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Up First briefing: Maui fire rescue; Alabama voting districts; no more boring salads

Davilynn Severson and Hano Ganer look for belongings through the ashes of their family's home on Friday in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, in western Maui, Hawaii.
Patrick T. Fallon
/
AFP via Getty Images
Davilynn Severson and Hano Ganer look for belongings through the ashes of their family's home on Friday in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, in western Maui, Hawaii.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said yesterday that he's ordered a "comprehensive review of what happened in the early hours of the fire." At least 2,700 structures have been destroyed, and the death toll has risen to at least 96. Green predicted the damage across Maui to be close to $6 billion.

  • NPR's Lauren Sommer, who is in Maui, says on Up First this morning that "one of the first things that hits you is just the smell" while walking around. A network of volunteers has been caravanning supplies to Maui, but there are still neighborhoods without drinking water or power. Sommer adds that the question now is "how fast this community can rebuild."
  • Hawaii has one of the largest outdoor siren systems in the world. The sirens weren't activated before the Maui fires. Experts say the alert could have helped residents have more time to prepare. Read a history of the state's sirens and how much of a difference they could — and couldn't — have made. 
  • Federal judges in Alabama are reviewing a new congressional map drawn by the state's Republican-led legislature to determine whether it dilutes the power of Black voters. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the map Alabama used in last year's midterm elections violated the Voting Rights Act, and a three-judge panel ordered a new map with two districts where Black residents would make up a majority of the voting-age population.

  • The new map only has one majority-Black district. Black Alabamians make up 39.9% of the second district. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports the panel will likely strike down the latest map and assign experts to draw a new one. He spoke to a GWU professor, who told him that "Alabama has been wasting people's time for decades trying to do things that are unlikely to prevail, and it's doing so yet again. " 
  • NPR's Bobby Allyn is definitely a real human. He recently sat down in front of an eyeball-scanning silver orb that confirmed his identity. The orbs are part of Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project that aims to scan billions of human irises. Co-founded by ChatGPT's Sam Altman, the company wants to help authenticate whether the users behind cryptocurrency accounts are human or bot.

  •  Allyn says he's joined more than 2 million people worldwide who have already had their irises scanned. Thousands of people in countries like Kenya and Chile have lined up to get scanned in exchange for Worldcoin's digital currency, prompting a raid in Kenya over a "lack of clarity on the security and storage" and investigations in the EU and the U.K.
  • Picture show

    / Deanne Fitzmaurice for NPR
    /
    Deanne Fitzmaurice for NPR

    Many people who live in and around the historic town of Lahaina are still unable to return to the restricted burn zone. At Maalaea Harbor, a group of tour boat operators has been taking supplies to the town on boats that usually take people snorkeling or dolphin watching. NPR joined the volunteers over the weekend. Their photos show how the grassroots initiative, local surfing community and neighbors are slowly filling gaps official channels haven't been able to.

    Life advice

    Greek salad with arugula, Little Gem, cheece, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and caramelized nuts. Bulgaria, Plovdiv
    Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61
    /
    Getty Images/Westend61
    Greek salad with arugula, Little Gem, cheece, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and caramelized nuts. Bulgaria, Plovdiv

    I hope you're reading this before you've packed your lunch. Most Americans don't meet the CDC's requirement for daily vegetable intake. But with these salad-making tips, you'll not only eat more vegetables — you'll never have a sad work lunch salad ever again.

  • It might seem obvious, but start with an ingredient you actually like. Try preparing it in different ways: raw, steamed or roasted.
  • Include a variety of textures and flavors with things like crunchy nuts or sour pickles.
  • Don't limit yourself to salad greens. Try to include as many different colors of vegetables as possible.
  • Experiment with making your own dressing. A basic vinaigrette has three parts oil to one part acid. Start with this ratio and taste as you go.
  • 3 things to know before you go

    Ezekiel Arita, from Kaneohe, Hawaii, calls his hairstyle "Mr. Aloha Mullet." His hairdo makes him feel like a superhero.
    / USA Mullet Championships
    /
    USA Mullet Championships
    Ezekiel Arita, from Kaneohe, Hawaii, calls his hairstyle "Mr. Aloha Mullet." His hairdo makes him feel like a superhero.

  • What's cuter than a baby mullet? More than 900 kids between ages 1 and 12 competed in this year's USA mullet championship. The winners will be announced Wednesday. 
  • It's a hot cruise summer! Passenger demand for cruises is higher than before COVID-19 shut down the industry. (via WLRN)
  • A team of snail researchers has spent years growing a population of endangered Chittenango ovate amber snails in a lab. Now, they're releasing them to a remote part of Upstate New York in hopes of recovering the population.
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.