Climate crisis stirs a physical and mental health storm

 Natural disasters, burning fossil-fuel plants and extreme weather not only affect our planet but are taking a severe toll on our mental health. Natural disasters, burning fossil fuel plants and extreme weather not only affect our planet but are taking a severe toll on our mental health – something exacerbated by government inaction, a new study has found. By Onke Ngcuka South Africans were not only experiencing the physical effects of the climate crisis through floods and droughts, but their mental health was also at risk, a new study by the Centre for Environmental Rights shows. Dealing with the effects … Continue reading Climate crisis stirs a physical and mental health storm

The Plan to Stop Every Respiratory Virus at Once

The benefits of ventilation reach far beyond the coronavirus. What if we stop taking colds and flus for granted, too? By Sarah Zhang When London vanquished cholera in the 19th century, it took not a vaccine, or a drug, but a sewage system. The city’s drinking water was intermingling with human waste, spreading bacteria in one deadly outbreak after another. A new comprehensive network of sewers separated the two. London never experienced a major cholera outbreak after 1866. All that was needed was 318 million bricks, 23 million cubic feet of concrete, and a major reengineering of the urban landscape. The … Continue reading The Plan to Stop Every Respiratory Virus at Once

Electric Vehicles Powerless During Hurricanes

by Diana Furchtgott-Roth Contributor It’s 2035, all cars are electric, and the massive Hurricane Iris has hit Louisiana. Much of New Orleans is under water, and emergency workers with their Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks need to rescue families and pets. But Louisiana has lost power, and the trucks are all dead. The Blessey family, which has lived in New Orleans for generations, want to get out of town to stay with relatives. They can’t set off in their Chevy Bolt EV because they won’t be able to recharge it on the way. We are still in 2021—but this … Continue reading Electric Vehicles Powerless During Hurricanes

The Brain’s ‘Prediction Machine’ Anticipates the Future When Listening to Music

Summary: We live our lives in real time, watching events unfold moment by moment. To make better sense of the world, however, our brains automatically predict how some events will unfold moments into the future. New research published in Psychological Science explores the brain’s “prediction machine” capabilities by examining how we experience music. Whether listening to a concerto by Bach or the latest pop tunes on Spotify, the human brain does not wait passively for the song to unfold. Instead, when a musical phrase has an unresolved or uncertain quality about it our brains automatically predict how the melody will end. Past ideas … Continue reading The Brain’s ‘Prediction Machine’ Anticipates the Future When Listening to Music

Could climate change make humans go extinct?

By Patrick Pester  There’s good news and bad news. The impacts of climate change are here with soaring temperatures, stronger hurricanes, intensified floods and a longer and more severe wildfire season. Scientists warn that ignoring climate change will yield “untold suffering” for humanity. But if things are going to get that much worse, could climate change make humans go extinct? Scientists predict a range of devastating scenarios if climate change is not kept under control, but if we just consider the direct impacts, then there’s some good news; it’s unlikely to cause our extinction.  “There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings … Continue reading Could climate change make humans go extinct?

Why it’s healthy to think about your own death

Everyone who’s alive now – you, your friends, your family – one day won’t be. It’s an unavoidable fact, and yet we often go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging it. By Jules Howard According to data from the company Statista, just 11 per cent of us consider death in our daily lives. Most of us are clearly busy with the subject of life, perhaps only considering the subject three or four times a year. We in the West are, in the words of social psychologist Sheldon Solomon, masters of “burying existential anxieties under a mound of French fries”. But that’s understandable, … Continue reading Why it’s healthy to think about your own death

If you knew the future, would you still choose your life?

If you had perfect foreknowledge of the blessings and tragedies that will come in your life, would you make the same choices anyway? by JONNY THOMSON When we decide to act, we either are incredibly bad at thinking through the implications or give very little thought to the future at all. A short story by Ted Chiang, “The Story of Your Life,” asks us to imagine how things would be if we knew what would happen from our choices, especially tragic events. Would we still do them? Immanuel Kant argued that hope is essential to motivating our action. Without the hope that … Continue reading If you knew the future, would you still choose your life?

Why is the Gulf Stream slowing down and what does it mean for the future of the UK’s climate?

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ocean current plays a key role in the climate of the UK, and it’s shifting. By Jason Goodyer What exactly is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)? The simplest idea of it is just these very large-scale ocean currents in the top thousand metres of the Atlantic. That’s kind of a system of currents that transports warm, salty water northwards throughout the Atlantic and then at high latitude, in the subpolar North Atlantic, the water gets cold, becomes dense and it sinks down to below a thousand metres and it flows back southwards. It’s a loop … Continue reading Why is the Gulf Stream slowing down and what does it mean for the future of the UK’s climate?

Why the coronavirus has changed as it has, and what it means going forward

By Andrew Joseph   It’s impossible to say how the coronavirus will continue to evolve. Those changes, after all, are a result of random mutations. But there are some fundamental principles that explain why the virus has morphed as it has, principles that could guide our understanding of its ongoing evolution — and what that means for our future with the pathogen. The great fear is that nature could spit out some new variant that completely saps the power of vaccines and upends the progress we’ve made against the pandemic. But to virologists and immunologists, such a possibility seems very unlikely. That’s not to … Continue reading Why the coronavirus has changed as it has, and what it means going forward

The great climate migration is happening and you might be the next to move

Let’s unpack the migration of the future By Aspen Pflughoeft@AspenPflughoeft   So far this year, wildfires have displaced tens of thousands of people in the U.S., Canada, Greece and Turkey. Monsoons have displaced thousands in the U.S., India and Bangladesh. And massive floods have displaced over a million more in Germany, China and Myanmar.Report ad During just one week this summer, at least 40 countries experienced extreme weather events, reported Down To Earth. Countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania were all affected. The photos and videos from these disasters have looked like horror movies filled with apocalyptic scenes. Right now — through shaky videos shot on the phones of fleeing victims — we’re watching a movie … Continue reading The great climate migration is happening and you might be the next to move