Cuba is full of vintage American cars! This story includes a great slide show."When the Castro government placed strict restrictions on car ownership and essentially banned the private sale of vehicles, it made an exception for those built before 1960. This amnesty has assured a market value for the vehicles, guaranteeing they would remain on the roads as long as Cuban mechanics could keep them there.""Many of the estimated 60,000 classic cars that remain on Cuba's roads are ruined hulks that lurch and rattle through the streets spewing black smoke, their engines a hodgepodge of cannibalized Russian parts and Cuban adaptations. But others are kept in immaculate condition by ultra-fastidious owners — including some who await the day they might be legally allowed to sell to American buyers."
The Columbia Journalism Review asks why, with all the media attention California's struggling economy and climate change have been getting recently, few people have put two and two together and written about what climate change means for California's major industry: agriculture.This is timely for me, personally, because I just finished summarizing a paper on how agricultural land-use in California influences local climate and air quality. Oh, feedbacks are fun, and it's clear that this is an important -- and complex -- issue.From CJR:"This dearth in coverage is partly understandable. The potential effects of heightened atmospheric CO2 on the efficacy of the herbicide glyphosate don’t necessarily make for sexy reading. Moreover, while a great deal of research has been conducted on ways the greenhouse effect may alter the production of global cereal crops (rice, wheat, corn), the same is not true for horticulture (fruit, vegetables, nuts, and flowers), which, along with livestock and dairy, comprises the bulk of California’s agricultural output. And then there’s the fact that California is home to many distinct microclimates, and that shifting weather patterns and increased CO2 concentration may harm some crops while benefiting others."
Here's an editorial from Cristine Russell (of Harvard) about the future of science journalism: not a crisis, she says, but an opportunity."Hopefully, the recent crisis in science journalism in Western countries will be tempered by optimism about the overall future of international science journalism and the importance of reaching a global public in dire need of the best science and technology information."One way she mentions that veteran science journalists (who she presents as an invaluable resource -- she doesn't really mention us noobs) can improve their ability to cover complex issues is to participate in fellowship programs:"Opportunities for professional development of international journalists are expanding. Mid-career journalism programs at places such as Harvard, the University of California, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology seek fellows from around the world."Of course, she *forgot* to mention the Scripps Fellowship for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado's Center for Environmental Journalism!
An update on the science of traffic jams, with some cool solid liquid phase-change metaphors interesting ideas about traffic's inherent ability to infuriate us:"According to the calculations of Fey and Stutzer, a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40 percent more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office.""Long commutes make us unhappy because the flow of traffic is inherently unpredictable. As a result, we never adapt to the suffering of rush hour. (Ironically, if traffic were always bad, and not just usually bad, it would be easier to deal with.) As the Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert notes, 'Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.'"