“Snow leopard threatened by global warming”. OK… so what?

Melting ice in a warming world threatens to further shrink the habitat of the snow leopard, adding to illegal hunting woes that are pushing the iconic big cat to extinction, says a new study.

As few as 4000 of the mysterious animals could be left in their sole habitat in the high mountains of central Asia, the Swiss-based World Wildlife Fund said in its report.

Unless climate change is checked, more than a third of the habitat could vanish, with warmer temperatures pushing the tree line higher and farmers moving further up the mountains to plant crops and graze livestock, it added.

“Urgent action is needed to curb climate change and prevent further degradation of snow leopard habitat, otherwise the ‘ghost of the mountains’ could vanish,” said Rishi Kumar Sharma, head of the fund’s global snow leopard conservation initiative.

Sami Tornikoski, head of a separate project by the fund to protect the natural diversity of the Himalayas, which features some of the world’s highest snowbound peaks, stressed climate change was only one of the problems.

Worsening habitat loss and degradation, poaching and conflict with communities saw a fifth of the snow leopard population vanish in the past 16 years, the fund said.

Unchecked, climate change will exacerbate these threats and could push the species over the edge, according to the study. Read more »

Embrace our feminine side? Lemme think about that for just a second


Apparently us proper blokes need to get in touch with our feminine side, or we will face extinction.

“This is a man’s world,” sang James Brown, summing up the opinion of chaps the world over.

How bitterly ironic for us then, that, according to a recent piece of research, the significant evolution of humankind was apparently due to the ‘feminisation’ of early man.

For all those men who ever said women needed to play a man’s game to get anywhere in this world, it’s time to eat their badly chosen words.

But c’mon, fellas, is this news really much of a surprise?

The study, published in Current Anthropology and which curates theopinions of several academics at US universities, argues that the relatively rapid development of Homo sapiens over a period a few thousand years – which included crafting the first hunting tools and the earliest cave paintings – was attributable to changes in the male body, making them more ‘feminine’.

Read more »

Pope: Evolution is real and God is no wizard

Good God.

Delivering an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis continued his habit of making provocative, seemingly progressive statements. The pontiff appeared to endorse the theory of the Big Bang and told the gathering at the Vatican that there was no contradiction between believing in God as well as the prevailing scientific theories regarding the expansion of our universe.

“When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said. “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”

The pope avoids gesturing at the thorny issue (at least for some Christians) of whether humans descended from apes. Atheists argue, moreover, that understanding the Big Bang and what emerged from that cosmic moment obviates a need to believe in a deity. On that count, Francis obviously disagrees. He repeated the idea of God not being a “magician,” an entity that conjured all into being.

“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” Francis said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

It seems the Catholic Church is finally joining the 21st century.  (Can Labour catch up?)   Read more »

Hard proof intelligent design isn’t

CAUTION:  A giraffe is being dissected in this video.

Wednesday nightCap

Thursday nightCap

Thursday nightCap

Some people were onto the official answer, although I enjoyed a lot of the lateral thinking that was on show as well.  The official answer to the brain teaser this morning is   Read more »

Friday nightCap

The evolution of the human face


H/T  Kottke

Mental Health Break