It's been a long time since I've done a "News Article Round-Up" post featuring interesting news articles and commentary. Here goes...
Michael Bay is Giving "Britain's Loneliest Dog" 15 Minutes of Fame-Not only has Michael Bay included this no doubt incredibly sad and bored shelter dog in Transformers: The Last Knight, he's also going to try to get her adopted. I've got friends who criticized Michael Bay for his various excesses, I wrote "The Revenge of the Fallen Reboot" because I was so disappointed with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and I never even bothered with Transformers: Age of Extinction, but I think this is a really cool thing to do.
The Zoo That Wants To Release Wild Elephants In Denmark-This article is about "rewilding," or restoring places to their pre-human state. Some of the more radical variants involve bringing lions, tigers, elephants, etc. to North America and Europe. There's this article I found on The Atlantic that describes the emptying of rural parts of the U.S. So long as people aren't forcibly displaced or endangered by more dangerous types of wildlife, that doesn't seem like a bad idea to me. The reintroduction of wolves in various places doesn't seem to have caused problems.
This is Africa's Most Overlooked Achievement And It's Changing the Lives of Millions-Africa is one of many places that's skipped a generation of technology--for example, areas that never had landline phones now have lots and lots of mobile phones. This article describes another area where Africa has "skipped a generation"--a lot of rural villages now have small-scale solar power and wind power as opposed to feeding off gigantic industrial power-plants. This is pretty cool, as it provides Africans with modern technologies while at the same time avoiding the environmental problems gigantic power plants, huge power-line infrastructures, etc. Decentralized power generation would be the way to go for the whole world and it looks like Africa's leading the way.
Engineered bacterium inhales carbon dioxide and hydrogen and excretes fuel alcohols-Get enough of this going and goodbye greenhouse effect. I have heard some concerns about the bacteria potentially getting out of control and causing problems, but perhaps there's the possibility of engineering them so they can't reproduce beyond a certain point? Think the "terminator gene" to avoid GMO plants spreading their genes to wild plants.
Ten Slavic Spirits and Monsters You've Probably Never Heard Of-For those of you who are into writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror, here are some new critters for you to use.
Enter Hiero Desteen, Pursued By Mutant Wolverines-This isn't really a news article per se, but it's still pretty cool. It's a linked series of blog posts in which the blogger, who's a college professor somewhere, re-reads and comments on the novel Hiero's Journey. I first read that novel in high school and it was a big influence on my Wastelands series. I re-read both the first book and the sequel The Unforsaken Hiero recently and they're still fun. The blogger's comments are also pretty darn funny, including the following commentary on the first chapter:
Things are looking dark for Hiero, and it appears that our novel is about to become a short story, when of a sudden Gorm the Bear comes out of hiding and bites S'nerg in the balls.This was probably the point at which, while I was first reading Hiero's Journey, I realized I was going to finish the novel. You just don't get mutant-bear groin-biting in conventional stories.
I hope all of the above content interested you...