Recently perused articles

  • First up, an analysis from Yale Environment 360 on the permanent damage from “megafires” caused by “megadroughts” in the American Southwest, due to a changing climate that’s causing extreme weather patterns.
  • Even as we’re seeing more evidence of the effects of anthropogenic climate change, global climate change hardly registers as a threat for Americans, as only 40% view it as a serious problem. The rest of the world doesn’t fare much better, according to Pew Research, with only Latin America being a region where climate change is the top issue.
  • President Obama proposed new climate change policy last Tuesday. How do water issues factor in? This National Geographic column analyzes his speech for answers.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have been shrouded in smoke recently, as slash-and-burn agriculture pollution from Indonesia has found its way to its neighbors, much like Japan’s been experiencing China’s less savory airborne exports, leading to record levels of smog. Palm oil production and timber harvesting industries are the main culprits in this case. Indonesia — in particular its rapid deforestation — presents some interesting environmental issues, so I’ll be writing a full-length post on it soon. Apparently, according to this BBC Q&A,

“300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour” across the globe to make way for palm oil plantations.

  • Here’s George Monbiot writing about the “frontiers of rewilding” in Slovenia, where the natural world is reclaiming territory through re-growth.
  • It’s no secret that bees are dying in droves, be it due to electronic radiation, pesticides, and/or other causes. How important are these little pollinators? Turns out the produce section of a grocery store without foods that bees help produce is pretty bare: 1672866-inline-750-nobees
  • Only 5% of men worldwide wear condoms, which makes the 2.5 million new HIV infections yearly less surprising. So — there are efforts to make condom usage more appealing to men. Other than the whole safe sex angle, which you’d think would be incentive enough…
  • Here’s an article on the so-called art instinct, the evolutionary reason for art’s existence and importance to humans.
  • A critique of the modern DSM definitions of mental illness, which seem to include most everyone as having a diagnosable psychological problem. I mean, who the hell doesn’t have ADD these days?
  • The people of Turkey and Brazil have been taking to the streets in crowds of tens of thousands, with complaints about park demolition and bus fare increases (respectively) ballooning into a “revolt of the global middle class,” says this Atlantic article.
  • Finally, an essay on the biographical details of the writer Roberto Bolaño, my favorite novelist. Any fans of the writer will find it interesting.
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