two articles -'the human condition': the first regarding the very idea of art which, it is easily arguable, is critically important to human 'successive intellectualization'; the second, a hint of how little we know about the world around us.

15 June 2007 Science Magazine
Random Samples

If you plan to see the Coliseum, Notre Dame, and other European landmarks, the new Vulnerability Atlas might help you decide which ones to visit first--before climate change ruins them. Aimed at policymakers and preservationists, the atlas roughly maps how climate change caused by global warming could harm the continent's historical monuments, statues, and buildings over the next century. Produced by Noah's Ark, a 3-year, 1.2 million project sponsored by the European Commission, the atlas marries climate modeling with research on how wood, stone, glass, and other materials are damaged by climate-influenced factors. For example, it shows where in Europe attacks by wood-destroying fungi may increase because of warmer, wetter weather.

Humidity cracked this medieval wooden altarpiece.
   Cristina Sabbioni, a physicist at the Institute for Sciences of the Atmosphere and Climate in Bologna, Italy, who coordinated the project, says it's a "shame" that more attention has been paid to the impact of climate change on the skiing industry than on Europe's historical treasures. But attitudes may be changing. Later this month, UNESCO will call for research on how climate change endangers cultural heritage globally, notes May Cassar of University College London's Centre for Sustainable Heritage. "Noah's Ark just scratched the surface," she says.
15 June 2007 Science Magazine
Random Samples

Trace amounts of cocaine are wafting through the air in some cities, according to a study released last month. Conducted by the Institute for Atmospheric Pollution of the Italian National Research Council, the probe examined three cities: Rome, Taranto in southern Italy, and Algiers in Africa. Algiers was "clean" and Taranto had little cocaine in its air, says Ivo Allegrini, director of the institute. But in Rome, which is home to more than 10,000 cocaine users, levels reached 0.1 nanograms per cubic meter in spots. In some locations, the concentration of cocaine was more than 10 times higher than that of dioxin, a ubiquitous pollutant, notes Angelo Cecinato, coordinator of the work.

More than one kind of snow blows through Rome.
   Levels are likely similar in other major cities, Allegrini says. And although media reports have jumped on the fact that the highest concentrations of cocaine were found near a university, Allegrini stresses that "we have not suggested any cause-relation." Caution is warranted, says Norbert Frost of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon. "Air is a volatile medium, and I do not believe air analyses could be a good way of tracking drug addiction," he says. "Analyses on wastewaters are surely a more reliable survey tool."

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