ecology

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Transmigration Landscapes" Failed Tests

I experimented with a number of different chromatography processes to learn which method would be conceptually and aesthetically strongest for my own practice. Two of the failed tests I did were interesting enough in their own right that I kept them, too, though as is evident they use a different technique that proved less effective at pigment differentiation than the process I used for the main Transmigration Landscapes.

These are, respectively, Failed Test 1 and Failed Test 3.

The Meaning of a Whole Ecosystem

This well-written and devastating feature in The New York Times Magazine, “The Insect Apocalypse is Here,” is worth reading. You might cry, though.

In conversation, sometimes, a student will wish mosquitoes away. I tell them that mosquitoes are an important part of the food chain for a number of species, and that while I, too, would like to be mosquito-free, we must understand that we are one small part of a whole. We may soon manage to become the whole, though, through chipping and choking everything else out. This article is about the decline of all insects and the overall functional extinction of many species - and our often unnoticed acclimation to it all.

Yellowstone Bison Culling

A great op-ed, "The Bison Roundup the Government Wants to Hide," was just published in The New York Times about the politically motivated annual bison cull that takes place in Yellowstone National Park at the taxpayer's expense.  I'm all for the suggestions of the author, Christopher Ketcham, with the clarification that I'd like any seasonal hunting to be restricted to that which encourages an ecological balance as opposed to one based on farm/ranch priorities, fear, or the desire for trophies.

Climate Science in the Public Eye

I was sick recently, so I had the time to watch the television series Newsroom.  One clip really stuck with me:

Now given that this is from a fictional television series, viewers could be forgiven for thinking it an exaggeration.  But the facts check out, though sadly a few are outdated and have increased negatively in the meantime.

What really interests me apart from the immediate content is that the whole reason it's funny (admittedly in a macabre sense) is because most scientists are a little less depressingly stark about our situation.  Why is that?

It turns out that a recent paper "Duality in Climate Science" published in Nature Geoscience takes scientists and the media to task for underselling our ecological position due to fear of politically and professionally calamitous ramifications.  The paper summary reads:

Delivery of palatable 2 °C mitigation scenarios depends on speculative negative emissions or changing the past. Scientists must make their assumptions transparent and defensible, however politically uncomfortable the conclusions.  

What that's saying is that unless we can time travel backwards or develop technology in the future that we don't know exists yet, we're screwed.  Here's another not-at-all-comforting review of this and other papers saying in part, "The latest installment of depressing news is the delightful prediction that dozens of American cities are at risk of drowning before the century is out, turning places like New Orleans and Miami into the lost kingdom of Atlantis."

Carl Safina’s Beyond Words Is on My Reading List

I've recently placed an interlibrary loan request for Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Dr. Carl Safina based on both the Jezebel interview and the New York Times review; I've always felt that while there may well be alien life in outer space, there's certainly alien life here.