Upper Ocean Temperatures Set a New High Record in 2020

Climate and Capitalism | January 14, 2021

Heat content change in the upper 2000 meters of the global ocean. (Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, January 2021)

Even with the Covid-19-related small dip in global carbon emissions due to limited travel and other activities, the ocean temperatures continued a trend of breaking records in 2020. A new study by 20 scientists from 13 institutes around the world, reported the highest ocean temperatures since 1955 from surface level to a depth of 2,000 meters.Read More »


The Secret Forces that Squeeze and Pull Life into Shape

Amber Dance

Nature | January 13, 2021

Microscopic image of a zebrafish embryo 22 hours postfertilization
Developing embryos, such as this zebrafish, rely on physical forces to sculpt them as they grow. Credit: Philipp Keller/HHMI Janelia Research Campus

At first, an embryo has no front or back, head or tail. It’s a simple sphere of cells. But soon enough, the smooth clump begins to change. Fluid pools in the middle of the sphere. Cells flow like honey to take up their positions in the future body. Sheets of cells fold origami-style, building a heart, a gut, a brain.Read More »


Insect Decline in the Anthropocene: Death by A Thousand Cuts

 David L. Wagner, Eliza M. Grames, Matthew L. Forister, May R. Berenbaum, and David Stopak

PNAS | January 12, 2021

Nature is under siege. In the last 10,000 y the human population has grown from 1 million to 7.8 billion. Much of Earth’s arable lands are already in agriculture (1), millions of acres of tropical forest are cleared each year (23), atmospheric CO2 levels are at their highest concentrations in more than 3 million y (4), and climates are erratically and steadily changing from pole to pole, triggering unprecedented droughts, fires, and floods across continents. Indeed, most biologists agree that the world has entered its sixth mass extinction event, the first since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million y ago, when more than 80% of all species, including the nonavian dinosaurs, perished.Read More »


Art as Unalienated Labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

Phil Brett

Culture Matters | January 11, 2021

Art as unalienated labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

John Molyneux is the editor of the Irish Marxist Review and a member of People Before Profit. I have been lucky enough to hear speak many times and have enjoyed much of his previous writing. So when I heard about this book, it was something which went straight onto my list to Santa, hoping I’d get it for Christmas.

Now, it is extremely doubtful that historically, revolutionaries have held much belief in the man with the sack, popping down chimneys. But as Molyneux points out early on, revolutionaries have often had a deep interest in art. Whilst truly historic events competed for their time and attention, the likes of Marx, Lenin, Luxembourg and Trotsky remained passionate in their commitment to the importance to art. But it isn’t just great revolutionaries for whom art matters.Read More »