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The Week in Good News: SpaceX, ‘Black Panther’ and the SmartBroom

Don’t bother trying to do this yourself. You can’t. Read more »PhotoThe co-inventors of the SmartBroom, from left: Andrew Flemming, Will Hamilton and Geoff Fowler. Coming up with the design involved “a fair bit of work in bars,” Mr. Flemming said.Credit Ian Willms for The New York TimesMeet an Olympic engineering marvel: the SmartBroom.There are fierce debates about the best way to sweep the ice during the sport of curling. […]

Angela Merkel Makes History in German Vote, but So Does Far Right

She said that she would listen to those who voted for the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, and work to win them back “by solving problems, by taking up their worries, partly also their fears, but above all by good politics.”But her comments seemed to augur a shift to the right and more of an emphasis on controls over borders, migration and security.PhotoChristian Democratic Union supporters celebrating exit polls at the party headquarters in Berlin on Sunday — although the conservative bloc’s share of the votes was sharply down from 2013.Credit Kai Pfaffenbach/ReutersDespite her victory, Ms. Merkel and her conservatives cannot lead alone, making it probable that the chancellor’s political life in her fourth term will be substantially more complicated.The shape and policies of a new governing coalition will involve weeks of painstaking negotiations. Smiling, Ms. Merkel said Sunday night that she hoped to have a new government “by Christmas.”The center-left Social Democrats, Ms. Merkel’s coalition partners for the last four years, ran a poor second to her center-right grouping, and the Social Democrats announced Sunday evening that the party would go into opposition, hoping to rebuild their political profile.But the step would also make sure that the AfD stays on the political sidelines and does not become the country’s official opposition.The Alternative for Germany nonetheless vowed to shake the consensus politics of Germany, and in breaking a postwar taboo by entering Parliament, it already had.Continue reading the main storyAlexander Gauland, one of AfD’s leaders, told party supporters after the results that in Parliament: “We will go after them. We will claim back our country.”To cheers, he said: “We did it. We are in the German Parliament and we will change Germany.”Burkhard Schröder, an AfD member since 2014 from Düsseldorf, was ecstatic […]

Rising from the ruins of war, Neues Museum in Berlin mixes old and new

David Chipperfield turned a pile of rubble into a masterpiece of renovation and rehabilitation. […]

First wolf pack in 200 years is roaming wild in Denmark

Denmark’s last wolf was killed in 1813, but after a female travels 340 miles from Germany and meets some males, cubs are expected soon. […]

100% recycled rubber yoga mat was created at an EPA yoga class (review)

Kiss the Sky’s yoga mats are made in the US from virgin scrap rubber, and can be recycled again and again. […]

An injured Standing Rock activist could lose an arm, but her resolve remains strong

Since graduating from Williams College this spring, 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky has devoted herself full-time to fighting for environmental justice, her friends say. In a standoff Sunday night with police in Standing Rock, N.D., she might have lost an arm for it.

Yet as doctors worked to treat her injuries Tuesday, Wilansky had no doubt about where the attention should be. “Even though she’s lying there with her arm pretty much blown off,” Wilansky’s father said outside a Minnesota hospital, “she’s focused on the fact that it’s not about her. It’s about what we’re doing to our country, what we’re doing to our Native Peoples, what we’re doing to our environment.”

Emergency workers airlifted Wilansky to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis after she was injured during an encounter between law enforcement and anti-pipeline activists, friends and family say. News reports and social media accounts show that police confronted the activists, who call themselves “water protectors,” with an array of militarized tactics, including projectiles and a low-pressure water cannon in freezing temperatures.

The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council said it treated 300 people after the standoff, sending 26 to the hospital. A statement issued Tuesday by the council quotes Sophia’s father, New York attorney Wayne Wilansky, describing the injuries to his daughter’s arm, which he said surgeons hope to save from amputation with a potential 20 surgeries:

A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department told the Los Angeles Times that police “didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage” and maintained that “we’re not sure how her injury was sustained.” A sheriff’s spokeswoman told the Times that medical officials first encountered Wilansky away from the scene, at a nearby casino, and suggested she might have been injured when protectors were rigging their own explosives.

Activists counter that the demonstration was peaceful, and no one at the protectors’ camp has created explosives or even has the materials to do so.

Wilansky’s father put the blame squarely on law enforcement. “The police did not do this by accident,” he said. “It was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her.” He said surgeons removed grenade shrapnel from her arm, which will be held for evidence.

Standing outside the hospital Tuesday afternoon as sloppy snow fell, Wayne Wilansky said Sophia had planned to join the thousands of people from the Standing Rock Sioux and hundreds of other tribal nations who plan to camp out through the winter in attempts to block completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Three weeks ago, he said, she set off for North Dakota with a subzero sleeping bag.

It wasn’t the first time Wilansky has put her body on the line for a cause. Her friend Alex Lundberg, who protested a pipeline with her in Vermont, told Grist that she has also stood up to a Spectra Energy pipeline in New York and the West Roxbury Pipeline in Massachusetts.

“That’s three pipelines in one region she’s thrown down hard for,” Lundberg said, “in communities she’s not that familiar with, just wanting to show up and be supportive and be there with the people resisting.”

She got involved with Standing Rock the same way, he said. “She felt the calling to go out there and stand with the people against a continued cultural genocide and to help protect the water.”

A friend in New York, Becca Berlin, told Grist that Wilansky had been looking for a ride to North Dakota for weeks. In the meantime, she participated in direct action around New York City and the East Coast, attending protests organized by groups like NYC Shut It Down — activists fighting against racial injustice and militarized policing.

“It’s really not a hobby,” Berlin said. “It’s something that she’s been doing constantly.”

Wilansky was actually due to appear in court today in West Roxbury, Mass., said climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who was arrested alongside her this summer at a pipeline protest. Instead, she was shuttling in and out of surgery.

Wilansky’s injury occurred in just the latest of many escalating standoffs over the pipeline, which the Standing Rock Sioux say endangers their sacred sites and water. The pipeline also poses questions of tribal sovereignty. In an appeal to the United Nations this September, the nation said the pipeline violates human rights and breaches treaties.

This summer, hundreds of water protectors converged in North Dakota to voice anger and anxiety about the pipeline route. Over the past few months, photos and live videos on social media have shown aggressive tactics used by police against the protectors.

According to her father, Sophia’s body also shows welts from rubber bullet shots that she had received previously.

A collection of weapons used by police against protesters at Standing Rock.REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

“It’s unbelievable that governments are violently attacking citizens who are there peacefully,” Wayne Wilansky said. “We need everyone in this country to step up and say we’re not going to do this anymore, we’re not going to kill innocent people.”

Wayne said that his daughter’s arrival at the hospital was delayed for several hours because police have blocked roads, making it difficult for travel — including by emergency vehicles — between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Bismarck, where Sophia was taken before being airlifted to Minnesota. On Sunday, activists said, they were trying to clear two vehicles blocking a bridge on the main road.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department described the protectors’ actions on Sunday as aggressive. “We’re just not going to let people and protesters in large groups come in and threaten officers,” said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “That’s not happening.”

But Wayne Wilansky says he holds police and elected officials responsible for his daughter’s injury. “I hold the governor of North Dakota, the police, the National Guard,” he said. “Even President Obama, who I love, said two or three weeks ago, ‘Well, we’re going to wait and see.’ There’s nothing to wait and see. These people need help. They need to diffuse the situation before people die. And people will die if the situation isn’t stopped.”

[…]

These Charts Show What the Paris Climate Agreement Is Up Against

BERLIN — There has been a heated debate over the last few years about if and how we can prevent the world from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius. At the Paris climate conference last year, countries set out an even more ambitious goal — keeping the world under 1.5C of warming. We know relatively little about the benefits, risks and challenges associated with reaching the 1.5C target, but our knowledge in the area is expanding rapidly. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is now tasked with mapping out the state of the scientific knowledge on the 1.5C goal in a report due in the autumn of 2018 that is expected to inform future international negotiations. And first, at a meeting this week in Geneva, 60 experts and government officials are coming together to scope that study […]