Surferbird News-Links, 32nd Edition


Welcome to the 32nd edition of Surferbird News-Links! Today's stories include: fig trees, the Larsen Ice Shelf, antidepressants, mercury in tuna, nuts, Antarctica, and more.

Last updated December 27, 2016

Warm up

I do enjoy reading Seth Godin's blog posts. They tend to be short with a message applicable to varied parts of life. Many of us, post-election, are working on understanding different perspectives, and this particular post resonates - a one minute read on understanding otherness.



An expedition of all female scientists to Antarctica (

When I read about this all female expedition, my heart went all mushy. I so wish I could join them, even though I'm not a climate scientist. But my thoughts and my heart are with them. I think you'll enjoy this quick read, too.

However, one of the links in the Grist article, above (can't cut it in hard science), leads to Breitbart. If you check it out, my son advises you to turn on your adblocker. Bless his heart. He doesn't want you to unknowingly provide them with financial support.

It appears the good folks over at Breitbart don't think women are cut out for science. Furthermore, they want universities to place caps on the number of women entering university science programs. Who the heck is in charge of that Breitbart joint, anyway? They don't seem so "breit" to me. Silly boys, science is for girls. :)

Meanwhile, I suggest you join the scientists and head on over to this website ( to learn more about the Antarctica expedition -  no need to turn on your adblocker.

Decreasing temperature difference between Arctic and mid-latitudes causing jet stream to flow northward. (

As a result, the Arctic warms even more, creating, yet again, a greater temperature difference between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. The jet stream repeats its northward turn, and we end up with another feedback loop. Yikes.

Breaking up with Larsen C in Antarctica (

Well, It's important to maintain a sense of humor, isn't it? OK, I didn't break up with Larsen C, but Larsen C, an ice shelf in Antarctica, has a huge crack in it. We lost Larsen A and Larsen B in 1995 and 2002, respectively. And to clarify, Ice shelves are the part of glaciers that extend into the ocean. They help hold continental glaciers back - preventing them from sliding into the water. Although the Larsen Ice Shelf has existed for 10,000 years, it will probably be gone within the next few years.

Thank you Pope Francis (

Pope Francis, you are so cool. He believes in climate science and our responsibility to protect the environment. Additionally, he encourages church leaders to take action against climate change. Leadership. That's what we need. Imagine attending a church meeting where the minister encourages you to install solar panels.


Reduced levels of mercury in tuna attributed to fewer coal-powered plants (

At a time when our president-elect and his administration are plotting to ease environmental restrictions, mercury in tuna has decreased by 20%. According to the article, this coincides with decreasing amounts of mercury emitted from U.S. coal-fired power plants. The EPA completed development of standards ( that require the coal industry to control mercury emissions on their power plants in 2011.

The story of figs and wasps (

An entertaining and fascinating read, I think you'll enjoy this article, or podcast, on fig trees. Did you know that the flower of the fig tree is inside the fig? Wasps pollinate the flowers by entering the fig. The two rely upon each other as once inside, the wasp lays its eggs. Also, fig trees encourage the growth of other trees and plants in the rainforest. Take a read, or a listen, and learn all about the relationship between the fig, wasps, and the cultural and religious significance of the fig tree.

Health benefits of nuts (

Eating a handful of nuts a day decreased the risks of coronary heart disease, cancer, premature death, death from respiratory disease, and diabetes. I remain skeptical about so many nutritional studies. But since nuts aren't harmful, I say run with this one. When my digestion is weak, I eat nut butters, instead.


Apps for sleep therapy (

If you're battling insomnia but can't afford to pay for sleep therapy, perhaps give online therapy a try. One study cited a 57% cure rate compared to a 27% cure rate for conventional therapy. And it looks like this is the wave of the future. However, many of the apps haven't been tested in trials. So, be sure to research your options carefully.

Relationship between antidepressants, birth defects,  and stillbirths (

Only a certain type of antidepressant is indicated as causing birth defects or stillbirths in this study.  No one is advised to stop taking antidepressants without consulting their doctor.

Green Tech

A futuristic Y-shaped house (

Today's Surferbird News-Links is brought to you by the letter Y. If the truth be known, I'm not sure if this featured house has any environmental benefits. But I thought you might find it interesting, all the same.

Today's video

The article above on the Larsen Ice Shelf featured this short video. Ice and snow are beautiful.  Laura