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Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Gavin Newsom apologizes to Native Americans, lawmakers hear a debate over black lung and regulations, Boaty McBoatface is teaching us about climate change.
Boris Johnson (L) stands next to Boaty McBoatface, an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Boris Johnson (L) stands next to Boaty McBoatface, an autonomous underwater vehicle.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on immigrants' fears of reporting domestic violence crimes to United States law enforcementfood insecurity among college students, and what happens when politicians tell their abortion stories.

But a lot of other news developments have been on our radar this week. Here are a few more stories we've been watching.

California's Governor Apologizes for Historical Violence Inflicted on Native Americans

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order apologizing on behalf of the citizens of California for "the many instances of violence, mistreatment and neglect inflicted upon California Native Americans throughout the state's history."

The order also announced the creation of a Truth and Healing Council to examine the relationship between the state of California and California Native Americans "in order to clarify the historical record of this relationship in the spirit of truth and healing."

Regulators Say Coal Mine Safety Regulations Are Sufficient Despite a Black Lung Epidemic

A House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing on Thursday highlighted ongoing disagreement over the issue of advanced black lung disease in Appalachia and the rules that are meant to protect workers. David Zatezalo, representing the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration, testified that coal mines are already complying with those rules and said that his agency expects a study that began in 2017 "will confirm that dramatic improvements in sampling and compliance translate into reduced Black Lung incidence going forward."

But Dr. Robert Cohen, who directs the University of Illinois at Chicago's Mining Education and Research Center, noted that the number of cases is still rising. "We'd be doing a huge disservice to wait until we have another generation of miners with this disease," he said, according to NPR.

Boaty McBoatface Will Help Us Understand Sea-Level Rise

In an online poll in 2016, the British public voted to name a research ship Boaty McBoatface. The ship ended up with a more sensible name, RRS Sir David Attenborough, but Boaty McBoatface instead lived on in the form of a robotic submersible dispatched from the research vessel.

According to a new study, data collected during the submarine's first expedition, which took place in April of 2017, has helped experts measure turbulence near the seafloor and led to insights about how climate change raises sea levels. The researchers found that increasing Antarctic winds—the result of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica—cool the water near the seafloor. That makes the water travel faster, causing turbulence when it mixes with the waters above. The discovery of this mechanism could lead experts to change their climate forecasts. Thanks, Boaty.