When Chief Warrant Officer Nicholas Johnson’s Black Hawk helicopter went down during bad weather April 19, killing him and three others, he became the 671st service member from California to die in the combined Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
A brief Department of Defense statement from April 24 said the crash occurred in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Johnson and the rest of his crew were assigned to an Army aviation regiment based in Hawaii. U-T San Diego later reported that the 27-year-old Johnson was on his first deployment, attended Chino High School in San Bernardino County and is survived by a wife and child.
California continues to lead the nation in fatal sacrifices made to the conflicts, according to an analysis of the most recent Defense Department
data available. The figures, which include both hostile and non-hostile casualties, cover three major operations across the two wars: Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Read more.
Photo: Chief Warrant Officer Nicholas Johnson. Credit: U.S. Army
“Almost every tow we did contained plastic, regardless of the depth.”—Giora Proskurowski, a University of Washington researcher. His new research has found that natural ocean processes such as wind, drag, turbulence and wave height can push the plastic deep down, where it floats along, suspended underwater and unobserved by people examining the ocean’s surface.
The new report claims scientists have only skimmed the surface on the devastating pollution caused by plastic debris in the ocean, and the research community is likely underestimating the amount of plastic in the ocean. Read more.
Threats of terrorism, violence at border overblown, study says
The threats of terrorism and spillover violence from the Mexican drug war are largely overblown, according to a new report.
The report [PDF] found that those threats have led to an increased enforcement presence and a confusing patchwork of federal agencies responsible for border security. The buildup has pushed migrants into more dangerous travel routes, but has done little to reduce drug trafficking, according to the report.
And despite fears that terrorists could use the southern border as a gateway to the U.S., no member of any group on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list has attempted to enter the country via Mexico, the report said. Read more.
Image: A U.S. Army National Guard soldier watches the U.S.-Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz. via Jim Greenhill/Flickr
“37 million”—The number of bacteria you release into the air every hour you remain in a room. At least, that’s what researchers at UC Berkeley and Yale University have discovered about the presence of a person in a room. Read more.