What We’re Reading

Reading on the Orinoco rather than the AmazonLast week I said that “What We’re Reading” was going to take a break for Black Friday. But have you seen how crowded the stores are? (You could shop on-line, of course, and—ahem—take a moment to benefit NCSE by shopping at AmazonSmile. Unlike these fellows, who are reading on a different South American river: the Orinoco.) Anyhow, NCSE found a lot of interesting articles this week. Here are a few of them. Feel free to share articles that crossed your screen in the comment section, or e-mail us directly during the week with things that caught your eye. We’ll add the best to our weekly posts.

  • Iowa’s Climate-Change Wisdom, The New York Times, November 20, 2015 — In his op-ed column, Jeff Biggers explains, “A new climate narrative is emerging among farmers in the American heartland that transcends a lot of the old story lines of denial and cynicism, and offers an updated tale of climate hope.”
  • Inside the Bizarre Genome of the World’s Toughest Animal, The Atlantic, November 23, 2015 — Everybody loves tardigrades, right? But maybe they should be renamed chimeras. Ed Yong reports on a new study that shows that “foreign genes make up 17.5 percent of the tardigrade’s genome.”
  • Adapting to -70 Degrees in Siberia: A Tale of Yakutian Horses, Science Daily, November 23, 2015 — A new speed record for mammals? It took less than eight hundred years for Yakutian horses to adapt to the frigid conditions of eastern Siberia, according to a forthcoming paper. (Hat tip to The Whole Truth for the link.)
  • Unique Watercolour of Darwin on HMS Beagle Tipped to Fetch Upwards of £50,000 At Auction, The Guardian, November 25, 2015 — “The watercolour … shows fossils and botanical specimens being hauled aboard for examination by Darwin, who commands the centre of the painting in top hat and tails.”
  • For Humanity’s Sake, Get Over Climate Change Denial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 26, 2015 — “Climate change denial is a sickness with many causes,” opines the editorial board of Missouri’s second-largest newspaper. “If the world cannot overcome it and commit to real action, the consequences will be ruinous.”
  • Is This What Tyrannosaurus rex Really Sound[ed] Like? Nerdist, November 27, 2015 — The makers of Saurian, a dinosaur-themed video game in development that “seeks to immerse players in the world of the Hell Creek Formation, 68–66 million years ago,” have been pondering what T. rex sounded like. Brian Switek is impressed.
  • 5 Interactive Ways News Outlets Are Covering Climate Change, journalism.co.uk, November 27, 2015 — It isn’t always easy for journalists to explain the complexities of climate change science and policy to their readers, but interactive features on the web are helpful, explains Mădălina Ciobanu.