July, Hottest Month on Record. California, Sinking into the Earth.
Thanks, climate change.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
July 2015 was the warmest record in human history, that is since the NOAA began recording data in 1880. Just look at this image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's land and ocean percentiles.
Now another alarming sign has arrived: California is sinking into the Earth.
NASA has just released a report showing the San Joaquin Valley in California is sinking faster than ever before and scientists say climate change is to blame.
NASA images show that the valley is sinking close to two inches each month in some locations. Land in the Tulare basin sank 13 inches in a matter of eight months and a piece of the Sacramento Valley is going at a nice clip and sinking 1.5 inches each month.
Scientists believe the cause of this downward shift in the Earth's surface, known as subsidence, is caused by groundwater extraction in the region as a result of the drought.
In other parts of the country, the weather has had its ebbs and flows, but what people need to concentrate on is the average — what are the bigger trends we're seeing. I think Neil deGrasse Tyson may have explained it best in his video for National Geographic.
"Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records," said California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin in a press release. "As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage."
Cowin added that "Groundwater acts as a savings account to provide supplies during drought, but the NASA report shows the consequences of excessive withdrawals as we head into the fifth year of historic drought."
Even when rain does come to the state, scientists worry dried-out aquifers may not be able to hold the same amount of water as they once did.
Photo Credit: MARK RALSTON / Getty Staff
The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think
The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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