T&W: Ferocious felines and the 100th meridian

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It’s officially November, where did October go? I found a lot of neat tidbits to share with you this week, so let’s dive right in!

This week I learned…

  • Istanbul will let people pay for their subway fair by recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans. This is done by installing “reverse vending machines” that give you money in exchange for recycling.
  • For the first time since the late 1800s, Bison will start roaming the U.S. Midwest prairies. It’s an effort to help re-wild the area.
  • An uninhabited island off the coast of Japan has disappeared under the water. This could have huge implications for territorial disputes with Russia.
  • The world’s deadliest cat isn’t what you think it is. It’s a small, 8-inch tall, round-faced, shaggy black-footed feline native to the grasslands of southern Africa.


By the numbers…

  • 30 miles: The tropics are expanding by this much every decade due to climate change.
  • 10 percent: Since 1920, the Sahara desert has gotten this much bigger due to drier conditions.
  • 140 miles. The 100th meridian climate boundary in North America has shifted east by this much since 1980.
  • 80 miles. In some parts of Canada, the permafrost line has shifted northwards by this much over the last 50 years.

I’m listening to…

Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker talk about how she first got into journalism and what it’s like to write about climate change.

“I continue to write out of two possible impulses,” she tells the Longform Podcast. “One is that bear witness impulse. Part of it is sheer spite. I’m going to keep writing, you’re going to keep ignoring.”

What I’m reading…


Without any explanation, China has just legalized the use of rhino horn and tiger bone for medicinal purposes. This reverses a ban that had been in place for 25 years. Critics say it’s a blow to conservation and efforts to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking.