Category Archives: environment

Too much domesticated biomass

Here’s today’s xkcd, which is both enlightening and frightening. Notice that there is more poundage of cows than of people. And where are the cats? h/t: Grania

Earth Day doodle

Today, if anyone remembers, is Earth Day, and in its honor Google has made an animated Google Doodle. Be sure to click on the Sun. Here’s a screenshot: h/t: John

A mountain of greenhouse gas (and housekeeping)

I have a big backlog of stuff to write about—more about ways of knowing, les folies de Templeton, accommodationism, penguins, cat hotels, and the like—but final exams are looming and I have to write one.  So for today I’ll just make a few announcements,  present a disturbing video, and then make up challenging questions for […]

House cats as predators

by Greg Mayer It’s long been known that house cats, which are introduced to most of the places they occur (the wild members of the species are found in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia), can wreak havoc on native wildlife, perhaps the most infamous case being that of the Stephens Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli). […]

50 years on: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”

by Matthew Cobb Over at The Guardian, Leo Hickman reminds us that 50 years ago today, Rachel Carson’s seminal book “Silent Spring” was published, with an amazing first print run of 150,000 copies.  Carson’s dramatic ecological warning of the effects of insecticides on bird populations played an important part in bringing the problems of population, […]

We’re screwed (maybe)

Just passing this on from an article in The Guardian: “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years.” At least one respected expert predicts that the North Pole is done for: In what he calls a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each […]

Why global warming is real and we’re causing it

Today’s New York Times Op-Ed section has a must-read piece by an erstwhile climate-change skeptic who has been converted, Richard Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley.  His piece, “The conversion of a climate-change skeptic,” is a must read (it’s short), and links to five technical papers on the phenomenon […]

Too windy for you?

Last week Matthew Cobb put up a nice animated map of the world’s ocean currents. Today, courtesy of alert reader Ken, we have a cool real-time map of where and how strongly the winds are blowing in the U.S. at this moment: Animated wind map here. You can click on any point to enlarge the […]

Grasses, live oaks, pines

by Greg Mayer There are some interesting comments on live oaks, their distribution, and resistance to hurricanes in the discussion (see #5) of my post on Long Beach, MS and its cuisine. One thing I’ve noticed is the striking zonation of the vegetation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Just a few miles inland, the live […]

Discovery Channel backs down; will show global-warming episode after all

About two weeks ago I noted that the American Discovery Channel had purchased six of the seven segments of David Attenborough’s wonderful BBC One documentary, “Frozen Planet.” Tellingly, the unbought episode dealt with anthropogenic global warming and its devastating effect on polar life.  When I and other readers complained about this, the Discovery Channel dissimulated, […]

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