Surferbird News-Links, 34th Edition


Welcome to the 34th edition of Surferbird News-Links. Just a reminder, today is Friday. And you know what that means - the weekly earworm! In addition, today's featured stories include: a tribute to John Glenn, Northern Lights, ice melt (sorry), beans, kombucha, and more.

Warm up

I can't think of a better warm up than this video, which celebrates John Glenn's life. Or, take a walk down memory lane with these photographs. You might recognize a few other faces, also.



The Northern Lights viewed from Greenland (

Wow. Absolutely breathtaking and magical are the only words I can think of to describe the photography of Paul Zizka. If you need a spiritual uplift, these photographs are your ticket. Actually, I'd like a ticket to Greenland. :) Oh, I almost forgot. Do you know The Cremation of Sam McGeepoem? It fits right in. Take a look.

Climate Change

November was the hottest month on record (

Both graphs point to the same conclusion. No matter how you slice it, November was hot.

Ice Melt

Ice melt in Greenland (

Scientists learned that Greenland's ice sheet may have repeatedly melted over the last 1.4 million years. These results suggest that the ice sheet is more sensitive to warming temperatures than previously thought.

However, another study indicates that the higher altitude ice on the east coast of Greenland has remained frozen over the last 7.5 million years. We need to learn more about the ice sheet because if it melts completely, seas could rise by up to 24 ft. That's a lot of sea rise.

Far less ice in Arctic and Antarctica (

I don't like this part of reporting on the environment, but both poles set record lows for sea ice in Nomvember. Sea ice in the Arctic had already been declining. But in Antarctica, prior to 2016, sea ice levels for November had been rising slightly.

Check out the graph to view the steep drop. However, it's too early to know if this is the beginning of a trend in Antarctica. To keep things in perspective, the notes at the end of the article acknowledge the difficulties of comparing ice in regions that are experiencing opposite seasons. I guess time will tell.

In light of our current administration, though, it's important to note NASA's role in studying polar ice. There's a model that shows the extent of missing ice here (, and an additional article to check out in Clean Technica, here.

Economic impacts of ice melt for housing industry (

The chief economist for Freddie Mac warned that a decline in housing prices for properties vulnerable to sea rise is much closer than consumers realize.

Green Tech

Out of sight wind energy, literally (

With a name taken straight from the Harry Potter series, Accio uses thunderstorm physics, also know as ElectroHydroDynamics, to generate electricity. The best way to learn about this new wind technology is through the short video, below.


These beans just might save us. (

Imagine, 38,000 samples of beans. Well, that's exactly what this seed bank in Columbia contains. This is a fascinating article, which stresses the importance of food security through diversity of crops. And beans have the advantage of only needing to be sold once because they're self-pollinating. Perhaps, as the author suggests, this is one of the reasons big companies aren't interested in selling them.

Legalizing Kombucha (

Do you drink kombucha? If so, or even if you're just curious, take a look at the short video in the Atlantic. After all, I think you could use a good chuckle in light of all the ice-melt.


A new treatment for diabetes could mean the end of injections (

I watched my father give himself shots from as early as I can remember. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13. He grew tired, over the years, of dealing with low blood sugars, constant testing, and worrying about high blood sugars.

Although this technology hasn't been tested in humans, it does look promising. And it appears to offer an easier way to manage what can sometimes be a cumbersome disease. (The father link above is to a post about my father and bicycles, photos included.)

Science and technology

Shopping without cashiers - Amazon's new store (

Amazon announced a new type of store this week, and it goes beyond the self-checkout lanes that currently exist in many stores across the country. These will be different in that you walk in, pick up the items you want, and walk out. Although, unlike current models, an app on your phone takes care of payment arrangements, while artificial intelligence and some sort of tracking device take care of the rest.

I know many of you might feel uncomfortable with this model. And it definitely fits in with yesterday's warm up segmenton economics. But let's not jump off the deep end just yet. On the other hand, if you do click on the article, take a look at Kurt Vonnegut's quote. It's choice.

However, even as automated stores like these emerge, other stores are taking a different direction. For more information, here's an article in Huffington Post. Don't despair my beastie friends. 


I recently edited my Surferbird News-Links about page -Surferbird News-Linkswhat's it all about. I think that's a silly title. Don't you? It needs to simply be - about. But what's it all about reminded me of a song, and I think you know where this is headed. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote "Alfie." I also love this version, performed by Burt Bacharach. Meanwhile, enjoy the music, and have a beautiful weekend.    Laura