California’s recurring wildfire problem, explained

The images and reports out of California this week are overwhelming: concurrent colossal wildfires laying waste to property and landscapes, freaky orange skies, massive smoke clouds, worsening air quality, more than 64,000 people forced to evacuate, and all of it compounding the risks of Covid-19.

If this feels like déjà vu, here’s why: Wildfires …

How America can leave fossil fuels behind

All of recorded human history has happened during a period in which the average global temperature didn’t change by more than 1°C. But the burning of fossil fuels has triggered a temperature rise projected to exceed 3°C by the end of the century. It will be catastrophic. But it can be avoided if we massively scale back the burning of fossil fuels.

Without global action to scale back fossil fuels, the global average temperature is expected to rise at least 3°C by the end of the century.
Danush Parvaneh/Vox

The US isn’t the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in …

The killing of Daniel Prude, explained

The release of video of the killing of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, in Rochester, New York, is raising new questions about the use of law enforcement as ad hoc mental health specialists in light of calls to reform, defund, or abolish the police.

There is still an ongoing investigation into Prude’s death, which has led to the resignation of all of Rochester’s top police officials. Prude was stopped by police on March 23, early on in the coronavirus pandemic, after officers responded to a call about a naked man claiming he was infected with Covid-19. …

How to think about coronavirus risk in your life 

Covid-19 has turned life into an endless series of risk calculations. Can I take my child to see their grandparents, even if it means getting on a plane? Is it okay to begin seeing friends or dating? Should I attend religious services even if they are held inside? Do I have to wear a mask around my roommates? The profusion of these questions reflects public health failures, but we live in the wreckage of those failures. So how do we live our lives?

Julia Marcus is an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and a contributing writer for the Atlantic who …

Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist is an attempt to remind his base why they love him

President Trump released a list of 20 names on Wednesday, pledging that he will use these names — plus a longer list he’s already released — to select his next Supreme Court nominee if he has the opportunity to do so.

In 2016, Trump released a list of 11 candidates for a seat on the Supreme Court as part of an attempt to shore up Republican voters who were unsure that Trump would appoint loyal conservatives to the federal bench.

Many Republicans, including some of the party’s top leaders, believe that this tactic paid off. In a 2019 address to …