Quicklinks: 27 February – 5 March 2023

Good news, Mexican wolf numbers are increasing! To be clear, that’s Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. They were reintroduced in 1998 and are now at 241 wolves!

Unfortunately, not everything is good. There’s a worry that biophobia, the fear of nature, could lead to less conservation of wild spaces. With many people living in cities with few green spaces and opportunities to interact with wildlife, nature seems strange, scary and not worth preserving. This is something we need to guard against.

In my previous postdoc, I worked with Professor Don Cowan. There’s a nice article about him and his work in Antarctica, where he’s shown that there is far more microbial diversity than was initially suspected. A lot of his work has involved microbial life in extreme environments, see also when I accompanied him on a field trip to the Namib Desert.

In a December 2021 post, I mentioned the problems with the New Zealand government’s attempts to treat superstition as equal to science and why science is universal. The government has still continued that path and Richard Dawkins recently wrote about his trip to New Zealand and why he will keep sticking up for science.

There’s a particularly stupid complaint about vegan and vegetarian foods that governments like to bring up when they have nothing better to do; that labels like “almond milk” or “vegan sausage” will confuse consumers. As illustrated by Zapiro, one would think the South African government would have more important issues to focus on.

Now I see that Czechia is taking it’s turn to make these asinine complaints. As I’ve tried to emphasise, we need to have evidence to support our claims. I’ve never seen governments offer any evidence that customers are being confused to any appreciable amount. I did a quick search to see if anyone had studied the issue and the only study that seemed to come up suggested, unsurprisingly, that people are not confused by vegan labels on food! There’s absolutely no need to waste time on this issue.

People that owned Roald Dahl ebooks were shocked to find that their copies had been changed to the altered versions even though they had bought the original text! This is not the first time such a thing has happened and it illustrates one of the problems of having digital copies which are controlled by a service. In general, if you buy something digitally, you should make sure that you can download it outside of the ecosystem of the company you bought it from.

The history of many places is long and complicated. It’s never good when people try to ignore that complexity and rewrite history to suit their own desires. This article looks at two sites, the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba in Spain and the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, where Christianity and Islam overlapped to compare what happened in the past and what is happening today.

Who doesn’t enjoy when politicians make jokes to keep our spirits up? Since Eskom’s former CEO, Andre De Ruyter, made a number of allegations about Eskom which were both shocking but also utterly predictable, the ANC has been unhappy. They have said that De Ruyter tarnished their good name and “He just uttered and said the ANC is corrupt. We must accept that? No, we can’t accept such.” What makes those statements jokes is that the history of the ANC post-1994 is the history of corruption in South Africa. We have the Sarafina scandal, the Arms Deal, the Digital Vibes scandal (dismissed on a technicality) and the whole issue of State Capture. And those are just the big ones that quickly come to my mind!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s