovery in the North Pacific Mud
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Japan's Tech Future Is Looking Brighter After a Monumental Discovery in the North Pacific Mud
Survey Reveals Gaps in Knowledge of Holocaust History—And That Most Americans Believe It Could Happen Again
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The results were released in time for Holocaust Remembrance Day
The Accused Parkland Shooter Has an $800,000 Trust Fund. But He Says He Can’t Afford an Attorney
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Nikolas Cruz wants to donate his share of the inheritance to the Parkland community
Climate change runs AMOC with Atlantic currents: studies
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A system of Atlantic Ocean currents that regulates global weather is at its feeblest in 1,600 years, weakened partly by climate change, said researchers Wednesday, warning of trouble ahead. Two studies in the journal Nature concluded the system, dubbed the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), is in decline -- validating a long-held scientific suspicion. The weakening, agreed the teams, was the result of melting sea ice, glaciers, and ice-shelves gushing freshwater -- less dense than salty ocean water -- into the North Atlantic.
Cold Case Murder Victim Identified After 37 Years
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Once known only as 'Buckskin Girl' or Jane Doe, the Miami County, Ohio, murder victim now has a name.
Restoring marshes, oyster reefs could save $50 billion: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Restoring oyster reefs and marshes could save the US Gulf Coast region $50 billion in flood damages over the next 20 years, and are far more cost effective than seawalls, researchers said Wednesday. Natural measures like wetland and reef restoration can yield benefit-to-cost ratios of seven to one, "meaning more than $7 in direct flood-reduction benefits for every $1 spent on restoration," said the report. Meanwhile, artificial measures, like building levees, seawalls and elevating homes, can be effective but expensive, with benefit-to-cost ratios near or below one-to-one.
Here's What Could Be Stopping President Trump From Striking Syria – for Now
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Russia has strengthened Syria’s air-defense capabilities, deploying S-400 missile batteries
Did Paul Ryan leave them rolling in the aisles?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As a senior leader of his party and second in line to succeed the president, so much of Mr. Ryan’s legacy is now being judged on his legislative wins and losses, or his support, silence, and criticism concerning the behavior of President Trump. A reading of his speeches shows he did often trigger a bipartisan chuckle over a partisan issue or party division.
As civilian toll climbs in Gaza, focus on Hamas dampens compassion in Israel
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Dramatizing their demand for a “Right to Return” to long lost homes, tens of thousands of Gaza Strip residents have mobilized for what were billed as peaceful marches along the Palestinian territory’s heavily fortified border fence with Israel. As both sides gird for a third round Friday, the marches’ toll has risen to 31 people killed and more than 1,000 wounded, sparking outrage at the highest number of Palestinian casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 war between Israel and the hard-line Hamas movement that rules Gaza. Recommended: How much do you know about the Palestinians?
The Boss: Jamie O'Banion Is About to Sell $100M in Beauty Products
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The GloPRO founder is also a pro at negotiating with toddlers
The CDC Is Investigating an E. Coli Outbreak Across 7 States
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The infections range from New Jersey to Idaho
Alan Murray: New Book on Artificial Intelligence Comes at a Very Teachable Moment
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Authors of a new book Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI show the glass as half full when it comes to this technology.
Mark Zuckerberg Leaves Washington With Bumps and Bruises, but Nothing Worse
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Facebook executive escaped Capitol Hill subject to memes and gifs, not regulations
Anchorage Voters Are Set to Become First in the Nation to Reject Anti
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Supporters of the referendum conceded defeat and opponents are claiming victory
A Prominent Alabama Evangelist Has Been Arrested on Child Sex Charges
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Paul Edward Acton Bowen, 37, is a public speaker who has written three books for sale online
Toxic 'Bootleg' Alcohol Killed 82 People in Indonesia Last Week
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Home brews are not uncommon in Muslim-majority Indonesia, which places high taxes on alcohol
Scott Pruitt dislikes the EPA logo because he thinks it looks like a marijuana leaf
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Maybe you can see it better than we can. According to the New York Times, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt isn't happy with the organization's seal, which has been in place for nearly 50 years. SEE ALSO: Here's a running list of all the Scott Pruitt scandals The reason: He thinks it looks like a marijuana leaf.  It features a flower bloom representing all the elements of the environment, coupled with four leaves. It was produced for no charge by an ad agency in 1971 and was illustrated by Ken Bloomhorst, who died in January. It's wild that Scott Pruitt thinks the @EPA seal looks like a "marijuana leaf," because it's clearly the fire flower from Super Mario Bros. https://t.co/gmi0IhdTnz pic.twitter.com/ceEr3tGv3n — Jory Heckman (@jmheckman) April 11, 2018 The revelation was part of a story about Pruitt's alleged demands to change the EPA's "challenge coin," a small medallion of military origin. He wanted to make it bigger and without the EPA logo. In its place, he suggested a buffalo, a bible verse, or the Great Seal of the United States paired with his own name.  Since his appointment as EPA chief, Pruitt has regularly found himself under scrutiny, most recently when he used a little-known provision in a clean water law to give two political aides a pay rise. Then there are the questions over Pruitt's apparent need for a large, expensive security detail, first class travel, and shady living arrangements. Oh, and he is a climate change skeptic. "These coins represent the agency," Ronald Slotkin, a now retired EPA employee who was the director of its multimedia office, told the newspaper. "But Pruitt wanted his coin to be bigger than everyone else's and he wanted it in a way that represented him." We still have one more question though: How on Earth does the EPA logo look like a marijuana leaf? Scott Pruitt wanted to replace the EPA's logo on souvenirs because he thought it looked like a marijuana leaf.https://t.co/4Z2MeuHeTLFWIW, this is the EPA's logo pic.twitter.com/psW7jKWG1V — Nathan McDermott (@natemcdermott) April 11, 2018 WATCH: This Idaho town is naming streets after ‘Game of Thrones’ characters
Pompeo: 'I cooperated' with the Mueller investigation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s pick for secretary of state, confirmed on Thursday that he has been interviewed by Robert Mueller in the special counsel's investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.
Vermont bistro owner offers gift for return of cutout
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont restaurant owner is offering a $100 gift certificate to the person who returns a life-size cardboard cutout of himself that was stolen from an airport.
Tiger reported running through streets of New York _ or not
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
NEW YORK (AP) — A false report of a tiger in the streets of New York has caused a social media frenzy.
Mower, tooth in a box, Vishnu doll in New Jersey beach trash
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — The bizarre trash items plucked from New Jersey's beaches last year might be enough to cause nausea or heartburn. But don't worry, a bottle of Pepto-Bismol was among the items collected.
These Bright Spots Are Alien Volcanoes
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
As Voyager 1 approached Jupiter in the 1970s, scientists expected the spacecraft to find a world not unlike our moon. Io, the innermost of Jupiter’s largest moons, is about the same size and mass as the moon. It seemed reasonable to predict Io would turn out to be a cold, rocky world studded with craters, too.