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Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
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No Amazon Deliveries by Drone, At Least Not For Awhile (Alan Levin and Joe Carroll, Bloomberg Business) For the time being, the FAA has concluded that small drones for hire must be flown within sight of an operator and away from crowds for safety reasons. Not only will this prohibit deliveries by drone but also activities such as long-range pipeline inspections and news-media photography of public events. The wider uses will undoubtedly be revisited for future regulation changes, so your Amazon book may still someday arrive with a drone visit to you doorstep.
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
NASA: The US Faces a "Mega-Drought" Not Seen in 1,000 Years (Jordan Valinsky, Science.Mic) Hat tip to Lorne at Newsana. NASA is forecasting a mega-drought worse than anything seen in the last 1,000 years for the Great Plains and the U.S. Southwest. The current California drought is a mere drop in the bucket by comparison, as is the extended drought in the 12th and 13th century (which had devastating effect, see second article below). The dust bowl drought of the 1930s and 1940s almost doesn't even show up on the scale below. See also next article, which is the research paper upon which this is based.
What could change this projection? A greater number of El Ninos than currently projected. El Ninos are weather patterns associated with central and eastern Pacific surface warming off the coast of Equador which produces higher levels of precipitation along the Pacific coast of South America and the across the entire span of southern regions of the U.S., from the southwest all the way to the southeastern coast from Florida to Virginia. For up-to-date climate assessments, including details of just what is happening in the Pacific "engines" that drive western hemisphere weather, read the weekly reports by Econintersect climate economist Sig Silber.
Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains (Benjamin I. Cook, Toby R. Ault and Jason E. Smerdon, Science Advances, American Association for the Advancement of Science) Not only is a several decades long mega-drought forecast for the U.S. southwest and the Great Plains, much of North America is also predicted to have drought conditions, just not quite as severe as the other two regions, but worse than anything on the archaeological record. See graphic below.
From the authors' conclusions:
Demise of the ancient Pueblo civilization a harbinger of things to come? (Popular Archaeology) A drought during the 1100 to 1300 AD period is believed the cause of the demise of the civilization known as the Ancestral Pueblo peoples (or Anasazi).
Click for large image at Wikipedia.
Click for large image at Wikipedia.
More evidence Mayan civilization collapsed because of drought (Justin Moter, The Washington Post) Sometime between 800 and 1000 AD the great Mayan civilization collapsed. This is before the timeline in the articles discussed above. The occurrence of drought during that era has been determined by local measurements of mineral deposits in the Great Blue Hole off the coast of what is now Belize and by the timeline of stalagmite growth rates measured in a cave in Belize. When rainfall became scarce the civilization essentially vanished leaving behind a remnant subsistence population.
Philanthropy meets the market (Matt Damon and Gary White, The Economist) Investing in water is becoming an ever growing business and philanthropy aimed at increasing availability and efficient use of water is also on the rise, sometimes with corporations involved in both. If there is any way that the North American economy can survive a mega-drought should one come is with advanced technology.
Predicting the future of global water stress (Alli Gold Roberts, MIT News) By 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources. The research paper referred to is The Future of Global Water Stress: An Integrated Assessment (C. Adam Schlosser et al, MIT Joint Program on the Science and policy of Global Change). The following graphic shows the late 20th century distribution of water stress. This is the baseline from which the "much worse" projections are made.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
The uses and abuses of history (The Economist) The problem with using historical examples is that there is rarely agreement on what history teaches. Indeed, there is rarely agreement on the facts.
Pay to sway: Politics, education and economics (The State) Redistribution of resources within a state will incense those distributed away from.
Divestment: It’s not Morality – It’s Economics (Daily Gazette Swarthmore College)
Book Review: Post-Keynesian Economics (Lavoie) (Seeking Alpha) Econintersect will have more about this book in the future.
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