So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
Huh, I say. Such an adoption of a scientific way of thinking is rare and stuns me when I witness it in action.
THIS IS SO COOL. Joel Johnson and Lindsay Olinde at the University of Texas and the University of Virginia’s Joanna Curran have developed fake rocks with rock-like density but with electronics inside to study the downstream movement of sediment in a river system.
“We know the rocks go downstream — we’re not idiots,” says Joanna Curran, a hydrologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. But because sediment transport is a nonlinear physical process, small mistakes in input measurements can result in disproportionately large output errors in mathematical model predictions. Improving the models means getting down to nitty-gritty details, including better measurements of dozens of variables ranging from large-scale channel slopes and water velocities to minute interactions between a single grain of sand, the water ﬂowing around it, and the river bed.
Also, faux-cobbles that travel for miles: “‘We had fist-sized particles move almost 7 kilometers,’ Johnson says, in awe.”
I now wonder what reservoir characterization tests we can conduct with smart faux-sand.
Most sobering statistic from (the hilarious) Free Press Houston’s Worst of Houston: 2012 Edition
“80% of [Houston Independent School District] libraries don’t meet the state guidelines for staffing and book collections.”
One of the most affluent US cities with some of the highest property taxes, keep in mind. Pretty sure our contribution to the pot is being diverted to the creation of yet another ring around the exurbs.