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Jeremy Schulman and Brett Brownell's Posts

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What’s really going on with Arctic sea ice?

Scientists announced Friday that Arctic sea ice has officially reached its minimum extent for the summer, shrinking to 5.1 million square kilometers. That's significantly higher than last year's record low of just over 3.4 million square kilometers, a fact that has led conservative news outlets and even members of Congress to suggest that worries about global warming and melting ice are overstated.

But as astronomer and Slate writer Phil Plait explains in this video, these claims are "incredibly misleading."

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Take a virtual flight through Yosemite’s fire zone

Several weeks ago, a fire started in California's pristine and wild Stanislaus National Forest, about 150 miles east of San Francisco, close to Yosemite National Park. By Aug. 19, the blaze, known as the Rim Fire, was doubling in size every day. On Aug. 27, it was 180,000 acres, bigger than the city of Chicago. Some 3,700 firefighters have used 460 fire engines, 60 bulldozers, and 15 helicopters to try to control it. And it's still growing.

Watch the video above for a Google Earth bird's-eye view of the areas that are threatened by the fire. Read more about what makes the Rim Fire an especially scary wildfire here.

This story was produced by Mother Jones as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Mystery lung fungus: Are you at risk?

Karen Deeming was a healthy 48-year-old living in Los Banos, Calif., and working on her master's degree in anthropology and archaeology. Then, in late 2012, a few weeks after returning from a dig in Mariposa, Calif., Deeming began to feel sick. A chest x-ray turned up bilateral pneumonia and masses in her lungs.

What followed was eight months of debilitating illness. And she's not better yet.

If you suspect that Karen had lung cancer, you're wrong. She had something else -- and she isn't alone. Cases of her illness are on the rise: In 1998, there were 2,000. In 2011, there were around 23,000.

To find out what Karen's illness is -- and whether you're at risk -- watch the video above.

This story first appeared on Mother Jones as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Confirmed: Fracking triggers quakes and seismic chaos

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Major earthquakes thousands of miles away can trigger reflex quakes in areas where fluids have been injected into the ground from fracking and other industrial operations, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Previous studies, covered in a recent Mother Jones feature from Michael Behar, have shown that injecting fluids into the ground can increase the seismicity of a region. This latest study shows that earthquakes can tip off smaller quakes in far-away areas where fluid has been pumped underground.

The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 2010 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern U.S. where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction.

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Breezy Point, Queens, reels from hurricane-caused inferno [VIDEO]

"I think we all can agree we're seeing complete and utter devastation," Brendan Gallagher says, standing in front of the charred remains of his childhood home.

Just a short drive from New York City's famous Rockaway beaches, Breezy Point, Queens, is a quaint seaside hamlet where many cops and firefighters come to retire. It's a place known for charming historic bungalows and sweeping ocean views, but on Monday night, it quickly became the setting for some of Hurricane Sandy's most terrifying damage.

Read more: Climate & Energy