Weekly Round Up: Neanderthals live, planets pictured, eating meat, Pakistan’s revenge and Joni Mitchell

stories that caught our eye

Neanderthals Live on Life is ironic. Neanderthals went extinct 40 000 years ago. Yet there are so many Homo sapiens now who carry small amounts of Neanderthal DNA that it all adds up to more Neanderthal stuff than when they were in their Ice Age pomp. At least according to this excellent article by Peter Kjaergaard and his colleagues for The Conversation. We also liked their diagram that tries to make sense of the incredibly complicated gene flows during the last part of human evolution, when so many lines were interbreeding with each other. To the utter inconvenience of modern scientists, who must try to make sense of it all


James Webb makes you proud to be educated While the mass of humanity pass their time in pub brawls, burning witches, engaging in theological controversies, watching Fox News and other activities of that sort, it’s heartening to see what the more enlightened sections of our species get up to. Now the James Webb telescope is sending us pictures of actual, real planets orbiting round other stars. And this is just the start. All we can say is “watch this space” Nature Briefings, Webb wows with first exoplanet image

At first glance, it doesn’t look like much: just a handful of bright pixels. But the James Webb Space Telescope’s first image of an exoplanet demonstrates the observatory’s infrared prowess. Exoplanets are difficult to image directly because they are often lost in the glare of the star around which they orbit. Observing in infrared wavelengths, as Webb does, helps boost the contrast between star and planet. “It gives us wavelengths we’ve never seen planets at before,” says astronomer Beth Biller.Nature | 5 min read
Reference: arXiv preprint

Meat the counter-intuitive Before it becomes accepted wisdom that we’ll have to give up meat to save the planet, at least read this counter-intuitive argument from Thomasina Miers in The Guardian. We know farmers with land that really isn’t suitable for arable, but can produce good food by way of pasture. So maybe the answer is-keep it, but in much smaller amounts?


World Warms, Pakistan drowns The tragic floods in Pakistan are a case study in the devastation caused by global warming. It will take immense sums to repair the damage. Could Pakistan’s Government recoup some of it by claiming damages against the energy companies who have caused it and those politicians, journalists, think tanks and so many others who worked so assiduously to deny there was ever a problem at all?


Big Yellow Taxi-another canary in the mine We have alluded more than once to how the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song Bad moon rising gave early warnings of impending ecological catastrophe. Bought on by human greed, venality and concupiscence of course! Around that time Canadian singer Joni Mitchell wrote a deliciously ironic song, as only a woman could, called Big Yellow Taxi which said it all in one line “they paved paradise, out up a parking lot” We” end hoping you can play this link

#ecocide #global warming #climate change #NASA #space #dna #neanderthals #joni michell

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