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February 2019
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Scientific American (February 4)

2019/ 02/ 06 by jd in Global News

“Even if ambitious climate targets are met, Himalayan glaciers could lose a third of their volume.” The Earth’s “third pole” is in danger of largely melting away.  “If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current levels, the region could lose as much as two-thirds of its ice.”


The Economist (October 20)

2018/ 10/ 22 by jd in Global News

“Some 4,500 satellites circle Earth, providing communications services and navigational tools, monitoring weather, observing the universe, spying and doing more besides. Getting them there was once the business of the superpowers’ armed forces and space agencies. Now it is mostly done by companies and the governments of developing countries.”


Chicago Tribune (October 19)

2018/ 10/ 21 by jd in Global News

“As genetic engineering continues to advance, playing God has never seemed so easy. Yet humans have never seemed so powerless.” We may finally be able to “create blue roses. But our real talent is destruction.” Collectively, we prefer to ignore this. While our denial continues, “the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all the creatures that crawl on the Earth will disappear.”


LA Times (October 16)

2018/ 10/ 17 by jd in Global News

“Scientists believe that Earth is in the throes of a sixth great extinction. Humans are causing it. Ultimately, we could become the victim of our own excesses.”


The Economist (August 4)

2018/ 08/ 06 by jd in Global News

“Earth is smouldering. From Seattle to Siberia this summer, flames have consumed swathes of the northern hemisphere.” And humanity is not rising to the challenge. Three years following the Paris Accord, “greenhouse-gas emissions are up again. So are investments in oil and gas. In 2017, for the first time in four years, demand for coal rose. Subsidies for renewables, such as wind and solar power, are dwindling.” While “it is tempting to think these are temporary setbacks and that mankind, with its instinct for self-preservation, will muddle through to a victory over global warming. In fact, it is losing the war.”


The Economist (July 28)

2018/ 07/ 30 by jd in Global News

“No consequence of global warming is as self-evident as higher temperatures. Earth is roughly 1°C hotter today than it was before humanity started belching greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during the Industrial Revolution.” This summer the consequences are widespread: “Heat is causing problems across the world.” But if global warming continues, “the toll on human lives is hard to imagine.” The bright spot is that better government response appears to be saving some lives. “If only the world could take in a similar lesson about the importance of stopping climate change in the first place.”


Popular Mechanics (May 16)

2018/ 05/ 18 by jd in Global News

“Scientists have confirmed that plastic bags litter the very depths of the Earth’s oceans inside the Mariana Trench. The findings highlight a polluted region of the ocean often ignored: the very bottom.” While disturbing, the knowledge could prove a source of hope.  “The better understanding of the damage being down there, the better chance there is of correcting the damage.”


The Economist (April 21)

2018/ 04/ 23 by jd in Global News

“Humans have had a good run. But with the most recent breakthrough in robotics, it is clear that their time as masters of planet Earth has come to an end.” Such statements remain unlikely and “furniture-assembly helps explain why.” Researchers in Singapore were able to get two robots to assemble an Ikea flat pack, but it was a long, painstaking exercise. Robots and AI continue to struggle in the real world. “It seems to be a fundamental truth: physical dexterity is computationally harder than playing Go.”


The Economist (May 27)

2017/ 05/ 29 by jd in Global News

“Earth is poorly named. The ocean covers almost three-quarters of the planet.” While “the ocean sustains humanity. Humanity treats it with contempt.” One sign of this contempt is that “scientists expect almost all corals to be gone by 2050,” a time when “the ocean could contain more plastic than fish by weight.” Our very survival now hinges on successfully answering the question, “How to improve the health of the ocean?”


The Economist (April 29)

2017/ 05/ 02 by jd in Global News

“Those who doubt the power of human beings to change Earth’s climate should look to the Arctic, and shiver…. In the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half; its volume has fallen by three-quarters. On current trends, the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free in summer by 2040.”


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