11 September 2009

Science in the News

  1. Open Arctic Seas - Henry Hudson and Jacques Cartier might just have been a few centuries too early in the search for a Northwest Passage. For the first time in history, two ships are making commercial deliveries between Asia and Europe through the Arctic Ocean. It's a lot shorter, and there are a lot fewer pirates, and Global Climate Change is making it all possible! Story in the NY Times here. (A few months ago I read an article in L'Actualité [mérci, Celeste!] about how shipping interests in the major cities in Canada's east, particularly Montréal, were concerned about a multi-million dollar expansion of the port in Manitoba's far north, in Churchill. With increasingly ice free seas in Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean, farmers may be able to ship grain to Europe more efficiently and cheaply - and through more months - through the Arctic. Unprecedented.)
  2. More evidence for human inputs - An L.A. Times article reports that yup, pretty much, it's us that's causing Global Climate Change. Despite the fact that a wobble in the earth's rotation means that the Arctic region is 600,000 miles farther away from the sun than it was in Year 1 (and I'd just like to pause here in awe of what human intellect and effort is able to deduce - that's miraculous) and so it should be cooler, in fact: "the region has warmed 2.2 degrees since 1900 alone, and the decade from 1998 to 2008 was the warmest in two millenniums." Of course there are plenty of people (Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK) who argue that Global Climate Change is a fiction. If they just happen to be neighbors of the same people who know so little about science that they discount evolution, welll...
  3. Figuring out the evolution of flowers - While they now account for most flora on land on this little blue ball, flowering pants haven't always dominated, and they all - gladioli to corn, apples to thistle - evolved from one plant. Between 130 and 120 million years ago, flowering plants evolved the tools needed to come to dominate. Awesome story in the NY Times here.
  4. And because Bren's Left Coast has the sense of humor of a 13 year old male, the best Science Headline of the Week comes from the Guardian: "Great tits found hunting bats." Evidently, they mean the bird. Still a great headline.

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