A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[LINK] “The Drought Isn’t California’s Only Water Problem”

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Wired‘s Nick Stockton reports on yet another aspect of California’s worsening and apparently structural drought.

[A]llow me to divert your attention to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a massive estuary to the east of the San Francisco Bay that is the heart of a story that will at least explain why you’ll never get a satisfying explanation.

Actually, it’s not about the Delta, exactly; the real story is 200 feet below it, where the governor of the Golden State wants to dig huge tunnels that will make it easier for southern California to get northern California’s water.

Officially known as Conservation Measure 1 of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan—but commonly known as the Delta Tunnels—the idea is to dig two 35-mile tunnels, each 40 feet in diameter and capable of pumping 67,000 gallons of water per second from the Sacramento River to the California Aqueduct. The tunnels are supposed to fix the plumbing that delivers water to two-thirds of the state: every coastal city from San Francisco to San Diego, and millions of farms along the way. The plan is controversial, and has been in talks for a decade. If approved, the tunnels would take about ten years and an estimated $25 billion dollars to build.

[. . . C]onsider that this massive public works project—which will be paid for by all who drink from it—is not a response to the four-years-and-running drought. It’s just the latest attempt to solve a problem that has vexed the state for well over a century: how to move water so it satisfies all of California’s demands and desires.

Here’s where things get interesting. In an effort to push forward, last week Governor Jerry Brown announced that he was scuttling key environmental provisions that would have guaranteed that the tunnels and works associated with them would improve the Delta for 50 years into the future. “We can’t accurately model what things are going to look like in 50 years,” says Richard Stapler, a spokesman for the California Natural Resources Agency.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 20, 2015 at 9:51 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • At Acts of Minor Treason, Andrew Barton is very unhappy with the misuse of the Hugo Award.
  • Anthropology.net notes that DNA has been retrieved from an ancient and mostly fossilized Neanderthal fossil.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the early history of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the controversies over religious liberty.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers how extraterrestrial life can be detected through disequilibria in exoplanet atmosphere and notes the recent Alpha Centauri B study.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that by 2018 a laser will be deployed on a drone.
  • Geocurrents shares slides from a recent lecture on Yemen.
  • Language Hat examines the Yiddish word “khnyok”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the Republican race.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the unpopularity of political jobs among young Americans.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes SpaceX’s problem with retrieving the first stages of its rockets.
  • Torontoist looks at beekeeping in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes a Kickstarter fundraiser for Emil Cohen’s photos of queer life in Providence.
  • Transit Toronto notes the expansion of free WiFi throughout the subway system.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that divorce papers can be served via Facebook if it is the most practical alternative.
  • Window on Eurasia fears a summertime Russian attack on Ukraine, notes Russian fears of rebellion at home, and looks at Russian Internet censorship.
  • The World’s Gideon Rachman wonders if the Greek demand for Second World War reparations will bring the Eurozone crisis to a head.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the essential lack of difference on government spending between Labour and the Tories and looks at flawed computer databases.

[LINK] “Irish town builds memorial to thank Native Americans who helped during Famine”

Irish Central’s Frances Mulraney reports about the contemporary recognition in Ireland of unexpected help lent to the Irish by the Choctaw during the potato famine.

A sculpture of nine eagle feathers will be installed in Bailic Park, in Midleton, Co Cork to thank the Choctaw Indians for their kindness and support during the Great Irish Famine.

Despite the oppression faced by the Choctaws in the years preceding the famine, on hearing of the plight and hunger of the Irish people in 1847, they raised $170 to send to the Irish people and ease their suffering. This figure is equivalent to tens of thousands of dollars in today’s currency.

The sculpture, consisting of nine giant, stainless steel eagle feathers, is currently being completed by Cork sculptor Alex Pentek. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Pentek says, “I wanted to show the courage, fragility and humanity that they displayed in my work.”

[. . .]

In what is one of the most surprising and generous contributions to Irish famine relief, a group of Choctaw people gathered in Scullyville, Oklahoma, on March 23, 1847 to collect funds for the starving Irish people. They passed money collected onto a U.S. famine relief organization, in an extraordinary act of kindness from those who already had so little.

Just 16 years prior to this collection, the Choctaws were among one of the so-called “civilized tribes”, who were forced off their land by President Andrew Jackson (the son of Irish immigrants) and forced to complete a 500-mile trek to Oklahoma that would become known as the Trail of Tears.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • io9 notes that kale, cauliflower, and collards all are product of the same species.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze speculates on the detection of Earth analogues late in their lifespan and notes the failure to discover a predicted circumbinary brown dwarf at V471 Tauri.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares Lockheed’s suggestion that it is on the verge of developing a 300-kilowatt laser weapon.
  • Far Outliers considers the question of who is to blame for the Khmer Rouge.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that One Million Moms is hostile to the free WiFi of McDonald’s.
  • Spacing Toronto notes an 1855 circus riot sparked by a visit of clowns to the wrong brothel.
  • Torontoist notes how demographic changes in different Toronto neighbourhoods means some schools are closing while others are straining.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a California court ruling not recognizing the competence of the Iranian judicial system in a civil case on the grounds of its discrimination against religious minorities and women.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the implications of peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, notes the steady integration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia, and notes Russian fascism.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that crowd-funded transit might be coming to Toronto’s Beaches.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her favourite shopping experiences in Paris.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the question of how to name planets.
  • Crooked Timber discusses predictions for the coming year which descend into Bitcoin debates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that giant stars tend not to have giant close-in planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper noting the complicated entry of maize from Mexico into the United States.
  • Livejournaler jsburbidge notes the serious costs associated with a public housing problem for the homeless of Toronto.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that many Poles hold mortgages denominated in Swiss francs, and have thus been hit by the recent currency fluctuations.
  • Otto Pohl describes his writing project on the 1966 coup in Ghana.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the problems with inexpensive manned spaceflight.
  • Torontoist and (again) blogTO and their commenters react to the end of Target Canada.
  • Towleroad notes that anti-gay American Roman Catholic cardinal Raymond Burke is also a misogynist.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that a Belarusian revolution would lead to a Russian invasion of that country, and wonders about European Union policy towards Crimea.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the oddly tilted circumstellar disk of HD 142527.
  • The Crux notes a study suggesting that, where women are rare, men are less promiscuous.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper documenting the Spitzer telescope’s deep observations of Vega, Fomalhaut, and Epsilon Eridani, looking for planets and not finding signs of Epsilon Eridani b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper documenting maize consumption in the pre-Hispanic Andes.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on the economics of Uber.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a presentation on demographic data from Crimea.
  • Savage Minds looks at the fine balance in ethnographic writing between theory and data.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle considers whether there is such a thing as being too clean.
  • Strange Maps examines the tutulemma. What is it? Go there to find out.
  • Towleroad argues for more sympathy for gay men married to straight women, as in the recent TLC show.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that in Canada, terms of religious marriage contracts which violate secular law can’t stand.
  • Nicholas Whyte has more on the inking of Edward Heath in 1972.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that talk of “traditional values” always relates to contemporary issues, argues that Russian propaganda in Belarus is alienating locals, and wonders if the North Caucasus will accept closer rule from Moscow in exchange for economic development.

[LINK] “Integrated Farming: The Only Way to Survive a Rising Sea”

The Inter Press Service’s Manipadma Jena notes how one family in the Sundarbans, the rain forest delta at the mouth of the Ganges endangered by sea level rise, is surviving by adopting a more diversified agricultural model.

Several farmers’ groups in the Patharpratima administrative block of the South 24-Parganas district told IPS that every family has one or more migrant members, on whose remittances they are increasingly dependent.

Other families, like Sukomal and his wife Alpana Mandal, are turning towards integrated farming methods.

“An integrated farming system virtually replicates nature,” explained Debabrata Guchhait, a trainer with the Indraprastha Srijan Welfare Society (ISWS), which works for community food security.

The technique “brings the farm and household together” so that waste from one area of life becomes an input for another. Staple crops are mixed with other plant and vegetable varieties, while cattle, ducks and hens all form part of the self-sustaining cycle.

The process “reduces farm costs and risks by going organic and by diversifying yield and income sources, while ensuring nutrition,” Guchhait told IPS.

The hens feed on leafy greens, broken grains and maize while their litter is collected and used as organic manure with dung from Mandal’s three cows and two goats. The remaining hen waste drains into the pond, becoming fish feed.

Digging a small pond to help harvest water during the annual monsoon, which typically brings 1,700 mm of rainfall, helped his fortunes immensely.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm


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