Aug 14, 2017

Sea lions stranding due to toxic algae

Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo / NOAA Corps

Since July, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausolito, California has seen 68 sea lions sickened by toxic algae come through it's doors—just two less than they saw in all of 2016. The sea lions show signs of domoic acid poisoning, a toxin that is produced by the algae Pseudo-nitzchia. The toxin builds up in the sea lions, which eat fish that consume the algae. In many cases, domoic acid poisoning is fatal.

The strandings started farther south several months ago, Justin Viezbicke, the NOAA stranding coordinator for California tells Axios, and have been moving steadily north.

Why it matters: Toxic algal blooms don't just pose a threat to sea life. If humans ingest animals that contain the toxin, they can also die. The Oregon and Washington razor clam fisheries are currently closed due to high levels of domoic acid. Past algal blooms have closed fisheries for entire seasons, losing millions of dollars in revenue.

A new normal?

A record-breaking red tide in 2015 closed fisheries for months

and poisoned animals along the West Coast. At the time, scientists said the event—the largest bloom of Pseudo-nitzchia ever recorded—was likely

linked to climate change

and that similar blooms could become common in the future.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as South Korean cases surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,100 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 114 new deaths since Wednesday.

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Massive MGM data breach: Guests' personal details posted on hacking site

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An MGM Resorts security breach last summer resulted in the personal details of 10.6 million guests published on a hacking forum this week, ZDNet first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Federal government employees and high-profile guests were affected by the breach, according to analysis by data breach monitoring service Under the Bridge and ZDNet — including officials from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Microsoft staffers and singer Justin Bieber.

George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla., seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.