Thor Hanson on How Animals and Plants are Adapting to a Warming World
We’ve got changes playing out now with astounding rapidity. Biologists can see natural selection occurring over the course of a field season. . . . Studying these adaptations can help us identify the issues that are most important and the species that need the most help. This may not make us worry less, but it can help us worry smarter.December 2023
When I consider that the nobler animals have been exterminated here — the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc., etc. — I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed, and, as it were, emasculated country. . . . To my chagrin I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.
When he held it out, I ran / my fingers over the shredded / cartilage of the nasal cavity / and the sutures that fused together / the cranium, the tip of my finger / gone for a second when I poked it / inside a shadowy orbitMarch 2023
The brain’s genius is its gift for reflection. . . . It takes many forms: our finding similarities among seemingly unrelated things, wadding up worries into tangled balls of obsession difficult to pierce even with the spike of logic, painting elaborate status or romance fantasies in which we star, picturing ourselves elsewhere and elsewhen.November 2022
These were strange and intoxicating expeditions. At the cliff-lined ends of forest-service roads or the edges of muddy cattle tanks, or in the cricket-loud groves where saguaros gave way to oaks, I would help stretch nets on moonless evenings. Bats fluttered into the thin weave and were trapped, toothy and screaming.August 2022
Shanna Swan On The Worldwide Drop In Fertility
Frisch: You found about a 1 percent decline in sperm counts per year.
Swan: Yes, which would mean a 50 percent decline over fifty years. We’re actually seeing something a little steeper than that.August 2022
The emergence of intelligence, I am convinced, tends to unbalance the ecology. In other words, intelligence is the great polluter. It is not until a creature begins to manage its environment that nature is thrown into disorder.
Daniel J. Levitin On Why Memory Isn’t So Black And White
Seeing and hearing are selective. We register what is needed at the moment and unconsciously ignore other input. It may seem that our eyes are like a camera and our ears are like microphones, objectively recording everything, but . . . our senses are not at all like those devices.January 2022
I am not so sure it is “we” who look back. The commemorating imagination seems to come alive on its own. We are not the sole instigators of remembering; memory seems to push itself on us.January 2022
Merlin Sheldrake On The Unseen Life Around Us
Fungi are decentralized. They’re able to coordinate their behavior without anything resembling a brain. They can connect perception and action without having a special place to do so. The coordination somehow takes place everywhere at once, and also nowhere in particular.April 2021