Surferbird News-Links, 58th Edition
Featured stories in today's Surferbird News-Links include: hurricane season predictions, retreating glaciers in Glacier National Park, parasites in sushi, L'Oreal turns green, Mineral Fusion cosmetics, images from tornado chasers and two climate change infographics. Greetings! It's been awhile. I thought I'd accomplish so much by setting my blog aside for a couple of weeks, but I didn't. So, here I am. And there you are. Let's surf some news-links!
But first—before May becomes a memory and summer settles in—I'd like to share a poem written by Dave Doran, owner and curator of Inside the Mind of Davy D at davydblog.com. Unlike Dave, who lives in the UK and enjoys a more temperate climate, I'm not looking forward to the hot summers of inland California. But the way Dave personifies the end of spring and summer's arrival with an intimacy that's warm and reassuring is lovely. Here's the link to Dave's poem, "Come What May," my treat.
Chasing tornadoes (theguardian.com)
Tornadoes fascinate me; but they also scare me silly! And what's particularly uncanny about them in the Deep South, where I grew up, is that in many neighborhoods trees hide most of the sky. Only small bits of blue or gray peek out between spring's green foliage. So when emergency sirens blast because a tornado has been spotted nearby, you can't see the impending danger. It's surreal. Yet, my experience contrasts sharply with the images in the above link, where vast amounts of sky stretch as far as the eye can see. In much of the Western U.S. and even in the Mississippi delta, the weather doesn't creep up on you like it does in woodland settings. Nevertheless, I prefer viewing supercells from the safety of my computer screen. Granted, they are gorgeous, though.
To create the mood, I thought you might enjoy an additional earworm in today's Surferbird News-Links. Warning: The images above are best viewed while listening to "Riders on The Storm."
Have you considered the benefits of increasing mercury levels in fish? No? We can do that if we bring back coal. But we could also mix nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, metals and toxic volatile chemicals with sunlight, and voilà—we have the perfect recipe for smog. According to the article in Standard-Examiner, however, "More than 7,500 Americans die from breathing it every year." Maybe bringing back coal isn't such a good idea. But I suspect that most of you already knew that.
The retreating glaciers of Glacier National Park (climatecentral.org)
In the late nineteenth century, there were 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park. Now, only 26 remain. This not only decreases tourism, but more importantly, it also affects local ecosystems that rely on summer ice melt. According to the article, "On average, the glaciers in the park have shrunk by 39 percent since 1966."
No, there hasn't been a slowdown in global warming. (climatenewsnetwork.net)
Although there may have been a pause in global warming—depending on how you define pause—conclusions about carbon dioxide's role in increasing temperatures remains the same. "Climate change is real. The thermometer is rising," says Tim Radford from Climate News Network.
This temperature spiral went viral. (climatecentral.org)
Did you miss the temperature spiral? Here it is again, revived from a year ago—a visual representation of increasing temperatures. It gets the point across, doesn't it?
Animals on the move (weforum.org)
Here's another visual, but this one shows the migratory patterns of animals in North America in response to climate change. If you click on the map, you can see what the effects will be in Central and South America, also.
Food and farming
Climate change and my beloved coffee (insideclimatenews.org)
In as little as fifty years, Puerto Rico may not be able to support coffee farming due to climate change. And many researchers worry that farmers will head further uphill into heavily forested areas, which we need to protect. Learn about the ways that farmers and scientists are planning ahead with the hope that no one will need to give up that morning cup of joe.
GM mustard in India (sciencemag.org)
In India, GM crops are controversial, too. Although GM cotton has been grown in India since 2004, if approved, this will be the first GM food crop grown in India.
Health and home
Sushi and parasites (theguardian.com)
Parasitic infections from eating sushi are on the rise. And we don't have effective drugs for treating them yet. You can prevent getting infected, however, by following the suggestions in the article. But also, make sure that your favorite sushi restaurants have and enforce strict standards. I think I'll pass on sushi, for now.
I don't wear makeup that often. But when I do, I want to know that it's safe. Mineral Fusion offers many items that have been verified by the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) safety standards. It's refreshing to know that these products will now be available at local pharmacies. Before, consumers had to search online or drive to specialty stores. Times do change.
L'Oreal moves toward greener chemistry. (triplepundit.com)
It's encouraging to read articles like this one. But beyond encouraging, what's even better is that Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute recently granted L'Oreal sliver certification for their Biolage R.A.W. line of hair care products. Learn about the five criteria that Cradle to Cradle uses to grade products for health and sustainability in the article above.
Science and technology
What will hurricane season be like in the Atlantic this year? (climatecentral.org)
In a nutshell, NOAA predicts there'll be more storms this hurricane season. Although scientists are uncertain about the development of El Niño (which reduces the chances of storm formation) this summer and fall, they're basing these estimates on increased ocean surface temperatures in the Atlantic and reduced wind shear. What is wind shear? It's "…the variation of the wind's speed or direction over a short distance within the atmosphere (NOAA website)." So, storms have more trouble forming and becoming established if there's too much wind, especially vertical wind. One reason why I'm hooked on writing Surferbird News-Links is that I learn so much from writing them.
Autism—a look at it's history and how people with autistic traits contributed to society (theconversation.com)
A remarkable piece on the origins of autism—the author traces the genetics while emphasizing the unique contributions that those with autistic traits make to their communities. Perhaps even thousands of years ago, people with autism contributed to the survival and technological development of humans.
I'm working on an essay about the hurricanes and storms in the Deep South, my old stomping grounds. Although I spent most of my childhood in Jackson, 180 miles north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hurricane Camille made landfall in 1969, packing strong winds as far inland as my hometown. Those memories remain fresh in my mind like still photography. The day after Hurricane Camille hit, this song played on the radio. But on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I'm sure they weren't listening.