Reporter Amos Chapple went on an expedition with Russians engaging in the illegal but lucrative "ethical ivory" trade: pulling long-buried mammoth tusks from the permafrost, often by illegally gouging out entire hillsides.
On Chapple's expedition, the "agents" he accompanied made about $100,000 in cash in about eight days, uncovering three tusks.
As the pumps roar through gasoline (one brigade went through five tons of it in three weeks) most of the prospectors will turn up only “worthless” bones like these. Dr. Valery Platnikov, a paleontologist familiar with this tusking site, estimates that “only around 20-30 percent [of tuskers] will find something significant enough to make a profit. It’s very sad.... A lot of these guys have taken out bank loans to pay for these expeditions.”
• The Mammoth Pirates (via Radio Free Europe)
40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder. The Intercept's Sharon Lerner made a short doc […]
As of Jan 1, a new International Maritime Organisation standard will seriously restrict the kind of air pollution that shipping vessels can emit; in response, the industry has invested more than $12b in "open-loop scrubbers," which capture the sulphur from heavy fuel oil exhaust and reroute it, along with CO2, into waste water that is […]
Gavin and Alice Munro are serious about sustainability. On a two-acre field in England’s Midlands, they’re growing trees that are trained into forming the shape of furniture, including chairs.
In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll […]
Treat yourself, internet: We’ve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts. TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and […]
As cool as your smartphone is, it can’t do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around – and might just save your life in the right situation. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since […]