Optimism and reasons for optimism, recently spotted in the media:
* The Federalist podcast: Steven Pinker On Science, Progress, And Why Humanity Is Better Than Ever (47 mins).
→ The left-leaning Steven Pinker promotes his new book on optimism, to one of the USA’s most savvy bunch of mainstream intellectual conservatives.
* A new national Centre for Sikh and Punjabi Studies in the UK.
→ A major research centre and “the first of its kind in the UK”.
* France will pump up to $31 million into a fleet of rigid airships for transporting heavy cargo.
→ But possibly not all good news, if sold to deforesters in Indonesia, Brazil, Paraguay. Because the airships were… “designed to collect wood from hard-to-reach areas of forests.”
* Easter Island votes for world’s newest marine reserve covering “286,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean surrounding Easter Island”.
→ But also read the same publication’s recent in-depth “The ups and downs of marine protected areas: Examining the evidence”, which concludes that while overfished animals of course tend to recover in the reserve, the impact on the well-being of local people inevitably varies and has barely been studied. The case for a wider regional recovery of fisheries yield is also not yet supported by research.
* We don’t need climate planners to be our population planners (Marianas Variety, Micronesia newspaper)
→ A positive and optimistic message, getting through to the Micronesia media and people.
* Calm the alarm on Antarctic krill fishery says the respected Lowy Institute.
→ No, China is not sucking up all the krill in the Southern Ocean, leading to starving whales etc.
* 1.5m Penguin ‘Supercolony’ Discovered in Antarctica.
→ This is the poster-child species that was supposed to be ‘doomed’ by greenhouse warming. Looks like they may just have decamped north a bit, to get away from being constantly prodded and filmed by eco-worriers…
* A simple genetic tweak can triple the grain yield of sorghum, a vital everyday food in Africa.
→ This is from proper heavyweight scientists, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, reporting in Nature Communications. They “hope to apply the same strategy to increase grain production in related plants that are vital in the global food supply, such as rice, corn, and wheat.”
* Individual atoms may turn carbon dioxide into an energy.
→ It’s obviously ‘early days’, but it sounds good. It happens via a relatively simple and cheap nickel-graphene nano-mesh, and the new invention is “from the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York”, meaning that they’re proper heavyweight scientists and not some headline-grabbers from Whereizit Uni. “The team is now looking to find ways to scale up, with a view to large-scale production.”
* And lastly, the UK’s venerable Spectator has just launched a new Spectator USA edition and slick website.
→ It’s very positive to see a new heavyweight conservative site for news and commentary.