Vast freshwater reserves are trapped beneath the ocean floor which could sustain future generations as current sources dwindle, say an international team of scientists.
In this week’s issue of Nature they estimate 500,000 cubic kilometres of low-salinity water is buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves around the world, including off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.
"The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900," says Australian lead author, Vincent Post, a groundwater hydrogeologist from Flinders University in Adelaide.
"It means that more options can be considered to help reduce the impact of droughts and continental water shortages."
UN Water, the United Nations’ water agency, estimates that water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population in the last century due to demands such as irrigated agriculture and meat production.
In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx — and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.
"Environmental justice, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term goes something like this: No community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other. Unfortunately, race and class are extremely reliable indicators as to where one might find the good stuff, like parks and trees, and where one might find bad stuff, like power plants and waste facilities. As a Black person in America, I am twice as likely as a white person to live in an area where air pollution poses the greatest risk to my health. I am five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or a chemical facility, which I do. These land use decisions created the hostile conditions that lead to problems like obesity, diabetes and asthma. Why would someone leave their home to go for a brisk walk in a toxic neighborhood?”
I get “fake geek girl” BS in job interviews. I have skipped applying for programming jobs because the ads promote the “bro-centric company culture,” where it is common to drink beer and no one complains about your naughty sense of humor. I have applied at companies that won’t interview me for the position that I’m qualified for because the type of programming that I do is more typical for guys and this other type over here that I don’t do is more typical for girls; in order to show how inclusive of women they are, they strongly encourage me to apply for [girl job] despite me being grossly overqualified for [boy job that I can’t be interviewed for]. I have gone to interviews where it is made clear to me that I’m the affirmative action candidate, that they were intrigued by my claim to play video games [which I was tested on], and then had the technical interviewer act astounded because during my whiteboarding exercise, I followed a coding standard that prevents a security breach and no other applicants did— and then not gotten the job. I have had jobs where my opinion was dismissed by my superiors who were less qualified than me, who repeatedly interrupted me during demos to tell me that I’m doing the demo wrong on a product that the interrupter has never used— and then gotten fired for calmly standing up to him.
So let me tell you why there are so few games with strong female protagonists and so few games with characters that women can identify with as idealized heroes: games are made by men for themselves.
There are two ways pharmaceutical companies can increase revenue:
Invent new drugs
Invent new diseases
The big news in the doctor world in the past few weeks has been the recently released new guidelines for statin medications (Lipitor is an example). Under the new guidelines, millions of more people now meet the criteria to be a statin candidate. Lo and behold, the pharmaceutical companies have expanded the definition of disease to now label more and more people as diseased. Only time will tell if this saves lives vs. increases diabetes and other side effects. Large recommendations like this sometimes backfire (remember hormone replacement therapy?).
This is also significant from another perspective. This is essentially the first large scale use of an online calculator leveraging “big data” to determine candidacy for a drug. So that’s exciting, especially since only about 10% of what doctors do have any sort of evidence backing those therapies. The other 90% are a combination of speculation, tradition, and hearsay.
Write a few quick lines on your elected official’s Facebook page.
Almost every Member of Congress has an active Facebook page. News and information from the office are posted regularly. The majority of the pages allow users to post their thoughts on the page, as long as the posts are relevant and respectful.
Remember to keep your message short and to the point. Suggested messages are:
Now is the time to invest in more research, not less. Continued cuts damage all aspects of the U.S. biomedical research enterprise. I urge you to replace sequestration for the sake of the health and economy of the nation.
Thanks in large part to NIH research, Americans are living nearly 30 years longer than they did in 1900. Not only have these gains in longevity enriched many lives, they have added an estimated $3.2 trillion annually to the U.S. economy since 1970. I urge you to replace sequestration to avoid any further cuts.
NIH-funded researchers are on the front lines of the war against cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. It should be a national commitment that these researchers have the resources needed to understand the cause of disease that leads to the treatment and cures of so many devastating and debilitating diseases. I urge you to find a balanced approach to deficit reductions.
In an interview in The Washington Post, NIH Director Francis Collins said that budget cuts are delaying innovation and resulting in more American lives being lost. “When you’re talking about developing cures, speed matters,” he said. Among the critical projects that have lost resources is the effort to develop a universal flu vaccine that scientists hope might prevent pandemics. I urge you to fix sequestration and avoid deeper and further cuts to the U.S. biomedical research enterprise.
Tweet your Member of Congress. Use the hashtag #nomorecuts or #fixsequestration.
The twitterverse has a hold on Congress. It is not uncommon to see a Member of Congress check his or her twitter account while sitting on the House floor. If you tweet, this is an ideal way to reach your elected official. Remember, twitter is limited to 140 characters. Please use the hashtag #nomorecuts or #fixsequestration. We want our advocacy effort to become a top-trending topic.
Suggested messages are:
#fixsequestration I have witnessed labs close and colleagues lose their jobs in your district.
#nomorecuts I’m a grad student who has decided not to pursue a career in science. Struggle for grants is too frustrating with current government funding.
#fixsequestration When a lab closes, the research being worked on dies.
#nomorecuts Research creates cures, companies, and jobs.
Sign your name to the sample letter on the CLS website, which will be automatically emailed to your Member of Congress.
Here are some ideas, messages, and talking points for contacting your Members of Congress for the CLS’ Day of Action on December 4th, 2013.
The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS), which the ASCB is a founding member of, is activating a Day of Action to take place on December 4, 2013. A joint House-Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to release a budget plan on December 13. It is imperative to have the scientific community heard before the report is released.
Among its many considerations, the Budget Committee is deciding how to fund life science research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), DARPA, and other science agencies for fiscal year 2014.
If this committee fails to come to an agreement, discretionary funded programs such as the NIH and NSF could face another round of automatic sequestration cuts—a cut that could be as high as 7%—in January 2014. This will mean more labs will close, more students will leave science and the US will continue to lose its leadership in research. Ongoing cuts, including sequestration, are decimating our research enterprise—across all scientific disciplines.
We will not ask much of your time. Here is a look at some of the ways you can be involved. All detailed information, including messaging and helpful links, can be found on the Day of Action webpage on the CLS website.
• Write a quick few lines on your elected official’s Facebook page.
• Tweet your member of Congress. Use the hashtag #nomorecuts or #fixsequestration.
• Sign your name to the sample letter on the CLS website, which will be automatically emailed to your member of Congress.
• Write a letter-to-the-editor for your local paper.
• Circulate a petition around your institution and submit it to the members on the Budget Committee.
• Schedule a meeting with your member of Congress next time he/she is home in your district.
In preparation for December 4, we ask that you forward this email alert to colleagues at your institution, friends and family, discuss the need for advocacy and involvement in the Day of Action at your next lab, faculty or department meeting, and rally as many people as you can to take part in this Day of Action.
WORK YOUR ROLODEX!
The members of the House and Senate Budget Committees are of particular interest. They represent the following states and they need to hear from their constituents. Committee members are from Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If you don’t live in their state but know someone who does, please contact them and ask them to help us out.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.