What the Earth Would Look Like If We Drained the Water from the Oceans

For­mer­ly a NASA Fel­low at the God­dard Space Flight Cen­ter, Dr James O’Donoghue now works as a plan­e­tary sci­en­tist at the Japan­ese space agency JAXA. He also hosts a video chan­nel on YouTube. Above, you can watch his high-res remake of a NASA ani­ma­tion pro­duced back in 2008. Here’s how NASA framed the orig­i­nal clip:

Three fifths of the Earth­’s sur­face is under the ocean, and the ocean floor is as rich in detail as the land sur­face with which we are famil­iar. This ani­ma­tion sim­u­lates a drop in sea lev­el that grad­u­al­ly reveals this detail. As the sea lev­el drops, the con­ti­nen­tal shelves appear imme­di­ate­ly. They are most­ly vis­i­ble by a depth of 140 meters, except for the Arc­tic and Antarc­tic regions, where the shelves are deep­er. The mid-ocean ridges start to appear at a depth of 2000 to 3000 meters. By 6000 meters, most of the ocean is drained except for the deep ocean trench­es, the deep­est of which is the Mar­i­anas Trench at a depth of 10,911 meters.

In 51 sec­onds, watch and see where the great drain­ing ends…

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Rad­i­cal Map Puts the Oceans–Not Land–at the Cen­ter of Plan­et Earth (1942)

A Map Shows What Hap­pens When Our World Gets Four Degrees Warmer: The Col­orado Riv­er Dries Up, Antarc­ti­ca Urban­izes, Poly­ne­sia Van­ish­es

Per­pet­u­al Ocean: A Van Gogh-Like Visu­al­iza­tion of our Ocean Cur­rents

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The Prado Museum Digitally Alters Four Masterpieces to Strikingly Illustrate the Impact of Climate Change

Accord­ing to the Unit­ed Nations’ Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Pan­el on Cli­mate Change, glob­al warm­ing is like­ly to reach 1.5°C above pre-indus­tri­al lev­els between 2030 and 2052 should it con­tin­ue to increase at its cur­rent rate.

What does this mean, exact­ly?

A cat­a­stroph­ic series of chain reac­tions, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to:

–Sea lev­el rise
–Change in land and ocean ecosys­tems
–Increased inten­si­ty and fre­quen­cy of weath­er extremes
–Tem­per­a­ture extremes on land
–Drought due to pre­cip­i­ta­tion deficits
–Species loss and extinc­tion

Look to the IPCC’s 2018 Spe­cial Report: Glob­al Warm­ing of 1.5°C for more specifics, or have a gan­der at these dig­i­tal updates of mas­ter­pieces in Madrid’s Museo del Pra­do’s col­lec­tions.

The muse­um col­lab­o­rat­ed with the World Wildlife Fund, choos­ing four paint­ings to be altered in time for the recent­ly wrapped Madrid Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence.

Artist Julio Fala­gan brings extreme drought to bear on El Paso de la Lagu­na Esti­gia (Charon Cross­ing the Styx) by Joachim Patinir, 1520 — 1524

Mar­ta Zafra rais­es the sea lev­el on Felipe IV a Cabal­lo (Philip the IV on Horse­back) by Velázquez, cir­ca 1635.

The Para­sol that sup­plies the title for Fran­cis­co de Goya’s El Quitasol of 1777 becomes a tat­tered umbrel­la bare­ly shel­ter­ing mis­er­able, crowd­ed refugees in the sod­den, makeshift camp of Pedro Veloso’s reimag­in­ing.

And the Niños en la Playa cap­tured relax­ing on the beach in 1909 by Joaquín Sorol­la now com­pete for space with dead fish, as observed by artist Con­spir­a­cy 110 years fur­ther along.

None of the orig­i­nal works are cur­rent­ly on dis­play.

It would be a pub­lic ser­vice if they were, along­side their dras­ti­cal­ly retouched twins and per­haps Hierony­mus Bosch’s The Gar­den of Earth­ly Delights, to fur­ther unnerve view­ers about the sort of hell we’ll soon be fac­ing if we, too, don’t make some major alter­ations.

For now the works in the +1.5ºC Lo Cam­bia Todo (+1.5ºC Changes Every­thing) project are mak­ing an impact on giant bill­boards in Madrid, as well as online.

#LoCam­bi­aTo­do

via Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Glob­al Warm­ing: A Free Course from UChica­go Explains Cli­mate Change

Cli­mate Change Gets Strik­ing­ly Visu­al­ized by a Scot­tish Art Instal­la­tion

A Cen­tu­ry of Glob­al Warm­ing Visu­al­ized in a 35 Sec­ond Video

Per­pet­u­al Ocean: A Van Gogh-Like Visu­al­iza­tion of our Ocean Cur­rents

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 6 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domaincel­e­brates Cape-Cod­di­ties by Roger Liv­ingston Scaife (1920). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Behold the New York City Street Tree Map: An Interactive Map That Catalogues the 700,000 Trees Shading the Streets of New York City

It may sound odd, but one of the things I miss most about liv­ing in New York City is the abil­i­ty to hop on a bus or train, or walk a few blocks from home, and end up loung­ing in a for­est, the cacoph­o­ny of traf­fic reduced to a dim hum, squir­rels bound­ing around, birds twit­ter­ing away above. Such urban respites are plen­ti­ful in NYC thanks to its 10,542 acres of forest­ed land, “about half as much as the Con­ga­ree Swamp in South Car­oli­na,” notes James Bar­ron at The New York Times, in one of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed urban areas in the coun­try.

“Most of the city’s for­est is deep in parks”—in Cen­tral Park, of course, and also Prospect Park and River­side, and dozens of small­er oases, and the lush Botan­i­cal Gar­dens in the Bronx. The city’s forests are sub­ject to the usu­al pres­sures oth­er wood­ed areas face: cli­mate change, inva­sive species, etc.

They are also depen­dent on a well-fund­ed Parks Depart­ment and non­prof­its like the Nat­ur­al Areas Con­ser­van­cy for the preser­va­tion and upkeep not only of the large parks but of the trees that shade city streets in all five bor­oughs.

Luck­i­ly, the city and non­prof­it groups have been work­ing togeth­er to plan for what the conservancy’s senior ecol­o­gist, Helen For­gione, calls “future forests,” using big data to map out the best paths for urban wood­land. The NYC Parks depart­ment has been busy com­pil­ing fig­ures, and you can find all of their tree stats at the New York City Street Tree Map, which “brings New York City’s urban for­est to your fin­ger­tips. For the first time,” the Parks depart­ment writes, “you have access to infor­ma­tion about every street tree in New York City.”

Large forest­ed parks on the inter­ac­tive map appear as flat green fields—the depart­ment has not count­ed each indi­vid­ual tree in Cen­tral Park. But the map gives us fine, gran­u­lar detail when it comes to street trees, allow­ing users to zoom in to every inter­sec­tion and click on col­ored dots that rep­re­sent each tree, for exam­ple lin­ing Avenue D in the East Vil­lage or Flat­bush Avenue in Brook­lyn. You can search spe­cif­ic loca­tions or comb through city­wide sta­tis­tics for the big pic­ture. At the time of this writ­ing, the project has mapped 694,249 trees, much of that work under­tak­en by vol­un­teers in the TreesCount! 2015 ini­tia­tive.

There are many more trees yet to map, and the department’s forestry team updates the site dai­ly. Out of 234 species iden­ti­fied, the most com­mon is the Lon­don Plan­e­tree, rep­re­sent­ing 12% of the trees on the map. Oth­er pop­u­lar species include the Lit­tle­leaf Lin­den, Nor­way Maple, Pin Oak, and Ginko. Some oth­er stats show the eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of urban trees, includ­ing the amount of ener­gy con­served (667,590,884 kWh, or $84,279,933.06) and amount of car­bon diox­ide reduced (612,100 tons).

Vis­it the New York City Street Tree Map for the full, vir­tu­al tour of the city’s trees, and marvel—if you haven’t expe­ri­enced the city’s vibrant tree life firsthand—at just how green the empire city’s streets real­ly are.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

New York Pub­lic Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Down­load and Use

New York City: A Social His­to­ry (A Free Online Course from N.Y.U.) 

The Secret Lan­guage of Trees: A Charm­ing Ani­mat­ed Les­son Explains How Trees Share Infor­ma­tion with Each Oth­er

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Chill Out to 70 Hours of Oceanscape Nature Videos Filmed by BBC Earth

Those who har­bor a deep-seat­ed fear of the water may want to look for oth­er meth­ods of stress relief than BBC Earth’s relax­ing 10-hour video loops, but every­one else is encour­aged to take a dip in these stun­ning nat­ur­al worlds, pre­sent­ed with­out com­men­tary or back­ground music.

All sev­en 10-hour playlists are salt-water based: coral reefscoast­linesdeep oceanopen ocean, frozen seasocean sur­faces, and sea forests.

As in most com­pelling nature doc­u­men­taries, non-human crea­tures loom large, but unlike such BBC Earth offer­ings as Creepi­est Insect Moments or Ants Attack Ter­mite Mounds, there’s a benign, live-and-let-live vibe to the pro­ceed­ings.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the pho­tog­ra­phy is breath­tak­ing, and the uses of these marathon-length por­traits are man­i­fold: med­i­ta­tion tool, sleep aid, child soother, social media decom­pres­sor, trav­el­ogue, and—less calmingly—call to action.

Sci­ence tells us that many of these life forms, and the ocean in which they dwell, are in seri­ous dan­ger, thanks to decades of human dis­re­gard for the envi­ron­ment. This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to immerse our­selves in what we stand to lose while it’s still pos­si­ble to do some­thing about it.

If that thought seems too depress­ing, there’s also strong sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that nature doc­u­men­taries such as these pro­mote increased feel­ings of well­be­ing

What are you wait­ing for?

Click here to trav­el the oceans with polar bears, jel­ly­fish, dol­phins, sea­hors­es, bright­ly col­ored trop­i­cal fish and oth­er crea­tures of the deep, com­pli­ments of BBC’s Earth’s Ocean­scapes playlists.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch­ing Nature Doc­u­men­taries Can Pro­duce “Real Hap­pi­ness,” Finds a Study from the BBC and UC-Berke­ley

Bob Odenkirk & Errol Mor­ris Cre­ate Comedic Shorts to Help You Take Action Against Glob­al Warm­ing: Watch Them Online

Do Octopi Dream? An Aston­ish­ing Nature Doc­u­men­tary Sug­gests They Do

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Novem­ber 4 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates Louise Jor­dan Miln’s “Woo­ings and Wed­dings in Many Climes (1900). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Watching Nature Documentaries Can Produce “Real Happiness,” Finds a Study from the BBC and UC-Berkeley

Hol­ly­wood sci­ence fic­tion films imag­ine future humans in worlds that are no longer green, or nev­er were—from Soy­lent Green’s dying Earth to that of Inter­stel­lar. And from Soy­lent Green to Ad Astra, humans in the future expe­ri­ence plant and ani­mal life as sim­u­la­tions on a screen, in hyper­re­al pho­tog­ra­phy and video meant to paci­fy and com­fort. Maybe we live in that world already, to some extent, with apoc­a­lyp­tic films and sci­ence fic­tion express­ing a col­lec­tive mourn­ing for the extinc­tions brought on by cli­mate change.

“Over the course of my lifetime—I’m 46,” writes Wash­ing­ton Post art crit­ic Sebas­t­ian Smee, “the plan­et has lost more than half of its wildlife pop­u­la­tions, accord­ing to the World Wildlife Fund.” Sure­ly this brute fact explains the immense pop­u­lar­i­ty of high pro­duc­tion-val­ue nature doc­u­men­taries, the anti­dote to apoc­a­lyp­tic futur­ism. They have become “block­buster events,” argues Ed Yong at The Atlantic, with fan­doms as fierce as any.

Viewed “from the per­spec­tive of the future,” writes Smee, nature doc­u­men­taries “are great art. Maybe the great­est of our time.” But can view­ing film and pho­tographs of nature pro­duce in us the feel­ings of awe and won­der that poets, artists, and philoso­phers have described feel­ing in actu­al nature for cen­turies? BBC Earth, pro­duc­er of sev­er­al major block­buster nature doc­u­men­tary series, under­took some psy­cho­log­i­cal research to find out, part­ner­ing with researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

The team exam­ined the effects of watch­ing the BBC’s Plan­et Earth II doc­u­men­tary series rel­a­tive to oth­er kinds of pro­grams. “It is a deep human intu­ition that view­ing nature and being in nature is good for the mind and body,” they write in the study, titled “Explor­ing the Emo­tion­al State of ‘Real Hap­pi­ness.’” (Socio­bi­ol­o­gist E.O. Wil­son coined the term “bio­phil­ia” to describe the evolved pref­er­ence for nat­ur­al beau­ty.) Does screen­time equal phys­i­cal time spent out­doors? Not exact­ly, but nature doc­u­men­taries can low­er stress lev­els and, yes, pro­duce feel­ings of “real hap­pi­ness.”

There have been sev­er­al pre­vi­ous such stud­ies. The authors cite one in which a few min­utes of the orig­i­nal series Plan­et Earth “led peo­ple, com­pared to con­trol par­tic­i­pants, to feel 45.6% more awe and 31.4% more grat­i­tude, but no shifts in feel­ings of neg­a­tive emo­tions such as fear and sad­ness.” The Plan­et Earth II study may be the largest of its kind, with almost 3,500 par­tic­i­pants in the U.S., around a thou­sand in the U.K., India, and Aus­tralia, each, and around 500 in both South Africa and Sin­ga­pore for a total of approx­i­mate­ly 7,500 view­ers.

Par­tic­i­pants across a range of age groups, from 16 to 55 and over, were shown short clips of a vari­ety of TV pro­grams, includ­ing clips from Plan­et Earth II. They were sur­veyed on an array of emo­tion­al respons­es before and after each view­ing. The study also mea­sured stress lev­els using the Per­ceived Stress Scale (PSS), and used a facial map­ping tech­nol­o­gy called CrowdE­mo­tion to track phys­i­cal respons­es. The researchers aggre­gat­ed the data and con­trolled for pop­u­la­tion size in each coun­try.

The find­ings are fas­ci­nat­ing. Across the scale, Plan­et Earth II clips gen­er­at­ed more feel­ings of hap­pi­ness and awe, with clips from news and enter­tain­ment shows caus­ing more fear. In most of the study’s mea­sures, these good feel­ings peaked high­est at the low­er demo­graph­ic age range of 16–24. Younger view­ers showed greater pos­i­tive emo­tion­al respons­es in facial map­ping and sur­vey data, a fact con­sis­tent with BBC rat­ings data show­ing that 16–34 year-olds make up around 41% of the audi­ence share for Plan­et Earth II.

“This younger group,” note the authors, “was more like­ly to expe­ri­ence sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive shifts in emo­tion.” They also start­ed out, before view­ing the clips, with sig­nif­i­cant­ly more envi­ron­men­tal anx­i­ety, scor­ing high­ly on the stress scale. 71% described them­selves as “extreme­ly wor­ried about the state of the world’s envi­ron­ment and what it will mean for my future.” A small­er per­cent­age showed the low­est lev­el of agree­ment with the state­ment “I reg­u­lar­ly get out­side and enjoy spend­ing time with nature.”

For near­ly all of the study’s view­ers, nature doc­u­men­taries seemed to pro­duce at least fleet­ing feel­ings of “real hap­pi­ness.” For many, they may also be a way of coun­ter­ing fears of the future, and com­pen­sat­ing in advance for a loss of the nat­ur­al beau­ty that remains. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the study did not mea­sure the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants who viewed Plan­et Earth II and oth­er “block­buster” nature doc­u­men­taries as a call to action against envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion. Maybe that’s a sub­ject for anoth­er study. Read the full Plan­et Earth II study results here. And if you’re feel­ing stressed, watch thir­ty min­utes of “Visu­al Sound­scapes,” pre­sent­ed by Plan­et Earth II, above.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the Japan­ese Prac­tice of “For­est Bathing”—Or Just Hang­ing Out in the Woods—Can Low­er Stress Lev­els and Fight Dis­ease

Becom­ing: A Short Time­lapse Film Shows a Sin­gle Cell Mor­ph­ing Into a Com­plete, Com­plex Liv­ing Organ­ism

Do Octopi Dream? An Aston­ish­ing Nature Doc­u­men­tary Sug­gests They Do

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

Treasures in the Trash: A Secret Museum Inside a New York City Department of Sanitation Garage

Like many New York­ers, retired san­i­ta­tion work­er Nel­son Moli­na has a keen inter­est in his fel­low cit­i­zens’ dis­cards.

But where­as oth­ers risk bed­bugs for the occa­sion­al curb­side score or dump­ster dive as an envi­ro-polit­i­cal act, Molina’s inter­est is couched in the cura­to­r­i­al.

The bulk of his col­lec­tion was amassed between 1981 and 2015, while he was on active duty in Carnegie Hill and East Harlem, col­lect­ing garbage in an area bor­dered by 96th Street, Fifth Avenue, 106th Street, and First Avenue.

At the end of every shift, he stashed the day’s finds at the garage. With the sup­port of his cowork­ers and high­er ups, his hob­by crept beyond the con­fines of his per­son­al area, fill­ing the lock­er room, and even­tu­al­ly expand­ing across the mas­sive sec­ond floor of Man­hat­tan East San­i­ta­tion Garage Num­ber 11, at which point it was declared an unof­fi­cial muse­um with the uncon­ven­tion­al name of Trea­sures in the Trash.

Because the muse­um is sit­u­at­ed inside a work­ing garage, vis­i­tors can only access the col­lec­tion dur­ing infre­quent, spe­cial­ly arranged tours. Hunter College’s East Harlem gallery and the City Reli­quary have host­ed trav­el­ing exhibits.

The Foun­da­tion for New York’s Strongest (a nick­name orig­i­nal­ly con­ferred on the Depart­ment of San­i­ta­tion’s foot­ball team) is rais­ing funds for an off­site muse­um to show­case Molina’s 45,000+ trea­sures, along with exhibits ded­i­cat­ed to “DSNY’s rich his­to­ry.”

Molina’s for­mer cowork­ers mar­vel at his unerr­ing instinct for know­ing when an undis­tin­guished-look­ing bag of refuse con­tains an object worth sav­ing, from auto­graphed base­balls and books to keep­sakes of a deeply per­son­al nature, like pho­to albums, engraved watch­es, and wed­ding sam­plers.

There’s also a fair amount of seem­ing­ly dis­pos­able junk—obsolete con­sumer tech­nol­o­gy, fast food toys, and “col­lectibles” that in ret­ro­spect were mere fad. Moli­na dis­plays them en masse, their sheer num­bers becom­ing a source of won­der. That’s a lot of Pez dis­pensersTam­agotchis, and plas­tic Furbees that could be clut­ter­ing up a land­fill (or Ebay).

Some of the items Moli­na sin­gles out for show and tell in Nico­las Heller’s doc­u­men­tary short, at the top, seem like they could have con­sid­er­able resell val­ue. One man’s trash, you know…

But city san­i­ta­tion work­ers are pro­hib­it­ed from tak­ing their finds home, which may explain why Depart­ment of San­i­ta­tion employ­ees (and Molina’s wife) have embraced the muse­um so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly.

Even though Moli­na retired after rais­ing his six kids, he con­tin­ues to pre­side over the muse­um, review­ing trea­sures that oth­er san­i­ta­tion work­ers have sal­vaged for his approval, and decid­ing which mer­it inclu­sion in the col­lec­tion.

Preser­va­tion is in his blood, hav­ing been raised to repair rather than dis­card, a prac­tice he used to put into play at Christ­mas, when he would present his sib­lings with toys he’d res­cued and res­ur­rect­ed.

This thrifty ethos accounts for a large part of the plea­sure he takes in his col­lec­tion.

As to why or how his more sen­ti­men­tal or his­tor­i­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant arti­facts wound up bagged for curb­side pick­up, he leaves the spec­u­la­tion to vis­i­tors of a more nar­ra­tive bent.

Sign up for updates or make a dona­tion to the Foun­da­tion for New York’s Strongest’s cam­paign to rehouse the col­lec­tion in an open-to-the-pub­lic space here.

To inquire about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of upcom­ing tours, email the NYC Depart­ment of San­i­ta­tion at tours@dsny.nyc.gov.

Pho­tos of Trea­sures in the Trash by Ayun Hal­l­i­day, © 2018

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The First Muse­um Ded­i­cat­ed Exclu­sive­ly to Poster Art Opens Its Doors in the U.S.: Enter the Poster House

The Muse­um of Fail­ure: A Liv­ing Shrine to New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Google Glass & Oth­er Epic Cor­po­rate Fails

The Dis­gust­ing Food Muse­um Curates 80 of the World’s Most Repul­sive Dish­es: Mag­got-Infest­ed Cheese, Putrid Shark & More

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Although she lives and works inside Nel­son Molina’s for­mer pick up zone, she has yet to see any of her dis­cards on dis­play. Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Octo­ber 7 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates the art of Aubrey Beard­s­ley. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Bob Odenkirk & Errol Morris Create Comedic Shorts to Help You Take Action Against Global Warming: Watch Them Online

My beach house must be some­where around here. I used to be able to see the ocean from it. I should be able to see it from the ocean. Ooo, that looks famil­iar. Lady Lib­er­ty. Ha ha! Hel­looo! All the best to you.     —Admi­ral Hor­a­tio Horn­tow­er

Are there any Bet­ter Call Saul fans among the glob­al warm­ing deniers?

A sce­nario in which one can simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pooh pooh the melt­ing of the polar ice caps and embrace The Thin Blue Line?

Direc­tor Errol Mor­ris and his star, Bob Odenkirk, may not change any minds with their Glob­al Melt­down spots they pro­duced in part­ner­ship with the Insti­tute for the Future, but hope­ful­ly the emphat­ic end cards will stir some fans to action.

The absur­dist 30-sec­ond shorts fea­ture Odenkirk, encrust­ed in epaulets and naval insignia, as the fic­tion­al Horn­tow­er, “an admi­ral of a fleet of one and per­haps the last man on Earth.” Marooned on a small block of ice, he rails against the inex­pert­ly ani­mat­ed wildlife encroach­ing on his domain.

(“You don’t even have the facil­i­ty of lan­guage!” he tells a pen­guin, and lat­er threat­ens a wal­rus that it will “get paint­ed out” of the final cut for “com­plain­ing all the time…”)

Cer­tain­ly a doc­u­men­tar­i­an of Mor­ris’ stature could have tak­en a length­i­er, more seri­ous approach to the sub­ject, but as he notes:

Log­ic rarely con­vinces any­body of any­thing. Cli­mate change has become yet anoth­er vehi­cle for polit­i­cal polar­iza­tion. If Al Gore said the Earth was round there would be polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion insist­ing that the Earth was flat. It’s all so pre­pos­ter­ous, so con­temptible.

Odenkirk also has some out-of-uni­form con­cerns about cli­mate change, as expressed in “Where I Got These Abs,” a 2011 Shouts & Mur­murs piece for The New York­er:

The mid­dle ab on the left (not my left, your left, if you are look­ing at me) is called Ter­rence. It’s a dig­ni­fied ab. It tens­es each time I read an op-ed arti­cle about glob­al warm­ing. The article’s point of view is imma­te­r­i­al; sim­ply being remind­ed that I can do noth­ing to stop the hor­rif­ic future of floods and cat­a­stro­phe gives this ab a taut yank that lingers, burn­ing calo­ries in my well-creased fore­head at the same time. 

Watch all of Mor­ris and Odenkirk’s Admi­ral Horn­tow­er spots, cur­rent­ly total­ing nine, with ten more to come, on Glob­al Melt­down’s YouTube chan­nel.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Cli­mate Change Gets Strik­ing­ly Visu­al­ized by a Scot­tish Art Instal­la­tion

Glob­al Warm­ing: A Free Course from UChica­go Explains Cli­mate Change

NASA Cap­tures the World on Fire

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC this Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 9 for the new season’s kick­off of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

The Secret Language of Trees: A Charming Animated Lesson Explains How Trees Share Information with Each Other

Shel Silverstein’s bit­ter­sweet clas­sic The Giv­ing Tree paints an inac­cu­rate view of trees as sim­ple, eas­i­ly vic­tim­ized lon­ers.

If only the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter had had a same-species best friend around to talk some sense into her when her human pal start­ed help­ing him­self to her branch­es… You’ve Got­ta Be Kid­ding Me Tree, or maybe No Bull­shit Tree.

You’ve Got­ta Be Kid­ding Me Tree could’ve passed some vital nutri­ents to The Giv­ing Tree, whose self care reg­i­men is clear­ly not cut­ting it, via the myc­or­rhizae sys­tem, a vast net­work of fil­a­ment-like tree roots and sym­bi­ot­ic soil fun­gi.

That same sys­tem could serve as the switch­board by which You’ve Got­ta Be Kid­ding Me Tree could alert the extend­ed Tree fam­i­ly to the dan­gers of pro­longed asso­ci­a­tion with cute, but needy kids.

Imag­ine the upbeat end­ing, had Sil­ver­stein gone light—The Giv­ing Tree N’ Friends.

Not as poignant per­haps, but not entire­ly inac­cu­rate from a sci­en­tif­ic stand­point.

As for­est ecol­o­gists Suzanne Simard and Camille Defrenne point out in the ani­mat­ed TED-Ed les­son, “The Secret Lan­guage of Trees,” above, trees have large fam­i­ly (for­give me) trees, whose liv­ing mem­bers are in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion, using the myc­or­rhizae sys­tem.

Host­ing mul­ti­ple fun­gal species allows each tree to con­nect with a wider net­work, as each group of sym­bi­ot­ic shrooms spreads infor­ma­tion to their own per­son­al crews, par­ty line style.

On the oth­er end, the receiv­ing tree can iden­ti­fy its rela­tion to the tree of ori­gin, whether they are both mem­bers of what we humans refer to as a nuclear fam­i­ly, or much more dis­tant rela­tions.

And while this giant sub­ter­ranean sys­tem for shar­ing infor­ma­tion and resources is spe­cif­ic to trees, when we con­sid­er how many oth­er for­est denizens depend on trees for food and shel­ter, the mes­sage sys­tem seems even more vital to the planet’s health.

Defrenne and Simard’s full TED-Ed les­son, com­plete with quiz, cus­tomiz­able les­son plan, and dis­cus­sion top­ics, can be found here.

Simard delves more deeply into the top­ic in the 18-minute TED Talk, “How Trees Talk to Each Oth­er,” below.

View more of ani­ma­tor Avi Ofer’s charm­ing work here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Social Lives of Trees: Sci­ence Reveals How Trees Mys­te­ri­ous­ly Talk to Each Oth­er, Work Togeth­er & Form Nur­tur­ing Fam­i­lies

This 392-Year-Old Bon­sai Tree Sur­vived the Hiroshi­ma Atom­ic Blast & Still Flour­ish­es Today: The Pow­er of Resilience

3,000-Year-Old Olive Tree on the Island of Crete Still Pro­duces Olives Today

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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