Why This July 4th Will Be The Biggest One Yet

Only 2 days left untill the 4th of July, are you ready?

TIME

As Americans prepare to toast the Founding Fathers and the spirit of 1776, the American Pyrotechnics Association has estimated that this year’s sales of sparklers, cones, fountains and other “backyard” fireworks could exceed $725 million, a record for this category of fireworks.

But that’s not the only dazzling number to expect for this July 4th. From purchasing 700 million pounds of chicken to spending $1 billion in beer, Americans will celebrate their independence on a larger scale than ever this year.

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How Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD

TIME

You may see the signs popping up around your neighborhood this July 4—red, white and blue notices that indicate the home of a vet with the request to “Please be courteous with fireworks.”

The signs are the work of a Facebook-launched nonprofit, Military With PTSD, begun by Shawn Gourley, whose husband, Justin, served in the Navy for four years and returned with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sudden and loud noises can trigger episodes of PTSD, bringing veterans back to traumatic experiences they have lived through during their service. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to 20% of military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience PTSD each year.

The signs are posted on the lawns of veterans’ homes to alert people to be more considerate when setting off fireworks in the area. According to Gourley, who spoke to CNN, the group has mailed 2,500…

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Meet the Crocodile ‘Nanny’ Who Is Trying to Preserve the Species

TIME

Rangers at the Barra de Santiago nature reserve in El Salvador are working hard to preserve the American crocodile, which is on the brink of extension in the area. In addition to doing educational outreach programs, Jose Antonio Villeda, a park ranger, has personally taken on the task of preserving the species by caring for baby crocodiles, AFP reports.

Villeda, known as a crocodile “nanny,” asks local residents to bring him crocodile eggs that they find, and then he takes care of them for 85 days until they hatch. He then raises the crocodiles for approximately two months.

“What is gratifying is that we now have a real crocodile population. We have gone from five to more than 200,” Villeda told AFP.

The crocodile population in the area has significantly decreased as a result of hunting and egg consumption, prompting park rangers in the 1990s to begin monitoring crocodiles’…

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Mysterious Spots on Pluto Intrigue Scientists

TIME

Newly released images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft show an unusual streak of spots on the dwarf planet Pluto.

Scientists aren’t quite sure what to make of the spots, particularly because they are perfectly spaced apart along the equator and seem nearly identical in width.

“It’s a real puzzle—we don’t know what the spots are, and we can’t wait to find out,” said Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

To get the images, scientists merged black-and-white pictures of Pluto and Charon, its largest moon, from the spacecraft’s Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager with color data. The resulting image shows Pluto and Charon in true color.

The spots aren’t the only mystery, however.

“Also puzzling is the longstanding and dramatic difference in the colors and appearance of Pluto compared to its darker and grayer moon Charon,” Stern said.

Scientists are hoping that these questions might be answered as…

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Here’s How Wild Animals Are Adapting To City Life

TIME

Several times this spring, coyotes made national headlines when spotted roaming the streets of New York, from Manhattan to Queens.

In recent years, a host of charismatic wild species, the coyote being only the most famous, have returned to American cities in numbers not seen for generations. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people’s responses varied. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife.

Most big American cities occupy sites that were once rich ecosystems. New York and Boston overlook dynamic river mouths. San Francisco and Seattle border vast estuaries, while large parts of Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, DC rest atop former wetlands. Even Las Vegas sprawls across a rare desert valley with reliable sources of life-giving fresh water, supplied by artesian aquifers the nearby Spring Mountains…

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