Several feet underneath much of Alaska is a layer of soil known as the permafrost, which as the name implies, is permanently frozen throughout the year — or at least it used to be. Over the last fifty years, Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the lower 48 and ground temperatures have been steadily increasing since the 1970s. Some models predict that by mid-century one-third of Alaska’s permafrost will have thawed and that by 2100, two-thirds will be gone.
While homeowners in parts of Alaska groan over cracked driveways and sinking decks, and the state grimaces at the expense of insulating its roads from the thawing ground, many tribal villages are sinking into the messy business of attempting to relocate.
- We now know rogue planets exist, and because of the chaotic way solar systems are thought to form, they could well outnumber stars in our galaxy. The regular planets in our own solar system get weirder everyday.
- Comet ISON has a 50/50 chance of surviving, and a past comet may have lit Egypt on fire millions of years ago.
- Alzheimer's is one of the most brutal, dreaded fates we face collectively and individually. But we are learning about the molecular physiology of the disease, and this new drug is among those that could render the condition treatable in the next few years:
In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all death from prion disease could be prevented. "This finding, I suspect, will be the turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer's disease."
- It's taken almost a year of working out and dieting, but check out the emerging six-pack on my 51 year-old bod. It might look OK, but I just barely escaped a cancer diagnosis this week and I'm not completely out of the woods. Per usual, now I'm being threatened with losing my employer group health insurance. Our healthcare system is insane, inexcusable, and anyone who runs against improving it is immoral at best.