a weekly look at passing events
Biting The Bear Whatever their personal motives, opponents of economic sanctions against Russia are united in one bleak asseveration: the sanctions are not working. Now Philip Inman for the Guardian makes a strong case that that they will, medium term. If you’ve been investing heavily in Vladimir Putin, now might be the time to sell short.
Nobel prize for a noble fellow One day studies of human evolution will be divided into two eras: before Pääbo (BP) and after Pääbo (AP) Because the use of DNA and other molecular techniques by this subtle Swede have completely transformed our understanding. Credit too for the Max Planck Institute, who play it like a top football club, recruiting the best talent from round the world, regardless of nationality. Nature Briefings: Medicine Nobel for Ancient DNA
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to the ‘godfather’ of the fiercely competitive field of palaeogenomics. Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, pioneered the use of precious snippets of DNA in fossils that are tens of thousands of years old to study human evolution. His work has led to the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome and the discovery of the group of hominins called the Denisovans.Nature | 5 min read
Himalayan snow-abominable catastrophe Those of us who want to do something about catastrophic global warming are being portrayed by certain third-rate British politicians as being “anti-growth.” What “growth” will be possible in a world where the entire agricultural and social systems of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have collapsed remains moot. Yet it’s a very real danger, as Nature Briefings makes clear Fast-melting Glaciers in the Himalayas
Scientists have been collecting data on the glaciers in the high mountain ranges that run across Central and South Asia for the past 20 years to track how their size and mass has changed over time. By the end of the century, between one- and two-thirds of the region’s glaciers could melt, largely driven by atmospheric warming. This could have far-reaching consequences for the more than one billion people who depend on the river systems that are fed by the snow and glacial melt. Increased melting could erode banks, trigger landslides and catastrophic floods when glacial lakes break their banks, and make water supplies for irrigation unpredictable.Yale Environment 360 | 8 min read
White is the new cool So we can conclude from the last piece that anything to slow global warming is a good thing. Here’s a story from the Mail about a new type of paint which will cut the need for energy-guzzling cooling systems. Heretical thought: could action on climate change actually create economic growth? Perish the thought!
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