"The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome," say experts

Twenty-five experts have issued a warning about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the rapidly shrinking insect population, reports The Guardian.

In a two-part article for Biological Conservation, the scientists wrote: “The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome. Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.We know enough to act immediately. Solutions are now available – we must act upon them.”

From The Guardian:

The researchers said solutions were available and must be implemented immediately. These range from bigger nature reserves and a crackdown on harmful pesticides to individual action such as not mowing the lawn and leaving dead wood in gardens. They also said invertebrates must no longer be neglected by conservation efforts, which tend to focus on mammals and birds.

Photo by Neenu Vimalkumar on Unsplash Read the rest

Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot image is 30 years old today

Thirty years ago today, the Voyager 1 spaceprobe had completed its ncounters with the outer planets and was careening out of our solar system. The time came to shut off the probes' cameras to preserve power and memory for the other onboard scientific instruments. But before engineers flipped the switch, one last photo opportunity was not to be missed. From my liner notes to the Voyager Golden Record vinyl box set:

Astronomer and educator Carl Sagan, a member of the Voyager Imaging Team, had persuaded NASA engineers to turn Voyager 1’s cameras back toward the sun and take the first-ever portrait of our solar system from beyond its outer boundary. Sixty frames, taken on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1990, were combined into a single mosaic, known today as the “Solar System Portrait,” albeit with Mars and Mercury lost in the sun’s glare. Centered in a ray of scattered light in the camera’s optics is a tiny speck, just .12 pixels in size: Earth from 6 billion kilometers away—a “pale blue dot,” as Sagan called it. It’s an iconic image that holds the power to shift our perspective in an instant.

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world,” Sagan wrote in Pale Blue Dot (1994). “To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Please join us in celebrating Carl Sagan's valentine to humanity:

(image: NASA) Read the rest

Antarctica: Hottest temperature ever recorded, 65º F / 18.3º C

Antarctica's hottest temperature ever was recorded this past Thursday: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18.3 degrees Celsius.

That is not good.

Not good at all. Read the rest

RIP wetlands and streams, Trump to end environmental protections

Say goodbye to America's wetlands and streams. Say hello to new rivers of pollution, and parking lots where cattails, frogs, and minnows once were. Read the rest

Australia fires: Air-dropping veggies to feed wallabies [NEW VIDEO]

The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. Read the rest

CLIMATE: 2019 was hottest year on record, NASA and NOAA report

It's official. Read the rest

Extinction Rebellion activists close Geneva private-jet terminal

Activists from the group Extinction Rebellion, which protests climate change, blocked the private jet terminal at Geneva airport on Saturday. The group says they want to draw attention to private jets as an absurd form of transport for the rich that causes massive harm to the environment. Read the rest

VIDEO: Hurricane destruction, one century in one minute

This video visualizes a century of tropical storm destruction in one minute. Read the rest

Europe just suffered through the hottest June in recorded history

Here in Alberta, Canada, it's been a frigging miserable summer so far: cold, full of rain and precious little sun. For weeks, I've been mumbling under my breath, in tooth-grinding resentment, that I should have stayed in Mexico for the rest of the year. I'm not asking for much, just a few weeks of clear skies and a temperature that peaks over 20°C for a few days in a row. Not everyone in the world, however, have the same aspirations. According to data interpreted by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (a European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts joint,) This past month was the hottest June in recorded European history.

From The CCCS:

Summer has barely begun, but temperature records are already being broken. Data released today show that the European-average temperature for June 2019 was higher than for any other June on record. Average temperatures were more than 2°C above normal and it has become the hottest June ever recorded.

Although not as persistent as that of summer 2018, this short heat wave, caused by a mass of hot air coming from the Sahara Desert, was intense. The five days of unusually high temperatures followed days with record-breaking temperatures further east in Europe. This led to the month as a whole being around 1°C above the previous record for June, set in 1999, and about 1°C higher than expected from the trend in recent decades.

The report goes on to mention that linking the temperature increase directly to climate change is a bit tricky as "...such Read the rest

Angled satellite shots make earth's landmarks look like tiny dioramas

Planet Labs did an interesting spin on the standard straight down satellite shots: they angled the camera from 280 miles up, turning cities like Houston, shown above, into charming miniatures. Read the rest

Flat-Earther's rocket failed again

Over the weekend, flat-Earther and DIY rocketeer Mike Hughes tried again to launch himself into space. Unfortunately, he failed. As a result, his belief that the Earth isn't round stands. The Washington Post has been following Hughes's misadventures:

All critics would be silenced, Hughes promised then, when he finally launched on private property outside the town of Amboy, Calif., on Saturday....

“I pulled the plunger five different times,” Hughes said. “I considered beating on the rocket nozzle from the underneath side. But you can't get anyone under there. It'll kill you. It'll scald you to death. It'll blow the skin and muscle off your bones.”..

Hughes's plans are unclear now. He said he'd take apart the rocket to see what went wrong, but he has commitments to think of besides science. He was supposed to be in court on Tuesday, he told the crowd, because he was suing the governor of California for unspecified reasons. He was also trying to claim the legal right to Charles Manson's guitar. He is a man of many ambitions...

“Guys, I'm sorry,” Hughes said. “What can you do?”

"A flat-earther finally tried to fly away. His rocket didn’t even ignite." (Washington Post) Read the rest

Beautiful photo of Earth from 10,000 miles away taken on this day in 1968

From NASA: "On November 9, 1969, the uncrewed Apollo 4 test flight made a great ellipse around Earth as a test of the translunar motors and of the high speed entry required of a crewed flight returning from the Moon. A 70mm camera was programmed to look out a window toward Earth, and take a series of photographs from "high apogee." Coastal Brazil, Atlantic Ocean, West Africa, Antarctica, looking west. This photograph was made as the Apollo 4 spacecraft, still attached to the S-IVB (third) stage, orbited Earth at an altitude of 9,544 miles."

Image Credit: NASA Read the rest

How do you know the Earth isn't flat?

It sure feels flat, right? (Life Noggin)

Read the rest

30-year satellite image timelapses of notable places

Google's Earth Outreach just published a series of nifty decades-long views of how world landmarks of changed, like this one of the Aral Sea from 1984 to present. Some of them are like watching slime molds grow: Read the rest

IMAX's "A Beautiful Planet" is a 3D visit to the International Space Station

I'm ashamed to admit that I never learned much about the International Space Station. But after seeing the IMAX 3D documentary A Beautiful Planet, I feel like I spent 45 minutes in it, and it was emotional and thrilling. I'm normally not a big fan of 3D movies, but the quality was so high that it didn't bother me and instead made the experience of learning about life inside the ISS that much better.

I was enthralled the entire time I watched the movie. I felt like I was floating in the ISS, observing the astronauts right in front of me as they ate, cut their hair, made espresso, helped each other get into their spacesuits, and played the bagpipes. I remember reading somewhere that one of the requirements of being an astronaut is that you can't be arrogant or have a big ego because those aren't good traits to have when you live in close quarters for months on end with other people. The astronauts on the ISS all seemed very smart, good natured, and kind. I wanted to hug them all.

The movie, which is narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, is called A Beautiful Planet because the main star of the show is our planet as filmed by crew of the ISS. We've all seen images of the Earth from space, but to see them in 3D on giant screen in crystal clarity is another experience altogether. My 13-year-old daughter was shocked by the nighttime footage of South and North Korea. Read the rest

An odd new headwear trend is sprouting in China

In China, teens and twentysomethings are wearing little plastic accessories on their heads in the shape of tiny little sprouts, fruit, or flowers. Nobody's exactly sure where or how the trend started, but it's... growing. Read the rest

Would you live in a treehouse?

Fun little short documentary from the Atlantic on YouTube, in which you meet people who build, live in, and love treehouses. Gotta be honest here, this is very much a lifelong passion and dream of mine.

Read the rest

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