Poetry Monday: today, “Orpheus descends very high”

Sobriety is arguably the most demanding vein of poetry. Silvia Majerská excels in it from her first collection, Morning on the sun. The young author (born in 1984 in Slovakia) deploys almost white texts in their radical simplicity. From poem to poem, we pick up formulas that strike by their strange clarity. “I still don’t understand / the dialogue between the trees and the sun.” Further: “Nobody cares / what the wind thinks.”

We must accept that we do not understand everything about the precise meaning of Majerská’s texts. They conjure up strong images that literally speak for themselves. While taking note of the impossibility of language to really embrace reality: “If I had two mouths like I have two eyes, / maybe I would speak a three-dimensional language.”

Here is one of the poems from the collection.


in Alena

Tree stumps stop at ankle height; inert, the roots no longer bother anyone underground.

The sap that rose to the top of the tree like a muscular monkey evaporates very slowly. It looks like a soul that no one sees fly away and join the clouds, those unsatisfied mourners.

In the rain, someone applies the blue. The white sucks the pigment with the taste of leaves, petals, fruit; nuances populate the task space.

During this time, dressed in simple blue jeans, Orphée descends very high, until you reach the address.

Silvia Majerská, Morning on the sun, ed. the lined dial, 48 pages, 12 €.

Guillaume Lecaplain


Surprise! satellites counted more trees west of the Sahara and the Sahel than previously thought

Data collected by satellites enabled researchers to inventory trees west of the Sahara and the Sahel with a level of detail never equaled over such a large area. And against all odds, they listed more than they had imagined. Soon, thanks to artificial intelligence, the location and size of every tree on Earth can be mapped.

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[EN VIDÉO] Extreme planet: the huarango, a thousand-year-old tree threatened with extinction
This new extract from Peru, Planète Extrême, takes us to the discovery of a very particular tree: the huarango. Accustomed to the lack of water and the hot desert climate, it is now threatened. Discover, in this documentary produced by French Connection Films, one of the most amazing trees in Peru.

Southern Sahara and the Sahel are home to more thantrees previously thought, playing a “crucial role” for the biodiversity and the lives of populations, according to a study published Wednesday in the revue Nature.

The international team of researchers has developed a pattern recognition program by artificial intelligence for count trees with a plant surface of more than three square meters, from more than 11,000 images satellite High Definition.

Over an area of ​​1.3 million km2 (i.e. two and a half times the area of ​​metropolitan France) in the south of the Sahara, the Sahelian strip (semi-arid zone south of desert) and sub-humid areas in Africa from the west, they were able to count more than 1.8 billion trees. Or an average of 13.4 trees per hectare, with a median plant cover of 12 m2.

An astonishing density of trees

This vegetation, certainly sparse, ” plays a crucial role for biodiversity and forecosystem as storage of carbone, food resources and shelter for human and animal populations, note the researchers. Although the total vegetation cover is low, the relatively high density of isolated trees challenges the prevailing idea of desertification dry areas, and even the desert offers a surprising density of trees ».

The density increases as it descends towards the wetter zones in the South, from 0.7 trees per hectare in the “hyper-arid” zones, to 9.9 in the arid zone, 30.1 in the semi-arid zone 47 trees per hectare in a sub-humid zone.

AI to identify every tree on Earth

In addition to this census, the study offers a new method for studying the presence of trees outside dense forest areas, and in particular their possible role in matter of climate change and therefore potentially poverty, through their contribution to the agricultural systems, the authors say.

« This kind of data is very important to establish a base. And in two or ten years, we could repeat the study to see if efforts to revitalize [la végétation] are effective “, Explained in a press release one of the researchers, Jesse Meyer, of the American space agency. Nasa.

The AI ​​technique used further suggests “ that it will soon be possible, within certain limits, to map the location and size of all trees, [une connaissance] fundamental to our understanding ofecology worldwide Said Niall P. Hanan and Julius Anchang of the American University of New Mexico, in an analysis of the study commissioned and published by Nature.

This video allows you to see the scientific work. © NASA

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baby dies after falling from a tree branch, mother is in a coma

Drama last September 8 in Germany. An infant tragically lost his life in the Harz Mountains as he traveled with his mother to a restaurant to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday.

The restaurant was easily accessible by car, but the family had decided to take a walk in the forest before the meal. The 32-year-old mother had taken her son with her in a sling.

But after only 200 meters of walking, a beech branch broke off and fell on the mother and her son. The child died of his injuries in hospital three days later. The mother is in a coma.

The tragedy would have been caused by the extreme drought and the bark beetles raging in the Harz mountains.


Piero Gilardi, foams for future times

There you have it, an exhibition that really sucks! And not only because, precisely, there are peaches, more real than life, fallen in a polyurethane foam undergrowth not far from a lying tree trunk (a thunderstorm will have passed by there). In the world of the Italian Piero Gilardi, born in 1942, inventor in 1965 of “natural rugs” (nature rugs), small shards of hyperrealistic landscapes composed of totally chemical matter, there are apples nestled in shining snow, grapes seeming to flow with dew, bare trees in winter whose branches soar like deer antlers, or a squared nature with sparkling colors, aligned in plexiglass windows, delightful because on the edge of kitsch but totally celebrated. If it inspires enthusiasm despite the artifice, it is because this nature already refers to an archetype, summoning, more than a lived experience, illustrations of children’s stories or animated films, a dreamed and encapsulated nature. , rich and generous, in short, a nature from before the fall. If we disappear completely – or rather, the day when we disappear completely – this is what will remain in memento of our abused ecosystem.


The title of a monographic exhibition held in 2017 at the Maxxi in Rome, “Piero Gilardi: Nature Forever”, thus also reflected the artist’s continued commitment to social and political ecology. to dangle the possibility of an eternal nature, immortalized by this material derived from petroleum. “Art must be part of life, but life being alienated, we must dedicate ourselves to freeing it and de-alienating it”, estimates the Turinese. In the first room of the Michel Rein gallery, in Paris (IIIe), five small circular works made by the artist during the confinement surround a Igloo well-known from 1964, also in polyurethane foam, with all blistered joints. So here is everything that we missed during these few months: a shelter, a Toucan seized in full flight (struck by lightning?), a fluorescent pink seashell at the bottom of the ocean, ears of corn and vines. Everything we have been cut off from, therefore, the crisis being both a cause and an effect of our radical separation from the natural world.

Piero Gilardi, who was associated from its earliest days with the arte povera movement, whose name he quickly rejected, loathing the labels he considered calibrated for the market, interrupted his artistic production in the 1970s to concentrate on collective militant and artistic actions, before returning to “nature rugs” in the 1980s and creating, in 2008, an experimental living art park in Turin, in the middle of an industrial wasteland.


There are in the gallery very present echoes of his activism, huge ears of corn-costumes having been used in anti-GMO demonstrations that we could easily see ourselves put on, right there, or gigantic masks used to caricature well-known politicians. at demonstrations, but on reflection every blade of fake weed spells out its bias clearly. Just sit (yeah, yeah, go for it!) On that big rubbery tree trunk with grooves and knots carbon copies of real ones, Aigues Tortes (2007): immediately, a bird will start to sing. Are we not all part of the same chain of reciprocal reactions, he calls out to us, all inhabitants of the world in the same capacity?

Elisabeth Franck-Dumas

Piero Gilardi From Nature to Art Galerie Michel Rein, 75003. Until October 24.


At the Grand-Colombier, the hornets panic in the peloton

At the old “Rendez-vous des gourmets”, near Millau, the hornets spoil everything and annoy everyone. The boss has tried the traps, the blue light that attracts them the better to grill them, the windows closed even in the middle of summer, he still has not succeeded in containing the treacherous attacks, inside and out. On the terrace, people having a drink suddenly remember that Armagnac contains sugar. Upstairs, guests are asked to enter their room with a bomb. Insecticidal gas erodes four months of life expectancy, but it suppresses that of hornets. At the beginning of September, the boss told us: “We must have a nest somewhere. This is how it is this year. Frankly, we don’t understand. ”

Swarm leader filled

In the Tour de France, it’s the same thing. Too hot a winter? Overripe pears that are good to eat on the tree? A reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field? Jumbo-Visma’s hornets, the black and yellow team, go wild. Yoann Offredo, professional runner and consultant for France Télévisions, soberly declares this Sunday: “They piss me off.” Beside him on the set, “the historian on duty” Franck Ferrand seems very shocked by this vocabulary. The chain launches its advertisement in disaster. The presenter takes the floor again by explaining that Egan Bernal is “human”. Because the outgoing winner of the Tour collapses in the fifteenth stage between Lyon (Rhône) and the Grand Colombier (Ain)? The Team Ineos climber is vulgarly left behind in the mountains, 13 kilometers from the finish, and we have to believe that only suffering makes “human”. But let’s give the real information behind this poor performance: it is still a hornet’s stroke. At that moment, there were five of them getting excited in a peloton of twenty terrified runners.

At the finish line, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (Team UAE-Emirates) sprinted victorious. His compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) jealously defends his yellow jersey, a week before the final arrival in Paris, with 40 seconds ahead of the winner of the day. The swarm leader is happy: “You know, I don’t even have to tell my teammates to put on a steamroller beat. They go very fast, it’s in their nature. ” Thomas Voeckler, another former pro, demands live on France 2 that «la science» looks at the case of Wout Van Aert, a teammate of Primoz Roglic. It was this Belgian rider, hastily labeled a “sprinter”, who eliminated Bernal in the mountains. The language of commentators is barely coded. The special year of the Covid will not have changed anything, the Tour returns to its patterns: a team that rolls outrageously, its leader who rolls outrageously, the suspicion of doping that follows. One would forget that it is the history of the whole Tour which is written in a relationship without nuances dominant-dominated: before Jumbo there was Sky, US Postal, Renault, Molteni, the Italian team, and so many than to make Peugeot cycles at the beginning of the XXe century. Each time, the peloton, a fringe of lovers and followers are sorry. As much about this supremacy as the lack of obvious explanation at first glance.

Hidden in the bushes

As if they suspected something, for fear of a dirty spectacle, brutal, degrading for human dignity, the organizers had chased sensitive souls on the course. Entry prohibited for minors. The three passes were closed to spectators, even when the signs announced them open. The prefect of Ain, a department classified as red in the progression of the pandemic, had decreed a “closed door” in the mountains. Better than leaving from Nice. The national police therefore evacuated the camper vans who had settled in up to a week in advance. Zero quidam at the top of the Grand Colombier. A man holds up a sign in the plain: “We were robbed of the finish.”

Read also “The Tour de France makes and breaks careers, and even men”

Ascent of the Selle de Fromentel and the Col de la Biche: naughty cyclophiles are hiding in the forest. A gendarme passes by on a motorcycle? They enter a bush. The caravan arrives with a cart in the shape of a giant melon? Hands protrude from the thickets to receive gifts. A clandestine remarks: “It’s silly to keep us from going up and piling up with thousands of people down there.” After the film on the nudist hunt in Saint-Tropez, the constabulary is really chasing the spectators of the Tour de France. Kilometer 146, in the village of Mieugy, two gendarmes want to intercept a man who is training by bike two hours before the runners pass. This is David Brailsford, the manager of Team Ineos. “Sorry, sir, you have to stop.” The bikers end up letting it circulate. Brailsford bredouille, in French: “I’ve never seen that.”

Pierre Carrey special envoy on the Tour route


And in the “Middle” flows green

It is an understatement to say that Middle-earth is a paradise for dendrology, the science of trees. Chètes or Serretronc woods, Gray, Black or Fangorn forest… The territory born of the fertile brain of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is riddled with cellulose. This afforestation owes nothing to chance: the professor of Old English had an immoderate love for plants. The very last photograph of the author of the Lord of the Rings was taken in the botanical garden of the University of Oxford. We see an old man smiling, his right hand friendly pressed against the bark of a huge Pinus (black pine), his favorite.

To adapt the novel’s greenery to the cinema, director Peter Jackson has searched New Zealand, his native archipelago, in search of vegetal settings worthy of Tolkien’s imagination. He found them in the forest of Snowdon, among the silver beeches and the crown ferns which will embody on the screen the forest of Fangorn; or in Kaitoke Park, a luxuriant forest as abundantly irrigated by generous skies north of Wellington, the capital. Umbrella fern, New Zealand red beech and kāmahi, an endemic shrub with pink or white buds, flourish there.


However, Middle-earth cannot be satisfied with such a real flora. Far more exotic species inhabit the legendary Tolkienesque. Take a look at the mallorn, with its smooth, silvery bark. Its green, silver or golden foliage depending on the season, is marcescent (it wilts on the plant without detaching from it). In spring, its yellow flowers bloom in clusters.

In the Valinor region, you can admire two sacred trees, baptized by the natives Telperion and Laurelin. The first offers, on a smooth trunk, a thick crown and a tortuous foliage. Its leaves, milky white on their underside, are sagittate (they take the shape of a spearhead). Linger under its cover: it is bathed in a silvery light. The second has a similar silhouette but sports variegated foliage, this time animated by the golden. Let us also quote the White Tree, an ornamental essence observable in the region of Gondor, and whose subtle fragrance of flowers attracts many curious.


Finally, an excursion to Middle-earth would be incomplete without a detour through Fangorn where one of the star species of the trilogy can be observed: the Ents. If the taxonomic debate is not closed (are they really trees?), These gigantic, slow and mobile beings display obvious sylvan attributes: gnarled skin, branched limbs and shrubby hair. Be careful, do not annoy these “tree shepherds”. The memorable scene of the last march of the Ents – inspired by the moving forest of Macbeth – showed that they knew, in case of danger, to transform into rough combatants.

Benjamin Leclercq

TOMORROW: a new series, Les amantes


Search for human fossils, how is that what it is? | Science

Spaniards have an attitude somewhat reluctant to recognize the benefits generated by the scientific culture. Since the already classic “create other”, to the incredulity of the average citizen that question and asks us: “… and that you do, what is it?”. Collectively, we don’t have very clear the need to invest in basic research.

With funds from the call Explores Science of the Ministry that is dedicated to the promotion of science in Spain, whose acronym mutate faster than the mitochondrial DNA, we have initiated a research project in the heart of the rainforests of central Africa, in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. From here our gratitude to the institutions scientific-technical ecuatoguineanas for their essential logistic support.

We seek to answer the question of what was the original ecosystem where did the bipedal locomotion, the human trait par excellence. We want to know where and how it is produced the transformation of a few apes that left its life in the trees and started walking across the floor making use exclusively of the legs. What was right Darwin when he predicted that the remains of our ancestors prehumanos should be found in regions where they live today, the great african apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees?

Paradoxically, all of the documentation fossil on the evolution of homininos previous two million years comes from the east and south of Africa, and almost nothing we know what happened with apes and humans that inhabited the rainforests of the Congo and gulf of Guinea in the past million years. The unexplored of these areas, linked to the unlikely preservation of organic remains in the soils of these forests, has been the almost total absence of records paleontological. Therefore, any record archaeological-paleontological that we could find in these areas will represent a considerable advance in our knowledge of human evolution. It is there where you can join our project. Following the custom socratic of “know thyself”, new evidence would help us in the company know how we have travelled that long evolutionary path dotted with complex processes, local extinctions, adaptations, genetic drift and hybridization between species. In summary, it would serve to know more of the human nature.

What was right Darwin when he predicted that the remains of our ancestors pre-human should be found in regions where they live today, the great african apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees?

And beyond that, discover prehistoric bones in the heart of the jungles of equatorial and subsequent analysis would help us to generate knowledge in such a wide frame and interconnected that we call culture. In the tension of the economic interest between the material and the cultural, the story reveals a single equation: the more you know greater well-being and thus greater longevity. Simply because some realized that the ignorance and cultural prejudices, the bondage of the soul, impoverish and shorten the lives without us apercibamos. But in addition, the story also provides us with clear examples of the possible material benefits generated by the research basic paleontological.

Let’s look at an example. For decades, the discovery of new remains neanderthals could be considered an act of playfulness devoid of all useful material. Years later, the advancement of molecular biology, put in the head of a few visionaries with the ability to extract DNA from those bones, the same that in the eyes of some not useful for anything. Today we know that human beings present us hibridamos with the human species, archaic (discovered only thanks to the paleontological research) and that those species which are today extinct, we transferred some of their genes; a good part of the readers of these lines have in their chromosomes a 2% DNA neanderthal. Well, possibly a knowledge playful. But it turns out that in addition to those genes affect our lives, expressed in our body and determine part of our biology, and pathology. There is already an entire branch of biomedical science that is clarifying the way in which the inheritance of those fossils determines our state of health. A derivative of the paleontology…

From a utilitarianism of short-term, it is possible to investigate about the fossils have little value. However, thanks to them we face the depth of geological time and the timescales in which the unfolding of the story. Ultimately the reality in which we live, our being evolutionary, it is but a mosaic of realities overlap each from a different time. The fossil bones lost in the jungles serve the effort of composing the mosaic of who we are.

Antonio Rosas it is Group director of Paleoanthropology at the National Museum of Natural sciences, CSIC.


Pedal, you will have cheese – Culture / Next

Animated photo Emmanuel Pierrot for Liberation

If at 50 you didn’t make hay, you missed your life. Haymaking has always been our Rolex. Walking between the swaths of cut grass after the mower has passed is a luxury that cannot be calculated beyond the jewels of Place Vendôme. Remembering our first boots hoisted into the hayloft with a fork and a kidney is precious as evoking a first date. Especially afterwards, we were entitled to a glass of fresh cerdon, this sparkling raspberry color, a nugget of Bugey.

Wild asparagus

We said it all on Sunday while contemplating a high-tech team, giant tractor and robotic machine that manipulates you hay like in the factory to make balls swaddled in plastic like lives in latex. But there remains the inimitable fragrance of cut hay that we flush from the recesses of the plains to the tops of the alpine pastures passing through meadows lost between the hedges of the hedgerow. The other day, it was in a happy valley where we had gone to flush out the wild asparagus. The hay perfumed the silent banks of a lazy river, eden of fly fishermen and rebellious and tormented acacias, crumbling under their clusters of white flowers, heavy scent, promises of delicious donuts.


After the haymaking time in late spring will come, later, that of resumption, sometimes abundant, sometimes disappointing, unpredictable like the vagaries of summer. One evening, at dusk, its too rich fragrance made us turn our heads, like a brunette without a filter, below the summit of La Tournette (2,351 meters) in Haute-Savoie. We sat on a murger eaten by an insolent bush of wild raspberries listening to the sound of cow bells.

Tired saddle

It is a particularly favorable condition for tasting the happiness of cut hay. That of the cyclist traversing the countryside. We’re not talking to you about the hurried athlete clinging to his carbon 3.0 machine, wrapped in electronics to count his kilometers and scanning his route. No, we are talking about the indolent peking perched on an old nail with wheels veiled by age and of which the tired saddle bakes the foundation. He canoes nose to the wind on the country roads. As lost in thought as in the contents of his old rusty box repairing punctures. He often has the shortness of breath of never repenting smokers and sometimes the sweat of the memory of his hangovers. But he has a stomach. The bike takes him on marauding trails, just to fill a bag of porcini mushrooms, to bite into the hazelnut, to swallow a handful of wild strawberries. He also pedaled like at the time of the refueling to an isolated farm which is a promise of goat droppings, fresh eggs to make a bloated omelet and white cheese where the chives and fresh onion will be cut.

Bike & cheese

This velocipedist will have enough to chew his hock and fill his taste buds this summer while smelling the scent of cut grass. He should be able (at the time of writing, the Covid-19 still imposes the conditional but cross his fingers on the handlebars) to take one of the 87 “Bicycle & cheese” routes marked out in 45 departments to discover a thousand sites cheese makers: farms, ripening cellars, markets, cheese creamers, etc. This project was born a year ago under the leadership of the Assembly of French Departments (ADF), the National Interprofessional Center for Dairy Economy (Cniel), ADN Tourisme and Vélo & Territoires. From Allier to Yonne via Creuse and Mayenne, you will change the platter and the cheeses by going to meet producers who really need them after the damage of a virus to which we prefer a trillion times the presence of artisons, these mites that eat away at the crust of old tommes. There will be something for all tastes and all pedals since the promoters of “Vélo & fromages” have imagined hikes with variable regimes. Cycle tourists and fine beaks will be able to take the 6.9 km of “La Vélo Francette Airvault-St-Loup-sur-Thouet” in Deux-Sèvres; the 238 km of the “Route des Cols des Pyrénées” in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques; the most athletic routes such as “the Sports Loop in Bigorre” in the Hautes-Pyrénées; family walks such as the “Plaine du Comtat Arbre et Patrimoine” in the Hautes-Alpes, passing by “the Circuit of the castles” in the Drôme which offers a 100% organic route.

Come on, just for the good mouth, we are already salivating at the idea of ​​pedaling in Haute-Savoie, from the shores of Lake Annecy to the farm inn of Corbassières, above La Clusaz where we can taste the house reblochon while contemplating the Aravis range.

We found a recipe for “Savoy Spinach Emmental Cake” which gives pride of place to cheese and vegetables in Savoyard cuisine (1).

For four people, you need 300 grams of spinach; 1 garlic clove; 20 grams of butter; 10 centilitres of fresh cream; 250 grams of sheep’s yogurt; 2 eggs ; 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; 100 grams of grated Savoy Emmental cheese; 2 tablespoons chopped chervil; salt and pepper.

Tail, wash and wring the spinach. Brown them in the butter for five minutes, stirring regularly. Salt, pepper, add the cream and mix. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt. Whisk in the cornflour, the emmental and the chervil, then the spinach. Salt and pepper.

Pour the preparation into an oiled missed pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

(1) Savoyard cuisine » by Dany Mignotte (ed. Jean-Paul Gisserot, 5 euros, 2018)

Jacky durand