Category Archives: Educational

California’s water crisis ~ Alarming prediction!

1-CALIFORNIA WATER CRISIS

These Maps of California’s Water Shortage Are Terrifying

California's water shortage

The following was posted on savethewater.org, by Tom Philpott, Oct. 30, 2014.

Just how bad is California’s water shortage? Really, really bad, according to these new maps, which represent groundwater withdrawals in California during the first three years of the state’s ongoing and epochal drought:

The maps come from a new paper in Nature Climate Change by NASA water scientist James Famiglietti. “California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins have lost roughly 15 cubic kilometers of total water per year since 2011,” he writes. That’s “more water than all 38 million Californians use for domestic and municipal supplies annually—over half of which is due to groundwater pumping in the Central Valley.”

Famiglietti uses satellite data to measure how much water people are sucking out of the globe’s aquifers, and summarized his research in his new paper.

FARMER IN FIELDMore than 2 billion people rely on water pumped from aquifers as their primary water source, Famiglietti writes. Known as groundwater (as opposed to surface water, the stuff that settles in lakes and flows in streams and rivers), it’s also the source of at least half the irrigation water we rely on to grow our food. When drought hits, of course, farmers rely on groundwater even more, because less rain and snow means less water flowing above ground.

The lesson Famiglietti draws from satellite data is chilling: “Groundwater is being pumped at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished, so that many of the largest aquifers on most continents are being mined, their precious contents never to be returned.”

The Central Valley boasts some of the globe’s fastest-depleting aquifers—but by no means the fastest overall. Indeed, it has a rival here in the United States. The below graphic represents depletion rates at some of the globe’s largest aquifers, nearly all of which Famiglietti notes, “underlie the world’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.”

CHART TO CROP

The navy-blue line represents the Ogallala aquifer—a magnificent water resource now being sucked dry to grow corn in the US high plains. Note that it has quietly dropped nearly as much as the Central Valley’s aquifers (yellow line) over the past decade. The plunging light-blue line represents the falling water table in Punjab, India’s breadbasket and the main site of that irrigation-intensive agricultural “miracle” known as the Green Revolution, which industrialized the region’s farm fields starting in the 1960s. The light-green line represents China’s key growing region, the north plain. Its relatively gentle fall may look comforting, but the water table there has been dropping steadily for years.

groundwater supplyAll of this is happening with very little forethought or regulation. Unlike underground oil, underground water draws very little research on how much is actually there. We know we’re siphoning it away faster than it can be replaced, but we have little idea of how long we can keep doing so, Famiglietti writes. He adds, though, that if current trends hold, “groundwater supplies in some major aquifers will be depleted in a matter of decades.” As for regulation, it’s minimal across the globe. In most places, he writes, there’s a “veritable groundwater ‘free for all': property owners who can afford to drill wells generally have unlimited access to groundwater.”

And the more we pump, the worse things get. As water tables drop, wells have to go deeper into the earth, increasing pumping costs. What’s left tends to be high in salts, which inhibit crop yields and can eventually cause soil to lose productivity altogether. Eventually, “inequity issues arise because only the relatively wealthy can bear the expense of digging deeper wells, paying greater energy costs to pump groundwater from increased depths and treating the lower-quality water that is often found deeper within aquifers,” Famiglietti writes—a situation already playing out in California’s Central Valley, where some low-income residents have seen their wells go dry. In a reporting trip to the southern part of the Central Valley this past summer, I saw salt-caked groves with wan, suffering almond trees—the result of irrigation with salty water pumped from deep in the aquifer.

All of this is taking place in a scenario of rapid climate change and steady population growth—so we can expect steeper droughts and more demand for water. Famiglietti’s piece ends with a set of recommendations for bringing the situation under control: Essentially, let’s carefully measure the globe’s groundwater and treat it like a precious resource, not a delicious milkshake to casually suck down to the dregs. In the meantime, Famiglietti warns, “further declines in groundwater availability may well trigger more civil uprising and international violent conflict in the already water-stressed regions of the world, and new conflict in others.”

http://savethewater.org/maps-californias-water-shortage-terrifying/

Related link ~ http://yournewswire.com/global-collapse-coming-from-groundwater-supply-depletion-nasa/

Shrimpercise ~ Wha-what???

1-SHRIMPERCISE

As you’ve come to expect my Friday blogs usually deal with humorous, inspiring, bizarre, puzzling, etc. topics and this one is right up there!

What a shrimp treadmill can teach us about science funding b

The following viral (1,926, 006 views) Youtube video, “Shrimp Running On A Treadmill With The Benny Hill Theme” was posted in 2006  

When you picture the extravagancies of government spending, what do you see? If your answer is “a tiny marine crustacean jogging in place,” then your memory is a weird place — in 2011, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (Republican, duh) made some fuss about science grants awarded by the NSF to various projects, deemed by him to be “wasteful.”

Among those Coburn singled out, including the entirety of the search for extraterrestrial life and a robot that can fold laundry, was a project at the Grice Marine Laboratory at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. Coburn complained that the lab had received 12 separate grants from the National Science Foundation, for a total of $3 million … though, to be fair, this was over 10 YEARS of work.

Last week, David Scholnick, a biologist from Pacific University, slowly jogged back with his rejoinder — we can only assume with his legs and arms and miscellaneous appendages flailing. It may have taken three years, but it was worth the wait: “My name is David, and I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill — a burden I will forever carry.”

A burden we all must carry, Dave! Scholnick points out that reports — including a gibe from Forbes and a commercial from the AARP — of the $3 million treadmill price tag are just flat-out wrong. While it’s not chump change, a couple of million is reasonable for a decade worth of lab expenses — but the treadmill itself, he estimates, cost about $47 in spare parts. And he paid for those himself.

What’s more, the shrimp weren’t just experiencing the benefits of cardiovascular exercise for the heck of it, says Scholnick:
S[hr]imply put, my colleagues and I were studying how recent changes in the oceans could potentially affect the ability of marine organisms to fight infections — an important question, given that the amount of bacteria a shrimp is able remove from its body is directly related to how much bacteria could potentially end up on seafood-filled plates. And since shrimp are active animals in nature, it was logical to study the immune response of shrimp during activity.
In an era of public skepticism about the basic tenets of the scientific method, Scholnick’s defense of his shrimpy research stands as a defense of science in general:
In science, it is often necessary to develop creative solutions to complex problems. How do you get active marine animals to move naturally in a laboratory setting? How do marine animals fight off the glut of pathogens they are exposed to in the harsh environments where they live? These are not simple questions, there are no easy solutions, and they require an enormous amount of time and effort to answer.

Amelia thinks, “With such symbolic weight to carry, this little shrimp deserves a more dignified anthem – here’s the Grist remix:” and so ended her article with the following:

link ~ http://grist.org/news/what-a-shrimp-treadmill-can-teach-us-about-science-funding/

Have a great weekend.

TURKEY

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the U.S.A.

“You can’t catch stupid?” ~ Don’t drink the water!!

1-CATCH STUPID

The following article, “The Virus That Could Be Making You Dumber” by Carl Engelking was posted Nov. 10th this year on Discover’s web site.

You may have heard the saying, “You can’t catch stupid” – meant to console you that idiocy is not contagious. But, as it turns out, in a small way it might be.

GUNPOWDER RIVER

LAKE ROLAND DAMScientists have discovered that a foreign virus in some peoples’ throats parallels with those individuals’ poorer cognitive performance. And when mice are given this virus, previously thought to only infect algae, they were slower to learn a maze.


LAKE ROLANDSurprise Virus

Scientists stumbled on their discovery while collecting throat swab samples from people to assemble a virome – a genetic profile of all the viruses circulating through our bodies. During the analysis, researchers were surprised to find DNA of chlorella virus ATCV-1, a virus common in aquatic environments but not thought to infect humans or animals.

IMAGE2What’s more, the virus was common: It was detected in 40 out of the 92 participants. It didn’t appear that age, sex, race or any other external factors affected a person’s chance of harboring the virus.

Here’s a Youtube video, “Scientists Accidentally Discover A ‘Stupidity Virus’ “, published on Nov 12, 2014 on this topic. 

Dumbed Down
DRUID HILL PARKFortunately for researchers, their original experiment included standardized tests to measure participants’ visual processing and motor skills. So, with the new variable – ATCV-1 – in the forefront, scientists switched gears to examine whether the newly discovered virus affected cognitive performance. And they found it did: people infected with the virus performed significantly worse on cognitive tests than did their uninfected counterparts.

CASCADE LAKEThat warranted further study, so researchers then tested how the virus affected mice. They infected 30 mice with ATCV-1 and put them through a series of maze tests. These mice took much longer to explore a novel maze setup than mice in the control group, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Mind Control
BALTIMORE HARBOR ALGAEATCV-1 is common in most inland waters such as those around Baltimore, where the study was conducted. Therefore, exposure to the virus is probably common, but why some people acquire infection while others don’t is still unknown. Answering this question, researchers say, will guide future studies on ATCV-1.

PATTISON PARKIn the meantime, it’s a fascinating and freaky example of how microbes can mess with our brains. Robert Yolken, the virologist who led the study, told The Independent,“This is a striking example showing that the ‘innocuous’ microorganisms we carry can affect behavior and cognition.”                

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/11/10/virus-could-be-making-you-dumber/

Glass Harp Music – Amazing!

1-GLASS HARP

Some of our readers missed this blog first time around and I’ve added a 2nd video ~ a very uplifting and relaxing musical experience!  We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  Make certain you watch the 2nd selection in the 1st video ~ what dexterity!!!

Absolutely beautiful describes the glass harp music of the Szafraniec couple from Gdansk, Poland.
“…What kind of emotion does a glass harp evoke, when it is listened to for the first time?
What revolution is experienced by the ear, which attempts to find associations with those tones? What we try to capture, wanders somewhere at the verge of our ideas of angelic music, a mythical world, and instruments which sound only in our dreams…”

Glass Duo performs  “Morning Mood” and “Anitra’s Dance” by E.Grieg at the Basilica di Santo Stefano in Bologna, Italy  mesmerizing!    

In this 2nd video Glass Duo performs with the world famous Sinfonia Varsovia to play Sting’s “Fragile” ~ stunning!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptrxro5PCas
ANNA & ARKADIUSZ SZAFRANIEC
Gdansk – Poland
e-mail: glassduo@glassduo.com

Their home page has a You Tube icon for many other gorgeous selections.

Watching these top notch performers is a  great way
to unwind after a long work week.

WATER DROPLET1_FOR BLOG ICON      Have a great weekend everyone!

Remembrance Day Canada ~ Standing Strong & True!

I’ve decided to add this 2010 Youtube music video, “Standing Strong & True (For Tomorrow)” to a previous blog as it reflects our young men and women in the Canadian Forces facing more recent conflicts on our behalf.  The song lyrics and the performing  Canadian artists are impressive.  “Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow),” is an all-star Canadian country single dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers and their families.

link for “Standing Strong and True” lyrics ~

http://www.metrolyrics.com/standing-strong-and-true-lyrics-various-artists.html

“In a war, everyone suffers…
never let it happen again.”

Music played an important role in the lives of Canadian soldiers. It also plays an integral part of The War Amps military heritage documentaries.

Accompanied by archival war footage and period photographs, several well-known Canadian musicians have used their talents to create beautiful and touching songs. The songs recall the sadness of families separated during wartime, as well as the courage and heroism of the Canadian troops who volunteered to go off to war.

“War is not heroics nor is it pride
It’s a shame to lose all those precious lives
Life is too short. We could love for so long
                                 Where’s the glory? NEVER AGAIN!”
Please see below for composer’s photo and short bio. 

YouTube video, “Never Again The War Amps

Sun Media photographer Pete Fisher presents a video tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers ~ uploaded by on Jan 1, 2009.   It warms my heart to see that 351,228 viewers have watched this video. 

I, along with thousands of other Canadian families, suffered the loss of loved ones during WWI.  My father served in WW1 and was gassed in the Battle of Ypres, France.  He died as a direct result years later.  (See footnote with details of this battle).  It’s so very heart warming to witness the obvious heartfelt gratitude and thanks expressed for fallen members of our Canadian Military as people turn out by the thousands to honor our fallen as they make their journey home, along the Highway of Heroes, to their final resting place.

YouTube video, “Highway of Heroes Tribute” ~

Links ~

http://www.waramps.ca/military/resource_kit.html 

Robin Moir is the composer of the song in the video, “Never Again”.  Robin is a writer, producer, director who began her career as a singer/songwriter spending many years performing concerts across Canada and the USA. In 1967 she performed for Queen Elizabeth II on July 1st during Canada’s centennial celebrations on Parliament Hill. In the late 1970s, she was nominated for a Juno Award for Best New Female Vocalist.  We were very fortunate to have Robin sing her memorable song at our Remembrance Day Service at church a number of years ago with my choir.

This is a time of grateful remembering. We are grateful for the privilege of living in this great country of ours complete with its many freedoms. We remember with grateful hearts, those who fought so valiantly so that we might enjoy these freedoms and live at peace. Many paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. To them we say “Thank you. We will never forget you.” To the families of those who fought and lost, please know that we will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

I leave you with a very moving video/music uploaded to YouTube by on Oct 26, 2010, “Remembrance Day Canada (‘Soldiers Cry’ by Roland Majeau)”.

Please read the story behind the video on YouTube.

Footnote ~ Information from Wikipaedia ~  (In the First Battle of Ypres (12 October to 11 November 1914), the Allies captured the town from the Germans. The Germans had used tear gas at the Battle of Bolimov on 3 January 1915. Their use of poison gas for the first time the on 22 April 1915 marked the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres, which continued until 25 May 1915. They captured high ground east of the town. The first gas attack occurred against Canadian, British, and French soldiers; including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. The gas used was chlorine. Mustard gas, also called Yperite from the name of this city, was also used for the first time near Ypres, in the autumn of 1917.   Ruins of Ypres -1919.  Of the battles, the largest, best-known, and most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele), in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC, and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After months of fighting, this battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only a few miles of ground won by Allied forces. During the course of the war the town was all but obliterated by the artillery fire.)

Remembrance Day Canada – Standing Strong & True!

I’ve decided to add this 2010 Youtube music video, “Standing Strong & True (For Tomorrow)” to a previous blog as it reflects our young men and women in the Canadian Forces facing more recent conflicts on our behalf.  The song lyrics and the performing  Canadian artists are impressive.  “Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow),” is an all-star Canadian country single dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers and their families.

link for “Standing Strong and True” lyrics ~

http://www.metrolyrics.com/standing-strong-and-true-lyrics-various-artists.html

“In a war, everyone suffers…
never let it happen again.”

Music played an important role in the lives of Canadian soldiers. It also plays an integral part of The War Amps military heritage documentaries.

Accompanied by archival war footage and period photographs, several well-known Canadian musicians have used their talents to create beautiful and touching songs. The songs recall the sadness of families separated during wartime, as well as the courage and heroism of the Canadian troops who volunteered to go off to war.

“War is not heroics nor is it pride
It’s a shame to lose all those precious lives
Life is too short. We could love for so long
                                 Where’s the glory? NEVER AGAIN!”
Please see below for composer’s photo and short bio. 

YouTube video, “Never Again The War Amps

Sun Media photographer Pete Fisher presents a video tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers ~ uploaded by on Jan 1, 2009.   It warms my heart to see that 351,228 viewers have watched this video. 

I, along with thousands of other Canadian families, suffered the loss of loved ones during WWI.  My father served in WW1 and was gassed in the Battle of Ypres, France.  He died as a direct result years later.  (See footnote with details of this battle).  It’s so very heart warming to witness the obvious heartfelt gratitude and thanks expressed for fallen members of our Canadian Military as people turn out by the thousands to honor our fallen as they make their journey home, along the Highway of Heroes, to their final resting place.

YouTube video, “Highway of Heroes Tribute” ~

Links ~

http://www.waramps.ca/military/resource_kit.html 

Robin Moir is the composer of the song in the video, “Never Again”.  Robin is a writer, producer, director who began her career as a singer/songwriter spending many years performing concerts across Canada and the USA. In 1967 she performed for Queen Elizabeth II on July 1st during Canada’s centennial celebrations on Parliament Hill. In the late 1970s, she was nominated for a Juno Award for Best New Female Vocalist.  We were very fortunate to have Robin sing her memorable song at our Remembrance Day Service at church a number of years ago with my choir.

This is a time of grateful remembering. We are grateful for the privilege of living in this great country of ours complete with its many freedoms. We remember with grateful hearts, those who fought so valiantly so that we might enjoy these freedoms and live at peace. Many paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. To them we say “Thank you. We will never forget you.” To the families of those who fought and lost, please know that we will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

I leave you with a very moving video/music uploaded to YouTube by on Oct 26, 2010, “Remembrance Day Canada (‘Soldiers Cry’ by Roland Majeau)”.

Please read the story behind the video on YouTube.

Footnote ~ Information from Wikipaedia ~  (In the First Battle of Ypres (12 October to 11 November 1914), the Allies captured the town from the Germans. The Germans had used tear gas at the Battle of Bolimov on 3 January 1915. Their use of poison gas for the first time the on 22 April 1915 marked the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres, which continued until 25 May 1915. They captured high ground east of the town. The first gas attack occurred against Canadian, British, and French soldiers; including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. The gas used was chlorine. Mustard gas, also called Yperite from the name of this city, was also used for the first time near Ypres, in the autumn of 1917.   Ruins of Ypres -1919.  Of the battles, the largest, best-known, and most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele), in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC, and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After months of fighting, this battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only a few miles of ground won by Allied forces. During the course of the war the town was all but obliterated by the artillery fire.)

Reshaping Florida’s Kissimee River

1-KISSIMMEE RIVER

Kissimmee: River of Dreams, Part 1 of 3 – Youtube video published on Jul 13, 2012  . This 27-minute documentary from 1997 was produced for the South Florida Water Management District.

The Kissimmee River Basin extends from Orlando southward to Lake Okeechobee. The largest source of surface water to Lake Okeechobee, this basin is about 105 miles long and has a maximum width of 35 miles. The Kissimmee River was originally a 103-mile-long shallow, meandering river that was reconfigured in the 1960s into a 56-mile-long canal (renamed C-38) for flood control. As a result, about 40,000 to 50,000 acres of floodplain marsh disappeared, resulting in a significant loss of habitat for wading birds and other aquatic animals, and in a loss of the natural nutrient-filtering effects of these wetlands.  The 15-year restoration project, initiated in 1999, is repairing the river and its floodplain by increasing water storage in the upper Kissimmee Basin, backfilling 22 miles of the C-38 Canal, recarving nine miles of river channel, removing two water control structures, and removing floodplain levees. The backfilling of the C-38 Canal and restoration of Kissimmee River are one of Florida’s great watershed restoration success stories.

Part 1 of 3 

Part 2 of 3 

 Part 3 of 3

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-is-florida-reshaping-an-entire-river.html