Русскоязычные знакомые и читатели периодически спрашивают меня, правда ли, что нынешний вирус только чуть-чуть хуже гриппа, а все происходящее - глупая паника, раскрученная СМИ.
Писать развернутый ответ мне некогда, разумных текстов на русском давно уже практически нет ни по какой теме, поэтому просто приведу ссылку на английском. Google Translate в РФ вроде бы еще работает. Вот как придется умирать.

О России

Удивительно: почти четверть века живу за пределами РФ, а все равно обстановку там понимаю лучше всех и никогда не ошибаюсь в прогнозах и оценках :-)~
Вот забавная дискуссия с уважаемым d_kishkinev на тему "надо ли участвовать в выборах", 2016 год :-)


My new book Finding Mammals in Japan will be available as PDF starting Feb 1. The format is similar to my Peterson's Guide to Finding Mammals in North America, but with more extensive country intro and lots of species identification tips. 122 pp, 13 color maps, 300 color photos (mostly small), and a few drawings. All species and 100+ sites covered. US$25 if paid by check or bank transfer, US$2 more if paid by Paypal. PM me if interested.
Моя новая книжка будет продаваться в PDF с 1 февраля. Цена 25 рублей США (27 если оплата по Paypal). Кому интересно, пишите в личку.

Rhinoceros sondaicus

I will be guiding a Royle Safaris trip to watch Javan Rhinos and other mammals (as well as other wildlife) in June 2020. Javan Rhinos occur only in one national park, and might be wiped out in a few years if Krakatau Volcano's activity continues to grow, so this is one place you shouldn't delay visiting. We have just 2 places left (it's a small-group tour). Trip description and booking information.

Climate change

I keep running into people who call themselves naturalists but are still profoundly ignorant about the ongoing climate meltdown. So let me summarize the current situation so in the future I can simply send them to this post.
1. The fact that human activity is causing an unnaturally rapid climate change has been known for decades; even oil companies accepted it as their internal documents show. It is one of the best-proven facts in recent history of science. All subsequent "controversy" has nothing to do with science (or freedom of speech) - it's a propaganda war waged by oil, gas and coal companies, politicians they have bought, and a few idiots who serve them for free.
2. Constant attacks by paid trolls have made climate scientists overly cautious in their predictions. Also, many secondary causes of accelerated warming and feedback loops making it worse are outside the realm of climate science. What it means is that all predictions are too optimistic. Even the most extreme "climate alarmists" actually have no idea how bad it really is.
3. The climate meltdown is not just unnaturally rapid, it also happens at a time when all of our planet's ecosystems are already falling apart. The pressure on them has been slowly growing since people killed virtually all large animals on one continent after another during the last fifty thousand years, but in the last 300 years it has been worsening exponentially. Many parts of the world are now basically wastelands, and the oceans are also dying fast. We just don't realize how screwed up our planet is because no human living today has ever seen a fully functional, intact natural ecosystem.
4. My prediction is that by the end of this century the planet will be 7-10C warmer, 70-80% of all plant and animals species will be extinct, the climate will be too unstable for agriculture, all ice caps will be gone, the air will not be breathable for humans above 1000 m a.s.l., and human population will be below 10% of the present level and still falling.
5. It is too late to avert the disaster, but we can still try to avoid the worst. The most effective ways to do it is to (1) get rid of anti-environment politicians by whatever means necessary (all of them without exception are thieves anyway), (2) institute steep carbon taxes, (3) strip fossil fuel, timber, fishing and other extraction industries of all subsidies, (4) heavily subsidize renewable energy instead, and (5) subsidize all methods of family planning, including abortion. It is all very simple and will make our lives better in so many ways.

Kilauea / Килауэа

Lava fountains from Fissure 8, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii (turn on the sound). The bigger one is ~60 m high, but while I was watching there was an earthquake and the lava shot up to ~200 m; the sound almost busted my eardrums. The fountains are fairly safe to watch from about 100 m, but I took photos and videos from farther away to make the fountains fit into the frame and to avoid overheating the camera. I could probably get even closer, but felt a bit uncomfortable walking on lava that hadn't fully cooled down. The fountains are feeding a massive, fast-flowing lava flow that is entering the ocean 11 km downstream, gradually forming a large delta.

Лавовые фонтаны из Трещины 8, вулкан Килауэа, Гавайи (включите звук). Тот, что побольше, примерно 60 м высотой, но пока я на них смотрел, случилось землетрясение и лава стрельнула вверх метров на двести; у меня от грохота чуть перепонки не лопнули. Cмотреть более-менее безопасно со ста метров, но снимал я с большего расстояния, чтобы фонтаны в кадр помещались и камера не нагревалась. Можно было, наверное, даже поближе подойти, но мне было как-то стремно ходить по не совсем остывшей лаве. Фонтаны - исток мощного, быстро текущего лавового потока, который впадает в океан в 11 километрах ниже по течению, постепенно создавая большую дельту.