Sunday, March 16, 2014

Various Interesting Stuff

Some interesting things from all around:

Speaking of CO2 fertilization, a paper in today's Nature Climate Change finds that that "global warming of only 2°C will be detrimental to crops in temperate and tropical regions, with reduced yields from the 2030s onwards," which the author says is "much earlier than expected." They project decreases of over 25% by the second half of this century.
Sean Carroll nicely explains why a factor of π appears in Einstein's equations of gravity:
(What does the universe know about pi, anyway? Well....) It's not there by anyone's fault, really, just because of the rather simple way Newton defined "G," as the proportionality constant in the gravitational force between two point masses -- and you can't really blame him for that, because anyone would have done the same.
A UK government report faults the European Union for their approach to the technology and risk assessments of genetically modified crops, writing it is “influenced by political considerations that do not have a scientific basis.”
In a letter to the prime minister which accompanies the report, the authors state: “The longer the E.U. continues to oppose GM whilst the rest of the world adopts it, the greater the risk that E.U. agriculture will become uncompetitive, especially as more GM crops and traits are commercialized successfully elsewhere.”
Glenn Greenwald writes that the NSA has infected millions of computers with malware, and send out spam containing malware, to extract files from hard drives. Our government. Nice.

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