Aeon’s featured videos are always stimulating and informative. This one is also eerily beautiful in time-lapse of sea stars and proboscis worms (and large numbers of tiny insect-like crustaceans) feeding on the corpse of a seal in the Arctic Ocean. The first thing, other than the visual eye candy, was to remind me that there has been a rich biodiversity of life in those cold, mineral-rich waters. The ocean is desert with its life underground you might say–hat tip to Neil Young. The second …

Deep Ecology Read more »

Recent pictures of methane bubbles in northern lakes are stunningly beautiful. We used to explain the familiar bubbles like these (but unfrozen of course) in an Alabama lake or in the bayou along the Mississippi coast as “swamp gas” – not “natural gas.” Same thing. Today’s “natural” gas is swamp gas from millions of years ago when plants and phytoplankton died and decayed into minerals and gases trapped in rock or as frozen hydrates. Swamp gas, then, is a energy-releasing carbon fuel. You can …

Swamp Gases in Cold Places Read more »

I’ll just give you home work this morning. Read all of the quote below from the book, Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes. Watch the video of her presentation. (> 1 hr) Buy the book for yourself for Christmas, then loan it out widely among your doubt-ridden friends: it’s not entirely their fault. They’ve been intentionally infected. Oreskes reads a passage from her book, including the following (starting at 38:10 in the video): “Imagine a gigantic, colossal banquet. Hundreds of millions of people come …

Doubt-mongering: Undead in Our Times Read more »

Growing up in the Deep South meant dealing with the heat in summer (well actually, from March through October in Alabama.) When we moved north to Virginia in 1974, I thought surely we had left 90-90 temp-humidities behind. But it’s feeling a lot like ‘bama in the Commonwealth this summer, and this has led me to consider that, once upon a time, Southern Americans employed evasive measures against the heat, and coped admirably with less grumbling and in greater relative comfort than today–even in …

AC: Not All It’s Cranked Up to Be Read more »