Category: nature

Ants in your pants…and everywhere else


Evolution did the rest: It divided the earth between humans and ants, and in so doing created another fundamental dichotomy. There are billions of humans on earth, and trillions upon trillions of ants - an estimated 1.6 million for every human being. If the earth were a scale, and all the humans were placed on one side and all the ants on the other, it would not budge. Ants have answered the ever-expanding human biomass with an ever-expanding biomass of their own, so that the planet is poised, teetering between its two most successful civilizations - each of which is social, aggressive, expansionist, and well suited for war.

Climategate? What Climategate??

Total exoneration of the scientists at the centre of the “Climategate” email brouhaha by three separate independent inquiries. Not that you’d read about it in the very media that created the firestorm. Appalling.

You might imagine the media would be keen to report on authoritative conclusions about allegations they had found so newsworthy in December. But coverage of each of the reports has been non-existent in many news organisations and in others brief or without prominence. At best, the coverage of the inquiries’ conclusions added up to a 20th of the coverage the original allegations received, which leaves us to ponder the curiosities of a news media that gets so over-excited by dramatic allegations and then remains so incurably uninterested in their resolution. The newspapers that gave greatest play to the allegations tended to give less attention to the findings. The columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned.

The Mount Everest of caves

Terrifying just reading about it:

The first thing you become acutely aware of in a big cave is the darkness. After a while it seems to have a palpable presence. Another thing is that these caves are wet and noisy. There is almost always water flowing alongside the routes, and the water courses can be immense. There are 150-foot waterfalls in Cheve. And Bill Stone has described the noise from one particular waterfall in Huautla as being like standing next to a jetliner, and not being able to get away from it. Finally, supercaves tend to be characterized by vast open spaces. There are chambers in Cheve that could hold fifty diesel locomotives. The immensity of the spaces is counterintuitive.