Daniel Collins

Kenya to evict forest dwellers to increase water supply - Crikey Creek

Nov 16, 2009

The NYT has a tragic story about a hunter-gatherer group in Kenya that may lose its ancestral forest home. The Kenyan government is gearing up to evict tens of thousands of settlers, illegal or not, from the Mau Forest, the Ogiek’s ancestral home and a critical water source for this entire country. The question is: Will the few thousand remaining Ogiek be given a reprieve or given the boot? My question is: Will this eviction actually improve the water resource situation? I have serious doubts. The NYT continues: No doubt the Mau Forest is crucial. It is – or more accurately, used to be – a thick, staggeringly beautiful forest in western Kenya, capturing the rains and the mist and, in turn, feeding more than a dozen lakes and rivers across the region, even contributing to the flow of … Read More

Water discovered on the moon - Crikey Creek

Nov 15, 2009

Location of the LCROSS impact debris cloud, Cabeus Crater. Credit: NASA. If the Google homepage is anything to go by, excitement about space exploration was further reinvigourated by the discovery and measurement of water on the moon. The implications for a lunar base are profound, and hence for any new ’Apollo Project’ that gets us there. On October 9, 2009, a probe was hurled into a permanently shaded portion of Cabeus crater in the moon’s south pole. Ejected debris was analysed by a trailing satellite, looking for fingerprints of water, and they were found. Enough to indicate at least 25 gallons. Detecting Water’s Fingerprint We had many clues about water on the moon before the latest experiment. Released in September of this year was the most detailed map to date, based on evidence from NASA’s … Read More

Water news haikus no. 3 - Crikey Creek

Nov 13, 2009

The week that just was In water and science news Distilled like sake Science Australian drought Rising temps compound low rain P minus ET Teapot effect: solved Had enough of dribbly spouts? Thin lip, hydrophobe Hyped science backlash Don’t over-sell evidence Keep uncertainties New Zealand Climate change forecast: Weather likely more extreme Perhaps already? Canty water plan ECan supports 10 to 2 Stay tuned for their views International Water Advocates: Health and water, hand in hand Four 5ths of poor’s ills Bjorn Lomborg’s op-ed Gets the hydrology wrong Climate change risks missed Groundwater declines Resemble oil shortages Don’t race to the pump Snow melt, crops not synced? ‘Glacier Man’ has the answer: … Read More

Bjorn Lomborg’s op-ed sense and non-science - Crikey Creek

Nov 12, 2009

Bjorn Lomborg, noted climate change contrarian, has a point. Climate change is not the only hazard to worry about. But his arguments don’t always hold water, particularly in terms of water resources. In a series of Wall Street Journal op-eds leading up to the Copenhagen climate change meeting, Bjorn Lomborg is interviewing ’ordinary people’ about their views of climate change. This week’s piece featured a Bangladeshi woman and her family very much in dire straights. Their problem is not climate change tomorrow, but getting enough food today: As a cart-puller, Mrs. Begum’s husband earns about $44 each month. The family has no savings. Mrs. Begum believes that education could help her children achieve a better life. But her eldest daughter dropped out of school at age 13. The family could not afford the $22 annual fee for books and … Read More

Canterbury Water Management Strategy - Crikey Creek

Nov 08, 2009

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum has released the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It’s goal is to rise above the adversarial nature of Canterbury’s water resource conflicts to achieve comprehensive sustainable management. It stresses a collaborative, balanced and incremental approach. The strategy is available online, complete with 12-page executive summary (see link above). If you are a Cantabrian with a sizable stake or interest in regional water management, read it. If you are interested in new ways to manage your own region’s water resources, read it. If you have better things to do, in typical Crikey Creek style, here’s a haiku. From adversaries To water resource partners It’s broke, so fix it If this is too succinct for you, stay turned. An Executive Summary Summary is in the pipeline. If you have any questions about it, ask. Any … Read More

Water news haikus - Crikey Creek

Nov 06, 2009

More haikus for you’s Could this be the beginning Of a trend in news? Science Flood risk perceptions Correlate with age, knowledge Lessons from Holland Irrigation’s role In Asia’s summer monsoon Corroborated New Zealand Gerry Brownlee said: “Not the Mokihinui” Loose lips sink dam hopes FedFarmers wants dams To secure farming’s future Typical drum beat International At Copenhagen Climate and water don’t mix? Should be no brainer Cloud seeding hazards Beijing snowstorm stops traffic 16 million tonnes Nazca decline cause: Too much deforestation Crossed lines in the sand Interplanetary SMOS satellite launched Soil moisture and ocean salt Introspective eye Thirsty time traveller? Oxygenated water Dr Who approved … Read More

Eating high tea with chopsticks - Crikey Creek

Nov 05, 2009

Water is polarised. So polarised, in fact, that you can eat it with chopsticks. By polarised I mean, of course, that the water molecule is highly polarised – it behaves like a magnet with a positive and negative side. It has the highest internal cohesion of the non-metalic fluids, a fact that gives rise to 115 m-high redwoods and Jesus bugs striding across ponds. Chris Webster, a meteorologist over at the MetService Blog, waxes fondly on the wonders of surface tension in water, which reminded me of a favourite demonstration in microgravity. In space, no-one can hear you scream gravity is so weak, it loses out to surface tension, so that water easily beads together and you can eat it with chopsticks. Visit NASA for a demo. Read More

Tim Groser to FedFarmers: Water is the key - Crikey Creek

Nov 04, 2009

New Zealand doesn’t export milk and beef, or even grass. It exports water. This is how Tim Groser sees NZ’s agricultural relationship with the world. A country well-off in terms of water is well-prepared to feed a swelling global population. Tim Grosner wears many hats, but they are all connected: Minster of Trade, Minister of Conservation, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues. International affairs are increasingly centered around climate change these days. Conservation of native species is hampered by, among other things, resource extraction and climate change. While trade provides the demand for this extraction and a substantial portion of the causes of climate change. Today, wearing all of these hats, he spoke to the Federated Farmers. He delivered several messages, but his remarks on water caught my eye. Groser said: … we … Read More

CRI taskforce: Shake it up baby - Crikey Creek

Nov 03, 2009

Pithy though a haiku is, 17 syllables is not enough to describe the CRI taskforce announced last week by MoRST. The Terms of Reference are brief enough. Here are a few snippets, emphasis mine, with thoughts interspersed. Government wants CRIs that respond strategically to the needs of their end-users in a way that will drive future economic growth. Right. Bring home the bacon. The CRI Taskforce will provide advice on the following: 1. Recommendations and assessment of any alternative or additional initiatives that could be taken to strengthen the CRI model, including the merits of reconfiguring the number and scope of CRIs. This could mean the end of CRIs as we know them, a kin to the reconfiguration of 1992. It could also mean a merger of CRIs or of CRIs capabilities. More … Read More

NZ’s no 8 wire, corroding - Crikey Creek

Nov 03, 2009

Fellow SciBlogger Shaun Hendy is in the news with his interesting analysis of OECD patents. Our no 8 wire mentality might not be so spectacular after all. Internationally, NZ is behind the curve for two reasons: low funding and a small population. Our R&D funding as a portion of GDP is well below the OECD average, though at this stage I am unclear what exactly the numbers are. Shaun? Also, more people, particularly if clustered in cities, tend to submit more patents – they are collectively more inventive. Now in a perfect example of the benefits of science blogging, Shaun has complemented the MSM coverage with a blog post of his own comparing NZ to Australia. Complete with colourful data! I am continually impressed by the analyses that he provides, and am confident they will be able to … Read More