Hot Tub Time Machine
You’ve probably heard a lot about the threat ocean acidification—climate change’s “equally evil twin”—poses to biodiversity and endangered species. But like many global issues, just how catastrophic increased acidity could be is difficult to convey. In an excerpt from her newly available book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert gives us peek into what may await Earth’s oceans by visiting an undersea vent in the Mediterranean that spews CO2. What she sees is nothing short of terrifying. OnEarth
The Snowy Owl
Snowy owls have descended from their Arctic haunts this winter to grace fields and freeways across the Northeast (see “I Saw Her Standing There”). And while the migration is a totally normal occurrence—so far as we can tell—writer Bryan Pfeiffer explains why we should take the occurrence as an opportunity to look into the lives of animals on the brink. Aeon Magazine
Animals Bow to Their Mechanical Overlords
From the first someone hopped up on a horse to the first time we taught a chimpanzees to say “I love you” in sign language, humans have been manipulating animals for millennia. But new research suggests that one day we could use robots to help us get animals to do what we want. Emily Anthes explores an exciting, if a little scary, new branch of science that looks to improve bee birth rates, chase away invasive species, and better manage livestock with animal-like robots. It sounds like science fiction, but it might just be crazy enough to work. Nautilus
The US Gov’t Is Helping Illegal Pot Producers Destroy California’s Water Supply
Like it or not, marijuana is everywhere. And while some debate the drug’s effect on public safety, the youth, or the future of America, others worry about more immediate problems—like water. Because pot is illegal federally but legal in certain states, the industry is in a bizarre purgatory where states cannot regulate the plant as they would traditional crops. In California, Gwynn Guilford explains that marijuana growers guzzle up to 30,000 gallons of water a day, literally sucking streams dry. And with the state experiencing a drought worse than anyone’s seen in centuries, every drop counts. Quartz
What’s Wild? The Battle for Nature in the 21st Century
According to Amy Mathews Amos, there’s a bit of a rumble brewing between environmentalists. In one corner, there’s the Nature Conservancy’s Peter Kareiva and his “new conservationists.” In the other, basically everybody else. Kareiva believes that prizing pristine wilderness and biodiversity above all else is the wrong way to go, because he says most people can’t relate to the value of such things. Huh. What do you think? Pacific Standard
Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This.
Fire, meet Crazy: Fire ants are a much hated invasive species across the American South. But a new species of beasties is giving them a run for their money. Give a hearty welcome to our new insect overlords, the crazy ants. New York Times
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