Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Category: Science and environment

Reporters covering environmental issues are becoming more and more vulnerable

Eric Freedman, on the Nieman Journalism Lab, on the growing pressure surrounding environmental journalists:

Covering the environment is one of the most hazardous beats in journalism. According to one estimate, 40 reporters around the world died between 2005 and September 2016 because of their environmental reporting — more than were killed covering the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Environmental controversies often involve influential business and economic interests, political battles, criminal activities, anti-government insurgents or corruption. […] In both wealthy and developing countries, journalists covering these issues find themselves in the cross-hairs. Most survive, but many undergo severe trauma, with profound effects on their careers.

Sadly, not a surprise.

"I’m a nomad who goes nowhere" – Portrait of a young shepherd in France

AFP's Jeff Pachoud, on The Guardian, portraying the daily solitary life of a 24 years-old shepherd in the Alps through a beautiful photo album. The captions tell more than there is on the pictures:

From the start of his first season, Meme [the shepherd's name] found himself face to face with a wolf and had to fight it off. 'He was there on the end of my staff every evening for a week,’ the shepherd recalls. ‘When my first sheep was killed I immediately felt that I had failed, that I had not carried out my duty.’

Absolutely wonderful read, and gorgeous photographs by Pachoud. I wish there was more immersive storytelling like this.

Spain wants to fully switch to renewable energy by 2050: Which countries will follow?

Arthur Nelsen, on Mother Jones:

Spain has launched an ambitious plan to switch its electricity system entirely to renewable sources by 2050 and completely decarbonize its economy soon after.

By mid-century greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed by 90 percent from 1990 levels under Spain’s draft climate change and energy transition law.

To do this, the country’s social democratic government is committing to installing at least 3,000 MW of wind and solar power capacity every year in the next 10 years ahead.

2050 feels very far away – and this Spanish plan is still a draft law proposal – but if it means they will be out of this terrible equation, and if it means other countries will follow, then good job Spain.

Evolution, climate change, and long-snouted dolphins

Ultimate biology nerd clickbait title right?

Ed Jong, on the Atlantic, giving a possible explanation on why a few fossil dolphin species had an unusual long snout, sometimes as much as five times longer than their heads:

Crucially, these long-snouted species arose during a time in the middle of the Miocene when ocean temperatures started climbing. In cold water, warm-blooded predators like dolphins have an advantage over cold-blooded prey like fish or squid, because they’re better at maintaining a high metabolism and swimming at high speeds. As the oceans warm, fish can move faster and the dolphins’ advantage disappears. Perhaps some of them regained the upper hand by evolving long snouts that could swiftly sweep through shoals of prey.

Nature is fascinating.

Video of outer-Shanghai shows an infinity of buildings

Last week I came accross this video posted on Twitter by James O'Malley, showing what the outskirts of Shanghai looked like between two train stations. As O'Malley describes it:

If you've ever wondered how China has room for 1.3bn people… this is how.

You have to watch it to believe it, but is it both fascinating and kind of shocking. Shocking in the sense that I know we are only seeing the tip of an iceberg here, and the scale of this city landscape is just remarkable.