Endangered Species Condoms!
I like these endangered species condom wrappers, produced by the Center For Biological Diversity — and not just because they taught me how to correctly pronounce snowy plover, or because I often think about the hellbender when I’m feeling tender. They make an important point about the link between human population growth and the dramatic population decline of other species.
Mind-Blowing Photo Shows What a Solar Eclipse Looks Like from the ISS
Most of us know that when viewed from Earth, a solar eclipse is a type of eclipse that occurs when…
If we discovered tomorrow that there was an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and – because physics is a fairly simple science – we were able to calculate that it was going to hit Earth on 3 June 2072, and we knew that its impact was going to wipe out 70% of all life on Earth, governments worldwide would marshal the entire planet into unprecedented action. Every scientist, engineer, university and business would be enlisted: half to find a way of stopping it, the other half to find a way for our species to survive and rebuild if the first option proved unsuccessful. We are in almost precisely that situation now, except that there isn’t a specific date and there isn’t an asteroid. The problem is us. Why are we not doing more about the situation we’re in – given the scale of the problem and the urgency needed – I simply cannot understand. We’re spending €8bn at Cern to discover evidence of a particle called the Higgs boson, which may or may not eventually explain mass and provide a partial thumbs-up for the standard model of particle physics. And Cern’s physicists are keen to tell us it is the biggest, most important experiment on Earth. It isn’t. The biggest and most important experiment on Earth is the one we’re all conducting, right now, on Earth itself. Only an idiot would deny that there is a limit to how many people our Earth can support. The question is, is it seven billion (our current population), 10 billion or 28 billion? I think we’ve already gone past it. Well past it.
Science is essentially organised scepticism. I spend my life trying to prove my work wrong or look for alternative explanations for my results. It’s called the Popperian condition of falsifiability. I hope I’m wrong. But the science points to my not being wrong. We can rightly call the situation we’re in an unprecedented emergency. We urgently need to do – and I mean actually do – something radical to avert a global catastrophe. But I don’t think we will. I think we’re fucked. I asked one of the most rational, brightest scientists I know – a scientist working in this area, a young scientist, a scientist in my lab – if there was just one thing he had to do about the situation we face, what would it be? His reply? “Teach my son how to use a gun.”
|—||Extract from Ten Billion, by Stephen Emmott.|
Alright you guys. I can’t even handle how cute these plush molecules are! I mean, come on! Just look at ammonia (top)! Look at that face! That smirk!
In case you’re wondering, yes, these are available on Etsy from Prim & Plush (you’re welcome).
Bonus Jonas: Bernie the Bunsen Burner
Sure, puppies are cute, but they’re also quite complex. At TEDxZurich, systems scientist Nicolas Perony uses YouTuber Robert Gann’s Scottie Pinwheel to show how complex social structures emerge from a group of individuals following a common rule (here: keep access to milk).
Watch Nicolas’s talk to understand more about the simple rules that drive some of the astoundingly complex social behavior of other animals — like bats and meerkats.
Several years ago, this mosaic of Yuri Gagarin—the Soviet Union’s first cosmonaut to enter space—was completely painted over during the restoration of this building, in Karaganda. Fortunately, this artwork was later recovered and restored.
Why Prairies Matter and Lawns Don’t
by Jameson Krumpler
Prairies – those critically endangered and complex ecosystems understood by few and misunderstood and destroyed by millions of people.
Lawns – those myopically obsessive (and evil) urban, suburban, and increasingly rural monoculture eyesores that displace native ecosystems at a rate of 5,000 acres per day in favor of sterile, chemically-filled, artificial environments bloated with a tremendous European influence that provide no benefits over the long term; no food, no clean water, no wildlife habitat, and no foundation for preserving our once rich natural heritage.
As one internet commenter named Carrie eloquently said, “as a nation, we have far too much lawn doing far too little for us.”
How much lawn is too much? 41 million acres. That figure makes lawn the most widespread plant under irrigation in the contiguous US. Three times more acreage is covered in lawn than in corn. All of that once precious water used on those 41 million acres of ridiculous, non-native turfgrass to keep it unnaturally green – how can people be so blind?
Lawns, along with row-crop farms, “improved” grazing pastures, and urbanization, are some of the biggest negative land conversions of native landscapes, and are direct contributors to the destruction of wildlife and native plant habitats throughout the world. As native landscapes disappear, wildlife disappears, and important ecological processes that insure outcomes such as clean drinking water, climate change buffers, and flood control also disappear. The future of mankind depends heavily upon the health of native landscapes…
(read more: The Roaming Ecologist)
images: J. Krumpler; Allen Scott Walker; pschemp | Wikipedia
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Fetal X-ray of a dolphin
Dolphin females ovulate only 2-4 times a year (affected by water temperatures, food and other environmental and social factors). Dolphins like humans, have sex not only with the aim of generating progeny but also as a way to generate strong ties.
The gestation of a dolphin lasts 1 full year (ie 12 months in the belly).
via Ardea Iniciativas y Estudios Ambientales