Quick Links 3


[Image: Australia's Cadia gold mine, photographed by Jacky Ghossein for Getty Images, spotted at the Big Picture].

L.A. Times | "Ozone from Asia is wafting across the Pacific on springtime winds and boosting the amount of the smog-producing gas found in the skies above the Western United States," the L.A. Times reports.

Economist | "Much of [California's central valley] was an inland sea in its geological past," we read in the Economist, "and its alluvial soils and Mediterranean climate make parts of it, particularly the San Joaquin valley in the south, about the most fertile agricultural region in the world. But this status is at risk because water, the vital ingredient to make the soil productive, is increasingly scarce."

Popular Science | Undersea Cables Could Be Used as an Early Tsunami Detection System: "Monstrous tsunami waves, like the one that killed over 200,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004, create an electric field as they form. This field could possibly be sensed by a network of underwater sensors."

ABC | "U.S. military veterans are sorting through a massive government archaeological collection that has been neglected for decades, with the hope of archiving the stone tools, arrows and American Indian beads that were found beneath major public works projects."

Scientific American | Simulating the growth of the Tokyo subway system using slime mold: "A Japan-based research team found that if they placed bits of food (oat flakes) around a central Physarum polycephalum [slime mold] in the same location as 36 outlying cities around Tokyo, the mold created a network connecting the food sources that looked rather like the existing rail system."


[Image: A "shipworm invasion" is threatening "thousands of Viking vessels and other historic shipwrecks" in the Baltic Sea, National Geographic reports; photo by Paul Kay, Oxford Scientific Photolibrary].

Scientific American | "Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment," according to Scientific American.

BBC | "A new US assessment of Venezuela's oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia," we read at the BBC.

Brookings Institution | The Suburbanization of Poverty: "Suburbs saw by far the greatest growth in their poor population and by 2008 had become home to the largest share of the nation’s poor."

Washington Post | "The gravelly beaches of Prince William Sound are trapping the oil [from the Exxon Valdez] between two layers of rock, with larger rocks on top and finer gravel underneath... creating a nearly oxygen-free environment with low nutrient levels that slowed the ability of the oil to biodegrade."

Financial Times | Stray dogs in Moscow are "evolving greater intelligence and wolf-like characteristics"—as well as an ability to use the subway.

(Some links via Archinect, Futurismic, Reid Kotlas, and @stevesilberman. Quick Links 1 and 2).

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Blogger tino said...

The Financial Times piece on Moscow stray dogs is fascinating. A short passage:

"One Russian, noting that my male Ridgeback is neutered, exclaimed: “Now, why would you want to cripple a dog in that way?” Even though the city budget allocated more than $30m to build 15 animal shelters last year, that is not nearly enough to accommodate the strays. Still, there is pressure from some quarters to return to the practice of catching and culling them. Poyarkov believes this would be dangerous. While the goal, he acknowledges, “is to do away with dogs who carry rabies, tapeworms, toxoplasmosis and other infections, what actually happens is that infected dogs and other animals outside Moscow will come into the city because the biological barrier maintained by the population of strays in Moscow is turned upside down. The environment becomes chaotic and unpredictable and the epidemiological situation worsens.”

Alexey Vereshchagin, 33, a graduate student who works with Poyarkov, says that Moscow probably could find a way of controlling the feared influx. But that doesn’t mean he thinks strays should be removed from the capital. “I grew up with them,” he says. “Personally, I think they make life in the city more interesting.” Like other experts, Vereshchagin questions whether strays could ever be eliminated completely, particularly given the city’s generally chaotic approach to administration."

January 25, 2010 12:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

"Ozone from Asia is wafting across the Pacific on springtime winds and boosting the amount of the smog-producing gas found in the skies above the Western United States,"

Oh no! Oh woe is us yet again! End of the world. Run in circles scream and shout.

"Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment,"

The real number will be, depend upon it, three to six times $90 billion for half the effect.

January 25, 2010 10:04 AM  
Blogger Danielle W said...

that's wild about the stray dogs (and the domestication of foxes as well). Thanks for the link!

January 25, 2010 8:37 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Glad you like that stray-dogs-in-Moscow story.

Gerard, an artificial meteorology of Asian dust clouds blowing through the valleys of California, and arriving from very far over the Pacific horizon, is a pretty stunning image, to be honest—as beautiful as it is respiratorally troubling.

January 26, 2010 12:09 AM  
Blogger saint said...

I live in the Central Valley, about on the same latitude as San Francisco. It is so dry here during the summer that everything would die if we didn't water constantly.

January 26, 2010 2:21 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

I really enjoyed this post. the Japanese-transit-network-mimicking mold is really amazing. not very surprising. embracing connections to other life forms in this manner can only be a good thing. if only steel and concrete and electricity were as bio-compatible as the actual thought process behind the network (or mold). thanks Geoff, wonderful as always!

January 27, 2010 12:05 PM  

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