American’s Beer Consumption up 19% During the Pandemic

America’s thirst for Budweiser is showing no sign of drying up as the brand dominates its rivals in the battle of the beers across the country.
— Read on topagency.com/report/beer-report/

Humanity’s Impact | Studio Birthplace

Short film Humanity’s Impact explores the question:
‘How many plastic bottles do we produce globally in real time?’
And the accompanying Augmented Reality app 
invites users to interact with the data on a personal level.
Animated Series
Did you know that globally, we produce about 1 million plastic bottles per minute?
What does that number even look like? This is what you’re about to find out in Humanity’s Impact.

Set in a 1960s American suburb test site that is populated with plastic test dummies, the film unleashes 20,000 bottles per second that crash onto the unknowing cast of dummies. The bottles burst through the kitchen window, and engulf the family dog. The suburban paradise is quickly flooded, revealing the terrifying scale and rate at which we pollute our planet. Only 9% of the overwhelming pile of plastic bottles actually gets recycled, the rest is dumped or burnt, or ends up in landfills and our oceans.
Augmented Reality App
To be able to understand our own consumption behavior better, we partnered with interactive design studio Superposition to release the augmented reality app Humanity’s Impact to help users relate to consumption-related data on an even more personal level. For example, users can drop 20,000 bottles into their own kitchen or bedroom, pledge to reduce their own plastic use, track their progress, take a photo with their data and share it on social media to motivate others to take part. The app is available for free right now on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
view more work
Before we made the highly successful film Wasteminster for Greenpeace, we made the pilot film Humanity’s Impact. With the film, we wanted to explore if we could make visible the incredible data related to humanity’s impact on our planet, putting a picture to the numbers.

Both the animated series and the accompanying augmented reality app unleash impressive data simulations, visualizing the tremendous scale in which our consumer culture operates.
The project aims to create awareness and inspire action towards a more sustainable future
— Read on www.studiobirthplace.com/humanitysimpact

A Frothy Mucus Nest Protects Frog Eggs from Drought – Scientific American

Frothy mucus might not sound like the most inviting living space, but for some frogs’ offspring it is a lifesaving refuge from drought. The amphibians often lay their gelatinous eggs in pools of water to provide the moisture needed to develop properly—but those pools can dry up. “The biggest cause of [frog] offspring mortality is desiccation,” says University of Newcastle ecologist John Gould.
When studying frogs in Australia’s Watagan Mountains, Gould was surprised to find evaporated puddles where eggs thrived for days, swaddled in nests their mothers whip up by aerating mucus secretions with their toes. “You could see embryos still alive and kicking,” he says.
Scientists had previously hypothesized that several frog and toad species use foam to protect eggs from desiccation, but few studies had tested the idea. So Gould and his colleagues monitored 641 mucus nests built by the sandpaper frog, Lechriodus fletcheri, to determine whether embryos were surviving dry mountain conditions. They also conducted the first laboratory experiments to closely follow eggs’ development in nests deprived of water.

— Read on www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-frothy-mucus-nest-protects-frog-eggs-from-drought/

Jane Goodall Q&A: Discussing climate change, solutions and hope – The Washington Post

‘We’ve got to get everybody around the world to say — we will not be defeated by climate change, we will not be defeated by loss of biodiversity. We will defeat covid, we will fight to prevent another pandemic.’
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/10/19/jane-goodall-book-climate-change/

River as a living entity – Frontline

Recognising river ecosystems or other entities of nature as having rights offers the possibility of managing and governing habitats based on the ecological realities of a region. When a river is recognised as a legal person, it has a right to maintain its spirit, identity and integrity.
— Read on frontline.thehindu.com/environment/photo-essay-river-as-a-living-entity/article36984037.ece

Coral microbiome is key to surviving climate change, new study finds | NSF – National Science Foundation

The microbiomes of corals — which comprise bacteria, fungi and viruses — play an important role in corals’ ability to tolerate rising ocean temperatures, according to research led by Penn State scientists.

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded team also identified several genes in certain corals and the symbiotic photosynthetic algae that live inside their tissues that may play a role in their response to heat stress. “We know how complex coral communities are at the human visual level,” said Mike Sieracki, a program director in NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “Now we’re learning that their microbial partners, which we can’t see, help sustain coral health.”

The findings could inform current coral reef conservation efforts, for example, by highlighting the potential benefits of amending coral reefs with microbes found to bolster heat stress responses.
— Read on www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp

Why the U.N.’s Biodiversity Conference Is So Important – The New York Times

Countries are gathering in an effort to stop a biodiversity collapse that scientists say could equal climate change as an existential crisis.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/10/14/climate/un-biodiversity-conference-climate-change.html

Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions – The New York Times

The animals and one plant had been listed as endangered species. Their stories hold lessons about a growing global biodiversity crisis.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/09/28/climate/endangered-animals-extinct.html

The shape of things to come.

Explore Some of the World’s Deepest Blue Holes | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

Blue holes, which form in oceans around the world, usually open up in soft rock like limestone. Over centuries, the rock dissolves, creating caves underneath the sea floor, reports Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience. Chemical reactions between freshwater and saltwater can cause chemical reactions that produce weak acids that may eat away the rock and cause blue holes to open in certain areas, Lisa Park Boush, a geoscientist at the University of Connecticut who studies blue holes in the Bahamas, tells Pappas. Microbes may also hasten erosion and the opening of a hole in the earth’s crust. The resulting hole, when seen from above
— Read on www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/explore-worlds-deepest-blue-holes-180959977/

We Need Software Updates Forever

Consumers have relied on the good graces of device makers to keep our gadget firmware and software secure and up-to-date. Doing so costs the manufacturer some of its profits. As a result, many of them are apt to drop support for old gadgets faster than the gadgets themselves wear out. This corporate stinginess consigns far too many of our devices to the trash heap before they have exhausted their usability. That’s bad for consumers and bad for the planet. It needs to stop.

We have seen a global right-to-repair movement emerge from maker communities and start to influence public policy around such things as the availability of spare parts. I’d argue that there should be a parallel right-to-maintain movement. We should mandate that device manufacturers set aside a portion of the purchase price of a gadget to support ongoing software maintenance, forcing them to budget for a future they’d rather ignore. Or maybe they aren’t ignoring the future so much as trying to manage it by speeding up product obsolescence, because it typically sparks another purchase.
— Read on spectrum.ieee.org/we-need-software-updates-forever