Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Vast Underground Reservoir.

Scientists have found a vast lake underneath the surface of Mars, a big breakthrough in the search for alien life.  This is the first time a sable water supply has been detected on Mars, resolving decade old discussions if there is any water at all..because if no water then no life.

The vast lake lies underneath Mar’s southern pole and stretches 20 km across. Long ago Mars was a warmer and wetter, with significant bodies of water.

The discovery was found by the Mars Express spacecraft. Radar pulses penetrate the surface and the ice caps on Mars and are measured on their return. The data generated showed a very sharp change of signals from about 1.5 km beneath the surface. The data was compared to that seen beneath the Antarctic and Greenland. The suggestion being that mycobacterial life could live in these extreme condition.

It is even colder on Mars than in the Antarctic or Greenland, making the discovery of liquid water even more amazing. The water itself is probably a briny sludge..the salt being why it is liquid at all.

It remains to be seen if there are more subsurface reservoirs..stay tuned.

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The Water Carriers

The lives of the women and girls in Kakora, Tanzania is transforming due in part to a clean water project funded by Canada.

Many of the women and girls of the local area are water carriers, journeying up to 10 times a day to their water source. They deliver the precious resource that is or was not always clean, but it was all that was available.

One young water carrier, Raphael, has become a water engineer for the regional government. She is part of a team that has installed a water tower in the village of Kakora. in May. Kakora is the first of several more villages in the area that will receive clean water by 2020 through an initiative by the Canadian government.

Raphael wants to change the lives of so many of the women in the region who can not school or work as their days are spent hauling water. A water carrier can spend up to 5 hours a day fetching water. The days starts with a 2 k walk to the water source, fill a 20 litre bucket that weighs 44 lbs, put it on her head,  carry it back to the village, and repeat 4-5 times per day.

The water comes from a pond that is not always clean, but it is the only water available to wash , cook , and bath in. In dry season it might be a 10k oneway trip to a water source, often in the dark where predators are a real issue

Today in Kakora the water tower holds enough water for the 3,000 residents. Women fill up at the local tap, with the hours used for school or work. Cases of water-borne illnesses are diminished, cholera down by 90%.

 

Mussels and Microplastic

New research shows that mussels will readily take in microplastics, but quickly flush them out again.

Man made microplastics are seen through the world’s oceans. The big pieces you can see on the beaches, but the microplastics are everywhere. The most abundant being in fiber form which shed easily from carpets and fleece clothing and such. Their small size makes them edible to marine life as small as zooplankton. Plastic can both directly affect the animals that ingest it, and build up in the animals that feed on them …including humans.

Through lab experiments it was seen that the mussels quickly rejected most of the fibers, quickly coating them with mucus and expelling them. However, one in ten fibers got inside accumulating them in their body tissues. The scientists upon moving the afflicted mussels to clean water noted the mussels  flushed most of the accumulated fiber out of their bodies.

The Amazing Gecko Walks on Water.

Geckos can stick to smooth walls, swing from leaves and skitter along the surface of water…in essence walking on water. By slapping the surface of the water with all for limbs they create surface bubbles and exploit the surface of the water travelling at speeds that can match what they achieve on land.

They should not be able to do this but they can move at almost a meter per second, faster than if they were fully emerged. The front 70% of the geckos body rises up out of the water. Since water is harder to move through than air, this positioning helps the gecko move through the water at about 10.5 body lengths per second.

 

 

Virginia Town Evacuated over Gas in the Watewr Supply.

An unknown gas found in a Virginia Town has prompted evacuation of parts of the town. The Louisa County Sheriff’s office released a statement that says the tested levels don’t represent an explosive risk, but could be a health hazard.

The “do not use” order came out Thursday. It did not apply to those on well. A shopping centre and schools in an area were evacuated. All Louisa schools will be closed Friday.

The water system has to be shut off in order to assist in identifying the gas and the cause of the contamination.

We will water this situation and see where it goes.

El Paso to Drink Treated Sewage

The City of El Paso, Texas live in the middle of the harsh Chihuahuan Desert. Hot and little annual rain. One of its best sources of water is the Rio Grande which can supply up to half the city’s water needs. Climate change is making this supply problematic, the city must look for different sources of water. 700,000 residents, businesses, and agriculture need to ware…so what to do?

El Paso is slated to be one of the first large cities to treat its sewage water and send it directly back into its taps.

This creativity with the water supply is required because the snow pack that supplies the Rio Grande is lessening. Since 1958 the amount of April snow melt going into the Rio Grande has dropped by 25%. Sure there have been droughts before, but the increase in temperature is pushing a drier and warmer climate….and it is happening else where in the western states.

The dwindling reserves that serve El Paso at the Elephant Butte Reservoir, just outside of Truth and Consequences, New Mexico is hovering at 3%-4% of its full capacity.

The city of El Paso has been proactive in addressing their water concerns, they are now ready to take the next step in expanding their water portfolio…. build a closed loop system that will treat the sewage water and turn it directly into drinking water. Treated sewage will undergo additional filtration and be sent back into the drinking water supplies.

The amount of wastewater produced in large cities can represent 50% -60% of the total water supplied, giving a resource  for water needy cities like El Paso.

Sea Birds..Dead…Stomachs full of plastic

Any parent wants to provide for their baby, and albatross go to great lengths to feed their babies. But they are feeding them sharp, toxic plastic because they have mistaken it for multicoloured squid or cuttlefish near the surface of the ocean.

Plastic can be replaced.