Styrofoam will outlive us all. This truth and others — baby ducks born in gobs of gasoline or strawberries that arrive at the grocery store already rotten — are testament to climate change’s effect on our lives. And according to a new paleoclimatology study, Greenland’s massive, melting ice sheet offers yet more evidence of how climate change will continue to alter human lives for centuries to come. We might not live to see exactly how, but the styrofoam certainly will.
You can read that eye-opening story and others in today’s newsletter. I’m Ashley Bardhan — let’s embrace what we still have while we have it.
Paleoclimatology is the study of ancient climates on Earth. Peering into the past can give researchers a better idea of climate change’s future, and “new research on Greenland’s ice sheet shows just how far into the future we can peer,” writes Inverse nature reporter Tara Yarlagadda, “and it isn’t a rosy picture.”
The new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, simulated changes to the 1.63 million kilometers-big Greenland ice sheet, letting it morph from Earth’s last warm, interglacial period 125,000 years ago to the year 2100.
“The research reveals for the first time the extent of the delayed response that could come if the Greenland ice sheet melts due to shifting temperatures,” writes Yarlagadda. We might not live to see the devastating damage that Greenland’s melting ice sheet will inflict, but the next millennium of humanity certainly will.
Hot problems: Four easy steps to make your backyard a bird sanctuary
What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? Sorry, hold that thought. The James Webb Space Telescope has you beat — after almost a month of space travel, the telescope is now in its final orbit at the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point.
“This is a gravitationally stable point where the Sun and Earth’s gravity cancel each other out,” writes Passant Rabie.
“The team behind the mission are waiting for the telescope's instruments to cool down before it begins its observations, but are expecting the first tantalizing JWST image to drop within five months and the machine telescope to be fully operational shortly after.”
“Abundant, free, rapid tests, many experts argue, are vitally important for mitigating what we know is fast becoming an endemic virus — Covid-19,” writes Inverse health reporter Katie MacBride. “But that is easier said than done.”
If you’ve ever stood in a Covid-19 testing line for so long, you could have knitted multiple sweaters in the same amount of time you spent waiting, you know that to be true. It doesn’t help that existing information around Omicron is confusing and that the virus itself is slippery.
So Inverse turned to “William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to answer four key questions about how and when to test for maximum accuracy and safety,” writes MacBride. Schaffer lets readers know if rapid tests detect Omicron, what’s the deal with throat swabs, when you can get an accurate test, and what to do if you’re positive (something even the CDC doesn’t seem sure of).
More essential reading: How deadly is Omicron?
The lake-dwelling hippo is aggressive, territorial, and chatty.
“Hippopotamuses are very vocal animals, although we know little about why they make so much noise,” writes Jennifer Walter. “They often call and respond to each other, like a conversation.”
A new study demonstrates that hippos can recognize familiar voices, even if they’re hearing the voice on a recording. Researchers played three types of calls for their bunch of Mozambique hippos: calls made by hippos within the same group, calls made by neighboring hippos, and hippo strangers.
The hippos’ responses to the guttural honk, which you can hear by clicking through this card story, could help efforts to conserve the species in one important way.
Herbivores have the right idea: One eating hack can boost more than your body
Now that you’re up to date with the latest pandemic news (always a pleasure), I’m happy to report that it’s sea worm time.
“What does a tiny sea worm have in common with a three-headed, electricity spewing dragon?” asks card story editor Bryan Lawver. First, its name. The Ramisyllis kingghidorahi water worm is named after the three-headed Japanese monster King Ghidorah.
Otherwise, Ramisyllis kingghidorahi is the opposite of Godzilla’s fictional rival. Instead of multiple heads on one body, the worm has one head on multiple bodies. It’s small enough to nest in a sea sponge and probably would fail to defend Tokyo from giant lizards using hand-to-hand combat. This is mostly because it doesn’t have hands.
Practice your cowering: New video reveals ‘horrifying and amazing’ tortoise behavior
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- On this day in history: German physician Ernst Heinrich Weber died in 1878. In his lifetime, Weber made valuable contributions to science as a founder of experimental psychology and the psychology of perception.
- Song of the day: “The Psychologist,” by Marie Davidson.