This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you research on the benefits of growing up in a book-filled home, an interview with the California state senator attempting to unseat Dianne Feinstein, and a dispatch from a Native American canoe journey through the Salish Sea.
But there's been plenty else going on. Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.
Western States Have Drafted New Agreements for Colorado River Water
A new set of documents outlines proposed drought-contingency plans for the states in the Colorado River's Upper Basin (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico) and Lower Basin (Arizona, Nevada, and California). The agreements are meant to keep the river's biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, from going dry. The framework that's been used to divide up the river's waters since 1922 was based on overly optimistic measurements for the river's flow in an average year, and both reservoirs are now at their lowest point in about 50 years.
The Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Isn't Over Yet
It's been more than two months since the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began, and, according to the World Health Organization, there have been 194 confirmed cases and 122 deaths. At the end of September, the WHO elevated its risk assessment of the outbreak from "high" to "very high" nationally and regionally. The outbreak is happening amid a violent humanitarian crisis, which has complicated relief efforts. The WHO now estimates it will take another three to four months to "really stem this outbreak," emergency response chief Peter Salama told Reuters.
The United Kingdom's Supreme Court Says It's Not Discrimination to Refuse to Bake a 'Support Gay Marriage' Cake
In 2014, a bakery in Northern Ireland said that it could not "in conscience" make a cake bearing the phrase "Support Gay Marriage." The customer, a gay rights activist, sued for discrimination. In the legal battle that ensued, the bakery claimed it opposed the message, not the customer. Citing the United States Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the U.K.'s highest court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the bakery, the BBC reports.
"All I wanted was to order a cake in a shop that sold cakes to orders," the customer, gay rights activist Gareth Lee, told the BBC. "I'm concerned not just for the implications for myself and other gay people, but for every single one of us."