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Recovered past science + dismaying future science April 22, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“…archeologists unearthed a small stockpile of seeds stowed in a clay jar dating back 2,000 years. For the next four decades, the ancient seeds were kept in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University. But then, in 2005, botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to plant one and see what, if anything, would sprout.” The resurrection of the lost-for-millennia Judean date palm.

“Technology historians say the instrument is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward.” The earliest surviving analog computer.

“Studies have found that parts of the Mediterranean region are drying out because of climate change, and some experts believe that droughts there have contributed to political destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa. In much of the American West, mountain snowpack is declining, threatening water supplies for the region […] In Alaska, the collapse of sea ice is allowing huge waves to strike the coast, causing erosion so rapid that it is already forcing entire communities to relocate.”

“Already, signs of erosion are everywhere in the Ganges Delta — the world’s largest delta, which empties much of the water coming from the Himalayas. There are brick foundations torn in half, palm trees growing out of rivers and rangy cattle grazing on island pastures the size of putting greens. Fields are dusted white with salt.”

“‘Nothing in the TMDL dictates that agriculture do anything one way or another — much less that any kind of zoning occur that is not supported by local government,’ Baker said. ‘States and local governments worked together with a number of federal agencies to develop this Clean Water Blueprint for the bay. It’s hardly a mandate being imposed on high down to the states.'”

“NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.” Maybe we should send its potential residents a warning not to screw their planet up the way we have.

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