June 28, 2009
The noir (and romance and haiku) of the latest government report on climate change:
Last week, the United States Global Research program released a report on the potential impacts of climate change in the United States. Based on a year and a half of work and a consensus from 13 federal agencies, the 198-page report makes the doom, gloom, and destruction that await us available to all. Still, who reads 198-page government reports? Well, I do.
So in an attempt to bring some amusement to a dark situation, I’ve summarized the main points of the climate change report using five different literary (ok, quasi-literary) styles. Each vignette is set in the year 2100 under the “higher emissions scenario,” which is a conservative estimate that presumes some kind of international reduction in emissions.
Read the rest here!
June 23, 2009
Shiny new science art, with a hint of vintage humanities:
I live in San Diego, so I visit our famous zoo a couple times a year. My favorite part is a lush, leafy canyon lined with tigers and tropical birds and tapirs. It’s a little piece of the Asian forests on which it’s based, an idyll untouched by the downtown skyline or nearby highway. Sure, the path is lined by earnest plaques about poaching and logging and the dire peril of endangered species, but I’m there for a pleasant afternoon stroll and I’ve never read them.
That’s the fate of most earnest attempts to educate zoo-goers about environmental peril. Nobody (except perhaps attendees of environmental film festivals) wants to pay $50 to be depressed and guilt-ridden. But the Vienna Zoo has a different vision. As covered by the landscape architecture blog Pruned, the Vienna Zoo has inserted the nasty side of the human world right into the animals’ enclosures.
June 16, 2009
Latest at Double X:
On Sunday, NPR reported that more than 2,000 coyotes were living in Chicago, many inside the city’s highly developed downtown Loop. That’s not unusual. Since the elimination of wolves and the advent of suburbs teeming with tasty prey, coyotes have made their homes in cities from Los Angeles to Boston. According to the NPR story, urban coyotes are actually faring better than their rural counterparts, free from hunting and able to dine upon a bounty of rats and goose eggs. Though it seems counterintuitive for people with visions of roadrunner-chasing Wile E. Coyote, urban coyotes actually protect city-dwelling birds.
More here. With bonus naughty Coyote stories!
June 10, 2009
Latest Double X post:
Last month, Pat Robertson fretted that hate-crime legislation would lead to the protection of people who “like to have sex with ducks.” His remark resulted in a delightful Robertson-mocking pro-duck-sex song released last week by musical group Garfunkel and Oates. Robertson doesn’t have to worry too much about human-on-duck sex – it’s clearly illegal since quacking doesn’t qualify as consent. But ducks are no innocent victims. Rather, their giant members and coercive sexual practices make them the perfect posterbird for heterosexual sex gone awry.
More hot duck action here.
June 4, 2009
Latest Double X post on the science of Pixar’s new movie Up:
Seeking scientific accuracy in Hollywood is a fool’s game. I’ve frothed at the terrible biology of Bee Movie and gnashed at the poor oceanography of Transformers and muttered at the unfortunate physics of Star Wars. So I wasn’t expecting much from Pixar’s latest offering, Up, what with the house floating along on helium balloons. But I was pleasantly surprised. The biology of Up is reasonably accurate—though Kevin the bird might harbor a dark secret.
Read the rest here.