Fiddling-While-Rome-Burns Dept.

Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws: “Freed by warming, waters once locked beneath ice are gnawing at coastal settlements around the Arctic Circle.

…Take the Inuit word for June, qiqsuqqaqtuq. It refers to snow conditions, a strong crust at night. Only those traits now appear in May. Shari Gearheard, a climate researcher from Harvard, recalled the appeal of an Inuit hunter, James Qillaq, for a new word at a recent meeting in Canada.

One sentence stayed in her mind: “June isn’t really June any more.” ” (New York Times )

And: Bird flu has taken another human life. A Thai man is the 67th victim as the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus crawls from Asia to Europe and toward Africa. More ominous yet, an Indonesian cluster of infection in the same family suggest the possibility that the feared mutation allowing human-to-human transmission, the precondition for the pandemic, has occurred. This Reuters piece is a good summary of the current epidemiological status of the viral threat.