What We’re Following: A World Health Warning

The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and that four million people could be infected by year’s end. The mosquito-borne illness has been linked to increased birth defects for infected pregnant women, and El Salvador has urged its citizens to abstain from childbirth until 2018. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said she would convene an emergency meeting of the organization in Geneva on Monday.

Going Rogue: Republican presidential hopefuls will gather Thursday night in Des Moines for their seventh debate and the last one before the Iowa caucuses, but frontrunner Donald Trump won’t be there. Instead, the real-estate businessman will host a competing rally and benefit to support wounded veterans, spurning the debate stage after complaining about Fox News’s allegedly biased treatment of him.

An Occupation Winds Down: As more members of the armed militia that occupied an Oregon wildlife refuge are arrested, leader Ammon Bundy is urging his followers to leave the site and go home. Bundy and other top figures were arrested Tuesday night during a traffic stop in which one member was shot and killed by police. About 10 militants are left at the refuge, according to The Oregonian newspaper.


Snapshot

Jessica holds her son Icaro Luis, who was born with a condition that might be caused by the Zika virus, in Salvador, Brazil, on January 28, 2016. See more scenes from fighting the Zika virus here. (Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty)

Quoted

“Vultures … were largely disdained and avoided, and now ... they’ve become sort of dark superhero figures.”—Erik Janowsky, who runs a program that uses trained vultures to detect illegal dumping in Peru

“In an ideal world, we would have an urban-growth boundary. … But the reality is, that this is Texas.” —Carlos Gallinar, a city planner in El Paso

“All of us are subsidizing the magnification of inequality in public schools.”—Rob Reich, an education and political science professor, on what happens when wealthy parents make tax-deductible donations to their kids’ schools


Evening Read

Andrew Pilsch on taking automation out of the coffee-brewing process:

The Keurig is the ideal solution to the making-coffee-before-having-coffee problem: Push a button, wake up. The Keurig is also the most expensive form of coffee on the planet, costing anywhere from $21.66 per pound of coffee for Folgers brand to $124.55 per pound for Arpeggio K-Cups (for comparison, $100 buys a pound of Panamanian Hacienda la Esmeralda Geisha beans, considered by some to be the finest in the world). It also produces an irresponsibly large quantity of plastic waste. …

But another revolution is—ahem—brewing. This one values deliberation, flavor, and quality, treating coffee as something to be savored rather than pure brain fuel. It recalls the painstaking rituals of Turkish coffee (the laborious process is a means of demonstrating hospitality and devotion to one’s guests) and the precision of finicky Italian espresso machines. This newly-prominent means of making coffee allows for an intense, individuated cup, but demands an obsessive commitment to craft and method. I am talking, as some coffee aficionados may have already guessed, about the pour-over.


News Quiz

1. The Doomsday Clock reached _____ minutes to midnight, its closest mark yet, in 1952.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

2. Roughly ____ people have seen the Earth from space.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)

3. Humans are the only animals with ________.

(Click here or scroll down for the answer.)


Reader Response

A reader who has “grown up around guns” in the Rust Belt reflects:

Today, I am a 27-year-old woman living in Manhattan and part of the top five percent of U.S. earners. My neighborhood is safe and I haven’t seen a gun in a decade, aside from the times when I go back home to the Rust Belt, where they’re everywhere.

My New York friends are much more anti-gun than I am. Even as a flaming Liberal, I'm in the middle on this issue. I believe in common-sense gun laws, but I find that most of the people who strongly oppose guns don’t live in places where people feel VERY unsafe and where a LOT of people around you carry a gun on them at all times—legally or not. They don’t live in neighborhoods where heroin addicts rome around like zombies breaking into your homes and cars. They don’t grow up in cities known for sex trafficking. I wonder if their opinions would be different if they did?

Read her whole story, and more perspectives, here.


Verbs

Kangaroo bomber thwarted, Babylonian geometry studied, affluenza teen returns, chameleonic octopi socialize.


Answers: Two, Five hundred, CHINS