EcoUniv Weekend Reads # 17
7 June 2020
Paleobotany: A 110 million old dinosaur fossil is exceptionally well preserved. And in it’s stomach are fragments of the vegetables and leaves it ate as it’s last meal.
Agriculture: 75% of farmers in India own less than 1 hectare and they sign up for a _negative_ monthly income of Rs. 1500. Read why it does not pay to be a small farmer in India.
Land: Some of the leading universities in USA are “land-grant universities”. i.e. they benefited from the Morrill Act of 1862, which appropriated land to fund agricultural and mechanical colleges. The land originally belonged to native Indian tribes.
पर्यावरणवादाबद्दल: पर्यावरण दिन २०२० च्या निमित्ताने माझी एक नवीन लेखमालिका. यातील पहिला लेख:चार प्रकारचे पर्यावरणवादी
EcoUniv Weekend Reads # 18
13 June 2020
Species: Eeels from rivers in both Europe and North America migrate to a unique place called the Sargasso Sea (within the North Atlantic Ocean) to reproduce, and they do it just once in their lifetime. Read about this migration.
To learn more about the Sargasso Sea, watch this video
Economics: Professor Thomas Piketty’s latest book, Capital and Ideology was published in 2019. Below are slides from a talk he gave at the London School of Economics in February, which capture key ideas from the book.
Resources: Researchers analyzed weather data to assess soil moisture during the period of six major famines in British India. It was found that the Bengal famine of 1943 was ”…completely because of policy failure. Policy lapses such as prioritizing distribution of vital supplies to the military, stopping rice imports and not declaring that it was actually a famine were among the factors that led to the magnitude of the tragedy.“ The Bengal famine claimed 3 million lives. Winston Churchill was Britain’s Prime Minister during this period.
Research paper abstract: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2018GL081477
पर्यावरणवादाबद्दल: या मालिकेतील नवीन लेख – पर्यावरणवादी दृष्टिकोनांचे विश्लेषण
EcoUniv Weekend Reads # 19
21 June 2020
Species: Pythons eat large and infrequent meals. What kind of unique body adaptations do they have to manage such metabolism? Read about the research that has been going on for 25 years to understand this. “….snakes perform a genetic symphony, producing a torrent of new proteins that enable their body to quickly turn into an unrivaled digestion machine.”
Conservation: The Beas Conservation Reserve – a 185-km stretch of the Beas River is probably India’s only Protected Area which is along a river. Gharials were introduced there 2 years ago.
The water quality of the Beas has considerably improved during the lockdown. This has resulted in abundance of prey and Gharials spending more time in the waters.
Sustainable Business: Unilever plans to make all its 70,000 products biodegradable by 2030 and have a ‘deforestation-free’ supply chain by 2023.
But what about the environmental costs ‘externalized’ by all such companies so far?
Research – Evolution: “During animal evolution, the water-to-land transition resulted in a massive increase in visual range. Simulations of behaviour identify a specific type of terrestrial habitat, clustered open and closed areas (savanna-like), where the advantage of planning peaks…..The vertebrate invasion of land may have been an important step in their cognitive evolution.”
A dialog with the authors: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/19/world/landscape-clutter-brain-evolution-scn/index.html
Play the online game developed by the authors to know how savanna is different than other landscapes.
पर्यावरणवादाबद्दल: या मालिकेतील नवीन लेख – व्यक्तिगत पातळीवरील पर्यावरणवाद
EcoUniv Weekend Reads # 20
28 June 2020
Species: New research on butterfly wings shows that they are not passive tissue like toenails or hair, but “hold intricate networks of veins, sensory cells, and often scent pads for releasing and spreading mating pheromones.” Read for an entirely new understanding of those beautiful butterfly wings.
Research – Sapiens: The most ancient evidence of Sapiens using technology like bow and arrows in South Asia is from 48 KYA in the Sri Lankan site of Fa-Hien Lena. This predates evidence from both Europe and Southeast Asia. Bows & arrows are part of humans’ tools that were used in the Late Pleistocene (129 KYA – 11.7 KYA). In addition, symbolic and social technologies like beads were found.
A dialog with the paper’s authors: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/12/world/bow-arrows-sri-lanka-cave-scn/index.html
Climate Change: It feels strange to read the words ‘boiling’ and ‘Siberia’ in the same sentence, doesn’t it? But this May, temperatures in Siberia were 10 degrees above normal – a temperature variation that would happen only once in 100K years, if it was not for climate change.
…and as the permafrost thawed, fuel tank at a power station sunk into the ground, causing 20,000 tonnes of oil to spill. I call this the Fukushima Pattern — catastrophic weather events hitting man-made complex systems in ways we had not imagined before.