TBC: Morning Musing 6.9.15

Hello! I have 3 articles for your perusal this Tuesday morning!

First up, California’s got some trouble:

California is sinking, and it’s getting worse

Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink.

But the extent of the problem and how much it will cost taxpayers to fix are part of the mystery of the state’s unfolding drought. No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.

The cause is known: People are pulling unsustainable amounts of water out of underground aquifers, primarily for food production. With the water sucked out to irrigate crops, a practice that has accelerated during the drought, tens of thousands of square miles are deflating like a leaky air mattress, inch by inch.


Next, some science on deniers:

If You’ve Wondered Why So Many Politicians Deny Climate Change, Science Has Your Answer

The study published Monday, however, looked at how echo chambers specifically affected members of Congress and the people who influenced them during the 2010 debate over cap-and-trade. And what it found was that the presence of echo chambers only impeded scientific debate when they appeared on the side that denied the science of human-caused climate change. That’s because those echo chambers relied on significantly fewer pieces of peer-reviewed science to make their claims that carbon emissions were not worth limiting.

“Echo chambers themselves are not a terrible thing,” Dana Fisher, the director of the University of Maryland’s Program for Society and the Environment and co-author of the study, told ThinkProgress. “But because of the way some echo chambers form, minority opinions can be repeated and repeated, so it amplifies their perspective.”

Finally, the price of irrational fear:

Spain Has First Case Of Diphtheria In 28 Years Thanks To Anti-Vaxxers

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that spreads through coughing or sneezing, according to the World Health Organization. Once infected, sufferers can experience a sore throat, fever and swollen glands in the neck. Diphtheria can lead to serious complications even with treatment, with 10% of cases resulting in death. Spain’s Health Ministry had to scramble to find the drug to treat the child as there had not been a case of diphtheria in Spain for almost 28 years due to the country’s high vaccination coverage (over 95%). The antitoxin was eventually delivered from Moscow to Barcelona by the Russian ambassador.

So how you doin’?  😀