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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, December 10

Science-themed gifts for your loved ones! An elevator to the heavens! And fixing the world with geoengineering! It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly take on science and Earth-related news from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Cyber Monday has passed but that doesn't necessarily mean your holiday shopping is finished. Phil Plait, astronomer and writer for Slate Magazine, offers some suggestions of science-themed gifts for the holiday season.

When we talk about empathy for our fellow living beings, we usually mean other animals, like dogs, birds, or insects. But plants are living beings also, as much as we may think of them as inanimate objects. Do we underestimate the cognition and capabilities of our vegetable brethren? Some scientists, speaking to the BBC, believe so.

Every human expedition to space so far has relied upon rocket engines to get them there. It's easy to think that's the only way. But it may not be so. For years, engineers and scientists have been working on trying to perfect another possibility: riding an elevator to space.

Although cars and fossil fuel power plants are a big contributor to carbon emissions, they're not the only ones. Jet planes, fundamental in many ways to our modern economic system, also are big contributors. Concerned with the possible impacts of climate change and pollution, some airlines are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.

The threat of climate change is so big and so overwhelming that it's easy we're powerless to stop it, especially given how much of an impact we've already. But could scientists devise a way to combat and reverse climate change by engineering the planet? io9 lists a number of ways it's possible.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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