National Geographic November 2015, Part 3

Against the Tide, by Kennedy Warne, photographs by Kadir van Lohuizen

We leave Greenland, heading towards a much smaller island, well, technically an archipelago made of much smaller islands. The first thing I learned from this article is the correct pronunciation of “Kiribati.”  Apparently the “ti” has more of an “s” sound than a “tee” sound.  This is one of the side effects of getting as much information as I do from written sources — you don’t necessarily know how to pronounce what you are reading.  I actually pronounced “Obama” to rhyme with “Alabama” the first time I said it aloud.

Kiribati is threatened by rising water levels.  The islands are actually coral atolls, and so they aren’t far enough above sea level to resist for long.  According to this article, the capital “will be uninhabitable within a generation.” How long is a generation? 25 years?  30 years?  50 years?  The article doesn’t say, but it’s probably not enough time.

The article is mostly an overview of what the I-Kiribati, what the people of Kiribati call themselves, are doing to help survive the foreseeable future.  They are learning to plant new crops, adding mangroves to the shoreline to help hold the islands together, and beginning to harvest rainwater from their roofs.  Hopefully we’ll find some way to help slow the warming of the earth before it becomes too late for the I-Kiribati and the other people of low-lying islands.

Who Will Thrive? by Jennifer S. Holland, photographs by Joel Sartore

Most of this issue surrounded the questions of how humans will adapt to the changes that the future will bring to the Earth.  This article looks into how the non-human animals that we share the planet with will fare. We don’t know yet which will do well, but it looks like, in general, the faster a species reproduces, the better it will probably do.  The more specialized its environment needs to be the worse it will do.

Pulse of the Planet by Peter Miller

In Pulse of the Planet, Miller looks at the kinds of imaging and sensors that we have available to us these days.  Some have been in use for a while, and some are brand new.

National Geographic September 2014

I know that I should probably be doing October of 2014, since I’m sort of working my way outward from January of 2015.  This issue has an article on Nero in it, though, and I went to Rome in July of 2014, so I’m skipping ahead a bit.  Also, October of 2014 is probably somewhere in my son’s bedroom.  I’ll get to it once I find it. (note: I found it later, in between two Nature Conservancy magazines.)

The Evolution of Diet, by Ann Gibbons, photographs by Matthieu Paley

The Evolution of Diet talks about the “Paleo diet,” which posits that people should be eating a meat-based diet that limits, or eliminates, beans, grains, and dairy products. The theory is that the human genome hasn’t evolved in the last ten thousand or so years.  It starts out speaking kind of positively about the Paleo diet, arguing that the hunter-gatherers’ inclusion of meat in the diet is part of what allowed us to develop advanced brains.  However, as the article progresses, we get farther from this argument.  Gibbons quotes Amanda Henry, who has found evidence that humans have been eating grains and tubers for at least the last hundred thousand years.  Gibbons also quotes Sarah Tishkoff, who makes the point that humans did not stop evolving ten thousand years ago.  We are still evolving and many populations have evolved to digest lactose and starches that others have not.  Oneof the quotes that is highlighted is “The real hallmark of being human isn’t our taste for meat but our ability to adapt to many habitats and to create many healthy diets.” Continue reading “National Geographic September 2014”