Boom And Bust And What Comes Next (jdargis)
If you read the Bay Area press or local blogs, techies are the people fueling the astronomical leap in San Francisco’s housing prices, inspiring property owners to evict long-time tenants in order to flip rental buildings or convert them to condos, and making the city the most expensive in the country with rents rising 10.6 percent over the past year, three times the national average. Techies are clogging city bus stops as they line up to wait for enormous private buses with blacked out windows to wheel them off to their destinations in Silicon Valley—Google, or perhaps Netflix, indicated only by discretely placed signs the size of large index cards—where their employers provide luxurious perks such as free gourmet meals (organic, natch), haircuts, massages, and on-site medical care.
Whose Oil Will Quench China’s Thirst? (James S.)
As the heir-in-waiting to the title of world’s largest economy, China finds itself in a strange position in terms of its oil consumption. In September 2013, China became the biggest net importer of crude, beating out the U.S. for the first time. This came as no surprise, given how rapidly China’s thirst for oil has grown, although landing in top place happened a little ahead of U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) predictions that it would take place in 2014. However, where the U.S. has been shoring up its own internal production, China has lagged behind. Between 2011 and 2014, U.S. oil production rose by 31 percent, as opposed to China, which saw its own production increase by a little more than 5 percent over that time. This leaves China utterly dependent on oil imports, a vulnerable position to be in at a time when its economy is beginning to wobble.
Earlier this month, Lake Mead set a new all-time record low. To memorialize the event, photographer Ethan Miller set out to take a series of “after” photos to complement pictures he took in July 2007. When you compare the two sets, the result is nothing short of stunning.
‘Shocking’ underground water loss in US drought (Arthur Robey)
“We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” added Castle.
NASA said the study is “the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states.”
The long-term drought cutting off California's water supply continues to parch the state, and even NASA can see it now. With the entire state now in severe drought, NASA's Aqua satellite took a picture of California to compare the terrain with a similar image taken on July 2, 2011. In the image above, you can first see the picture acquired June 24, then the 2011 shot.
A new study based on NASA satellite measurements reveals what researchers called a shocking loss of groundwater in the Southwest's largest river basin. The study released Thursday by NASA and the University of California, Irvine says the Colorado Basin has lost enough water since 2004 to supply more than 50 million households for a year. It says more than 75 percent of that loss is groundwater.
"I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did," Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA . "If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire."
The last big solar storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, shut down telegraph lines.
Are Sheep Better Lawn Mowers Than Goats? (jdargis)
One drawback, however, may come in the efficiency department. According to this highly scientific animal mowers calculator, which we unquestioningly trust, 38 goats could mow 50,000 square feet of grass in one day. It would take 83 sheep to do the same, in part because goats are less scrupulous in the amount and quality of grass that they eat. According to the calculator, however, the most efficient animal is the cow — seven of them could easily demolish that area in a day — while the least efficient is, shockingly, the guinea pig, for which you’ll need 2,000.
Gold & Silver
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