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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UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology employ a colony of flesh-eating beetles to clean the meat off the bones of animals whose bones they want to preserve for posterity. (KQED’s Deep Look)
Eliza writes, “A researcher from Lehigh University has invented a light-based pacemaker for fruit flies, and says a human version is ‘not impossible.’ The pacemaker relies on the new technique of ‘optogenetics,’ in which light-sensitive proteins are inserted into certain cells, allowing those cells to be activated by pulses of light. Here, the proteins were […]
San Francisco recently doubled the number of walls it was coating with hydrophobic paint, which is supposed to deter wall-pissing by making the urine spray back all over the pee-er.
Lean Project Management, as the name suggests, is a popular method for wasting less time and effort over the duration of a project. By focusing on prioritizing tasks, Project Managers are able to boost productivity, meet goals, and, inevitably, impress the execs. This exam prep course is led by the accredited Management and Strategy Institute, […]
This Smartphone Photo Lens Kit arms you with six unique smartphone photography accessories, so you can take high-quality and well-composed photos of any subject from small insects to expansive landscapes.6 unique lensesRolls up neatly for transportTripod for stabilitySmall lenses attach seamlessly with magnetMicroscope and 8x telephoto lenses attach with a case (case attaches to phone)Lens wallet […]
Inspired by the universality of symbols, the founders of Noun Project began to collect thousands of hand-drawn icons. The concept has since transformed into a massive digital collection of 150,000+ unique icons that fuel the work of designers every day. Spend less time crafting icons and more time putting amazing designs out into the world with […]