Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking.
It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong.
You know what this is, John?
No, Barry White mud.
This is QUICKSAND
posted by lonefrontranger
on Sep 3, 2014 -
To commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the original Longitude Prize (won by John Harrison
with the invention of a clock that could keep time at sea), UK charity Nesta
has launched a new £10million prize
to encourage inventors and scientists to find a solution to one of six problems facing the world. [more inside]
posted by Jakey
on May 19, 2014 -
Last November, after five years of remarkable negotiations that unfolded far from the Delta, representatives from the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a complex, multi-part water deal that will give them desperately needed flexibility for weathering the drought. More surprisingly, the two nations will join the team of environmental organizations to release a flood of more than 105,000 acre-feet of water – 3.8 million big-rig tankers' worth – into the Delta's ancient floodplain, and chase it with a smaller, permanent annual flow to sustain the ecosystem.
It is the unlikeliest of times to pull off a deal like this. Rather than hoarding all the water for themselves in this drought –– the river supplies some 35 million people –– the West's largest water agencies have pledged to send some all the way to the sea. That move is, to some extent, a long-overdue acknowledgment that the U.S. bears responsibility for the impacts its dams have caused beyond its borders. And after years of fruitless court fights in the U.S. by environmental groups, the Mexican government finally insisted that water for the Delta be a cornerstone of the broader deal.
For High Country News
, Matt Jenkins describes the most ambitious water sharing plan ever created between Mexico and the United States
(single page print version
). For much more about this project and the water issues surrounding it, there's Eli Rabett's roundup of John Fleck's blogposts about this
. (Or read the tl;dr version by Alex Harrowell
posted by MartinWisse
on May 10, 2014 -
"The only way to end Haiti’s cholera epidemic is to keep infected waste out of food and water. A subterranean network of pipes, pumping stations, and waste-treatment plants would be the ideal solution, but Haiti’s successive governments have had too little money, power, or will to build massive public works on their own.... International donors have been little help: in one case, the U.S. government, to protest the way an election was conducted, withheld funds to build water and sanitation infrastructure in northern Haiti for more than ten years
. From 1990 to 2008, the proportion of Haitians with access to basic sanitation decreased from 26% to 17%. Cholera broke out in 2010. Four years into the epidemic, a trip to the bathroom for most Haitians still means looking for an open field or wading into a public canal at dawn. Those who can afford to, dig cesspools under outhouses. When the cesspools get full, it’s time to call a man like Leon.
" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 13, 2014 -
"The idea that Medieval people drank beer or wine to avoid drinking bad water is so established that even some very serious scholars see no reason to document or defend it; they simply repeat it as a settled truth. In fact, if no one ever documents the idea, it is for a very simple reason: it's not true
posted by jedicus
on Feb 27, 2014 -
It only happens once every few years:
a brackish river in New Jersey
freezes over, and the iceboats
come out. It's happening all over the Northeast, where an unusually cold winter is welcomed with delight by aficionados of this sport
. Lightly constructed, beautiful, and fast
(the record stands at 84 miles an hour propelled by wind alone), iceboats provide a winter thrill ride like none other
or ice yachting
has thrived in pockets of North America
since the nineteenth century. When conditions are right, see them sailing and racing
, on the Hudson
, in Maine
, Prince Edward Island
. and wherever else "hard-water sailors"
posted by Miko
on Jan 27, 2014 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller
of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality
along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream
on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back
to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind
. Along the way, he kept a blog
, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies"
, and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia
. [more inside]
posted by Orinda
on Jul 27, 2013 -
Unicef Sweden have developed a machine that turns sweat into drinking water
. They are asking participants in the Gothia Cup
to hand in their sweaty clothes to produce water and are hoping they will "drink some sweat to support clean drinking water. The expectation is to gather sweat from more than 70 different nations".
The goal is to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in the world, with the main purpose of raising money for water purification tablets for children. 780 million people still lack access to clean drinking water. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal
on Jul 19, 2013 -
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield
conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 18, 2013 -
Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie: [New York Times]
"A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually."
posted by Fizz
on Mar 24, 2013 -