Monday, July 25, 2016

The Disappearing Aquifer

National Geographic:

Well, the beef triangle sure stands out on the map.  And even though it isn't labeled on the map, Plainview is right in the middle of the giant red spot at the bottom.  That is the town that had a Cargill packing plant close down because there weren't enough cattle in the region to justify it in the heart of the 2013 drought.  In the end, there just wasn't enough water available to raise those cattle.  The article is depressing, in that the farmers in the region know they will pump the aquifer dry if they keep irrigating like they have been, but they just can't bring themselves to cut back.  It is a slowly-unfolding disaster.  Reminds me of climate change.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

NASA Photo of the Day

July 16:

The North Celestial Tower
Image Credit & Copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN)
Explanation: If you climbed to the top of this 13th century stone tower, it looks like you could reach out and touch the North Celestial Pole, the point at the center of all the star trail arcs. The well-composed image with scattered meteor streaks was recorded over a period of five and half hours as a series of 45 second long exposures spanning the dark of the night on July 7/8. The exposures were made with a digital camera fixed to a tripod near Marathon, Greece, planet Earth. Of course, the graceful star trails reflect the Earth's daily rotation around its axis. By extension, the axis of rotation leads to the center of the concentric arcs in the night sky. Convenient for northern hemisphere night sky photographers and celestial navigators alike, the bright star Polaris is very close to the North Celestial Pole and so makes the short bright trail in the tower's central gap.

Gotta Groove Records

Gotta Groove Records from Nick Cavalier on Vimeo.

Sunday Mini-links

Here are a few stories that caught my eye:

Labor Makes Clinton's Case to Rust Belt Whites Curious About Trump - Bloomberg

The H-Bombs in Turkey - The New Yorker

The Most Important US Air Force Base You've Never Heard Of - The Nation.  Ramstein.

How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course - New York Times

In Backyard of RNC, Drugs, Vanishing Jobs Strain Rural America - Bloomberg. Pomeroy, Ohio.

How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology - The Atlantic 

Where Did Agriculture Begin? Boy, It's Complicated - The Salt 

The Racist History of Portland, America's Whitest City - The Atlantic.  I didn't realize Oregon once had a law not allowing blacks to live there. 

The First Family of Competitive Lumberjacking - The New Yorker

Soil and Gas: Two Arkansas Families Battle for World Supremacy in Rototiller Racing - Wall Street Journal.  From the beginning of the month.

"He Steals, But He Gets Things Done" - Slate

Utah Lake's Poop-Driven Algal Bloom is a Crappy Situation - Wired.  Growing population and climate change in the Great Basin.