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Fascinating! I know that Bacillus pasteureii (now, I see, renamed as Sporosarcina pasteurii) is found in a wide range of soils and aqueous environment all over the world, so I suspect that there's no reason it shouldn't be thriving in rural Hertfordshire. It seems quite possible that this is what's going on with your farmer's water (but remember that I am just a geologist....)
Hi Linda - no problem and thanks for your interest. However, your request has raised an interesting issue - I'll do a little more research and get back to you directly via your email (if that's OK). Best Michael
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2017 on Invading dunes at Through The Sandglass
fascinating - and impressive. Good luck!
Thank you, Samuel!
Sorry, I am not a biochemist - I really don't know!
The best is a good "educational" or "school" binocular microscope with lenses that start at a relatively low magnification (perhaps 20X). It should have a built in light-source. If you have a digital slr camera you can probably get an adapter that will allow you to take photos (after a fair amount of experimenting and trial and error!). If you need any more help, don't hesitate to ask.
Thanks. Festina lente!
Toggle Commented Jan 1, 2017 on Catching up at Through The Sandglass
Possibly. Except that "self-interest" does not seem to stimulate rational behaviour (at least by my definition). See, for example, the EU referendum in the UK and - dare I mention it - the upcoming US election. Combine that with facts increasingly becoming a debased currency and the insularity and self-reinforcement of social media, and it's not easy to see how this would work. One of the most (among many) profoundly depressing aspects of the Brexit campaign was the following: “I think people in this country,” declared Vote Leave’s Michael Gove, “have had enough of experts.” His fellow Brexiteers were quick to back him up. “There is only one expert that matters,” said Labour MP Gisela Stuart, also of Vote Leave, “and that’s you, the voter.” Don't worry about the tone - it only gets lower...
Thanks, Richard - and thanks for the wonderful and appropriate Wallace Stevens poem (that I was previously unaware of). I see that Reykjavik shut off its city lights last week so that people could enjoy the aurora - we had kept a routine nocturnal lookout, but it seems that our timing was slightly off...
Water is necessary to the process, so there's no reason it shouldn't work on beach sand.
Me too!
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2016 on Invading dunes at Through The Sandglass
Images show the dunes piled up on top of the rcok surface - they typically reach a height of around 5 meters or somewhat more. And, by the way, those "ripple" patterns are strange - see the latest NASA news release
Happy days indeed, John - your Milosevic reference is really encouraging!
Toggle Commented Jun 27, 2016 on I am ashamed of my country at Through The Sandglass
Richard - fascinating, but somewhat depressing, links. The connection may be accepted but the ability to manage it seems limited, as are relevant data. I have sat and browsed through a couple of the Supreme Court rulings (an experience in itself), and find it interesting that the court invariably appoints a "Master" to advise them. I naively assumed that this "Master" might be someone, for example, from the USGS, but no, it's a Circuit Court Judge, whose lengthy legal documentation can also be found on-line. Not much sign of any hydrologists or science anywhere - and nothing on less than a regional scale. The court did however comment that the relationship between groundwater pumping and river depletion "is not 1-to-1, and that river recovery after pumping ceases can take "up to a year." It strikes me as absurd that these interstate squabbles (for that is what they are) have to go to the Supreme Court at all, and then take up years and substantial amounts of money. The Montana/Wyoming case, recently pronounced on by the court, took 9 years and resulted in a trivial volume of water re-allocation as a penalty. One of the problems is that these cases are based on water-sharing "compacts" etc. that were generally drawn up in the 1940s and 50s and contain such quaint concepts as "“The term ‘Virgin Water Supply’, as herein used, is defined to be the water supply within the Basin undepleted by the activities of man." The issues of trans-boundary water allocation are not, however, simply a means of prolonging the employment of lawyers in the US, but critical on a global, trans-national scale. See the recent report by the UN's Transboundary Water Assessment program: From the summary: The world’s 286 transboundary river basins span 151 countries, including more than 40% of the Earth’s population and land area. They support the socioeconomic development and wellbeing of humanity and are home to a high proportion of the world’s biodiversity. These river systems cross borders, and through human dependence on their water, link countries in a complex web of environmental, political, economic and security-related interdependencies. Transboundary water management is challenging since the water-management regime, priorities and cultures usually differ between countries. It therefore requires coordination across different political, legal, institutional and technical settings.
Thanks for your comment! You're right - there is not much advice out there and I'm afraid that I use a very simple and crude approach: a (not very expensive) binocular microscope with a digital SLR camera attached. I also use a (relatively expensive) macro lens. Depth of field is, of course the main challenge (and white balance is important). I take very large numbers of photos and use only the best parts of a couple (the advantages of digital!). In photoshop. I make sure that the colours match those that I observed down the microscope. The professionals use incredibly sophisticated technology - see Gary Greenberg's work, for example: Sorry I can't help more!
Richard - you're right, timing is important. During the years of the "counter-revolutions" in both the UK and the US I was, in addition to trying to help raise a family and working internationally, perhaps rarely in the right place at the right time, and rarely in quite the right frame of mind to appreciate or evaluate sufficiently the omens of these changing times. I was struck by the analysis in the "caputalism" link you provided and the quote from James Galbraith (whose father I watched speak from the steps of the Harvard administration building during the strike of 1969): The era of prosperity between 1850 and 1970 has anchored in the economist fraternity the unspoken certainty that constant growth is “normality” but stagnation and crisis “the exception.” Galbraith now suspects: “Whatever worked in times gone may well no longer work today.” 1970 does clearly represent a turning point - see the dramatic graph of income inequality in this piece from Forbes: As described in the article, "From 20 feet away, anyone can see that something bad happened to the U.S. economy in 1968. Prior to that, America experienced rapid income growth that was widely shared. The incomes of both “the ten percent” and “the ninety percent” increased by 80% in just 20 years. We had prosperity, without rising income inequality." The UK followed exactly the same pattern, perhaps as is often the case, delayed by a couple of years from the US. Perhaps I'm a living illustration of Mark Twain's view the "The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little." Or that "I was young and foolish then; now I am old and foolisher." For some strange reason, I take comfort in being foolisher. And also wish that Twain was still around - we need him.
Blaize – many thanks for this. It has given me cause to reflect. I realise that to a certain extent I am viewing things through somewhat rose-tinted glasses, coloured further by youthful recollections. In many ways, my comments on current events are cultural rather than political; I am certainly not trying to gloss over unpleasant history. I was, after all, a graduate student in the US during the Vietnam War and watched the first election of Richard Nixon. Martin Luther King had just been assassinated and riots were breaking out in cities across the country. And yet, there was (it seemed to me) a continuing undercurrent of the optimism that had always been part of the national character: the late sixties were the last years in which incomes were broadly rising across American society, with income inequality at a low level never to be seen again. Well-placed anger at many social and political issues was expressed not only in riots and civil disobedience but in literate language with thoughtfulness underpinning genuine debate. No, I’m not saying that that has disappeared – far from it – it has simply been, more often than not, overwhelmed by the diatribes of the right-wing and the proudly ignorant ramblings of social media. Those were also the days of the Apollo program, a source of wonder and national pride in science and human endeavour. Today, the extraordinary accomplishments of the Mars rovers – and the people who made them possible – seem to occupy only obscure corners of the news. I suppose that my perceptions of the US were formed in very different times and through the idealistic spectacles of youth. I will readily admit to some level of naivety in thinking that conditions should improve with time, not deteriorate. But I would still ask where that optimism has gone (slogans about making America great again don’t count).
Ray - it was a one-off, from some kind of feeling of personal necessity. Sorry you feel this way, but fair enough. Michael
Richard - thanks - this is a fascinating but damning and depressing piece. I was wondering why I could find no water data for anything more recent than 2010... We can only hope that that the constructive idea of a "water summit" not only comes up with real plans for action but that they might be acted on (I am, however, not holding my breath).
Wayne - many thanks for this provocative comment and for your kind words (apologies for the delay in responding - I've been travelling). These are intriguing ideas. Since it seems that conventional wisdom on Martian processes is regularly overturned, and since much of Martian atmospheric and fluid behaviour remains mysterious, your suggestions seem perfectly plausible. There's certainly plenty of magnetite around on Mars and there would be no reason why windblown "placer" deposits shouldn't be concentrated. I do, however, have questions about scale. The rough dimensions of the Martian magnetic stripes are far greater than normal dunes or dune fields - and how much magnetite would have to be accumulated to create detectably signatures of this magnitude? Oh, and thanks for "Astroeremology"!
Indeed, Richard - and thanks for the links. There is clearly no simple answer to a highly complex problem and California's economy (and the diet of the rest of the US) is fundamentally dependent on agriculture. The question that has to be asked, however, is around efficiency and sustainability - how can California agriculture be re-configured so as not to permanently deplete the state's resources (and export water)? And how can resource use be de-coupled from private vested interests? Not easy to answer... Yes, geodesy helps (as do extremely clever satellite gravity measurements: But these measures are on a regional scale and what the state also needs are the nitty-gritty data of where wells are and how deep they are, how much water is extracted from each well, water level changes in each well and so on. A new law will require some of this - but not for several years. Groundwater extraction in California is a free-for-all and has been for decades.
Vielen Dank! Ihre Sammlung und Bildersind sind wunderbar - Vielen Dank für die Blog-Link. Michael
As usual, Photoshop's magical and mysterious blending options. And thanks for the Marsalis link - wonderful!
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2015 on Final post of the year at Through The Sandglass
You're right - resource efficiency is the key measure. cotton + desert = demise of the Aral Sea