Scientists are a step closer to bringing the dodo back from extinction. And it may save existing wildlife on Mauritius – Discover Wildlife

The dodo, a large flightless bird endemic to the small Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, has been extinct since the 17th century. But this poster species for extinction is now one step closer to a return to its island home.

Ambitious plans to bring back the dodo were announced in January 2023, following the news that scientists at the Genomics Institute at the University of California, Santa Cruz had sequenced the dodo’s genome from a DNA sample taken from a museum specimen.

Now Colossal Biosciences, the US-based biotechnology and genetic engineering company attempting to resurrect the dodo, has partnered with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) to restore habitat that will be necessary for its eventual reintroduction.

Source: Scientists are a step closer to bringing the dodo back from extinction. And it may save existing wildlife on Mauritius – Discover Wildlife

Record-Breaking Ocean Heat Wave Foreshadows a Dangerous Hurricane Season | Scientific American

For 421 straight days, a marine heat wave in the North Atlantic broke — and sometimes shattered — daily temperature records.

The hot streak finally ended April 29, but scientists say the length of the marine heat wave wasn’t the only unsettling part. Another alarm bell was that daily temperature records often fell by a significant margin — on several occasions by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit.

“It’s not just that it was a consecutive string of 421 days,” said Brian McNoldy, an ocean scientist at the University of Miami. “But for so much of that time, it was breaking the records by a lot — not even close.”

And the North Atlantic is far from an outlier.

The world’s oceans — as a whole — are heating up. According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, monthly global sea surface temperatures have been at their warmest on record for 13 months in a row. Last year set a new annual record for global ocean heat.

Source: Record-Breaking Ocean Heat Wave Foreshadows a Dangerous Hurricane Season | Scientific American

Tonga’s volcanic eruption could cause unusual weather for the rest of the decade, new study shows

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (Hunga Tonga for short) erupted on January 15 2022 in the Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. It created a tsunami which triggered warnings across the entire Pacific basin, and sent sound waves around the globe multiple times.

A new study published in the Journal of Climate explores the climate impacts of this eruption.

Our findings show the volcano can explain last year’s extraordinarily large ozone hole, as well as the much wetter than expected summer of 2024.

The eruption could have lingering effects on our winter weather for years to come.

Source: Tonga’s volcanic eruption could cause unusual weather for the rest of the decade, new study shows

Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Return-to-office mandates at some of the most powerful tech companies — Apple, Microsoft and SpaceX — were followed by a spike in departures among the most senior, tough-to-replace talent, according to a case study published last week by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Researchers drew on resume data from People Data Labs to understand the impact that forced returns to offices had on employee tenure, and the movement of workers between companies. What they found was a strong correlation between senior-level employees departing directly after a mandate was implemented, suggesting these policies “had a negative effect on the tenure and seniority of their respective workforce.” High-ranking employees stayed several months less than they might have without the mandate, the research suggests — and in many cases, they went to work for direct competitors.

At Microsoft, the share of senior employees as a portion of the company’s overall workforce declined more than 5 percentage points after the return-to-office mandate took effect, the researchers found. At Apple, the decline was 4 percentage points, while at SpaceX — the only company of the three to require workers to be fully in-person — the share of senior employees dropped 15 percentage points.

Source: Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Death Valley is alive this year. A super bloom is the latest sign. – The Washington Post

This is a wonderful story. I thought Death Valley was eerily beautiful as a barren desert landscape, but then the record amount of rain got dumped on it and now wildflowers are bursting out everywhere. What an amazing sight it must be.

Sometimes the desert holds its secrets close, whispering them only to those who carefully listen. But this year, the hottest and driest place in America might as well be shouting.

In California’s Death Valley region, the last few months have been remarkably loud. And the latest bellow is still ringing out, with the area’s native wildflowers bursting into bloom. The flowers have filled a place best known for its shades of browns and grays with brilliant blasts of yellow and purple and sprinkles of pink and cream.

Source: Death Valley is alive this year. A super bloom is the latest sign. – The Washington Post

Highlights of 2020: Bermuda sod

I got sick of having a disaster of a lawn. Over a decade ago I had vowed to hang up my hoses and not waste money on grass, but something had to be done. I decided that drought-resistant “Celebration” hybrid Bermuda sod was what we needed.

At the end of summer, I killed all the weeds and grass in our front and back yards. A few weeks later I had a giant tractor trailer deliver 11 pallets of sod. It was pouring down rain when the driver arrived. In his efforts to place mulch in our backyard his forklift quickly got mired in the mud at the end of our driveway. For two hours we struggled to get enough traction to free his forklift, only succeeding when my neighbor Chris arrived to help steer as we pulled.

The damage to the back yard had been done, though. A 6,000 pound forklift cut deep ruts in our muddy yard and those ruts had to be repaired before the sod could be put down.

It took back-breaking, Herculean effort by myself, Kelly, and Travis to repair the yard and get the sod put down while it was still alive. I personally pushed myself past the point of exhaustion many nights. I was a wreck. Surprised I didn’t have a heart attack, actually.

It was a stupid, stupid amount of work. But. We. Got. It. Done!

And it looked incredible! For once we had a strong turf grass that didn’t mind the sun or the shade! It’s been perfect.

With the first freeze, the sod has gone dormant and some weeds have appeared but overall it will look fantastic in the spring when it greens up. I won’t have to do much with it to maintain it, either. So far it’s been a great investment in our home.

We Should Never Have Called It Earth – The On Being Project

We should never have called it Earth. Three quarters of the planet’s surface is saltwater, and most of it does not lap at tranquil beaches for our amusement. The ocean is deep; things are lost at sea. Sometimes we throw them there: messages in bottles, the bodies of mutinous sailors, plastic bags of plastic debris. Our sewage.

Sometimes the things we lose slip unnoticed down the sides of passing ships. We expect never to see lost objects again, but every so often they are carried by shifting currents and swirling eddies to wash ashore on distant beaches. We are reminded that things, once submerged, have a habit of returning.

I am not afraid of the ocean, although I should be. On hot summer weekends I take my son to the beach. He toddles toward the water, laughs at the lazy waves splashing his fat baby legs. I follow behind, turn him back when the water reaches his naked belly. He is too young to know the sea gets deeper, that eventually it rises above your head and you must swim so as not to drown. I am prepared for nightmares as he grows and learns about the vastness of the ocean and the monsters real and imagined that swim there. He will soon know that evil things lurk in the deep.

Source: We Should Never Have Called It Earth – The On Being Project

New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

Los Angeles Power and Water officials have struck a deal on the largest and cheapest solar + battery-storage project in the world, at prices that leave fossil fuels in the dust and may relegate nuclear power to the dustbin.Later this month the LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.

“This is the lowest solar-photovoltaic price in the United States,” said James Barner, the agency’s manager for strategic initiatives, “and it is the largest and lowest-cost solar and high-capacity battery-storage project in the U.S. and we believe in the world today. So this is, I believe, truly revolutionary in the industry.”

Source: New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

Renewable electricity beat out coal for the first time in April | Ars Technica

A remarkable thing happened in the US in April. For the first time ever, renewable electricity generation beat out coal-fired electricity generation on a national level, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). While renewable energy—including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass—constituted 23 percent of the nation’s power supply, coal-fired electricity only contributed 20 percent of our power supply.

Source: Renewable electricity beat out coal for the first time in April | Ars Technica

June was hottest ever recorded on Earth, European satellite agency announces | The Independent

Last month was the hottest June ever recorded, the EU‘s satellite agency has announced.Data provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the EU, showed that the global average temperature for June 2019 was the highest on record for the month.

Source: June was hottest ever recorded on Earth, European satellite agency announces | The Independent