Shhh…

‘Residents of Cremona, Italy, are hearing a lot of that lately. The city, the birthplace of the world’s finest string instruments, has thrown itself behind an effort to preserve every note before the instruments are too fragile to play.
That requires absolute silence in the cobblestoned area around the auditorium where the sounds of Stradivarius instruments are being recorded. The streets are shut down, and a dropped glass or even the sound of a woman’s high heels clicking make for an “an auditory nightmare,” said one of the people behind the project. …’

Source: The New York Times

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

Damian Carrington writes:

‘“We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

“It was just astonishing,” Lister said. “Before, both the sticky ground plates and canopy plates would be covered with insects. You’d be there for hours picking them off the plates at night. But now the plates would come down after 12 hours in the tropical forest with a couple of lonely insects trapped or none at all.”

“It was a true collapse of the insect populations in that rainforest,” he said. “We began to realise this is terrible – a very, very disturbing result.”

Earth’s bugs outweigh humans 17 times over and are such a fundamental foundation of the food chain that scientists say a crash in insect numbers risks “ecological Armageddon”. When Lister’s study was published in October, one expert called the findings “hyper-alarming”. …’

Source: The Guardian

Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why

Steven PinkerJeremy Lent in openDemocracy:

’Pinker is… an intellectual darling of the most powerful echelons of global society. He spoke to the world’s elite this year at the World’s Economic Forum in Davos on the perils of what he calls “political correctness,” and has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Since his work offers an intellectual rationale for many in the elite to continue practices that imperil humanity, it needs to be met with a detailed and rigorous response.…’

Via openDemocracy

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why

D41586 019 00007 1 16383826’Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

The problem lies partly with the moving pole and partly with other shifts deep within the planet. Liquid churning in Earth’s core generates most of the magnetic field, which varies over time as the deep flows change. In 2016, for instance, part of the magnetic field temporarily accelerated deep under northern South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Satellites such as the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission tracked the shift.…’

Via Nature

R.I.P. Joseph Jarman, 81

 

12JARMAN OBIT1 superJumbo v2Mainstay of the Art Ensemble of Chicago:

’Joseph Jarman, a saxophonist, flutist, woodwind player and percussionist who helped expand the parameters of performance in avant-garde jazz, especially as a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, died on Wednesday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J. He was 81.

His former wife, the writer and scholar Thulani Davis, said the cause was cardiac arrest as a result of respiratory failure.

Over the last two decades Mr. Jarman was less active in music than in other pursuits, notably his ministrations as a Buddhist priest and aikido instructor. With Ms. Davis, he founded the Brooklyn Buddhist Association in 1990. And his students at the Jikishinkan Aikido Dojo, which he established in Brooklyn, typically did not enroll there because of his jazz career; some may not have known much about it.

But Mr. Jarman was revered for his tenure in the Art Ensemble, from its inception in the late 1960s, through his departure in the early 1990s and again early in this century.
The group was an indomitable presence in experimental music, and a flagship of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a nonprofit cooperative with a focus on new music and African-American artists. It drew inspiration not only from jazz and blues but also from world music, ritual and folklore, all keen interests of Mr. Jarman’s.…’

Via New York Times obituary

Ranking Every Type of Sushi by How Healthy It Is

Ian Lecklitner writes:

‘The upshot here is, I feel like crap, partly because my body is full of plastic, but mostly because my insatiable, kraken-like desire for sushi is ruining the ocean. It’s true: Our collective sushi habits are certainly contributing to the deteriorating health of the oceans. “The United Nations comes out with The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture every two years, and the 2016 version basically shows that we overfished more than one-third of all fisheries — another 55 percent were maxed out, meaning we would be overfishing those, too, if we removed any more fish,” Hunnes explains. “A mere nine percent of fisheries are underfished.”

More than anything, similar to our previous fish ranking, this list should also emphasize the importance of understanding both where and how your seafood is caught (sushi-grade or not), which can dramatically impact the health and sustainability of that meal. To keep track of that kinda stuff, we recommend checking out SeafoodWatch.org. …’

Source: MEL Magazine