Mass Extinction (and other news)
About 250 million years ago, Earth suffered its fifth (and worst) mass extinction event. Nearly seventy percent of land species disappeared. And they got off easy compared to marine species. Are we headed for another mass extinction on Earth? I’m not ready to break that news. But something unusual is definitely going on and extinction rates seem to be speeding up. Here’s an interesting chat with Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction.
No one is using the word extinction to describe the current ice storm sweeping the South. But the National Weather Service is using words like: “Catastrophic … crippling … paralyzing … choose your adjective.”
+ Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost power and thousands of flights have been cancelled. And in Atlanta, where a much lighter storm crippled the city two weeks ago, people are staying home. Here’s the latest on the storm from CNN.
+ Slate: Today’s the day Atlanta could lose one-quarter of its trees.
+ It’s sunny in Sochi. It’s freezing in Atlanta. It’s all about Global Weirding.
+ According to a recent study, there could be a link between the weather and suffering a stroke.
Got Milk Fat?
We’re all getting too fat. So it makes sense that we should avoid milk fat, right? Wrong. According to a couple recent studies, consuming full-fat milk products actually seems to make us less likely to gain weight.
+ Could this baker solve the gluten mystery? (Or at least explain what the hell they’re putting in our bread these days…)
Self understanding is the first step towards having a good relationship. Marriage is not easy. There’s no such thing as a soul mate. Communications skills are important. If you already know these things, then you’ve probably taken Northwestern’s Marriage 101 class (or had these theories yelled at you by a loved one).
+ Pew: A record share of wives are more educated than their husbands.
+ From This American Life, stories of people going to extremes to find and pursue their one true love.
Five Ring Circus
In a first in Alpine Skiing, a competition ended in a tie (although the timekeepers know who really won). (Warning: If you’ve spent the last several hours enclosed in a box made of steel and concrete, this could be a spoiler.)
+ InFocus has an excellent collection of photographs from the first week of competition.
+ Take a POV ride down the luge run.
+ More people should follow the lead of Bob Costas and stay home from work when they’re sick.
+ Shouts and Murmurs: Going for the Bronze – “I’d never have gotten here without the support of my family, which saw third place in me before I could see it in myself.”
The Seat of Power
“In 1969, Cheney was a twenty-eight-year-old fledgling academic wannabe from Wyoming laboring obscurely as an intern on Capitol Hill — and lucky to be there, having twice flunked out of Yale, twice been jailed for drunk driving. Five years later he was Gerald Ford’s White House chief of staff. Can American history offer a more rapid rise to power?” And has any American had a greater influence on the way we live now? From the NY Review of Books: In the Darkness of Dick Cheney.
The Applebee Falls Far from the Tree
“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks. I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. I’m old school. I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.” Before Michael Sam came out to the NFL and the public at large, that was the response he got from his own dad.
+ So far, NFL players haven’t made any negative public comments about Sam. But a couple of players from the Canadian Football League couldn’t resist. Of course, one of them misspelled the word gay.
Coke and Pepsi
“Another defendant, alleged Bonanno crime family associate Charles Centaro — who is known as “Charlie Pepsi — actually wore a blue nylon jacket bearing the Pepsi logo and as well as the name ‘Charlie.'” Michael Daly shares more details from the Mafia’s cocaine-in-a-can bust.
The Pit Stop
Syndicated from Kottke: Watch Ferrari’s F1 pit crew do a pit stop in a bit over two seconds. I wish this were in slow motion because I’ve watched this three times now and I still cannot understand how it’s done. My favorite part is how calm they all are about it.
The Bottom of the News
Slate’s Willa Paskin argues that Amazon has finally made its House of Cards. She’s talking about the excellent pilot episode of a show called Transparent. It’s one of the new shows that Amazon will produce if enough viewers give the it high marks. The show comes from Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara) and it’s awesome. Watch it. Rate it highly. And let’s get a full season.
+ Derek Jeter to retire at the end of the 2014 season. (Plans to have sex full time.)
+ A GoPro falls from a plane and lands in a pig pen.
+ Finally, an app that can make you write like Hemingway.
Welcome to the Anthropocene! It's not only our population and deforestation driving extinction rates up but we'll soon be seeing more and more die-offs due to changing climate patterns resulting from our excessive carbon emissions. This new Anthropocene Epoch we're in may not only end badly for most species it may end badly for us if we don't adjust how we relate to the biosphere. Read more about climate change and the other important environmental issues. Our future generations are worth the effort.