by Tom Bosschaert

Sept. 22, 2015

Tom Bosschaert

We have over 3 trillion trees on Earth, Exxon ignored global warming warnings, and apparently moss watching is very relaxing. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Three trillion trees

  • A Yale-led study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46% since the start of human civilization, the study estimates.

  • A lot of news on climate change:

    • What kind of world will emerge from a climate change stricken planet?

    • Two new studies are adding to concerns about the possibility that global warming could slow or shut down the Atlantic’s great ocean circulation systems, with dramatic implications for North America and Europe. The possible effects range from plunging temperatures in northern latitudes to centuries-long droughts in Southeast Asia.

    • Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011.

    • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that August, this past summer and the first eight months of 2015 all smashed global records for heat.

Energy & Environment: Exxon ignored global warming

  • Investigation finds that Exxon ignored its own early climate change warnings. As early as 1977 Exxon researchers warned company executives that carbon dioxide was increasing in the atmosphere and that the burning of fossil fuels was to blame.

  • Beautiful Earth:

    • Earth View is a collection of the most beautiful and striking landscapes found in Google Earth.

    • Amazing images of the Galápagos islands, Darwin's living laboratory.

Business & Economy: 6-hour working day

  • Sweden experiments with the six-hour working day at a Gothenburg care home. The trial is viewed as a success, even if, with an extra 14 members of staff hired to cope with the shorter hours and new shift patterns, it is costing the council money. Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, head of elderly care at the home, says staff wellbeing is better and the standard of care is even higher.

  • Edelman, the World’s biggest PR firm, ends its work with coal producers and climate change deniers. They say high risk clients threaten their reputation, following criticism for its work on behalf of fossil fuel companies.

Science, Technology & Design: Tiny invisibility cloak created

  • US scientists make a tiny invisibility cloak. "The surface of the skin cloak was meta-engineered to reroute reflected light waves so that the object was rendered invisible to optical detection when the cloak is activated," said scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

  • Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO), a new open access journal, is formally announced. The new journal represents a paradigm shift in academic publishing: RIO will publish research from all stages of the research cycle, across a broad suite of disciplines, from humanities to science.

  • Scientists in the US have found a way to take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and make carbon nanofibres, a valuable manufacturing material.

  • Open Bionics has performed a world-first by fitting a person born without a hand with a 3D scanned and 3D printed, custom-fitted prosthetic socket, and robotic hand. And, it is much cheaper than its conventional counterparts.

Urban Environment: Shutting down social sciences

  • Many social sciences and humanities faculties in Japan are to close after universities were ordered to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs”.

  • Mozambique has removed its last known landmine after two decades of work to get rid of the explosives.

  • Outdoor air pollution contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people in China every year, or about 4,400 people a day, according to a newly released scientific paper.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Happy birthday George!

  • Dutch artists celebrate George Orwell’s birthday by putting party hats on surveillance cameras.

  • French court awards woman disability grant for 'allergy to gadgets'.

  • Moss-viewing trips might be the next new big thing. For Sugiyama, moss viewing offers a respite from the stress of everyday life. “Seeing clusters of mosses living together, I can forget about our competitive society,” she said.

If you come across news items suited for the Wormfood, or a theme you would like to see a newsletter being dedicated to, please let me know and we'll do our best to make some magic happen.

Sept. 22, 2015