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Earwax reveals how humans have changed whales’ lives

Luckily, museum curators around the world have had the good sense to hold onto massive plugs of earwax pulled from dead whales over the centuries.Thanks to those plugs, scientists have now discovered a record, hidden in earwax, of how human activities have stressed out whales over the past century and a half. Stephen Trumble, a comparative physiologist at Baylor University, and his colleagues published the findings this month in Nature Communications.It turns out we’re incredibly stress-inducing—from whaling to war to climate change, our actions have been affecting

USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 2 Million Rural Americans

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure (PDF, 170 KB) and services in rural communities nationwide. “Creating strong and healthy communities is foundational to increasing prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said.

U.S. House passes bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species. Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century.

Rural America is Growing, But Only Near Big Cities And Scenic Areas

For the first time in seven years, rural America’s population is growing. The annual U.S. Department of Agriculture report “Rural America at a Glance” found the increase — only 0.08 percent — mainly in scenic rural areas like the Rocky Mountains, more densely populated rural areas and rural communities that are within about an hour’s drive of a major city. Essentially, places where people still have access to urban amenities or can go hiking, biking, fishing or skiing.Rural Midwestern counties continue to lose people, and are getting older.

These wild monkeys thrive in Florida—and carry a deadly virus

n the heart of central Florida lies Silver Spring State Park—a large patchwork of forests and wetlands with a spring-fed river flowing through it. One of Florida’s first tourist attractions, the park was once known for its scenic vistas and native wildlife. But for the last 80 years, the park’s biggest draw has been its monkeys.That’s right—Silver Spring State Park is home to at least 300 rhesus macaques, a monkey native to south and southeast Asia.

Rural margins diverge in Republican, Democratic Gubernatorial wins

In states where Republicans won close governors’ races, rural GOP support was a big part of the pattern. The Democrats who won gubernatorial races in Wisconsin and Kansas made rural more of a contest and protected their metropolitan advantages.The performance of Democratic candidates in Wisconsin and Kansas looked quite different than the races in Florida and Georgia. In Wisconsin (see graph at the top of the page), Democrat Tony Evers beat incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker 2 to 1 in the core counties of major metro areas. Evers also won medium-sized metropolitan areas.

Missouri dislikes democrats but likes their policies

The Show Me State elected a Republican U.S. senator and, by roughly the same margins, turned around and approved ballot initiatives that reform elections, raise the minimum wage, and legalize medical marijuana.

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