They know how to use gadgets!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sergio Canavero wants to transplant a head, and he has a volunteer. Canavero thinks he can carry out this operation, although he has no successes in preliminary animal testing, and just wants to jump right in with a human with a debilitating disease.
Ed Yong describes a fascinating case of an infectious cancer in clams, which is weirdly cool (if not so good for the clams). To the rogues’ gallery of Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumors and Devil Facial Tumor Disease, we can now add this newly discovered immortalized clam blood cell that is spreading through populations.