Your usual news wrangler, Cowboy Russell, is getting some much-deserved rest today, so filling in with this morning's news roundup is a lowly ranch hand. Russell will return to his keyboard on Monday morning.
ARMAGEDDON, IN THEATERS: A new British movie called The Age of Stupid is being released to much excitement across the pond. In true hybrid form, the film is actually a drama-documentary-animation starring Academy Award-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects) as a man living in a devastated 2055 wondering why nobody stopped climate change in 2008. The Guardian has wall-to-wall coverage of the film, which was made by amateurs with money raised using crowd-funding. The Age of Stupid will have the world’s largest premiere with the whole evening being beamed by satellite direct to 65 move theaters. For his part, Postlethwaite (pictured right) practices what he preaches. He recently installed a wind turbine in his garden and speaks about his eco-home in Shropshire in this video. (Source: The Guardian)
ARMAGEDDON, IN REALITY: Hollywood studios looking for their next disaster flick, look no further than today’s news. In a report release yesterday, scientists warned that our planet is facing an “irreversible” climate shift because the worst-case scenarios they warned us about two years ago are already coming true. Call it Apocalypse Now. The findings, which were revealed at the end of a three-day climate change summit in Copenhagen, assert that temperatures and sea levels have already moved “beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived." By way of example, they previously predicted sea levels could rise as little as seven inches by the end of the century. Now? 39 inches. In California alone, they predict that even a rise in just five inches would cause more than $100 billion in property damage. And this is in addition to previous predictions, which issued dire warnings in 2007 of a future beset by flooding, drought, storms and mass extinction of species. The end is near. Happy Friday the 13th, everyone. (Sources: Associated Press, MSNBC)
AIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: Continuing our doomsday theme, it turns out your can of spray deodorant may be the reason the sky is not so blue anymore. A team of researchers at the University of Maryland discovered that clear skies have become less clear since the 1970s – and it appears aerosol is to blame. The findings were published in the new issue of Science, on newsstands today. (Source: HealthDay)
COOL RUNNINGS: Turns out you don’t need to travel to Alaska to partake in Todd Palin’s favorite sport. The New York Times’ “Escapes” section has a first-person feature on the uptick in dog sledding near Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Many tourists are opting for this nostalgic way of viewing the sights, much quieter than snowmobiles and faster than skiing. “It’s incredible wildlife viewing,” says Jason Matthews, who runs Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures. The Times’ website packages the piece with a pretty cool audio slide show which makes you feel like you’re right there on the mountain.
SHIP OF FOOLS?: Let’s end this morning’s briefing on a lighter note… British adventurer David de Rothschild hopes to sail from California to Australia -- in a boat made entirely out of recycled soda bottles. CNET News has a story and a video interview with de Rothschild who gives a tour of the 60-foot ship, made mostly out of more than 10,000 two-liter Coke bottles. When asked how he knows if it will work, he coyly replied: “We’re not sure. That’s why it’s an adventure.” (Source: CNET News)
On that note, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and, as promised, Cowboy Russell will be back to wrangle your daily news on Monday morning.
-- Benyamin Cohen (substituting for Russell McLendon)