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Europe Edition: Kabul, Russia, Grammy Awards: Your Monday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Vahid Salemi/Associated Press • Heavy snow brought relief and joy to many in drought-struck Iran. [The New York Times] • Legislation in Poland that would outlaw blaming Poles for the crimes of the Holocaust has prompted furious condemnation from Israelis across the political spectrum. [The New York Times] • Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled that Carlos Puigdemont, the Catalan separatist leader who remains wanted on possible sedition charges, would have to return to Barcelona to be chosen as Catalonia’s new leader. […]

Baby bird found in amber lived with the dinosaurs

The most complete bird found in amber so far, the baby bird is around 99 million years old. […]

Everyone was talking about climate change last week, but it still has nothing on Bieber.

In an April 26 directive, President Trump called for a review of 27 national monuments created after 1996, claiming there should be more public input on monument designations.

Public lands experts suggested the order was a ploy to open new turf for energy exploration. They said monuments receive plenty of public comment, both from specialists and average Joes.

The experts appear to be right.

Ahead of a June 10 deadline for the Interior Department’s review of Utah’s Bears Ears — among the newest national monuments, and a particularly contentious one — the department received a flood of nearly 150,000 opinions. The great majority implore the administration to leave Bears Ears and the other monuments be.

Poring over 150,000 missives is a definite tl;dr situation — so we pulled some highlights.

“This monument holds immense meaning for the indigenous peoples in the area and to destroy it would continue the erasure of indigenous beliefs and further the genocide of indigenous cultures,” wrote one commenter.

“The air that I breathed in was so much different from the air that I breathed in when I used to live in Korea,” wrote one respondent reminiscing about a trip to Bears Ears. “The visit reminded why our family had immigrated from Korea in first place [sic].”

But it wasn’t all adulations for our “national treasures.”

One comment labeled the designation of Bears Ears an “unjust and unfair federal land grab” — a sentiment echoed by the oil and gas industry. “Undo everything Obama did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” read another.


“Must we destroy everything?” asked one person, while another chided Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “show some respect for your goddamn country you monkeys.”

And one sly commenter sought to end the discussion on monuments before it began, appealing to Zinke’s unwavering adulation for a former president: “Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea!”


You Control This Tiny Drone Simply By Moving Your Hand

With just two taps of a button, lights began blinking, propellers started to swirl, and a tiny camera set about studying my face. All I had to do was release the miniature drone from my grip and it was instantly airborne. Such is the experience with the new DJI Spark, the company’s smallest and cheapest drone yet. The $499 drone — half the price of the company’s high-end Mavic Pro — is about the size of a soda can, making even the compact Mavic look gargantuan in comparison. But the Spark’s most compelling feature is the ability to launch and pilot the drone entirely through hand gestures. That advancement makes the Spark DJI’s most beginner-friendly model to date. While previous models could do things like take a photo when you made a specific hand gesture, they still needed to be flown with a separate controller. That stands to make the Spark an excellent choice for quick airborne photos, like a selfie stick on steroids. Get the latest deals, reviews and recommendations from the editors of TIME: sign up for The Goods newsletter here Setting up the Spark involves charging the battery, attaching it to the body, and connecting your phone to the Spark’s on-board Wi-Fi. Then, tapping the button on the back of the Spark twice will prompt it to prepare for takeoff. Once it’s airborne, you can extend your arm toward the drone with the palm of your hand facing the device to get it to track your movements. Raising and lowering your arm adjusts the aircraft’s height, while turning your body in a circle with your arm extended signals the drone to revolve around you. You can also wave at the Spark to tell it to fly backwards about 10 feet, or move your palm forward to “push” it away. When the Spark’s gesture controls work properly, they feel downright magical. But in my testing, the drone didn’t recognize my movements every time when flying indoors. That’s frustrating, especially because the 16-minute battery life doesn’t afford much time for trial and error. (The Mavic Pro, by comparison, advertises 27 minutes of flight time). Launching the Spark from my palm always worked, but it failed to keep track of my hand afterwards roughly half of the time. Results might improve while flying outdoors, but it’s still a disappointment because DJI is advertising indoor use as a notable feature for the Spark. That said, the Spark is good at letting you know when it’s tracking you and when it isn’t: The LED lights on the front of the Spark shift from yellow to green to signal when it’s looking for you versus when it’s successfully interpreted a command. It’s also worth noting that even when obstacle avoidance is turned on, it’s best to fly with caution. During our test, the Spark didn’t have a strong GPS signal (since we were flying indoors), which means we had to fly around objects manually. While the Spark may not be perfect, it’s certainly a step in the direction of making drones smarter, easier to use, and more portable. You’ll still need to use the smartphone app for precise steering, but the fact that I didn’t even consider using a dedicated controller for the Spark is very telling. […]

Are public toilets a right in public spaces? (Survey)

If you gotta go, you should have a clean private environmentally friendly place to go. […]

10 Great trees for small yards

Even small yards and gardens can be home to a variety of trees, without crowding out everything else, and provide fruit, shade, wildlife habitat, or all three. […]

Let’s Change The Conversation From Climate Change To ‘Shared Benefits’

Last September, I emailed President Obama. His response helped me to focus on what matters. He wrote,“Progress doesn’t come easily, and it hasn’t always followed a straight line. Keeping our world’s air, water, and land clean and safe takes work from all of us, and voices like yours are sparking the conversations that will help us get to where we need to be. I will continue pushing to protect the environment as long as I am President and beyond, and I encourage you to stay engaged as well.”But I worry that adults will never agree on climate change. The issue has become too political. The words “climate change” have even been scrubbed from government websites […]