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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.

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Environment. From Flickr, by Hamed Saber

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Humanities & Social Science. Architectural curves at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. From Flickr, by cobalt123

Reader comments of the week:

James Hrynyshyn of The Island of Doubt recently had the chance to ask James Hansen, the famed climate activist, whether dwelling on offshore oil drilling was taking attention away from the more pressing issue of eliminating coal as an energy source. In Jim Hansen on offshore drilling, he relates the scientist’s answer:

“I don’t worry about it excessively because compared to coal, it’s not a very large source,” he said, referring to offshore oil reserves, “That’s a wrong place to be looking for a solution. Trying to get every last drop of oil is not worth the effort. We should be … trying to find the post-fossil fuel source.”

He added that he “would encourage those states that can control their offshore resources to resist.”

Hansen also acknowledged the challenges that such issues pose for both the public and their politicians pondering the notion of increasing the accessible reserves. It’s easy to get confused because “it sounds so logical … but when you look at the numbers it’s just not the solution.”

At the end of the day, however “we shouldn’t get too hung up on that.”

Reader Ktesibios has a nice metaphor for the futility of drilling:

Offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR and suchlike strike me as being like hunting for loose change under the couch cushions. It might put you over the top for a trip to the store, but it’s no substitute for a steady income.

On the Humanities & Social Science channel, Brian Switek of Laelaps considers the genius of Charles Darwin in The first of many, I’m sure. A series entitled The Genius of Darwin made Brian wonder whether “genius” is not entirely apt to describe the naturalist’s work, which has long overshadowed the work of other, less credited scientists.

Reader Rich insists that Darwin’s genius was not in just his most famous theory:

Natural selection was brilliant, but Chuckie D also came up with the idea of common ancestry for all life and a viable mechanism for speciation. His influence and brilliance went far beyond natural selection I think. He deserves a lot of credit for having the guts to say “I am a primate”. So many Americans these days lack such guts.

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

Global Warming Rug

Colour palettes: Smog edition—(do you think Martha Stewart Inc. will come a calling?)

More sea ice

Walk softly on the earth and carry a big stick

Climate scientists recruit elephant seals to study Antarctica’s waters

And from the Humanities & Social Science channel:

The myth of the creative class

I wish my cat had a gas mask too

Athletes get more points by making referees see red

Who can blame them?

Van Gogh

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!

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