MySci Round-Up, November 11: Thermageddon?

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f you think global warming isn’t a big deal, listen to this. Some scientists are predicting that in as soon as 100 years, some parts of the tropics could become so hot that humans would not be able to survive there. The Thermageddon thesis, of course, is a bit controversial—there’s disagreement, for example, about whether to spell it with an ‘a’ or an ‘o’. But as this article in New Scientist notes, a paper published this week in Nature Geoscience offers more proof that the process is already underway. University of Hawaii researchers who’ve studied satellite and rain-gauge data from the past 30 years have found that sea surface temperatures in the tropics now need to be about 0.3 degrees C higher than in 1980 for the air above rises to produce rain. That’s evidence that the stability threshold already has started to rise.

Another study published in March in PNAS argues that there are limits to how much of a temperature increase humans are capable of adjusting to. An increase in the wet-bulb temperature in excess of 35 degrees C would make it impossible for the human body’s metabolic heat to dissipate. An average global temperature rise of 12 degrees C, which is conceivable under some models from burning of carbon fuels, could produce such a shift.

Scary stuff. And while you’re worrying about all that, here’s the news.

Successor to Hubble space telescope may be delayed until at least 2015. It’s going to be more expensive, too. But you knew that.

Pentagon now says mystery “missile” over California probably was an aircraft. But you have to ask yourself: Would agent Mulder accept that explanation?

Which next generation supercomputer design is better—U.S. or Chinese? University of Warwick researchers will present a paper on this next week.

Cats lap up water too fast for the human eye to see. As Steve Martin once noted, they also use your credit card to order cat toys when you’re not around, and then you can’t return them, because they have spit on them.

Primordial dry ice fuels comet jets. It makes great special effects for extraterrestrial rock concerts, too.