Tracking Water Shortages From Space
Scientists have been using small variations in the Earth's gravity to identify trouble spots around the globe where people are making unsustainable demands on groundwater.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers at the University of California are beginning to get a better idea of how much water people across the globe are consuming and from where they are drawing it. Using twin satellites orbiting the Earth that measure gravitational fluctuation, Dr. Jay Famiglietti says the rate of water use in many places, southern California and India among them, is unsustainable. Grace, as the experiment is known, sees "all of the change in ice, all of the change in snow and water storage, all of the surface water, all of the soil moisture, all of the groundwater," Dr. Famiglietti explained.
What's the Big Idea?
What are the causes and consequences of water shortage? Population growth, water contamination and global warming mean that while the demand for water is increasing, the availability of fresh water is decreasing. The consequences have yet to reveal themselves, but are potentially devastating. Aquifers shared by countries hostile to each other, India and Pakistan, for example, could becomes sources of future conflict. In the United States, it means governments must adapt and make difficult decisions about water availability and distribution.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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