People in the richworld should become “demitarians” – eating half as much meat as usual, while stopping short of giving it up – in order to avoid severe environmental damage, scientists have urged, in the clearest picture yet of how farming practices are destroying the natural world, say today’s The Guardian
“They said the horsemeat scandal had uncovered the dark side of our lust for meat, which has fuelled a trade in undocumented livestock and mislabelled cheap ready meals. ‘There is a food chain risk,’ said Professor Mark Sutton, who coined the term demitarian and is lead author of a UN Environment Programme study published on Monday . ‘Now is a good time to talk to people about this.’
“The quest for ever cheaper meat in the past few decades – most people even in rich countries ate significantly less meat one and two generations ago – has resulted in a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock. Continue reading “Eat less meat, the scientists now say”
Most people in the U.S. woke up to a spectacular sight this morning: videos from Russian dashboard cameras showing a fireball in the sky crashing down to the Earth, reports Wired Science. “The 15-meter meteorite impacted the atmosphere and exploded above the Chelyabinsk region of central Russia, injuring an estimated 1,200 people and causing roughly 1 billion rubles ($33 million U.S.) in damage. It was the largest meteorite to hit the country in more than a century.
“It’s hard to know what’s stranger about the event. That a substantial meteorite hit the Earth on the same day as a 50-meter asteroid is making a record-breaking (and completely safe) close pass, that people have been thinking more and more about how to deflect potentially killer space rocks, or that we live in a day and age when dozens of videos of a fairly rare event can be uploaded to the internet and instantly seen worldwide. Continue reading “Death by asteroid”
Honestly, this isn’t our day for joke entries. In this next item the U.S. Air Force is considering nuking the moon. (Aren’t we in a bit of a fiscal jam?). Slate reports it thus:
“The U.S. Air Force considered detonating a nuclear device on the moon during the late 1950s. In a recent interview with CNN, physicist Leonard Reiffel, who worked on the project, explained that the single explosion would have been “microscopic” with little impact on the moon. But what if it had been bigger—do we have enough nuclear weapons to push the moon out of orbit?
“Not even close. Depending on where the detonation happened, sending the moon careening away from Earth would take somewhere between 10 billion and 10 trillion megatons of TNT. The most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, the Soviet Union’s “Tsar Bomba,” yielded the energy equivalent of 50 megatons of TNT. The combination of every nuclear device ever tested represents just over 500 megatons of TNT worth Continue reading “US considers nuking the moon”