Greenland Glacier Sheds Massive Ice Island
It’s been over four decades since Greenland lost an ice chunk like the one “born” last week. The ice island – four times the size of Manhattan – calved off of northern Greenland’s Petermann glacier on August 5th. At its thickest parts, the ice island is half the height (excuse all the NYC-centric comparisons) of the Empire State building. A loss at that scale hasn’t occurred since 1962. One immediate danger is that the glacial rupture will pave the way for currents to strengthen in the area, leading to increased rupture rates: a vicious cycle.
Andreas Muenchow, a glaciologist at the University of Delaware, studies the Nares Strait, and gained practically real-time access to NASA’s data on the event. He expects the mass to “follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”
If the ocean is a glass of water, that’s one heck of an ice cube to drop in. And the freshwater stored in that ice cube, says Muenchow, “could keep the Delaware or Hudson rivers flowing for more than two years,” or “keep all U.S. public tap water flowing for 120 days.”
Despite the epic proportions of the glacial event, Muenchow warns environmentalists not to jump the gun and point to climate change as a cause, before hard data can support that assertion. “Global warming and climate change are very real and challenging problems,” Meunchow said, “but it is foolish to assign every ‘visible’ event to that catch-all phrase. It cheapens and discredits those findings where global warming is a real and immediate cause for observable phenomena. Details matter, in science as well as in policy.”
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"