Beautiful and terrible

This is one of the loveliest fossils I’ve ever seen. They are the bones of a Neanderthal, found in a cave in southern Italy, and although they’ve been calcified by mineral-rich water trickling through the cave where they were found, it’s an almost complete skeleton, with the bones all intact.

altamura

That’s the grisly part of the story. This person apparently fell into a hole in the karst landscape and was trapped — he’s presumed to have starved to death there. There were no predators able to reach him, either, so his body decayed in place, his bones slumped into a pile, and the slowly accumulating limestone locked everything into a fused lump…until cave explorers shone a light into his tomb and saw his skull looking back at them in 1993.

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Oh, Australia, you disappoint me

Lomborgdeception

Australia has just handed climate quack Bjorn Lomborg four million dollars.

The Abbott government found $4m for the climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg to establish his “consensus centre” at an Australian university, even as it struggled to impose deep spending cuts on the higher education sector.

A spokesman for the education minister, Christopher Pyne, said the government was contributing $4m over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia” at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.

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600 meters down

An ROV meets an Enemy of Squid, and the monster just takes its time, casually cruising around the cameras, showing off. Probably before going off to murder more cephalopods.

You cannot protect a forest if you don’t give a damn about the trees

monarchf

Jonathan Franzen pissed off a lot of environmentalists by criticizing the strategy of the environmentalist movement, which is committing wholesale to climate change remediation at the expense of biodiversity. I think fighting to get CO2 emissions down is essential, but the problem is that bit about “at the expense of”. How we achieve a sustainable climate is as important as getting there.

He starts off with an example that is close to home.

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