I learned a lot about manatees while writing this story on how often animals, like the manatee, are considered for down- or de-listing from the United States’ endangered species list. Lo:

1/ Manatees have nails on their flippers, a vestige from their evolutionary ancestors, which were land animals.

2/ Manatees’ closest relatives are elephants and hyrax. This means that while there is no standard emoji for manatees, I consider it scientifically accurate to represent them as 🌊🐘s.

2a/ This is a hyrax:

3/ The Tampa Bay Times, winner of 12 Pulitzer Prizes, once described manatees as “big as a couch and shaped like a yam with flippers,” which is how I shall forever remember them.

Today I saw Edgar Allan Richardson working on this baby cradle on the sidewalk on Hastings Street, near Abbott Street, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood:

Me: How long have you been working on this?

EAR: My whole life.

Me: So I’m actually a journalist from California, working on a story about Insite. Have you ever been there, or do you know people who go there?

EAR: Yeah, I know people who go there, but I don’t go there. I’ve been clean five years.

Me: Did you use the detox center they have at Insite?

EAR: No, I did it myself, the Native way.

Last month, my coworker Madeleine Thomas reported on the rise of fentanyl in the United States. Fentanyl is a prescription opioid that can function as a heroin substitute. It’s powerful, and deadly: A dose equivalent to just a few grains of salt can be lethal, Madeleine reports.

Here in Vancouver, B.C., they’ve also been struggling with fentanyl. I spotted this tribute in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood:

I’m reporting in Vancouver, B.C., right now, for a story on Insite, the supervised injection facility. I ran into Steve in the street and asked if I could take a picture. He agreed:

Steve: I like your shoes. I bet I can tell you where you got them, what store and what city. I’ll bet you five dollars. Do you have five dollars to bet?

Me: Let me look. I’m trying to save my change for the bus. How about $2?

Steve: Okay, $2. You’ve got your shoes on your feet in Vancouver, B.C. [“What store” was not addressed, but I gave him $2, anyway.]

Me: Oh, you’re amazing; you’re full of jokes.

Steve: That’s what she said.

Urocyon littoralis are foxes the size of housecats that are found only on California’s Channel Islands. I am obsessed with them. Here are five facts about them, plus PICTURES, lucky you.

1/ Channel Islands foxes are the least genetically diverse wild animals known to science. That’s got lots of ramifications for their protection — they’re on the federal endangered species list — as well as the protection of other island species. Read more about it at Pacific Standard.

Image for post
Image for post
Channel Island foxes. Photo courtesy of Chuck Graham, CC BY 2.0.

2/ Each Channel Island that hosts foxes has its own subspecies. For example, San Miguel Island foxes have shorter tails because they have one fewer tail vertebra than their cousins on other islands. …

Last week, I wrote about how a recent notice to schools, from federal civil rights offices, addresses real needs among LGBT students. To support my point, I used a survey conducted in 2013 by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. Since 2013, however, we’ve seen some major cultural moments in transgenderism awareness and rights, such as Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition and big businesses pushing back against anti-LGBT state laws. Has that improved the situation in schools? In other words, is the school survey data I used outdated?

Before publishing last week’s story, I emailed the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network to check. Here’s what Kari Hudnell, a spokesperson for the network, wrote…


Francie Diep

Science journalist, staff writer @PacificStand, appreciator of prose in all forms

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