Gleanings of the Week Ending August 19, 2017

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Three things to know about the Louvre’s history – A fort…royal residence…and then a museum!

Americans are using less electricity today than a decade ago – Annual residential electricity sales have declined by 3% and residential electricity sales per capita is down by 7% since 2010. Advances in efficiency and shifts to smaller devices are making a difference. Some argue that electric cars will cause an increase in demand for electricity….but the same people that drive electric cars are likely to have solar panels!

Aspirin’s Four-Thousand-Year History – Willow bark was used for 1000s of years for ‘curing’ fevers. In 1897, Felix Hoffman at Bayer created chemically pure salicylic acid and then created acetylsalicylic acid which did not irritate digestion the way salicylic acid does….and Aspirin came to the marketplace.

The Quest to Restore American Elms: Nearing the Finish Line – My grandparents had elm trees around their house in Oklahoma when I was growing up in the ‘60s. My grandfather built a picnic table around one of them and we had our evening meals there during our summer visits. In my late teens, the tree began to die and eventually had to be cut down. The place lost a key element when that happened. I’m sure that was true around many homes. I hope the elms can be restored….and maybe the chestnuts too.

Climate change is disrupting the birds and the bees and Europe to experience vast and rapid ‘invasion’ by infectious diseases as climate warming continues – The effects of climate change are not just rising temperatures or changing weather patterns. Everything on earth is interrelated. Sometimes that building in resiliency to change and sometimes it enables small changes to have a domino effect that is catastrophic.

In the Earth’s hottest place, life has been found in pure acid – Microbes that survive in extreme acid, hot temperatures, and high salinity. The pH in one pool was 0…and life was found there.

Here’s a crazy idea: let’s agree on the facts – Finding common ground through data? That is what Steve Ballmer is working on. The USAFacts site is the result and it is very easy to spend time looking at the summary reports….and the linkage to raw data sources.

It’s not your imagination. Summers are getting hotter. – A graphic of the changing bell curve of the temperatures with the base period being 1950-1980…crawling toward the hot and hotter direction for the time periods since them.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #100 – There is an indigo bunting in this set. I always celebrate when I see one in the field!

The greatest threats to humanity as we know it – Infographic from BBC Future.