Tag Archives: Orleans

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!

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

Win a trip to Kennedy Space Center

IMAGE3

MAGAZINE LOGOAstronomy Magazine & Kennedy Space Center Sweepstakes —
Total Prize Value: $6,425!

Win round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for four including a behind-the-scenes tour, lunch with an astronaut, and a meteorite collectible.
Open only to residents of the USA and Canada (except Quebec).

CENTER4  CENTER1    CENTER5

HURRY! Enter Sweepstakes
– before November 30th.

http://sciencecontests.secondstreetapp.com/Win-a-trip-to-the-Kennedy-Space-Center/Enter

IMAGE1Each year, more than 1.4 million guests from around the world experience their own space adventure by exploring the past, present and future of America’s space program at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This Visitor Complex opened on August 1, 1967 in response to public interest and demand to see our space program up close. This was at the time NASA was preparing to launch the first astronauts to the moon. In 1995 Delaware North Parks and Resorts, Inc. began managing the 70-acre facility. They have redeveloped and enhanced this facility to make it one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. KSC visitor complex offers IMAX films, live shows, hands-on-activities, behind the scenes tours, lunch with an astronaut, and its newest attraction, The Shuttle Launch Experience. The facility offers great shopping, dining, education programs, and sometimes even launches, and it is entirely self-supported. It receives no taxpayer or government funding.

CENTER5Excellent overview of Center link ~ http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/feature/KennedySpaceCenter-122607.cfm

Good luck to all who enter.

Have a scare-riffic Halloween and great weekend!

 fireghost FIREY LETTERS

Colorado River ~ most endangered U.S. river

1-COLORADO RIVER BESTThe following Youtube video was published on Apr 16, 2013 by Pete McBride.

The Colorado River is a lifeline in the desert, its water sustaining tens of millions of people in seven states, as well as endangered fish and wildlife. However, demand on the river’s water now exceeds its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea.

Alexandra Cousteau says, “With the ongoing drought in the West, this beautiful short film really hits home how fragile our water really is.”

It runs through seven states, nourishes nearly four million acres of farmland, and has flowed for more than six million years, yet the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water for thirty-six million people, is the most endangered river in America.

The following Youtube video, “The Colorado River in peril” by GeoBeats News, was published on Apr 22, 2013

The Colorado River was named the most endangered waterway in the US by American Rivers, a US environmental protection organization. They cited overuse, drought, and outdated management as its top threats. American Rivers’ president Bob Irvin said, “The Colorado River…is so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea.” The waterway runs through seven states and into Mexico. It supports the daily needs of 36 million people and the irrigation of the 4 million acres of land that produce 15 percent of the nations crops. Local flora and fauna (1,5,1) and a large recreational industry also rely on its well-being.

Link – excellent in-depth background on topic ~ 

link for Keep the Colorado Flowing ~

http://www.americanrivers.org/newsroom/resources/colorado-river-americas-most-endangered-river-2013/