Welcome to the future, where the air is made of fire and your beach house is underwater — Our incredible planet is at risk of entering a ‘hothouse climate‘: Earth with a global average temperature of up to 5° Celcius higher than pre-industrial temperatures, and long-term rises in the sea level of between 10 and 60 metres.
Human-caused global warming of two degrees Celsius may trigger other Earth System processes, often called feedbacks, that can trigger further warming – even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases. [I guess this explains why Trump isn’t afraid of global warming – he isn’t human so he thinks he’s not responsible.]
Geoengineering won’t save us, either. A new study in Nature uses two historic eruptions to gauge how a global program of reflecting sunlight away from the Earth’s surface – an idea known as solar geoengineering – could impact agriculture. It finds that while cooling the planet could offset some of the negative impacts climate change will have on staple crops, it’s hardly a panacea.
First Nations’ wild rice under threat in the US — Northern wild rice, also known as manoomin, is a staple food in Ojibwe communities across the Upper Midwest, where it’s also used in traditional ceremonies. And, like any wild crop, some years yield more than others, depending on the weather. And now it’s under threat by climate change.
Aerial views show extent of Carr fire devastation — The pictures from the ground of the Carr Fire showed devastation on a human scale. But new aerial imagery released by the city of Redding puts the massive bushfire in a landscape context, revealing both the power and capriciousness of one the most destructive fires in California history.
Black Widows heading north — An updated species distribution map published in a new PLOS One study shows that the northernmost range of black widow spiders (Latrodectus variolus) has increased by about 50km over the past 60 years. Because climate is a major factor in terms of where black widows can live, the researchers suspect climate change has something to do with its expanding habitat.
Now for some craziness — yes I mean Trump. In space. No one but US defence contractors and their accountants knows why America needs a Space Force. [Enlisting now for the Space Cadets!] But moments after announcing the new US military branch, the Trump campaign gave us a hint at this arguably idiotic idea’s true purpose: lining the campaign’s pockets. “As a way to celebrate President Trump’s huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear…” [Seriously. No, I am not kidding.]
Fear versus immigrants — US immigration enforcement has been handed over to a small group of militant, anti-immigration hawks who cultivate fear to accomplish their goal of driving out undocumented immigrants. [OK, I could say Gestapo, KGB … oh wait, I did.]
More power forever — At least Trump is working to increase his power over government appointments. [Didn’t see that coming. Oh wait, I did. Because, you know, Hitler and Stalin, and Mao for that matter.]
Republican decides insider trading is a good reason to quit — Chris Collins, the New York Republican who was indicted Wednesday on insider trading charges, announced Saturday he’s suspending his re-election campaign. [You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t often persuade it to drown itself.]
While we’re taking about falls — Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of trafficking narcotics, according to police. Authorities say the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist was found with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy in his hotel suite. [What, was he a Democrat? Coz why on earth would this guy need to traffic drugs? He’s stinkin’ rich!]
Facebook dispute results in shot bottom — A recent Facebook dispute between two strangers in Florida led to a bullet in the butt. Brian Sebring, 44, faces felony charges after he decided to take an argument offline.
“I went off the deep end,” he told the Tampa Bay Times.” [Really, Brian, you think?]
Costly decommission — Six years after decommissioning USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the US Navy is still figuring out how to safely dismantle the ship.
The General Accounting Office estimates the cost of taking apart the vessel and sending the reactors to a nuclear waste storage facility at up to US$1.5 billion, or about one-eighth the cost of a brand-new aircraft carrier.
China cracks down on Muslims — Thousands of members of China’s Hui Muslim minority have gathered at the site of a mosque in Weizhou, in northwestern China, in an attempt to block the government from demolishing the year-old building. This region has been known as a more ‘accepted’ Chinese Muslim minority so locals are mystified why authorities want to do this. [Why? Because they can.]
Berlin Airport bomb scare was sex toys — Police investigated the matter for about an hour before calling in a bomb squad, then determined the “technical stuff” that the scanner showed was just a bunch of sex toys, with at least one vibrator. The terminal reopened around an hour later.
Robot takes kids’ jobs — That’s right. A creative agency called RedPepper built a robot that levels the Where’s Wally playing field using a camera and machine learning AI to spot the striped traveller in as little as four-and-a-half seconds. [Ooh, I know, how about a robot that plays in the playground so your kids don’t have to?]
Monsanto to pay US$289 million in Roundup cancer trial — Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289 million in damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer. In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It’s the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer. Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. [Let’s hope the floodgates open and put this bestial company out of business!]
Your iPhone isn’t listening to you — Apple has told US lawmakers its iPhones do not listen to users without their consent and do not allow third-party apps to do so either, after lawmakers asked the company if its devices were invading users’ privacy. [I guess that’s good news?]
Excerpt from my forthcoming book about the Apocalypse: “If we move into the hills, behind us the cities will be collapsing. When the Romans left Britain starting in the 400s CE, people moved into their abandoned villas. As they lived in them, adapting them to their needs, parts of them collapsed without the skills left among the local population to fix them. Gradually they fell completely into ruin and were abandoned …”