updated research shows four of nine planetary boundaries have been crossed. the culprit? a flawed economic system and vast consumption: “It’s clear the economic system is driving us towards an unsustainable future and people of my daughter’s generation will find it increasingly hard to survive. History has shown that civilisations have risen, stuck to their core values and then collapsed because they didn’t change. That’s where we are today.”. so scientists are starting to sound a lot like that new yorker cartoon. see also, if everyone lived like an american how many earths would we need?
“We were trying to see if very young children could figure out cause and effect,”…“What we discovered, to our surprise, was not only were 4-year-olds amazingly good at doing this, but they were actually better at it than grown-ups were,” Gopnik says…Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children, says Gopnik. Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working.” Mind/Shift
new separate but related research indicates exercise epigenetically alters expression of genes involved in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation within muscles and appears to alter to the brain’s metabolism to counter elevated genetic risk for dementia.
“…it does appear as though the virus is evolving in that direction—and more quickly than would be expected naturally, thanks to antiretroviral therapies.” motherboard
“The fungal internet exemplifies one of the great lessons of ecology: seemingly separate organisms are often connected, and may depend on each other. “Ecologists have known for some time that organisms are more interconnected and interdependent,” says Boddy. The wood wide web seems to be a crucial part of how these connections form.” BBC
“In healthy older adults, computer-based brain exercises have limited benefits, and then only when supervised by a trainer once to three times a week.” psmag
“How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t…In this theory, awareness is not an illusion. It’s a caricature. Something — attention — really does exist, and awareness is a distorted accounting of it.” NYT: Are We Really Conscious?
in 1996 or so i saw noted biologist E.O. Wilson give a talk in which he said we would soon see the signs that we are in midst of the next mass extinction and that not many species would make it through. to him the evidence was clear ( and even him admitted ) and a bit of a bummer. now almost 20 years later, new research published in science confirms we are in earth’s sixth mass extinction and “…more broadly, it suggests that if we are unable to end or reverse the rate of their loss, it will mean more for our own future than a broken heart or an empty forest.” understated to say the least. [ via dangerousmeta ]
neonicotinoid the class of the insecticides linked with colony collapse disorder through a growing body of research including a smoking gun molecular mechanism are now being investigated by the european food safety authority which suspects “two neonicotinoid insecticides – acetamiprid and imidacloprid – may affect the developing human nervous system…” how common are they? the USDA “…has detected imidacloprid on roughly 22 percent of the conventionally grown produce samples it tested.” 60% of broccoli! the president of the ottawa river institute has written a great article on how neonicotinoid are used and other adverse effects. maybe a good time to go re-read the excellent UN report recommending that we “Wake Up Before it is Too Late” and transform global agriculture with less dependence on fertilizer and other inputs and by supporting small-scale farmers and strong local food systems. ( relatedly, new research shows nitrates from fertilizer overuse slowly leach into groundwater for at least 5 decades which is much longer than previously assumed ).
reinforcing research which concluded we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence and dogs are as conscious as human children, australian professors echo the theory of multiple intelligences and report that humans are not smarter than animals, just different. indeed new reptilian research suggests that “… “intelligence” may be more widely distributed through the animal kingdom than had been imagined…” and even the lowly insects can can learn to recognize human faces.