At http://phys.org/print258900362.html … a paper in Science is now claiming humans had little effect on the Amazon rainforest before Columbus and the media have got it all out of proportion. This appears to up-end recent archaeology that has shown pretty conclusively large parts of the jungle environment were being farmed by people in the centuries prior to Europeans arriving on the scene. In the new study human encroachment is minimal, it is alleged, and most of the rainforest remained intact. It seems some people have been saying the rainforest was not pristine and this has upset the environmentalists. Actually, it does of course make sense if the majority of the rainforest remained relatively untouched by a few tribes in the interior as the archaeology mainly came from regions close to the Amazon and its tributaries – but the rainforest has a vast geographical spread. This is perhaps stating the obvious – but the point was worth making.
See also http://phys.org/print258900498.html … where a similar theme is ploughed a furrow – this time concentrating on pre-Columbian population levels. They clearly do not like the idea a lot of people might have been living in the precious rainforest before modern population numbers escalated so abruptly. Its one person's guess in opposition to another person's guess – not much to say on that.
At http://phys.org/print258911861.html … the Sun is spitting out from a new region of activity a couple of flares and CMEs – and the Earth is the target (June 13th and 14th). Two days later and we've still got lousy weather. No sign of a shift in the Jet Stream – more rain in the coming week then.
At http://phys.org/print258833602.html … science academies are getting their oar in prior to the Rio bean feast (conspicuous consumption by the true believers doesn't count it would appear). Overpopulation is really getting them in a spin – but how do you sell this to the third world where most of the babies are being produced? Bit tricky – could rebound. Fingers up at Rio?
At http://phys.org/print258894036.html … an interesting blast at the Greens and Watermelons in the Journal of Peasant Studies – now, I like that title, presumably ear-marking the less well off in the world. The accusation is that the eco-system the Greens are supposed to be so intent on saving for posterity is actually been denuded – by Green policies and mumbo-jumbo. Green fixations such as biofuels, carbon off-setting schemes, conservation efforts that displace native people, and eco-tourism for Green fat-cats are forcing people out of their traditional homelands – into shanty towns, or worse. The answer, I am sure, will be more chin-wagging and shuffling of papers around long tables full of suits (both genders), the sort of smoothiness we have become used to in government inspired enquiries (or jobs for the boys) and constant chatter in place of action. Sustainability is the name of the game, a new word in vogue with an over-arching double blade in its meaning. Basically, code for prime A1 nonsense – but the talk the talk will continue and nothing will get done and poor people at Rio will be ignored – you can bet on that.
On a more hopeful note, if you are a mountain lion I suppose, is the news that cougars are repopulating their old haunts (a bit like the spread of otters in the UK). The Journal of Wildlife Management – that last word always puts me off as I have a picture of lots of suited bodies standing round and eating cake with their coffee and not actually doing anything constructive – but that might just be imagination at work. Are they getting off their bottoms or is it just yap? Anyway, the 'people' in 'management' of the 'wildlife' are saying the mountain lion population has increased, in places such as the Black Hill of Dakota (I can remember a song by that name). This all seems to have come about because one of the 'managed' specimens turned up in Connecticut last year having travelled across Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York State, it is alleged. Cougars have been spotted in Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Missouri etc and there are lots and lots of them in Canada – not as many as there were before humans arrived in large numbers, especially as they had guns (in the beginning). Now, they are talking about it – but they will probably wait and see how people react to having a mountain lion prowling around their back yards.
And to end we have at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614131059.htm … the news that this March has been the second warmest winter month 'ever' recorded in the Midwest is making the rounds – but is March a winter month? They almost sound like the BBC. It seems it might all come down to La Nina, the cooling of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. Digging deeper it might also have something to do with the shifting Jet Stream. In the UK we have had cool and wet weather, in the US, and in Poland (for a while) the temperatures have been extraordinary high – but it must be global warming. The Jet Stream over North America is not behaving as it should do, running as it is over NE Canada and casuing rainstorms there but hot warm and drier weather to the south.