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Antarctica’s point of no return and other news and views for Sunday 27 July

July 27th, 2014

27-07-2014 antarctica

  • Antarctica’s Point of No Return – “Recent satellite observations have confirmed the accuracy of two independent computer simulations that show that the West Antarctic ice sheet has now entered a state of unstoppable collapse. … Rather than reacting to global warming with gradual and predictable patterns of change, the West Antarctic ice sheet has suddenly “tipped” into a new state. A relatively small amount of melting beneath the Amundsen Sea’s ice shelf has pushed its grounding line to the top of a sub-glacial hill, from which it is now “rolling down.” Simply put, one thermal kick was enough to initiate an internal dynamic that will now continue under its own momentum, regardless of any action that humans might take to prevent it.
  • Powerful and Coldhearted – “Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them? Psychological research suggests the answer is no. … On the basis of a study we recently published with the researcher Jeremy Hogeveen, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, we contend that when people experience power, their brains fundamentally change how sensitive they are to the actions of others.”
  • Five myths about the gender pay gap – 1. The pay gap is closing rapidly. … 2. Women earn less because they work in industries that pay less. … 3. Women earn less because they don’t negotiate well. … 4. Women earn less because mothers choose to work less. … 5. To close the pay gap, we should focus on deterring discrimination. …
  • Boat turnbacks make harsh deterrents pointless – “Australia’s policy of mandatory detention isn’t what is stopping the boats, and we should put an end to the untold damage that is being inflicted on people’s lives, writes Mike Steketee.”
  • Government anti-piracy plan one of the world’s toughest – “Australia would have some of the toughest anti-piracy measures in the Western world if leaked government proposals to crack down on online copyright infringement were implemented, according to copyright experts. The draft discussion paper, published by news site Crikey on Friday, includes proposals to block overseas websites that host pirated content and to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to stop users illegally downloading movies and music.”
  • The Long History Of The Gaza Tunnels – “In his forthcoming book, Gaza: A History, Jean-Pierre Filiu describes the ‘first historic reference to the loose subsoil of Gaza’ during Alexander the Great’s 332 BC siege of this Mediterranean city, then under Persian rule. Filiu writes that Alexander expected quick victory. But ‘the siege of Gaza involved 100 days of fruitless attacks and tunneling.’ When Gaza finally fell, Alexander was infuriated and went on a vengeful rampage.”

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