Your weekend reader for Aug. 14-15

by | Aug 14, 2021 | Miscellaneous | 1 comment

Climate change, wildfires, the delta variant: For me, it was a grumpy week — and I can’t blame you if you felt the same way. There’s little doubt that my mood affected this week’s selections, but if you’re looking for lighter fare, check out The Atlantic story on millennials and dogs (the link is near the bottom of this post). And be sure to click on the very last link, which will take you to a recent “Pearls Before Swine” strip that seemed to sum up the week.

But let’s start this week with climate change: If you’re looking for a reader-friendly explanation of this past week’s new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer has you covered. Meyer, the climate reporter for The Atlantic, produces a weekly newsletter, “The Weekly Planet,” and focused this week on the IPCC’s report. If you like what you see here, consider subscribing to the newsletter: Meyer covers his beat in illuminating and unexpected (and sometimes even hopeful) ways.

Here’s a good story from NPR about the Forest Service’s switch in wildfire-fighting strategy this summer: The agency’s chief announced in a letter that it would focus on aggressively putting out all fires. Considering the scale of this wildfire season, the decision makes sense in some ways, but it temporarily shelves the use of so-called “good fire” — controlled burns that can help prevent the high-intensity wildfires we’ve seen in recent years. And it harkens back to the Forest Service’s old 10 a.m. policy, which called for fires to be extinguished by 10 a.m. the day after they were reported — a policy which played a role in fueling the current fire mess.

While the Pacific Northwest recovers from the most recent siege of 100-degree-plus days, The New York Times took a hard look at data from the late June “heat bomb.” The paper’s analysis strongly suggests that death toll from the unprecedented heat wave may be much larger than official estimates from Oregon and Washington say. And remember: Experts say that a heat wave like the one we saw in June would have been virtually impossible without climate change.

One final piece to consider about the IPCC report: High Country News has an interview with Amy Snover of the University of Washington, who talks about the implications for the Pacific Northwest.

About the coronavirus: Here’s The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, explaining why only schmucks choose not to wear masks. Say what you will about the former governor of California, but this likely will be the only essay you read this week that quotes both John Adams and the movie “Team America” — in the same paragraph.

I don’t watch “Jeopardy!,” but I suspect many of you do — and if you do, you’ll want to read this New York Times piece about how the search for Alex Trebek’s successor got messy. The one sure thing you’ll come away with after reading the story: Ken Jennings is all class.

Here’s that essay about why millennials are obsessed with dogs, by The Atlantic’s Amanda Mull: It’s sweet, and it swerves into some unexpected and worthwhile avenues.

And here’s Wednesday’s installment of “Pearls Before Swine,” for my money the best newspaper comic strip around these days. It summed up how I felt about the week.

Maybe next week will be better.

1 Comment

  1. Jack C.

    The NYTimes had a good explainer in its “The Daily” podcast a couple of days ago that made it clear that the IPCC was saying we are on the precipice. “All of the above” is what I think should be the effort to mitigate climate change – a “Manhattan Project” for the Earth. Certainly encourage all alternative energy types, but also drive to remove C02 from the air – part of the point of the recent IPCC report is that 1.5C of more warming is baked into the atmosphere over the next several decades, and we’re already seeing climate change tearing apart the weather all around the globe. Part of the all of the above should be small nukes (like NuScale) powering “direct air capture” (DAC) plants. More about DAC:


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