Holding Together

The waters on the surface of the earth flow together wherever they can,

as for example in the ocean, where all the rivers come together.

Symbolically this connotes holding together and the laws that regulate it.

Natural resource and commodity issues on a global and local level.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Go North, Young, er, Person

Reuters story:

"The scramble is on to mine the rare earth metals in other parts of the world, particularly in the US, Australia, Canada and now .. Greenland? It's true. According to the Sunday Times UK, it's thought that Greenland is home to the largest deposit of rare earth metals in the world. Beneath the ice and rocks of the Ilimaussaq Intrustion on the southwestern shore may lie the answer to China's rare earth dominance. It's estimated that the deposit could supply 25 percent of world demand for fifty years."

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Great Dust Bowl of China

     The Great Wall isn't the only (at least partially man-made) thing in China visible from space. Here's another thing in China that one can view from a comfortable orbit. The above photo is one of Benoit Aquin's award-winning (Prix Pictet 2008) photos of the Dust Bowl in western China. This has been an ongoing situation there, and one should note that it is partially explainable by geo-hydrological factors. After all, this region is one of the earth's land regions furthest from any ocean, and is hemmed in, to a large extent, by mountains that cut it off from rain-bearing clouds. But it seems that the situation has been exacerbated by overfarming, or at least, non-ecological farming strategies. Patrick Alleyn's great article (with pictures by Aquin) in The Walrus can be found here and in beautiful pdf format here.
     The dust clouds blow out of the west periodically and affect China's cities, and even the US. There have been recent attempts to block the dust walls by, for example, installing banks of wind turbines along the edges of the affected areas, admirable from a multitasking perspective, but its hard to see how that could be very effective in blocking tsunamis of blowing topsoil. I would imagine this is probably an area of some concern to the authorities in China, but no apparent solution has yet been arrived at. I put this little aggregate together so that I could learn a bit more about this potentially macro-significant subject, hope it helps.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peak Oil: Underlying Cause of the Gulf Spill

The insatiable drive to extract ever more oil from ever more unproductive sources is what ultimately led to the rush, the inattentivenes, that triggered the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. This article from The Guardian treats the subject well. BTW, 2011 could be interesting if OPEC tries to keep oil price under $100, but finds it difficult to effectively ramp up production in order to achieve that end. It's not in the oil-producing countries' interest to cripple the industrialized world with high energy prices, but the (potential?) spectre of peak oil may get in their way.