Category Archives: Environment

“Women have their place in the world, but they do not belong in the Canyon of the Colorado.”

The Atavist Magazine: The Wild Ones. “People said that women had no place in the Grand Canyon and would likely die trying to run the Colorado River. In 1938, two female scientists set out to prove them wrong.”

“Not least among the journey’s many dangers, according to “experienced river men” who refused to give their names to the national newspapers covering the expedition, was the presence of women in the party. Only one woman had ever attempted the trip through the Grand Canyon. Her name was Bessie Hyde, and she’d vanished with her husband, Glen, on their honeymoon in 1928. Their boat was found empty. Their bodies were never recovered.

Unnamed sources told reporters that the two women in the crew were “one of the hazards, as they are ‘so much baggage’ and would probably need help in an emergency.” They were scientists—botanists, to be precise. “So they’re looking for flowers and Indian caves,” a river runner said. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know they’ll find a peck of trouble before they get through.”

In fact, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter had come from Michigan with much hardier plants in mind. Tucked into side canyons, braving what Jotter called “barren and hellish” conditions, were tough, spiny things: species of cactus that no one had ever catalogued before. Clover and Jotter would become the first people to do so—if they survived.”

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Space Analogies

Alexander Gerst’s Horizon Blog: Cave Life for Space. “When you ignore some details, it is amazing how similar cave exploration is to going to space. After my experience with CAVES, I can say that, so far, this is the best analogue that I know for astronauts to mentally prepare for space.”

See also ESA: Caves 2019. (YouTube, 5:50min)

“In September 2019 in Slovenia, astronauts from five space agencies around the world took part in ESA’s CAVES training course – Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills.

The six ‘cavenauts’ were ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Jeanette Epps, Roscosmos cosmonaut Nikolai Chub, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk and Japan’s space agency JAXA’s Takuya Onishi.

The three-week course prepares astronauts to work effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical.

As they explored the caves, they encountered caverns, underground lakes and strange microscopic life. They tested new technology and conducted science – much like life on the International Space Station.

Inhospitable and hard to access, caves are untouched worlds and hold many scientific secrets. The astronauts performed a dozen experiments and were on the lookout for signs of life that has adapted to the extremes. They paid special attention to their environment, monitoring air and water quality, and looking for signs of pollution.”

Every damn myth debunked in one.

Vice: The Most Overhyped Wellness Promises, Debunked. “Here’s some healthy skepticism about Keto, colonics, charcoal, and more.”

“Behold our ever-growing list of today’s most pervasive wellness lies (or are they misunderstandings? Misguided hopes and dreams?). Click through on each one for a clear, deeply researched, as-definitive-as-possible explanation, gathered from experts and years of scientific research. You won’t find any thin claims based on small studies or experiments on cells or mice, unless we’re using them to point out how insufficient the research is on a given subject.”

The list includes 44 myths and links to extensive articles about each one.

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“The time to act is NOW, before it’s too late.”

Deutsche Welle: Klimastreik – “Der Planet brennt”. “Tanz, Trommeln und Blockaden: Für einen entschiedeneren Kampf gegen den Klimawandel sind in Deutschland und rund um den Globus Hunderttausende auf die Straße gegangen. Dazu aufgerufen hatte “Fridays for Future”.”

Deutsche Welle: Kabinettsbeschluss: 54 Milliarden Euro für Klimaschutz in Deutschland. “Die Bundesregierung beschließt ihr Programm zur Reduktion des CO2-Ausstoßes. Kritikern geht es nicht weit genug. Hunderttausende gehen für den Klimaschutz auf die Straße.”
Merkel’s Cabinet agrees ‘climate packet,’ environmentalists say it’s paltry. “Germany’s Cabinet has agreed a climate packet, including carbon dioxide pricing via emission certificates, costlier fuels, cheaper rail, and a ban on oil heaters from 2026. A leading Green was “bitterly disappointed.””