The Last Word

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February 5-9, 2018

Jessa starts off the week by writing about a Canadian researcher on an Arctic icebreaker who tracks radioactive material released after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The atmospheric release took eight days to reach Cullen’s home in Victoria, British Columbia, and most of it ended up in the North Pacific. Ultimately it will be transported to the Arctic Ocean. Unlike the air-borne material, the water-borne release took a lot longer to spread, reaching the West Coast of North America starting in 2014.

Years ago, Emma visited a research site in the Australian Outback; recent research from the site found that small mammals may have been overlooked as landscape shapers because in many places, they’re now gone. Scotia is a beautiful place, dotted with trees garlanded with long peeling bark, its sandy soil hosting eerily circular growths of spinifex grass. It is a dry place, a hard place to live. I look at the pictures of it I took those years ago and I wonder how much of what I am seeing is the botanical expression of the population crash of so many Australian mammals

Sally and Alexa chat about apes and monkeys, and Amazon gets involved. NB: this is fanfic. Suggest a disclaimer appended to this specific “fact of the day” stating that amazon is aware of the differences between monkeys and apes, and that the wording of the joke in no way implies that we are seeking to obscure those differences. 

Big headline: Backpackers don’t need to filter their water!!!!! But Erik’s not drinking that Kool-Aid…er, agua. I’ll never forget the feeling of staring at a snowmelt stream while coming off Clyde Minaret in the Sierras, long after dark, totally lost and dry as desert salt. I just sat there, staring, holding my broken Steripen and wondering if it was worth the risk.

Childhood memories can be tricky things for journalists, says Cassie—so she fact-checks one of her own. My memories of that time seem slippery. I can never quite get a solid enough grasp on them to wring out meaning. And even the ones that seem so vivid and real feel fake, like cheap knockoffs. 

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Image courtesy of Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy…Harrison via Flickr.

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