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Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Firefighters take on Verizon, the secretary of education pushes for guns in schools, and scientists find ice on the moon.
A plane flies past the moon at sunset on March 3rd, 2015 in London, England.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you an investigation of the toxic waters around a military base, a look at the ghost nets haunting the Great Lakes, and the history behind prison strikes.

But there's always more news than we can cover in our small newsroom. Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.

Slow Wireless Data Hampers Critical Firefighting Efforts in California

According to a federal court filing by the Santa Clara County fire chief, crews that were fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire—the biggest in California history—had their data connection "throttled" down to extremely slow speeds by Verizon Wireless. Though the Santa Clara County Fire Department thought it had paid for unlimited data, representatives from Verizon said the department had used all of its data and needed to purchase a more expensive plan, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Verizon imposed these limitations," Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in the filing, "despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding county fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services." Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy explained that emails and other updates were delayed in getting to firefighters who worked in a mobile operations center, the Times reports.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Wants to Use School Grants for Guns

Though the federal government has long been against paying for weapons in schools, DeVos is investigating the possibility of letting states use school enrichment funds to purchase guns, the New York Times reports. Department of Education officials reportedly began to consider the option after the state of Texas asked about using its funding for guns. In response to this news, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) announced Thursday that he was introducing an "emergency" amendment to block the measure.

Astronomers Find Ice on the Moon's Surface

Newly analyzed data has provided the first direct evidence of water ice on the moon's surface. The data, revealed in a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that there's ice on the ground near the moon's poles, the Guardian reports. The ice patches lie in shaded, low-temperature areas. "These ice deposits might be utilized as an in situ resource in future exploration of the Moon," the authors of the report write in their study.

If there's ever a Space Force, it will have its work cut out for it.