Add 'Antarctica Shattering' To List Of Foreign Policy Challenges
A Connecticut-sized mass of Antarctica recently broke off the western edge of continent and shattered into thousands of free-floating ice chunks. As melting in the Arctic goes, the Wilkins shattering is pretty bad.
What is significant about the Wilkins breakup is that it is the first "cleavage event" at the poles that has been widely attributed to global warming in the scientific community. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that the Wilkins was exposed to some of the highest temperature increases at the poles--nearly one degree Fahrenheit--over the past 50 years.
Senior Research Scientist Ted Scambos said the Wilkins collapse conforms to ocean current and atmospheric models which substantiate global warming in the Western Antarctic. In hindsight, he said, previous cleavages at the poles in recent years can likely be attributed to planetary warming.
With the Wilkins gradually chunking off into the Bellinghausen Sea, polar gawkers should be keeping a close eye on three areas in the Antarctic--Pine Island Bay, the Ross Ice Shelf, and the Fimbul Ice Shelf--for the next significant cleavage events. Like the Wilkins, all have seen significant exposure to warming ocean waters.
None of this is good news, of course. Sea level spikes from global warming are likely to be one of the most siginifcant challenges the world will face in the coming centuries. Watch for a selection of Big Think content in the coming weeks on the changing face of polar regions.
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.