I have long been a proponent of streetlights, thinking that they reduce crime. Lately, I’ve been reconsidering my position, especially once I saw the stunning astrophotography my friend Rowland has been doing.
Dark skies are natural. Artificial street lighting is by definition not natural, and its increasing prevalence has repercussions that we are only beginning to understand.
I am now starting to think that, like air conditioning, electric light is meant for the indoors.
A central aim of the “lighting revolution” (the transition to solid-state lighting technology) is decreased energy consumption. This could be undermined by a rebound effect of increased use in response to lowered cost of light. We use the first-ever calibrated satellite radiometer designed for night lights to show that from 2012 to 2016, Earth’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2.2% per year, with a total radiance growth of 1.8% per year. Continuously lit areas brightened at a rate of 2.2% per year. Large differences in national growth rates were observed, with lighting remaining stable or decreasing in only a few countries. These data are not consistent with global scale energy reductions but rather indicate increased light pollution, with corresponding negative consequences for flora, fauna, and human well-being.
Source: Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent | Science Advances
Wikimedia photo by Oleg Volk, www.olegvolk.net
Some coup. Hasn’t Mugabe looted enough money from Zimbabwe?
Robert Mugabe and his wife will receive a “golden handshake” worth many millions of dollars as part of a deal negotiated before the resignation of the ageing autocrat last week. The exact sums to be paid to the former president and his wife Grace are still unclear, though one senior ruling party official with direct knowledge of the agreement said the total would not be less than $10m.
The official said that Mugabe, who has been granted immunity from prosecution and a guarantee that no action will be taken against his family’s extensive business interests, would receive a “cash payment of $5m” immediately, with more paid in coming months.
The 93-year-old’s $150,000 salary will also be paid until his death. The 52-year-old first lady, reviled for her extravagance and greed, will then receive half that amount for the rest of her life.
Mugabe’s 37-year rule left Zimbabwe with a worthless currency, massive debts, an impoverished population and an estimated unemployment rate of more than 80%. Roads are rutted, many rural communities have no electricity, education is basic and healthcare almost non-existent. A life expectancy of 60 is one of the lowest in the world.
Source: Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe to get $10m payoff and immunity for his family | World news | The Guardian