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In this post: the large versions of the Environment and Humanities & Social Science channel photos, comments from readers, and the best posts of the week!


Environment. A near perfect reflection in Squaw Valley, California. From Flickr, by jurvetson


Humanities & Social Science. From Flickr, by frozenchipmunk

Reader comments of the week:

In Primer on greenhouse gases, III, the last of a three-post series on greenhouse gases, Revere of Effect Measure explains how some gases (like CO2) absorb electromagnetic radiation returning to the atmosphere from the Earth and cause the atmosphere to heat up—the “greenhouse effect”—, while others, like harmless O2, cannot absorb infrared radiation and let EM waves go on their merry way. The post sparked a lively discussion in the comments about human contribution to greenhouse gas emission, and whether we will be able to change our habits in time to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Reader yogi-one thinks it is a harsh uphill battle we face:

But we have seen that even educated people can be denialists. So the challenge is also to be able to learn to do things differently than we have been taught all our lives. It isn’t easy.

Imagine a bear cub, upon reaching adulthood, suddenly discovering the hunting and foraging techniques taught by its mother no longer provide enough food to maintain health. He will most likely die because he cannot adapt.

Humans, however face a thorny variation of that problem: we may cause ourselves a lot of suffering because we WON’T adapt.

On the Humanities & Social Science channel, James Hrynyshyn vents his frustration with the religious infiltration of U.S. government in In God Who Trusts? A South Carolina license plate boasting the statement “I Believe” is soon to be released in the Palmetto State, but Hrynyshyn argues that it’s useless to be outraged by the plates when U.S. currency features the all-inclusive “In God We Trust.”

Reader themadlolscientist is outraged regardless:

As far as I can see, the supporters of the “I Believe” plates are just trying to get away with a sneaky way of saying, “Hey, look! My state agrees with me!” For that reason, I think it’s a completely f*cked-up idea. You can quote me on that, and I’m a Baptist Preacher’s Kid.

Some other Environment posts we thought were cool this week were:

Bush & McCain On Offshore Drilling: “There Is No Excuse For Delay”

Would you buy a Vespa?

When Weather Forecasts Disease

It’s like flipping a switch

Fish make rapid comeback in the world’s largest no-fishing zone

And from the Humanities & Social Science channel:

Social science = art?

Darwin overload?

Anthropologists on Mars

My letter to TIME

Philosophy and Modern Physics – Request for Comment

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!