Weekly round up: Good writing, sick corals, bats and peeling bananas

things we noticed this week

Best writing There are different styles of writing, but we have always liked the terse reality prose which started in journalism, but was made literature by authors like Hammet and Hemmingway. Here is a marvellous example by Elliott Ackerman for The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/american-volunteer-foreign-fighters-ukraine-russia-war/627604/

we thank Mr Peter Seymour of Hertfordshire for this example

Don’t take your eye off global warming There may be a war on, as they say but our other existential problems haven’t gone away. Hence this rather bleak assessment of the future of the great barrier reef. Great Bleaching Event… from Nature Briefings

The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its fourth mass bleaching event in the past six years. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) confirmed the event following aerial surveys that showed widespread bleaching across a representative sample of 750 reefs, despite the cooling effect of the La Niña weather system. “It is important to note that bleached coral is stressed but still alive,” said the GBRMPA in a statement. “If conditions moderate, bleached corals can recover from this stress, as was the case in 2020.” Scientists have urged the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO to declare the reef ‘in danger’ to raise awareness that it is “nearing its tipping point, beyond which the reef will lose its function as a viable ecosystem”.The Guardian | 6 min read & The Conversation | 6 min read

Development versus Biodiversity Whenever developers smash up another piece of green land they nowadays make dubious claims about how it benefits things like biodiversity and sustainability. We have always wondered how concrete can possibly capture more carbon than trees do. As this article for the Conversation by three biologists with rather long names makes clear

https://theconversation.com/biodiversity-why-new-rules-to-ensure-nature-benefits-from-building-projects-could-fail-179701?u

Batman returns-sort of The diversity and abilities of bats has always been a source of wonder, and in the UK the few remaining examples are rightly protected. But as our Australian Correspondent Mr Gary Herbert has found, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing AP for the Guardian

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/11/it-smells-so-bad-you-can-taste-it-bats-plague-australian-tourist-town

Robot Appeal We at LSS have longed for the day when robots can take away a lot of the drudgery in things like cleaning, cooking and ironing (we will defend gardening to the death however!)The problem has always been to make the pesky things clever enough and skilled enough to do microtasks. So this one about them peeling bananas,from the Mail by Shivali Best, offers real hope:

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/11/it-smells-so-bad-you-can-taste-it-bats-plague-australian-tourist-town

sorry about lack of cocktails this week-the robot broke down!

#robot #AI #global warming #climate change #bats #australia #development #ukraine

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