Sunny-day flooding may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s becoming common in coastal cities like Miami, Charleston, Norfolk and Boston. It happens when tides reach up to 2 feet above average levels and spill into streets or bubble up from storm drains. Sea level rise, driven by climate change, is making the problem worse.

Some of these cities are considering spending billions of dollars on seawalls to hold back the tides and also protect cities from surging water during storms, but coastal scientist Gary Griggs of the University of California Santa Cruz sees this as a temporary solution at best. In his view, cities should be thinking about a bigger question: when and how to move back from the water’s edge.

This week we also liked articles about the debate over “gain-of-function” scientific research, reducing food waste by using normally cast-off ingredients and how gay neighborhoods applied the lessons of the HIV/AIDS crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Pride Month we’ve put together a series of email newsletters on transgender young people. The four emails, delivered over about a week, recap a series of articles written by leading academics exploring the history, medical care and conflicts, such as youth sports, precipitated by the rising visibility of transgender teens in society. You can sign up for the newsletters here or click the button below.


Jennifer Weeks

Senior Environment + Energy Editor

Flooding caused by high tides in a Miami neighborhood on June 19, 2019. AP Photo/Ellis Rua

For flood-prone cities, seawalls raise as many questions as they answer

Gary Griggs, University of California, Santa Cruz

Many coastal US cities are contending with increasingly frequent and severe tidal flooding as sea levels rise. Some are considering building seawalls, but this strategy is not simple or cheap.

Credit bureau Equifax announced in 2017 that the personal information of 143 million Americans – about three-quarters of all adults – had been exposed in a major data breach. AP Photo/Mike Stewart

Ransomware, data breach, cyberattack: What do they have to do with your personal information, and how worried should you be?

Merrill Warkentin, Mississippi State University

If an organization that has your data gets hacked, your vulnerability depends on the kind of attack and the kind of data. Here's how you can assess your risk and what to do to protect yourself.

Engaging with people who accept and appreciate your body as it is can help you feel more at peace with how you look. Hinterhaus Productions/DigitalVision via Getty Images

8 ways to manage body image anxiety after lockdown

Tracy Tylka, The Ohio State University

After over a year of stress eating and seeing each other only through screens, anxiety over changes in physical appearance can make socializing again a daunting prospect.

  • Why gain-of-function research matters

    David Gillum, Arizona State University; Rebecca Moritz, Colorado State University

    The research community is taking a closer look at the lab-leak hypothesis for the origin of COVID-19, prompting discussion about the risks and benefits of engineering viruses.

  • ‘Upcycling’ promises to turn food waste into your next meal

    Rodney Holcomb, Oklahoma State University; Danielle Bellmer, Oklahoma State University

    The cost of food that gets trashed anywhere between the farm and your plate is hundreds of billions of dollars a year in just the US. But a lot can be salvaged as ingredients for other food products.

  • Why it’s such a big deal that the NFL’s Carl Nassib came out as gay

    John Affleck, Penn State

    The quest to combat discrimination against LGBTQ athletes has been long and fitful, particularly in male team sports.