Gates’s TerraPower Breaks Ground on Small Nuclear Reactor

(p. A16) Outside a small coal town in southwest Wyoming, a multibillion-dollar effort to build the first in a new generation of American nuclear power plants is underway.

Workers began construction on Tuesday on a novel type of nuclear reactor meant to be smaller and cheaper than the hulking reactors of old and designed to produce electricity without the carbon dioxide that is rapidly heating the planet.

The reactor being built by TerraPower, a start-up, won’t be finished until 2030 at the earliest and faces daunting obstacles. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission hasn’t yet approved the design, and the company will have to overcome the inevitable delays and cost overruns that have doomed countless nuclear projects before.

What TerraPower does have, however, is an influential and deep-pocketed founder. Bill Gates, currently ranked as the seventh-richest person in the world, has poured more than $1 billion of his fortune into TerraPower, an amount that he expects to increase.

“If you care about climate, there are many, many locations around the world where nuclear has got to work,” Mr. Gates said during an interview near the project site on Monday. “I’m not involved in TerraPower to make more money. I’m involved in TerraPower because we need to build a lot of these reactors.”

Mr. Gates, the former head of Microsoft, said he believed the best way to solve climate change was through innovations that make clean energy competitive with fossil fuels, a philosophy he described in his 2021 book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.”

Nationwide, nuclear power is seeing a resurgence of interest, with several start-ups jockeying to build a wave of smaller reactors and the Biden administration offering hefty tax credits for new plants.

. . .

In March [2024], TerraPower submitted a 3,300-page application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a permit to build the reactor, but that will take at least two years to review. The company has to persuade regulators that its sodium-cooled reactor doesn’t need many of the costly safeguards required for traditional light-water reactors.

“That’s going to be challenging,” said Adam Stein, director of nuclear innovation at the Breakthrough Institute, a pro-nuclear research organization.

TerraPower’s plant is designed so that major components, like the steam turbines that generate electricity and the molten salt battery, are physically separate from the reactor, where fission occurs. The company says those parts don’t require regulatory approval and can begin construction sooner.

For the full story see:

Brad Plumer and Benjamin Rasmussen. “Climate-Minded Billionaire Makes a Bet on Nuclear Power.” The New York Times (Thursday, June 13, 2024): A16.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 11, 2024, and has the title “Nuclear Power Is Hard. A Climate-Minded Billionaire Wants to Make It Easier.”)

Gates’s 2021 book, mentioned above, is:

Gates, Bill. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need. New York: Knopf, 2021.

Many Workers Happily Accept Lower Pay if They Can Work Remotely

(p. A15) The U.S. inflation rate tumbled from June 2022 to June 2023. It was no slide down the Phillips curve of the sort that textbooks attribute to tighter monetary policy. Instead, inflation fell 6 percentage points as unemployment stayed low. It is thus a mistake to credit this episode to the Federal Reserve’s departure from low interest rates.

. . .

Employees initially reaped the benefits of remote work, because their wages reflected pre-pandemic conditions and expectations. Over time, pay adjusted and employers adapted, eventually allowing them to benefit from slower wage growth.

My research quantifies this source of wage-growth moderation. Along with the Atlanta Fed, our team asked hundreds of business executives whether remote work affected their firms’ wages. Thirty-eight percent told us their companies had relied on the work-from-home boom to moderate wage-growth pressures in the previous 12 months. Forty-one percent said their firms planned to use remote work to restrain wage growth in the next 12 months. We found that the boom reduced overall wage growth by 2 percentage points from spring 2021 to spring 2023. In all likelihood, the effects extended beyond this interval, because pay adjusts slowly.

Remote work cuts costs in other ways, too. When employees work on site only two days a week, their companies need less space.

For the full commentary see:

Steven J. Davis. “Working at Home Helped Whip Inflation.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, June 20, 2024): A15.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date June 19, 2024, and has the same title as the print version.)

Davis’s research mentioned above is:

Barrero, Jose Maria, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Brent H. Meyer, and Emil Mihaylov. “The Shift to Remote Work Lessens Wage-Growth Pressures.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper # 30197, July 2022.

Starlink Gives Remote Tribes Voice, Information, and Fast Help in Emergencies

(p. 12) . . . Starlink, . . . has quickly dominated the satellite-internet market worldwide by providing service once unthinkable in . . . remote areas. SpaceX has done so by launching 6,000 low-orbiting Starlink satellites — roughly 60 percent of all active spacecraft — to deliver speeds faster than many home internet connections to just about anywhere on Earth, including the Sahara, the Mongolian grasslands and tiny Pacific islands.

Business is soaring. Mr. Musk recently announced that Starlink had surpassed three million customers across 99 countries. Analysts estimate that annual sales are up roughly 80 percent from last year, to about $6.6 billion.

. . .

. . . perhaps Starlink’s most transformative effect is in areas once largely out of the internet’s reach, like the Amazon. There are now 66,000 active contracts in the Brazilian Amazon, touching 93 percent of the region’s legal municipalities. That has opened new job and education opportunities for those who live in the forest. It has also given illegal loggers and miners in the Amazon a new tool to communicate and evade authorities.

One Marubo leader, Enoque Marubo (all Marubo use the same surname), 40, said he immediately saw Starlink’s potential. After spending years outside the forest, he said he believed the internet could give his people new autonomy. With it, they could communicate better, inform themselves and tell their own stories.

Last year, he and a Brazilian activist recorded a 50-second video seeking help getting Starlink from potential benefactors. He wore his traditional Marubo headdress and sat in the maloca. A toddler wearing a necklace of animal teeth sat nearby.

They sent it off. Days later, they heard back from a woman in Oklahoma.

. . .

Allyson Reneau’s LinkedIn page describes her as a space consultant, keynote speaker, author, pilot, equestrian, humanitarian, chief executive, board director and mother of 11 biological children. In person, she says she makes most of her money coaching gymnastics and renting houses near Norman, Okla.

. . .

Enoque was asking for 20 Starlink antennas, which would cost roughly $15,000, to transform life for his tribe.

. . .

[Allyson Reneau said] “One tool would change everything in their life. Health care, education, communication, protection of the forest.”

Ms. Reneau said she bought the antennas with her own money and donations from her children.

. . .

The internet was an immediate sensation.

. . .

They spend lots of time on WhatsApp. There, leaders coordinate between villages and alert the authorities to health issues and environmental destruction. Marubo teachers share lessons with students in different villages. And everyone is in much closer contact with faraway family and friends.

To Enoque, the biggest benefit has been in emergencies. A venomous snake bite can require swift rescue by helicopter. Before the internet, the Marubo used amateur radio, relaying a message between several villages to reach the authorities. The internet made such calls instantaneous. “It’s already saved lives,” he said.

For the full story see:

Jack Nicas and Victor Moriyama. “The Internet’s Final Frontier: Remote Amazon Tribes of Brazil.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, June 2, 2024): 1 & 12-13.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed words, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated June 21 [sic], 2024, and has the title “The Internet’s Final Frontier: Remote Amazon Tribes.”)

People Feel “Stuck” in Lives Lacking Freedom and Hope

People need more control over their lives to feel hopeful for a free flourishing future. Fewer government regulations and more innovative firm managers could allow more of us to be “unstuck,” working on challenging but doable projects that improve the world and allow fulfilment. (I discuss these issues in more depth in Openness to Creative Destruction.)

(p. 9) The hallways on the television shows I watch have been driving me mad. On one sci-fi show after another I’ve encountered long, zigzagging, labyrinthine passageways marked by impenetrable doors and countless blind alleys — places that have no obvious beginning or end. The characters are holed up in bunkers (“Fallout”), consigned to stark subterranean offices (“Severance”), locked in Escher-like prisons (“Andor”) or living in spiraling mile-deep underground complexes (“Silo”). Escape is unimaginable, endless repetition is crushingly routine and people are trapped in a world marked by inertia and hopelessness.

The resonance is chilling: Television has managed to uncannily capture the way life feels right now.

We’re all stuck.

What’s being portrayed is not exactly a dystopia. It’s certainly not a utopia. It’s something different: a stucktopia. These fictional worlds are controlled by an overclass, and the folks battling in the mire are underdogs — mechanics, office drones, pilots and young brides. Yet they’re also complicit, to varying degrees, in the machinery that keeps them stranded. Once they realize this, they strive to discard their sense of futility — the least helpful of emotions — and try to find the will to enact change.

. . .

We’re not stuck in our circumstance. We’re stuck in the ways of living that perpetuate it.

If enough of us give up the sense that things are inevitable — that we’re stuck — it’s possible that we can course-correct humanity, or at least nudge it toward a hopeful path.

There’s another more realistic option that offers a thrill and reward of its own. If we don’t let the stucktopia keep its hold on us, if we rebuke it, maybe we shift ourselves ever so slightly toward optimism, and give the system whatever small hell we can.

For the full commentary see:

Hillary Kelly. “It’s Not Your Imagination. We’re All Stuck.” The New York Times, SundayOpinion Section (Sunday, July 7, 2024): 9.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 6, 2024, and has the title “Welcome to Stucktopia.”)

With Metformin Patent Expired, No Firm Has Incentive to Fund $50 Million Randomized Clinical Trial to Show It Aids Longevity

The article quoted below was published eight years ago. Dr. Barzilai and his team are still, even now, trying to raise the (probably higher) funds to conduct the metformin clinical trial. Firms have no incentive to conduct the clinical trial. Since the patent for metformin (originally issued for its efficacy against diabetes) expired in the year 2000, even if the clinical trial succeeded, no firm would be able to recover in revenue the $50 cost of conducting the clinical trial. Clinical trials are so hugely expensive largely due to the large and long Phase 3 component, intended to prove efficacy. That is why I salute Milton Friedman’s suggestion that a step in the right direction would be for the FDA to only mandate the smaller and quicker Phase 1 and Phase 2 components, mainly intended to prove safety. If the total cost of the clinical trial was much lower, it might be easier to find non-profit or academic funding. (It’s hard to raise $50 million on a GoFundMe page!)

The system is set up so that cheap (off-patent) drugs like metformin do not get tested, and so do not get FDA approval for off-label uses. So the system is set up to reduce the use of low cost, but possibly effective, medicines.

(p. D5) “Aging is by far the best predictor of whether people will develop a chronic disease like atherosclerotic heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia or osteoarthritis,” Dr. James L. Kirkland, director of the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, said in an interview. “Aging way outstrips all other risk factors.”

He and fellow researchers, who call themselves “geroscientists,” are hardly hucksters hawking magic elixirs to extend life. Rather, they are university scientists joined together by the American Federation for Aging Research to promote a new approach to healthier aging, which may — or may not — be accompanied by a longer life. They plan to test one or more substances that have already been studied in animals, and which show initial promise in people, in hopes of finding one that will keep more of us healthier longer.

As Dr. Kirkland wrote in . . ., “Aging: The Longevity Dividend”: “By targeting fundamental aging processes, it may be possible to delay, prevent, alleviate or treat the major age-related chronic disorders as a group instead of one at a time.”

. . .

The team, which includes Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in The Bronx, and Steven N. Austad, who heads the biology department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, plans to study one promising compound, a generic drug called metformin already widely used in people with Type 2 diabetes. They will test the drug in a placebo-controlled trial involving 3,000 elderly people to see if it will delay the development or progression of a variety of age-related ailments, including heart disease, cancer and dementia. Their job now is to raise the $50 million or so needed to conduct the study for the five years they expect it will take to determine whether the concept has merit.

. . .

Several studies have . . . found that individuals with exceptional longevity experience a compression of morbidity and spend a smaller percentage of their life being ill, Dr. Barzilai and his colleague Dr. Sofiya Milman wrote in the “Aging” book.

For the full commentary see:

Jane E. Brody. “Pursuing the Dream of Healthy Aging.” The New York Times (Tuesday, February 2, 2016 [sic]): D5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date February 1, 2016 [sic], and has the title “Finding a Drug for Healthy Aging.”)

Dr. Kirkland’s co-edited book mentioned above is:

Olshansky, S. Jay, George M. Martin, and James L. Kirkland, eds. Aging: The Longevity Dividend, A Subject Collection from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2015.

One study that documents that those who live 107 or more years do not have more years of illness and morbidity (the “compression of morbidity hypothesis”) is:

Sebastiani, Paola, and Thomas T. Perls. “The Genetics of Extreme Longevity: Lessons from the New England Centenarian Study.” Frontiers in Genetics 3 (Nov. 30, 2012).

“Funny, Obsessed Weirdos . . . Taking Children’s Entertainment . . . Seriously”

(p. C4) . . . to everyone other than Muppet obsessives, Henson the artist is still a bit shadowy. Good news: Now we have “Jim Henson Idea Man” (on Disney+), a tribute to the artist and a treasure trove of archival footage and interviews about his work and life.  . . .

The film, directed by Ron Howard, starts with Henson and two of his Muppet friends, Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog — Henson’s alter ego — being interviewed on TV by none other than Orson Welles.

. . .

. . . what struck me especially was that Howard has made a movie that every young artist should watch (and older ones, too), whether they’re making puppets, paintings, music, movies or anything that requires creative labor.

That’s because the film shows that Henson’s work was rooted in an unquenchable drive for exploration. One interviewee notes that he was lured into working on “Sesame Street” by the promise that he could make the kind of short experimental films he loved — and suddenly I realized that my taste for unhinged abstraction in film had been partly shaped when I was 4 and plopped in front of PBS.

. . .

The immense delight in “Jim Henson Idea Man” comes with simply watching funny, obsessed weirdos like Henson and his friends doing something nobody else was doing, something few people do anymore: taking children’s entertainment (and later adult entertainment) seriously as craft. I’ve heard naysayers argue that it’s silly to ask children’s movies to be any good, since they’re just for kids. But Henson knew better: Every opportunity to make something was a chance to explore with the audience. There’s a reason, then, that his work lasts.

For the full review see:

Alissa Wilkinson. “CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK; Took Kid Stuff Seriously.” The New York Times (Wednesday, June 5, 2024): C4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the dated May 31, 2024, and has the title “CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK; ‘Jim Henson Idea Man’: In a Joyful Weirdo, Lessons for Young Artists.”)

The Effect of Global Warming on Tropical Islands “Is Not an Exact Science”: Many Islands Are Stable or Even Growing

Environmentalists warned for decades that the biggest threat from global warming is to the survival of small low-lying islands. But as the late great physicist Freeman Dyson observed, the earth is more resilient than we know. In the three-full-page article quoted below, The New York Times (yes, The New York Times) reports that the small low-lying islands are mostly doing just fine.

(p. A6) On a wisp of land in the Indian Ocean, two hops by plane and one bumpy speedboat ride from the nearest continent, the sublime blue waves lapping at the bone-white sand are just about all that breaks the stillness of a hot, windless afternoon.

The very existence of low-slung tropical islands seems improbable, a glitch. A nearly seamless meeting of land and sea, peeking up like an illusion above the violent oceanic expanse, they are among the most marginal environments humans have ever called home.

And indeed, when the world began paying attention to global warming decades ago, these islands, which form atop coral reefs in clusters called atolls, were quickly identified as some of the first places climate change might ravage in their entirety. As the ice caps melted and the seas crept higher, these accidents of geologic history were bound to be corrected and the tiny islands returned to watery oblivion, probably in this century.

Then, not very long ago, researchers began sifting through aerial images and found something startling. They looked at a couple dozen islands first, then several hundred, and by now close to 1,000. They found that over the past few decades, the islands’ edges had wobbled this way and that, eroding here, building there. By and large, though, their area hadn’t shrunk. In some cases, it was the opposite: They grew. The seas rose, and the islands expanded with them.

. . .

(p. A7) It was Darwin who first theorized that atolls were burial sites for dead volcanoes, that these modest, almost shy, formations had astonishing pasts. Only later did scientists discover a key piece of their more recent history: Swings in sea level, they realized, had drowned and exposed the islands several times through the ages. Which didn’t bode particularly well for them today, now that global warming was causing the oceans’ rise to speed up.

To understand what had happened to the atolls since this acceleration began, two researchers, Arthur Webb and Paul Kench, decided to look down at them from above. The scientists collected aerial photos of 27 Pacific islands from the middle of the 20th century. Then, they compared them to recent satellite images. “I’m not sure we really knew what we would find,” Dr. Kench recalled.

Their findings caused an uproar.

The seas had risen an inch or so each decade, yet the waves had kept piling sediment on the islands’ shores, enough to mean that most of them hadn’t changed much in size. Their position on the reef might have shifted. Their shape might be different. Whatever was going on, it clearly wasn’t as simple as oceans rise, islands wash away.

Dr. Webb and Dr. Kench’s study, which came out in 2010, inspired other scientists to hunt for more old photos and conduct further analysis. The patterns they’ve uncovered in recent years are remarkably consistent across the 1,000 or so islands they’ve studied: Some shrank, others grew. Many, however, were stable. These studies have also added to the intrigue by revealing another pattern: Islands in ocean regions where sea level rise is fastest generally haven’t eroded more than those elsewhere.

And yet, to really grasp the forces at work, and to anticipate what they might do to the islands next, scientists also need to study atolls up close. Which is why Dr. Kench came back this spring to the Maldives.

On a blob of jungly land just a few miles north of the Equator, Dr. Kench walked past a section of beach that the currents had eaten away. Several palm trees lay toppled, half-buried in the sand.

“People obsess on that end of the island,” he said. Then he pointed up ahead. “This side has got bigger.”

SCIENCE AS ‘DETECTIVE WORK’

The day before, another island in the same atoll was abuzz with activity. One group of scientists and graduate students measured currents using makeshift buoys. Another group fiddled with a tower-mounted sensor that mapped the waves running up the beach. A third team dove down to the seafloor, where they installed instruments within the intricate coral canyons that, from above, gave the reef its streaky, ethereal look.

One doctoral researcher, Aitana Gea Neuhaus, scooped up a spadeful of sand and beheld the miniature universe it contained: puzzle-piece fragments of coral and calcareous algae in a mad variety of shapes and textures; crushed shells of bivalves, crustaceans and single-celled foraminifera; the sugar-white sand particles that parrotfish churn out of their digestive tracts.

. . .

One morning, Dr. Kench and a few other researchers hacked away a clearing in the jungle and bored a hole in the ground. Down went a six-foot steel pipe.

They were trying to glimpse the island’s deep past, to reconstruct its major chapters, layer by ancient layer. And they had some idea of how far below ground to look, thanks to seismic measurements that Tim Scott, an ocean scientist at Plymouth, had taken. Still, he warned the group: “It’s not an exact science.”

Dr. Scott sledgehammered the pipe down. “This is the moment of truth,” Dr. Kench said.

They levered out the pipe and hoisted it above a tarp. Out came a messy line of sediment and gravel and coral bits. Everyone leaned in close. No group of people in human history had ever seemed more interested in some chunks of damp sand.

Dr. Scott tried to puzzle out why the fine and rough material were jumbled together, not crisply layered as they’d hoped. Gerd Masselink, a coastal scientist at Plymouth, grinned. “Well, you know, it’s not an exact science,” he said.

. . .

On its own, coral bleaching isn’t necessarily bad for islands. When corals go white and frail, they can become infested (p. A8) by even more of the cyanobacteria that parrotfish love to munch on. The parrotfish flourish; they produce more sand.

. . .

It’s . . . less-populated islands where scientists say people can still learn to coexist with expanding and contracting shores, to adapt to nature’s give-and-take.

The issue is whether people can wait. Whether their needs for modern services, for better lives, will lead them to demand sea walls and breakwaters and land reclamation, the very things that could diminish the islands’ natural resilience. Or whether they will simply leave.

For the full story see:

Raymond Zhong, Jason Gulley and Jonathan Corum. “The Vanishing Islands That Failed to Vanish.” The New York Times (Saturday, June 29, 2024): A6-A8.

(Note: ellipses added; capitalized heading in original.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 26, 2024, and has the same title as the print version.)

“Extended School Closures Did Not Significantly Stop the Spread of Covid, While the Academic Harms for Children Have Been Large and Long-Lasting”

(p. A13) Four years ago this month, schools nationwide began to shut down, igniting one of the most polarizing and partisan debates of the pandemic.

Some schools, often in Republican-led states and rural areas, reopened by fall 2020. Others, typically in large cities and states led by Democrats, would not fully reopen for another year.

A variety of data — about children’s academic outcomes and about the spread of Covid-19 — has accumulated in the time since. Today, there is broad acknowledgment among many public health and education experts that extended school closures did not significantly stop the spread of Covid, while the academic harms for children have been large and long-lasting.

For the full story see:

Sarah Mervosh, Claire Cain Miller and Francesca Paris. “Pandemic School Closures Came at a Steep Cost to Students, Data Shows.” The New York Times (Friday, March 29, 2024): A13.

(Note: the online version of the story was updated March 19, 2024, and has the title “What the Data Says About Pandemic School Closures, Four Years Later.”)

Arthur Diamond Praises The Bear in “The Bear’s Out-Stuck Neck”

My commentary on The Bear was posted to the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) web site on Tues., July 9, 2024.

A direct link to the commentary is: https://www.aier.org/article/the-bears-out-stuck-neck/

On Facebook, I added the following comment:

“The Bear has the courage to show a passionate persevering crew of misfit chefs prioritizing merit (the food) over so-called D.E.I. (the color and gender of those who prepare the food). Courage is not the only virtue of The Bear–count also wit, plot, admirable (though flawed) characters, and intelligence. My review applies to seasons 1 and 2, and not as fully to the still-enjoyable season 3 that was posted to Hulu on June 27. At the end of season 3 we are left hanging on whether season 4 will uphold or betray the spirit of the The Bear in seasons 1 and 2.”

Jerry Seinfeld Knows “the Extreme Left and P.C. Crap” Hampers Comedy

(p. C1) Since the attacks of Oct. 7 [2023] in Israel, and through their bloody and volatile aftermath in Gaza, Mr. Seinfeld, 70, has emerged as a strikingly public voice against antisemitism and in support of Jews in Israel and the United States, edging warily toward a more forward-facing advocacy role than he ever seemed to seek across his decades of fame.

He has shared reflections about life on a kibbutz in his teens, and in December traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with hostages’ families, soberly recounting afterward the missile attack that greeted him during the trip.

He has participated, to a point, in the kind of celebrity activism with which few associate him — letter-signing campaigns, earnest messages on social media — answering simply recently when asked about the motivation for his visit to Israel: “I’m Jewish.”

And as some American cities and college campuses simmer with conflict over the Middle East crisis and Israel’s military response, Mr. Seinfeld has faced a measure of public scorn that he has rarely courted as a breakfast-obsessed comedian, intensified by the more vocal advocacy of his wife, Jessica, a cookbook author.

. . .

(p. C4) Since “Seinfeld,” he has spoken most expansively about the art of comedy itself, framing it as a morally neutral pursuit whose highest aim is to make people laugh. (Mr. Seinfeld recently made headlines for suggesting in an interview with The New Yorker that “the extreme left and P.C. crap” had hampered comedy.)

For the full story see:

Matt Flegenheimer and Marc Tracy. “Jerry Seinfeld Is Clearly No Longer About Nothing.” The New York Times (Monday, May 6, 2024): C1 & C4.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 4, 2024, and has the title “Jerry Seinfeld Can No Longer Be About Nothing.”)

The “Silver Linings” of Illegally Trafficked Corals

(p. D4) Corals are not plants: They are tiny invertebrates that live in vast colonies, forming the foundation of the world’s tropical reefs. Marine life traffickers hammer and chisel them off reefs in places like Indonesia, Fiji, Tonga, Australia or the Caribbean, then pack them into small baggies of seawater so they can be boxed up by the hundreds and shipped around the world. While most coral is shipped into the United States legally, individuals and wholesalers, growing in number, are being intercepted with coral species or quantities that are restricted or banned from trade, often hidden inside shipments containing legal species.

. . .

Corals are better left in the wild, experts say, but there are silver linings after illegally trafficked specimens are confiscated and properly cared for by experts. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a confiscated coral if you’ve visited some aquariums.

Walk past the Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium, for instance, and you can view a Turbinaria coral that was confiscated in 2005, shortly after Ms. Stone joined the aquarium.

It took years for the Turbinaria to recover, but now the colony has grown to more than 2.5 feet in size under her care and taken on a shape like a giant eye.

For the full story see:

Jason Bittel. “Mobilizing a Network to Save Marine Corals.” The New York Times (Tuesday, June 25, 2024): D4.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 24, 2024, and has the title “Unlikely Wild Animals Are Being Smuggled Into U.S. Ports: Corals.”)