A New Jersey sized “dead zone” in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico sounds like the backstory of a Pacific Rim sequel. But thanks to humanity’s hefty doses of pollution, it’s become the reality of our oceanic ecosystem.
Dead zones are defined as low oxygen areas that destroy fish, plants and other marine life. These areas are often created by our own agricultural system. When excess nutrients flow downstream into surface waters, hazardous algae forms and can severely damage the surrounding ecosystem.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently declared that summer 2017’s dead zone measured up to 8,776 square miles. This not only dwarfed the original projection of 8,200 miles, but also made it the largest dead zone ever recorded. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been about 5,806 square miles, three times larger than the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force target of 1,900 square miles.
Researchers blame this summer’s dead zone on heavier river flows this past May. Flows were 34% above average and transported excessive amounts of nutrients to the Gulf via Midwest waterways.
The effort made to reduce agricultural runoff has been minuscule, but experts agree that a different approach is needed.
North Korea Threat
Unless you’ve gone entirely off the grid in the past decade, you’re aware that the United States and North Korea don’t exactly see eye to eye. Once Kim Jong Un learned of the United Nations’ sanctions against his regime, North Korea pledged “thousands fold” revenge against the Americans.
The new sanctions were in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear missile experimentation. Specifically, the sanctions prohibits North Korean exports on coal, iron, iron ore, led, led ore and seafood. They also hinder countries from raising the current number of North Korean laborers employed within their country's borders.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the communist nation is “ready to retaliate with far bigger actions to make the U.S. pay for it’s crime against our country and our people.”
Kim Jong Un’s latest missile tests were supposedly capable of reaching United States soil. As North Korea promises a “stern action of justice,” don’t expect any North Korean and American diplomats to enjoy a Sunday afternoon brunch together anytime soon.
Americans fell in love with the bromance between former President Barrack Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden. Continuing the tradition of camaraderie in the White House, current Vice President Mike Pence showed his loyalty to the Trump administration by discrediting rumors that he might run for President in 2020.
“Today’s article in the New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team,” said Pence. “The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”
Facing a 37% approval rating and plenty of controversy thanks to the Russian collusion investigation, the New York Times reported that a large amount of Republicans are considering a run at the oval office. The article also indicated that if Mr. Trump did not seek re-election, Pence would be open to running for the position.
Trump’s inner circle continued to deny these claims. Well known Trump counselor and adviser Kelly Anne Conway told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020, for re-election as Vice President.”
Republicans John Kasich (Ohio), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Ben Sasse (Nebraska) and Nikki R. Haley (ambassador to the UN) have raised speculation about potential presidential runs.