Coolies Revenge

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Lee settled into his office chair to begin whittling away at accumulated correspondence and reports. The first order of business was to process items which could easily be settled by his secretary with a few written comments. That was the easy part and he quickly separated the pile to be collected by his secretary with stick on comments to guide her as she dealt with the work. He reflected briefly on how fortunate they were to have secretaries.

Lee’s job required extensive travel. He’d joke to those he knew that he really lived in an aeroplane but came back to the office for a holiday. Unfortunately, the office was not a holiday as jobs needing his attention had a tendency to pile up in spite of availability of email and phone.

There were locations though where email and phone didn’t work. He smiled as he remembered his recent trip to…

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Stars with planets on strange orbits: what’s going on?

All the planets in our solar system orbit close to the sun’s equatorial plane. Of the eight confirmed planets, the Earth’s orbit is the most tilted, but even that tilt is still small, at just seven degrees.It was natural, then, for astronomers to expect that planets orbiting other stars would behave the same way – forming and evolving on orbits aligned with their host star’s equators.

Source: Stars with planets on strange orbits: what’s going on?

We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can ‘reset’ Earth’s damaged ecosystems

Earth is in a land degradation crisis. If we were to take the roughly one-third of the world’s land that has been degraded from its natural state and combine it into a single entity, these “Federated States of Degradia” would have a landmass bigger than Russia and a population of more than 3 billion, largely consisting of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

Source: We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can ‘reset’ Earth’s damaged ecosystems

Guide to the classics: The Histories, by Herodotus

It is easy to see why Herodotus’ Histories may seem overwhelming. Too much is going on, right from the start. We have only just embarked on the Histories’ central theme – the origins of the conflict between Greeks and barbarians in the fifth century BCE – when the narrative suddenly changes tack and we find ourselves in a boudoir tale of nudity, intrigue and murder, only to veer off again when a dolphin saves the singer Arion from drowning. A wild ride!

Source: Guide to the classics: The Histories, by Herodotus

How the last two Montserrat ‘mountain chicken’ frogs could save their species

The “mountain chicken” frogs on the Caribbean island of Montserrat are in a perilous and seemingly irredeemable situation. It’s worth questioning whether attempted recovery is even worth the effort. After all, this species, one of the world’s largest frogs, will have to recover from just two individuals.

Source: How the last two Montserrat ‘mountain chicken’ frogs could save their species