Doom

Meanwhile, Back on Earth

Selections from the Human Health chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, originally scheduled to be released as part of a major science conference in December, but suddenly dropped in the middle of a four-day weekend to provide informed citizens ample time to— haha, who are we kidding, they dumped it on Black Friday! No worries, enjoy the leftovers!

  • The health and well-being of Americans are already affected by climate change, with the adverse health consequences projected to worsen with additional climate change. Climate change affects human health by altering exposures to heat waves, floods, droughts, and other extreme events; vector-, food- and waterborne infectious diseases; changes in the quality and safety of air, food, and water; and stresses to mental health and well-being.
  • Climate change is expected to alter the geographic range, seasonal distribution, and abundance of disease vectors, exposing more people in North America to ticks that carry Lyme disease or other bacterial and viral agents, and to mosquitoes that transmit West Nile, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses.
  • Higher temperatures can lead to an increase in aggressive behaviors, including homicide.

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Less Than Nero

The span of recorded history stretches back some five thousand years. Which isn’t that long, really, considering that we as critters have been walking around some 300,000 years. And it’s not even as long as it sounds, since that five grand includes cuneiform tablets.

Really, three thousand years, tops. That’s how far back we can go before things start getting really vague. Blink and you missed us.

That’s the continuity of the world we live in, the world of our language and culture. We speak of vast amounts of time, of a universe billions of years old, of the immortality of fame, but in the West we have no names before Homer. To be among the Immortals is to have your name written down somewhere, to enable passage from generation to generation.

All of philosophy, it is said, is but footnotes to Plato. You don’t get that without Plato being handy on the shelf.

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Aggressive Ignorance

It was at some point during the Eighties that we realized America is fucked. We don’t recall the occasion, but given the era — the Reagan era — it would have had something to do with Our Fellow Citizens preferring lies to the truth.

Because we were sweet and adorable, this came as a shock. Somehow we had grown up thinking truth was something to be valued, that facts trumped fantasies. Somehow we were under the impression that this was a value we shared with other sentient beings who lived under our flag, that of course everyone was interested in the truth, that of course we all wanted to know the facts at hand.

And then, as we cast our first national vote, Americans elected a charming liar as President, and the wheels started coming off.

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James Bond Will Return in “Glowfinger”

Where Will You Be In 2050?

February. Outside my study window.

Goldfinch in winter plumage outside my study window.

You know how it is when you think something and then you come across the same idea in print and you think: Finally! Someone gets it right?

This happened to me recently. The Global Warming thing. See? You’re rolling your eyes. I know. But why do we do this? We have it on reliable authority that our grandchildren are in deep shit – why collectively do we not seem to care?

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If This Doesn’t Trigger the Apocalypse, Nothing Will

Gangnam Style hits one billion views, Google adds a dancing animation to the hit count, we tremble in abject fear.

[via David Chartier / Tumblr]