Archive for the 'Environment' Category

“Extremely likely” means a probability between 95 and 100%

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

If baffles me that there are still people denying the human influence on climate even though many studies show that it is extremely likely. I mean, if it is extremely likely that you will sustain serious injuries or die when jumping out of a third floor window, would you take the chances and jump?!

Part of the problem seems to be that many people don’t know enough about statistics, and that some politicians don’t trust the scientific method.

NPR The Two-Way: Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause.

“It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.

The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming.

The findings contradict statements by President Trump and many of his Cabinet members, who have openly questioned the role humans play in changing the climate.

“I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in an interview earlier this year. “There’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact.”

That is not consistent with the conclusions of the 600-plus page Climate Science Special Report, which is part of an even larger scientific review known as the fourth National Climate Assessment.
[…]
The report states that the global climate will continue to warm. How much, it says, “will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally.” Without major reductions in emissions, it says, the increase in annual average global temperature could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit relative to pre-industrial times. Efforts to reduce emissions, it says, would slow the rate of warming.
[…]
The report has been submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Trump has yet to choose anyone to run that office; it remains one of the last unfilled senior positions in the White House staff.”

Ecology meets Art

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology”. He was heavily influenced by Alexander von Humboldt, about whom I recently read a book called The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (highly recommended, by the way).

Haeckel is most well-known for his incredibly detailed and beautiful drawings of radiolarians and other Kunstformen der Natur (art forms in nature). Recently, a new book with his drawings was published:

The Guardian: Ernst Haeckel: the art of evolution – in pictures.

“The influential evolutionary scientist, who coined such terms as ‘stem cell’ and ‘ecology’, was also a virtuoso illustrator. The editor of a new book celebrating this work introduces some highlights.”

Creative Review: Feast your eyes on the art of Ernst Haeckel. “A new book from Taschen compiles 450 drawings, watercolours and sketches of living organisms by artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel.”

The book is fairly costly, but if you prefer a cheaper, sort of do-it-yourself version, there’s always the Art Forms in Nature: Coloring Book. 😉

Und für Menschen, die der deutschen Sprache mächtig sind, existiert eine HTML-Version von Kunstformen der Natur (vollständige elektronische Faksimile-Ausgabe). Dort kann man sich einzelne Tafeln anschauen oder zum Ausdrucken herunterladen. Es gibt auch eine tar-Datei mit allen Tafeln (16MB) sowie das komplette Buch als PDF (272MB).

Most links via MetaFilter.

Arizona senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association said maintenance costs should fall to Congress, not visitors.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

CBS News: Grand Canyon, other popular national parks may double fees. (AP)

“The National Park Service is considering a steep increase in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, mostly in the U.S. West, to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and other national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the fee of $30 for a weekly pass. At others, the hike is nearly triple, from $25 to $70.

A 30-day public comment period opened Tuesday. The Park Service says it expects to raise $70 million a year with the proposal at a time when national parks repeatedly have been breaking visitation records and putting a strain on park resources. Nearly 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon last year.

“We need to have a vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “Shoring up our parks’ aging infrastructure will do that.””

Link via dangerousmeta.

“I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water.”

Friday, October 20th, 2017

NPR the two-way: Troubled By Flint Water Crisis, 11-Year-Old Girl Invents Lead-Detecting Device.

“Gitanjali Rao, 11, says she was appalled by the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich. — so she designed a device to test for lead faster. She was named “America’s Top Young Scientist” on Tuesday at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn.”

Ecological Armageddon

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

The Guardian: Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers. “Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say.”

Link via MetaFilter.