Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, September 1

Astronomers locate an Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbor. The role of technology in national parks is examined. And evidence emerges that Tasmanian devils may be evolving resistance to a particularly deadly form of cancer. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment about science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

News broke recently that astronomers have discovered and now confirmed the existence of a terrestrial planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor (besides the sun). Over at his blog Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait explains the significance of this discovery.

Forget rising sea levels. One of the clearest and most immediate consequences of global warming is a change in the weather. At CommonDreams, Deirdre Fulton discusses how climate change is leading to a steady increase in extreme weather.

You wouldn't normally expect "national park" and "technology" to be two phrases that naturally go together, but in fact technology can play a large part in how parks are administered and cared for. Grist covers the importance of technology to national parks here.

It's easy to think that life here on Earth is distant and removed from the stars. After all, even the nearest star (the aforementioned Proxima Centauri) is nearly 4 light years away (or over 20 million million miles). But even distant stars can affect the Earth. Gizmodo covers the recent discovery of chemical trails left behind by a star that exploded 2.2 million years ago.

Cancer is one of the most pernicious afflictions among life and unlike many diseases is generally not rooted in any particular pathogen but rather in a malfunction of the body's own functions. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to beat. Discover Magazine takes a look at recent evidence that indicates Tasmanian devils may be developing a resistance to an infectious form of cancer of the face.

Top image by Lorax

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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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