This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on climate science's "reproducibility crisis," the pope's excoriation of Wall Street, the big drawbacks of big dams, and much more. But we're just one magazine, and we can't catch all the news all the time. Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.
A Mysterious Source Is Emitting a Banned, Ozone-Depleting Chemical
A group of scientists has found that emissions of CFC-11 have risen by 25 percent since 2012, the Washington Post reports. The scientists offered a few explanations: Perhaps the rise can be attributed to a change in atmospheric conditions (not so bad), or perhaps it's a result of someone violating the Montreal Protocol, which banned a number of ozone pollutants including CFC-11 (very bad). Unfortunately, they suspect the latter is the more likely scenario. The increase in CFC-11 emissions could be slowing down the overall recovery of the ozone layer, scientists say. "This insults everybody who's worked on this for the last 30 years," Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, told the Post. The scientists believe the source to be somewhere in East Asia.
The Larry Nasser Settlement Is a Financial Win for Survivors of His Sexual Abuse, but It Came With an Unexpected Compromise
On Wednesday, Michigan State announced a $500 million settlement for the 332 survivors of Nasser's sexual abuse and others who might come forward in the future. But Deadspin reports there was one surprising condition in the settlement: The survivors agreed not to advocate for two bills in the Michigan state legislature concerning government immunity in childhood sexual abuse cases. "That a state institution [MSU] would politically silence victims and basically pay them to give up their First Amendment rights goes way beyond the current criticism about gag orders," James Marsh, an attorney for victims of sexual abuse and assault, told Deadspin.
A Vermont Senator Scored the Biggest Zing so Far in the Ongoing Scott Pruitt Saga
It's hard to keep all of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's scandals straight. Even Pruitt himself is not sure how many federal investigations he's now embroiled in, though sources agree the number's at least 12. Among other things, he has been criticized for his spending, including his penchant for flying first-class.
At a hearing on Wednesday, in response to the idea that such spending was necessary due to threats to Pruitt's security, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) called that explanation a "silly reason," the Hill reports. "Nobody even knows who you are," Leahy told Pruitt.