Monday, 20 January 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/20/humans-risk-living-in-an-empty-world-warns-un-biodiversity-chief-aoe). Most of her points are made very effectively (that there is too much talking about the issue but much less doing) but I worry about this headline. Even with our technologies, it may not be possible for humans to avoid driving themselves to extinction by wrecking the systems that maintain complex life. There is a danger that microbes will re-inherit a much-changed planet.
- January 20, 2020
Sunday, 19 January 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/19/cannabis-compound-could-be-weapon-in-fight-against-superbugs). Studies have reportedly shown that cannabigerol, a non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, is very effective in killing the most common of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is common (and difficult to eradicate) in hospitals and gyms where it causes difficult-to-treat infections. This could be really important as traditional antibiotics are becoming less and less effective.
- January 19, 2020
Saturday, 18 January 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/18/this-is-not-how-sequoias-die-its-supposed-to-stand-for-another-500-years-aoe). It appears that this might be related to climate change (reducing water provision and increasing fire damage), which makes the trees less resistant to boring beetles that infest their tissues. Under more normal conditions, the trees are resistant to these pests.
Friday, 17 January 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/17/biggest-food-brands-failing-goals-to-banish-palm-oil-deforestation). They talk the talk without walking the walk.
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/17/greenpeace-included-with-neo-nazis-on-uk-counter-terror-list). It seems to me that the definition of 'terrorism' has been stretched, in this case, to include any activity that might interfere with commercial activity or the status quo. Given the fact that a substantial proportion of the population have genuine and legitimate concerns about the direction (or lack of direction?) of environmental policy in this country, the document appears to block their right to peacefully demonstrate. Perhaps the 'banana republic' is already here?
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/13/scientists-use-stem-cells-from-frogs-to-build-first-living-robots ). The tiny 'organisms' are made from combinations of passive skin cells and contractile heart cells and can be designed, using algorithms, to move on 'legs' in a particular direction or to have a collecting pouch. The hope is that they can be utilised for a variety of tasks such as collecting microplastic particles in the oceans or clearing plaque from the coronary arteries (which increases the chance of a heart attack). There would, presumably, have to be detailed trials before they were let loose on the world?
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