From the 19th century up through the Dust Bowl a wide cross-section of farmers, politicians, and scientists believed that the more intensively you farmed the Great Plains, the more rain would fall and farming conditions would improve.
I'd certainly heard this myth, but I didn't realize it had standing that went beyond mere convenient superstition. At Wired, though, Adam Frank introduces us to some of the then-big-name experts who writings and rationalizations helped to prop up something everyone wanted to believe and turn it into a very truthy tru-ism. Here's my favorite of the bunch:
Next up was Richard Smith Elliott, publicity agent for the Kansas Pacific Railway, a sort of salesman for its plentiful land holdings. In a similar vein to Hayden, he suggested planting trees along his company’s railroad. And, really, you may not even need to go that far. Elliott thought the railroad itself encouraged rainfall, as did power lines. That may sound crazy to you, but it somehow made sense to the hallowed Smithsonian Institution: It published Elliott’s writings on the subject in its Annual Report of 1870.
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After years of speculation and wrangling over his remains, Kennewick Man turns out to be closely related to contemporary, local Native Americans after all. Discovered near Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, the skeleton ended up in a tug of war between tribes in the pacific northwest who wanted to bury the remains, and scientists who wanted […]
Our solar system is awesome.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has been releasing portions of its research to the public for years. This week’s massive 300 terabyte dump of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data is the biggest yet by a long shot — and it’s all out there, open source, free for the exploration.
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]
Unless you’re a programmer or webmaster, the term SQL probably doesn’t mean much to you. But for those looking to understand more about how and why the web works the way that it does, know this – SQL and its process of managing and presenting large data sets is everywhere…and it’s the most in-demand programming […]