Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

via Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian


Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76 – BBC News

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

via Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76 – BBC News

Whenever I was in Cambridge I always hoped to catch a glimpse of him around, now – assuming time is linear – I’m sad that won’t happen.

A remarkable human. Stephen Hawking RIP.

Wikipedia Timeline of the Far Future

Wikipedia’s prediction of far-future events really makes me wish I could stick around to see the red supergiant star Antares go supernova in 10,000 years. “The explosion is expected to be easily visible in daylight.” I’m happy I’ll miss the 1km asteroid that’s likely to hit Earth in the next 500,000 years. Looking farther out, the moon Phobos will collide Mars in 50 million years. Anything alive 2.8 billion years from now will need good air conditions because “Earth’s surface temperature, even at the poles,” will be 300 °F.

via Wikipedia’s mindblowing timeline of the far future / Boing Boing

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Papua New Guinea Tribe meet white man for the first time ever.

Incredible seeing the initial the mistrust being bridged but I can’t help but feel their lives are irreversibly changed, possibly for the worse. Wikipedia has a great page on un-contacted peoples, there are more than you would imagine and I hope they get to stay that way.

UPDATE: Wired.com are reporting Brazil has released news of another undiscovered tribe.