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Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest are proliferating at an alarming rate.

That's the gist of an announcement this week by the country's National Institute for Space Research, or INPE. According to the agency, there have been 74,155 fires in Brazil so far this year — most of which erupted in the Amazon. That represents an astonishing leap of more than 80% over last year and by far the most that the agency has recorded since it began compiling this data in 2013.

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So there's a new outbreak of plague just outside Denver, not among humans but rather among prairie dogs. Some parks have been partially closed through Labor Day as staffers try to stop the spread.

When curbside recycling caught on in the 1970s, it was mostly about cans, glass, cardboard and paper. That's how Donald Sanderson remembers it.

Sanderson is 90 years old, an earnest man with a ready smile. Every Thursday in Woodbury, N.J., where he lives, he hauls a big blue recycling bin out to the curb. Recycling is close to his heart. "I guess you could say I'm the father of recycling," he says. "I don't know if that's good or bad."

The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world's waste. The policy, called National Sword, freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up.

Where was it all going to go now?

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Work at the site of France's damaged Notre Dame Cathedral resumed on Monday, after a three-week pause over concerns about lead that spewed from the fire in April.

As the blaze ripped through the 850-year-old cathedral's roof and steeple, smoke billowed out — its yellow hue a sign of burning lead — spreading toxic dust that settled on streets, homes, businesses and schools in parts of central Paris.

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Native Californian Leslie Ogden has seen her share of wildfires, but never did the retired schoolteacher dream one would roar into her own neighborhood as happened on the night of Dec. 4, 2017.

"On the curve of this street as you come in, one of the houses was in full flame," she recalled while standing on the front deck of her home recently. "And it was sending a river — probably 10 yards wide — of embers across the street. It was this river of fire."

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Diver and photographer Jill Heinerth has explored unmapped, underwater caves deep in the earth, as well as the submerged crevices of an iceberg. She has seen hidden creatures and life forms that have never been exposed to the light of day.

"Since I was the smallest child, I always wanted to be an explorer — to have an opportunity to go someplace where nobody has ever been before," she says. "As an artist with my camera, it's an incredible opportunity to document these places and bring back images to share with others."

It’s in chocolate, cocktails, soap, gummies and bath bombs. These days, it seems like you can buy cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, mixed in with just about every product imaginable.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It’s supposed to make a user feel calm while relieving aches and pains. And CBD products are everywhere.

It has been a tumultuous quarter century for San Francisco, what with the rise of its neighbor, Silicon Valley, and the changes that came with it. But at least a couple of things have stayed reliably consistent, such as the distinctive Bay Area fog that's so familiar it even has a name (just call it Karl) and the live webcam that watches it from the campus of San Francisco State University.

If you want to know what climate change will look like, you need to know what Earth's climate looked like in the past — what air temperatures were like, for example, and what ocean currents and sea levels were doing. You need to know what polar ice caps and glaciers were up to and, crucially, how hot the oceans were.

The water off the coast of the Riviera Maya was warmer than I expected, but far murkier. Endless pieces of seaweed, floating on and just below the surface, wrapped themselves like wet masking tape around my flippers and mask as I examined the second-largest reef in the world.

"It's the sargassum," my divemaster from Tulaka Diving told me resignedly. "It's coming over from Brazil and getting worse every year."

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