Every day Document has an agenda: news from the under read corners of the world, and the web, that might not end up crossing your path. Discoveries, curiosities, essential cultural dispatches—with this information, go forth.



The World

In one hundred years in time, the wetlands of the West Coast may be forever lost to rising sea levels.

By 2110, all the coastal marshlands surrounding California and Oregon may be underwater, according to a piece of research published in the journal Science Advances. For the study, scientists used a first-of-its-kind comprehensive scenario to evaluate the impact of rising sea levels on horizontal and vertical landscape across the West Coast region. The results were staggering. Of the high and middle-marsh habitats in California and Oregon, 100 percent would be underwater in a 100 years’ time. Same goes for a majority of wetlands in Washington State.

“Accelerating rates of sea-level rise threaten the long-term sustainability of valuable tidal ecosystems. Coastal ecosystems, including tidal wetlands, protect human communities from storm surges and sea-levelr rise, helping to ameliorate approximately 23.2 billion U.S.$/year of damage along the U.S. Atlantic and Southern coastlines alone. They also provide other critical ecosystem services such as endangered species and fisheries habitat, carbon sequestration, water filtration, and sediment trapping.”


The Mind

A childhood spent in nature may mean your brain is more fully developed.

Researchers have discovered that exposure to trees, wildlife—the very great outdoors—during childhood may help brain development. At a school in Barcelona, Spain, 253 children took part in research to determine the impact of childhood environments on brain development. Children surrounded by more green space tend to display larger volumes of white and grey matter in certain areas of the brain. And this, while it may sound bad, is a very, very good thing.

“‘This is the first study that evaluates the association between long-term exposure to green space and brain structure,’ says Dr. Payam Dadvand, ISGlobal researcher and leading author of the study. ‘Our findings suggest that exposure to greenspace early in life could result in beneficial structural changes in the brain.'”


The Future

Microorganisms have been discovered in the driest desert on the planet. Does this mean there can be life on Mars? 

In a remote corner of South America’s Atacama Desert, a group of international scientists has been trying to find out if there is life on Mars. In the driest region of this desert, where months pass without any rain, researchers have newly discovered signs of life, which begs the question of other barren landscapes (like, Mars) being habitable for microorganisms.

“‘It has always fascinated me to go to the places where people don’t think anything could possibly survive and discover that life has somehow found a way to make it work,’ planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch said. ‘Jurassic Park references aside, our research tells us that if life can persist in Earth’s driest environment there is a good chance it could be hanging in there on Mars in a similar fashion.'”



Found on a metro bus outside of Paris: a missing Degas painting.   

After being stolen from a museum in Marseille nearly eight year ago, a painting by the impressionist Edgar Degas was recently recovered by French customs agents in the luggage compartment of a bus.  Agents in the Marne-la-Vallee region near Paris were surprised to find a painting bearing the signature “Degas” inside a suitcase. The missing Degas was “Les Choristes” (“The Chorus Singers”), worth nearly $1 million, which depicts a scene from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni. The head of the Musée d’Orsay said the recovery was a “relief.”

“We had not heard about it since 2009 and we had all the reasons to be worried about its fate,” she said, adding that the painting did not appear to have been damaged.”



In Finland, debris from the Nazi occupation litters the landscape, yet cleaning up this dark legacy has never been considered. 

Between 1941-1944, German’s held the frontline in northern Finland. At the height of their presence, German troops outnumbered locals, and their legacy has had a profound impact on the way its indiginous peoples perceive their culture. Today, still,  the landscape is littered with discarded tractors, gun carriages and motorboats along with bottles of alcohol, canned food, and personal effects. The Finnish have traditionally distanced themselves from the Nazi troops during the Second World War, but archeologists have recently reported that by neglecting their impact on the landscape, they run the risk of silencing marginalized communities such as the Sámi.

“‘The differences between approaches to German relics from the Second World War seem to originate from fundamental differences between world views and the manners in which landscape is interpreted,’ says archaeologist Oula Seitsonen. ‘Those who advocate clearing Lapland’s environment of “war junk” appear to perceive the subject from a ‘western’ perspective, drawing a line between “nature” and “culture.” This viewpoint also labels the historical cultural landscape of the region as empty, natural wilderness, whereas the northern concept of nature does not differentiate between “nature” and “culture.” Instead, landscape with its various layers forms a whole that ties together the past, the present and the future.'”