a weekly review of stories that caught our attention
In Texas, who needs the Taleban? In a move worthy of the immortal William J LePetomaine, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has just signed a piece of legislation which removes basic rights from one half of his constituents. We are ignorant of his motives. We think he acts like a man who cuts off his right hand with his left. Here’s the Houston Chronicle
Leading the way on petrol One of humanity’s greatest mistakes ever was to put lead in petrol. The gain in engine performances was massively outweighed by the immense physical and psychological damage, Now the very last country, Algeria, has banned this deadly poison. But it’s still knocking around in the dust as Nature makes clear.
A century after its invention, leaded petrol has finally been banned worldwide. In July, Algeria became the last country on Earth to stop the legal sale of leaded petrol, and the United Nations Environment Programme declared the “era of leaded petrol over”. The fuel has been linked to a host of health problems, including heart disease, cancers and impared cognitive development. Sadly its toxic legacy lives on: almost half of the lead in London’s air comes from leaded petrol that’s still hanging around in dust, more than 20 years after it was banned in the United Kingdom.Chemistry World | 4 min read
The Secret Life of Arabia Thoughtful fans of human evolution have often asked ourselves-“why does everything come out of Africa, and never go back in?” We’d love to see more digging done in places like the Middle East, India and China. The Arabian penninsula is an obvious bridge and now the first hints of something happening there are described in Nature. (sorry Nature folk, but your rivals at New Scientist had something on this as well)
Ten years ago, no dated archaeological sites more than 10,000 years old had been recorded in the three million square kilometres of the Arabian Peninsula, despite it being the gateway from Africa to Asia. New research adds to an explosion of knowledge about how early humans moved across the region, writes archaeologist Robin Dennell. Artefacts from Saudi Arabia, which correspond to five periods of occupation during brief ‘green’ windows of reduced aridity, reveal more about how humans repeatedly dispersed from Africa onto the Arabian Peninsula and perhaps onwards to Asia and Australia.
Here’s a thought Politics is not about ideology, it’s about brokering the interests of various groups in society. Farmers, women, industrialists, the finance boys, all have their little needs and agendas. and quite right too. Political parties like Republicans, Social Democrats, you name it, exist to form coalitions of these interests and to represent them. So isn’t it time we intelligent. educated people formed our own pressure group and party to represent our interests? We’ve suffered enough at the hands of the other side in the last ten years. You are an intelligent, educated person or you wouldn’t be reading this. So what do we do?
#texas #abortion #womens rights #lead #pollution #petrol #human evolution #educated