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Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-needs-feng-shui-adjustment dept.

Earth 131

An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."

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131 comments

World Bank and governments (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965302)

But now scientists report that the northern sector of the Aral is making a recovery, due to a concerted effort from the Kazakh government, the World Bank, and scientists.

Re:World Bank and governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965328)

Ooops, noob here (I wrote the previous comment).

But now scientists report that the northern sector of the Aral is making a recovery, due to a concerted effort from the Kazakh government, the World Bank, and scientists.

Yeah, poor third world govt's knows very well what are these "efforts" about...

If you don't catch it: the BM, among other financial entities, just creates debt, "eternal" debt in those countries.

If not us, who? (1, Troll)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965304)

Yes, yes... lets spend money pumping water into something called "The Dead Sea".
Or we could have a brand new salt flats area for people to try driving really fast.

Re:If not us, who? (2, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965314)

The Dead Sea is a major tourist attraction, and likely host to a whole lot of life forms you don't find just anywhere; you know, because it's loaded with more salt than any other body of water.

Re:If not us, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965348)

So the question is, if they can channel 'huge' amounts of water from the Red Sea, why don't they use that for irrigation?

Re:If not us, who? (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965362)

Because any water taken from the sea will be saltwater, and though you could replenish the Dead Sea to some degree with it, you can't irrigate your fields with seawater. I don't understand how you don't already know that.

Re:If not us, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965366)

I don't think plants like salt water...

Re:If not us, who? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966482)

I don't think plants like salt water...

So what are saltwater algae then?

Re:If not us, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31966658)

Inedible?

Re:If not us, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967302)

Mangroves, crabs, and shrimp like it pretty well. Lots of birds. Lots of edible palms, Biomass convertible weeds, etc. But I'm not sure Islam / Judaism admits that kind of food.

Still, could be useful as export - and as sewage attenuation.

But, as I said, there's probably too much taboo attached to the concept.

Re:If not us, who? (2, Informative)

amabbi (570009) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966536)

So the question is, if they can channel 'huge' amounts of water from the Red Sea, why don't they use that for irrigation?

That's what they're planning to do; they're going to desalinate the Red Sea to provide water to communities instead of using the Jordan River. What's left-over from the desalination process will be pumped into the Dead Sea to increase it's level. It's, you know, all in TFA.

Re:If not us, who? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965398)

I'm fairly sure there is no life in the Dead Sea outside of small amounts of bacteria. That's why it's called the Dead Sea. The salt content prevents life from living there.

Re:If not us, who? (2, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965456)

I'm also fairly sure that we don't know about every type of bacteria (since they're alive too; "life" doesn't even remotely mean "just plants and animals and things average folk might call interesting") present in the entire sea, nor do we know all of the processes and adaptations that those organisms use to survive; it's almost as valuable a resource as the extreme conditions found in deep underwater volcanoes.

Re:If not us, who? (4, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965568)

The bacteria in the Dead Sea are particularily interesting extremophiles, Haloarcula sp. [mst.edu] is just an example. As a biochemist, I definitely view that as a resource worth preserving. Who knows what we can learn of such extremely adapted metabolisms?

Re:If not us, who? (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965588)

I definitely view that as a resource worth preserving.

Sure; but the human population in the region is MORE worth preserving. If a choice must be made, bye-bye bacteria. Hopefully, a solution can be found that accommodates both.

Re:If not us, who? (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965616)

If it comes to that choice, you surely are right. But, goddamnit, for what did we invent science and engineering, if not to avoid that choice?

Re:If not us, who? (1)

hasdikarlsam (414514) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965746)

We've gotten pretty good at DNA sequencing lately. Would it be possible to sequence all the bacteria in the sea and store for later, or are there too many for that?

Re:If not us, who? (3, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965772)

It is hard to know. Craig Venter has a project running to sequence random stuff from seawater. I haven't been following it lately, but it seems like there is a metric shitload of bacterial species in ordinary seawater that we had no clue about before. We really just scratched the surface regarding microbial life. Getting as many sequences as possible sure is a worthwhile preservation effort if all else fails. Note, however, that we still can't reconstruct a species from DNA sequence alone. So you gotta keep some cultures at least, and extremophiles like the Dead Sea bacteria are notoriously hard to culture. It's more alchemy than science to keep the little buggers at life. Back when I was still working in a biochem lab, the microbio guys kept joking that you don't need a microbiologist to culture them well, you need a micropsychologist to make the little bastards do want you want them too ...

Re:If not us, who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967378)

On the other hand, the same idea could be applied to the humans. Sequence them. Or keep their seed and eggs. And bring them out when there's enough ecosystem for them.

To keep everything above-board, use a lottery system. For the shelving and the bringing out processes. Both. With full broad-spectrum paranoiac oversight.

That ought to be even better.

Much more logical. ;)

Re:If not us, who? (1)

KORfan (524397) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966216)

How many people can this body of extremely salty water be supporting?

Re:If not us, who? (1)

Dollyknot (216765) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966314)

The dead sea is around a half a kilometre below sea level. This drop could be used to generate lots of hydroelectricity. The electricity could be used to remove the salt from the sea water. A first world country would have done this by now. Engineering could sort out the problems in the middle east instead of bullets and bombs.

Re:If not us, who? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968540)

If it was a first-world area, they would have also destroyed the one and only source of bacteria that live in super-high concentrations of salt in the process, destroying the potential for any research beyond what is already known.

Re:If not us, who? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967152)

Well, it used to support tourist towns along its shore, but now those towns are miles from the sea, and the drop in water level has drained the water table and opened sinkholes all along the former seabed, keeping tourists from getting closer.

Re:If not us, who? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966470)

Sure; but the human population in the region is MORE worth preserving.

A good first step would be considering the humans there of equal worth. As opposed to giving some of them lots of money and weapons...

Re:If not us, who? (0, Flamebait)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967596)

Oh, except there is no human population around the dead sea. Just two tribes of very primitive animals that kill each other all day.

Bacteria is not a threat to them, self annihilation is.

In fact, considering the way both Palestinians and Jews have been acting against each other and against the rest of the world's population, and considering they have no respect for human life, the extremophiles on the dead sea are worth saving more than the 'human' population of the area. At least the bacteria is trying to survive.

Re:If not us, who? (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968156)

I'm fairly sure there is no life in the Dead Sea outside of small amounts of bacteria. That's why it's called the Dead Sea. The salt content prevents life from living there.

There's quite a bit of life in the form of a fair number of tourists which are quite important to the area (on both banks) which apart from that is quite a hellhole (an interesting one to visit though if you ever go in the area).

The Dead sea is more than 400m below sea level and there are huge temperature extremes in the area which gets very little precipitations and has few springs. It's a great natural wonder and definitely worth a few days for it's ruins, it's fauna and the vista, but really not a great place to live.

then let the people ruining it fix it (4, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965902)

The Dead Sea is being ruined because people divert water from its natural inflows for agricultural use. Since they are destroying it, let them pay for fixing it.

Re:then let the people ruining it fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967190)

Hahahaha - there you go expecting the Israelis to own up to something *they've* fucked up. Now, if there was a "blame the Palestinians" angle, they'd be totally behind you.

Re:If not us, who? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966450)

The Dead Sea is a major tourist attraction

Plenty of other possible tourist attractions in the area. Just the problem that tourists don't tend to want to go to warzones.

Re:If not us, who? (4, Interesting)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967464)

A little reading [wikipedia.org] shows that it only barely became hospitable to microorganisms a few times when massive rains diluted the salt temporarily... Animals that live around it do not get water from it for the same reason, they need rain water and river water, not more salt... And adding salt water to saturated salt water does not reduce the net saline for long because so much salt is dried on the banks or fallen out of solution... sitting there just waiting to redissolve.

It is tempting to want to "save" things from natural effects of modern life, people are using the water so people should fix it. But once that water entered the dead sea, it too died, better it be used for something. In the end this is just as big a waste of money as trying to protect a city that is below sea level but situated by the ocean... one day it will be game over.

As to a tourist destination, well they could Monty Python the signs and call it:

The Really Dead Sea

Re:If not us, who? (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965748)

Something tells me that if it currently holds water, it's probably not flat.

Re:If not us, who? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967522)

In fact that's just how we got the great salt flats in Utah [utah.com]. The bottom might not be flat but the top is as level as anything gets in nature. As evaporation continued the water just keeps re-leveling the surface until the water is gone and you get this big plain of salt.

Dead Sea Desalination Potential (1)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965408)

You can build a desalination plant and use the dead sea as a power source..Sounds wierd but is completely possible using new technology. Part of that plan would be to pipe seawater to the dead sea, over a stretch of about 30 miles. Want to know more? Contact me.

Re:Dead Sea Desalination Potential (0)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965590)

The dead sea is something like 420m below sea level. So it would be possible to run a hydropower plant together with an desalination plant as mentioned in TFA, and some time in the future they could also use Osmoticpower plants,(if the dead sea still is more saline than the red sea at that point).

But the the dead sea would really need fresh water, you don't want to add tons of extra salt every year. "Saltwater in" and "moist air out" is not an good idea in the long run.

Re:Dead Sea Desalination Potential (1)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965624)

I'm not talking about hydropower, I'm talking a new technology. You can desalinate at no cost basically. I am looking for serious interested parties. Of course saline in moist air out is much better than fresh water in moist air out! Of course your suggestion to generate energy from the drop is quite brilliant in itself! ;-)

Re:Dead Sea Desalination Potential (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965792)

Are you talking about utilizing the osmotic gradient between bodies of water of different salinity? Could probably work, but why sacrifice an unique environment like the Dead Sea for energy generation when there are other, more simple methods to generate power?

Communism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965424)

Better Dead than Red.

Re:Communism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31968090)

Better Dead than Red, White and Blue

Red-Dead? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965428)

scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,'

They sound like a bunch of Rockstars to me...

Re:Red-Dead? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969464)

They're diverting water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea because, you know the old saying, "Better Dead than Red!"

Makes me worried for other environmental problems (2, Interesting)

V50 (248015) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965480)

The Aral Sea is a horrifying and very visible example of the scale of what humans can do when their policies end up destroying the environment. A major lake, once the fourth largest in the world, reduced to almost nothingness in just a few decades. Unlikely to ever fully recover.

While I remain skeptical (but not outright dismissive) of many of the claims of the environmental movement, particularly the global warming and carbon footprint stuff, it's stuff like this that really makes me worried. If on a small scale people can do this, I really do worry what might happen on a larger scale.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965640)

While I remain skeptical (but not outright dismissive) of many of the claims of the environmental movement, particularly the global warming and carbon footprint stuff, it's stuff like this that really makes me worried. If on a small scale people can do this, I really do worry what might happen on a larger scale.

Right, think about it a bit more: some people's actions over one region can dry up a major lake because these people need the water for their well-being. Now, imagine what the entire humankind can do for our well-being, which requires releasing gases into the atmosphere in amounts that haven't been present there for millennia.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (2, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965752)

I've thought about it, and I'm OK with it.

What does all that water do for me (the armchair antagonist) sitting in a big hole in the ground called the Aral Sea or the Dead Sea, when it could be providing me with fresh crops, healthier livestock, clean drinking water, and high-tech factories?

[Disclaimer: I live near enough to the Great Lakes in the US that I should really give a shit about both them and other similar things, but I just simply don't. I see them all as resources.]

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (5, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965804)

Well, all that water used to provide high quality fish protein for you, before it dried up. Now the rotten hulks of your fishing boats are decaying in a desert. It used to provide a decent climate for your crops, while now there are dust storms covering a land below which the water table is rapidly sinking. You are right in viewing the lakes as resources, and the Aral lake is a prime example how to squander such a resource for very little short-term gain.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966018)

A large contribution to drying of Aral Sea is that water which "should" get to it is used in an incredibly wasteful manner - the irrigation systems are in horrible condition, for example. Plus you know, drying of Aral exposed all the toxic stuff we usually dump into water (and which is relativelly stable and harmless in the bottom mud or dissolved in large quantity of water) to the work of wind; dust storms there are toxic.

Oh well, just an "unintended consequence" of progress, like with global warming. Here, similarly to irrigation systems mentioned, we could be much more effective too; and think about it...look around you - how much stuff in the room you're in comes at least partially from oil (in my room, virtually everything...); oil is an insanely valuable resource. And what we do with most of it? Burn it!

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (0)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968034)

Oh well, just an "unintended consequence" of progress, like with global warming. !

Please don't lump an obvious consequence of man's actions with one which is still in dispute. Anthropogenic global warming has not been established as a credible theory.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31968584)

... has not been established as a credible theory.

Only for some interpretations of credible, all of which are politically based. There are questions about the size of the anthropogenic component, and significant questions about future consequences, but there are no serious scientific disputes about the existence of AGW.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31968674)

Yes, it's not completely proven that humans are changing global climate, but we are responsible for a large increase in a heat-trapping gas (CO2) in the atmosphere, combined with a rising global temperature (sure, it may not be man made ... there's a small chance that us dumping tons of CO2 in the atmosphere isn't warming things up at all, despite, you know, science ...). I'm sure if you ever saw a strange person leaving your house as you got home from work ... and then went inside to find your family raped and murdered - that you say "there's no proof that the strange man leaving my house was responsible." The *fact* of the matter is that CO2 traps heat - other gases do this as well (and we're releasing plenty of some of those, as well). The *fact* is that CO2 is on the rise, and hey, we just happen to be creating a whole lot of it at once. The *assumption* is that there's a connection - or, that even if there isn't, even if warming trends turn out to be wrong due to some unaccounted for variable - that we'd be fools to ignore the warnings of our most highly trained (in this field) individuals. At least, that's the assumption most of us make.

Finally, your argument that you the draining of these lakes is obviously man made while human effects on climate change are not is thoroughly .. what's the word ... I'll settle for 'lacking'. You don't know that there aren't geological changes beneath these seas that have allowed water to leave the region through underground streams, you don't know that slight changes in wind patterns haven't resulted in just enough increased evaporation, and you don't know that there aren't a few malicious individuals digging tunnels underground to drain the water - in some cartoonish evil plot. Where is your skepticism now? I think it's safe to say we can dismiss those crackpot theories and just agree that it's poor water management. And most of us are prepared to admit that we (all of us) have poorly managed our atmosphere. Well, those of us (warning: inc generalization!) who don't have a huge amount of money invested in the status quo ... those of us who don't believe that God is going to destroy the earth soon enough, and anyway he gave it to us to have dominion over ...

PS: Please, let's stop with the global warming term - climate change is more accurate as we really don't know what the effects of our actions will be on the climate, aside from the rather obvious assumption (backed by plenty of evidence) that the earth as a whole will trap more heat and warm up. There's no compelling evidence that I've seen (or any, period) that this warming will be uniform - in fact there's plenty of evidence that it won't be uniform, and that some places may actually cool off. If we go around calling it global warming, then the 'skeptics' who truthfully are, 9 times out of 10, simply ignorant of the science, see a cold winter as evidence that the earth isn't warming.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (2, Interesting)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968682)

Please don't lump an obvious consequence of man's actions with one which is still in dispute. Anthropogenic global warming has not been established as a credible theory.

"Global warming" is an unfortunately popularized term, which is prone to misinterpretation so as to breed mistrust in general public. The only remaining "dispute" about anthropogenic climate change is in the heads of the deniers, nodding to each other on internet forums and in media.

And hey, the shrinkage of Aral Sea was probably still "in dispute" (especially with the region's cotton elites) by the time it was too late to avert the disaster.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968810)

It is a devious tactic to attempt to discredit people who understand statistics well enough to ask valid and as yet unanswered questions about the data and models used by those who support the anthropogenic climate change theory by lumping them in with people who have their heads up their asses. I believe that some portion of the current climate change is in fact anthropogenic, but I do not believe that any of the current models have established that. Happening to be right and having a proper model are two different things - a clock that is stopped is right twice a day, but I would not rely upon it to tell me the time.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969182)

It is a devious tactic to attempt to discredit people who understand statistics well enough to ask valid and as yet unanswered questions about the data and models used by those who support the anthropogenic climate change theory by lumping them in with people who have their heads up their asses.

When they are indistinguishable, why is that devious? A "real scientist" would say something like "the preponderance of the evidence points to it, so we should act like it's the Truth until proven otherwise." Then work to clarify points they have questions about.

"We can't be sure, so we should act like it's false" is worthy of ridicule and is unrelated to whether it's a well founded objection to some statistical questions or because they gain materially from the raping of the environment, or just hate the environment.

I believe that some portion of the current climate change is in fact anthropogenic, but I do not believe that any of the current models have established that. Happening to be right and having a proper model are two different things - a clock that is stopped is right twice a day, but I would not rely upon it to tell me the time.

They probably didn't have "proof" the lake was disappearing until it was mostly gone. At that point, many people think that there's nothing that could be done to get it back. That's similar to many environmental issues. The "proof" is the irreversible loss of some part of the environment. Since it looks like AGW is more likely than not, working against it seems like working towards the extinction of the human race, as that is what it likely takes for "proof" in this, and there are plenty asking for "proof" before acting. That you claim to understand statistics, yet hold the views that are inconsistent with statistics (probability) and science. Just as a question, how many people have done a study that shows that AGW is impossible or that we are cooling, or that we are warming because of other factors (with those factors identified)? I've seen one or two that indicate we should go back to cooling in a few years because of sun activity. Other than that, the anti-AGW group has put out nothing other than hatchet jobs. So, when all the evidence points to one and only one conclusion, and the well-funded opposition can't find any other explanation, that seems like overwhelming evidence. What more do you need?

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969298)

It is a devious tactic to attempt to discredit people

What, a term change made in response to uneducated confusion?

who understand statistics well enough to ask valid and as yet unanswered questions

Could you cite some examples? I'd appreciate if you spend a couple of minutes googling for an explanation why the people who you think "understand statistics" (is this the only necessary qualification, BTW?) actually don't know what are they talking about, as well as for answers to their ill-informed questions. Some people still point at surfacestations.org or similar worn tripe as The Holy Truth That Exposes Evil Conspiracy of Climate Scientists. Don't be that gullible.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (3, Informative)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969266)

Oh well, just an "unintended consequence" of progress, like with global warming. !

Please don't lump an obvious consequence of man's actions with one which is still in dispute. Anthropogenic global warming has not been established as a credible theory.

Neither has anthropogenic drying up of Aral sea been proven. It could be just natural change that has nothing to do with human re-routing the water a bit on its way to the Aral... The water level there has changed previously, and it will change again, changes are part of the natural cycles of our planet. Just because it used to be in a communist country doesn't automatically mean any apparent "destruction" (which really is just change, not "destruction") was caused by the commies.

</sarcasm>

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967172)

What does all that water do for me (the armchair antagonist) sitting in a big hole in the ground called the Aral Sea or the Dead Sea, when it could be providing me with fresh crops, healthier livestock, clean drinking water, and high-tech factories?

It can't be providing those things if it's gone or it's polluted with mercury, lead, etc.

Lakes and aquifers are like trust funds: yes, you do have a lot of "cash" in the bank, but if you spend it quicker than you earn interest it's going to be gone. There's nothing wrong with using a resource, just don't be stupid about it.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965872)

The effects of global warming are clearly visible all over the planet, its not just the melting of the icecaps, for example many lakes in Africa are drying up, see here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6261447.stm
Its the indrustialist lobby that wants people to believe nothing is going on, since they care more about the money they make...meanwhile this is happening right under our noses and nobody seems to actively care/want to do something about it.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966442)

The people who pointed out that the Aral Sea was headed for a disaster were dismissed as fear-mongers and chicken littles at the time. Given that the environmental movement was proven to be correct then, why dismiss it now?

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967616)

Because the self appointed "leaders of the movement" are hypocritical bastards? Take Al Gore, Mr "Inconvenient Truth" himself. His fat ass goes puttering around on his own personal LEAR JET blowing through carbon like David Crosby blows through coke, then he has the 50 pound brass plated balls to say he is "carbon neutral" because he pays his OWN COMPANY for "carbon credits" which of course he makes massive profits off of. With leaders like that, who needs enemies? Their own hypocrisy is so thick it would choke a Lama!

Now it would be different if the green movement told Al Gore, who BTW if he gets carbon credits passed will become a carbon billionaire [prisonplanet.com] overnight (talk about a conflict of interest!) and instead replaced him with someone like Ed Begley,Jr [wikipedia.org] who actually walks the walk and aren't jumping on the green movement just to line their pockets with other people's money.

If there is one thing folks hate, it is a hypocrite and a scammer, and right now Al Gore and the other greenies come off about as trustworthy as used car salesmen. Sure there are plenty of those on the other side trying to make all man made impact on the earth look like bullshit, but do you really need to make it easier for them by having clowns like Al Gore, whose pushing for a market that will be ripe for abuse [truth-it.net] and fraud, just makes the whole environmental movement look like another scam?

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (2, Insightful)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969002)

This is a bit akin to saying.

"I have proof God doesn't exist. See, his priests are assholes! That proves it!"

While you might be right about Al Gore, it doesn't make the initial claim any less probable.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969048)

Their own hypocrisy is so thick it would choke a Lama!

So, you state that you have no evidence at all that he's incorrect at all, but that because his personal life is deemed by you to be hypocritical, he must be wrong? And anyway, he's a leader of the movement because people like you declare he is so that you can attack him personally. A spokesman (self appointed and visible because he's a public figure who is well funded, not some elected spokesman) who everyone who hates the environment clings to, declares to be "bad" (the reasons vary, but the hypocrisy you mentioned is on the list), then they dismisses the "movement" because of it.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967474)

"Small scale" and Soviet don't match.

It was Soviet. They never heard the word smallscale (unless talking about lizards, snakes or fiysch. :) - but only something over 50kgs, or so.)

On the other hand, sturgeon stock reduction means prime caviar prices go up. And "other" (fake) caviar gains a little market at prime prices. So Capitalism wins, in the end.

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968318)


While I remain skeptical (but not outright dismissive) of many of the claims of the environmental movement, particularly the global warming and carbon footprint stuff, it's stuff like this that really makes me worried.

What is it that makes you skeptical of global warming, but not skeptical of this? Is it merely the fact that this disaster has already happened and is completely undeniable, but that the global warming disaster is merely predicted to occur based on well established theory?

If you wait until there's undeniable proof, it's already too late. Honestly, what would it take to convince you we need to take global warming seriously and act before the disaster unfolds?

Re:Makes me worried for other environmental proble (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969748)

I guess it's the whole hysterical global warming contingent, that likes to blame everything on global warming. Too many hurricanes? Global warming. Too few hurricanes? Global warming. Heat wave? Global warming. Cold snap? Global warming.

Plus, many actual environmentalists I've met tend to be trying to use it as a cover for some sort of Marxism, and generally appear to me, at least, favor words over action. That and what generally appears to be hypocrisy (Al Gore taking a private jet to a conference to warn about carbon emissions.)

So basically, environmentalists make me distrust environmentalism. It's a pretty terrible reason, I'll admit, but it happens. I imagine, similarly, there are a great many people more turned off of religion by fanatics and fundamentalists than by the actual doctrines.

Recover is a subjective word (5, Informative)

fhqwhgads (603131) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965486)

Saying that the Aral Sea might "recover" is slightly misleading. The North Aral Sea is about 5% of the size of the Aral Sea as a whole. It's like saying that the whole of the US sank into the ocean except for Wyoming and Utah, but it might recover.

Re:Recover is a subjective word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965830)

If Wyoming and Utah were what's left over, would we want it to recover?

Re:Recover is a subjective word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965948)

if you lose wyoming, where is the mothership going to land?

Re:Recover is a subjective word (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967516)

Um, yeah. One of these days the San Andreas Fault is going to slip big time, and everything east of it will slide under the Atlantic Ocean.

Re:Recover is a subjective word (1)

Igmuth (146229) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968684)

What, the .1% of the US land mass that is west of the fault? How is that even comparable?

Israel's Natural Resource (4, Insightful)

Surasanji (938753) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965498)

The Dead Sea is of great economic importance to Israel. Tourism, sale of products containing the salt or mud of the dead sea all bring money into a country with almost zero natural resources. But, this is a problem that comes not just from the using of the Jordan river, but a number of other rivers as well- Ein Gedi, a freshwater spring isn't far away from the Dead Sea and its water is used as drinking water (And a popular bottled water!) inside Israel. All the 'sweet water' has been diverted in Israel, as it has in most desert places. As a result, only salty water is being diverted to the Dead Sea. This means, of course, that the sea is shrinking. The Canal from the red sea is not new- I've heard talk of that since 2006, at least, when I was in Israel last. Israel, however, has some of the brightest minds in the world. I'm hoping they'll come up with a great way to make this work.

Re:Israel's Natural Resource (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968776)

You tell me. My wife splurged something like $100 on a jar of Dead Sea "healing" cosmetics. Now I wish that damned sea really died.

Yeah... not really interested (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965528)

Article Fail: doesn't explain why I should give a damn about dams halfway around the world. Not even a car analogy; surely they could have worked in something about driving across salt flats?

Nothing to see here, move along (2, Funny)

21mhz (443080) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965646)

In fairness, you did't even need to comment on this article. Please do us all a favor and return to your NASCAR broadcasts.

Flood it all - improve rainfall (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#31965720)

The Israelis and Jordanians should flood the whole area that is below sea level (hundreds of square kilometers). That way they can have a port at the Jordanian capital and the rainfall in the area will improve.

Re:Flood it all - improve rainfall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967660)

i see that the concept of not drowning cities, people and crops is alien to you. maybe you are travelling too fast? http://xkcd.com/103/

Copy of an email I wrote two years ago (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31965774)

This idea has been around for many years, Ben Gurion, said to be the 'father' of Israel wanted it done. The only reason I can come up with, to explain why it has not been done is that the people who run Israel, are deeply conservative.

Quote

"Hello,

There is plenty of empty land in the middle east, so is it a fight over who
has sovereignty over empty desert? Of course not.

The true nature of the conflict, is a water conflict, this seems particularly
silly when the surface of the earth is largely covered with the stuff.

The Jordan river is the main feeder of the Dead Sea, all the countries
bordering the Jordan river, extract water from the Jordan, the net result of
this is, over the past 50 years the Dead Sea's depth has fallen by 20 metres.

This to me, looks like environmental disaster in the making.

There is a radical solution to this problem.

A Google diligence will turn up several examples.

E.G.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article626646.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

So where is the Evolutionary Psychology in all of this?

Simple....

If uncircumcised men were living in Israel instead of largely circumcised
ones, would they not have built a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea,
already?

Does a largely circumcised society behave differently to a largely
uncircumcised society - I don't know, but there again, who does?

I suppose the true EPness of this question is, why did nature evolve male
human great apes with a foreskin and why do some cultures think that nature
made a mistake!

Regards

Peter

unquote

So What, Seas Dry Up (2, Informative)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966190)

Throughout the history of the world seas have dried up. Watch any nature documentary, particularly the ones touching on geology and you can't seem to go 5 minutes without someone saying something about some place being a dried up seabed.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#31966452)

That is fine if you do not care about the human population that depends on these seas and lakes. The reality is that when natural resources run out or fail like this the civilizations that grew up around them usually collapse. I don't know about you, but I like civilization and do not want to see it collapse.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967034)

"That is fine if you do not care about the human population..."

Finally a ray of light....I don't care. If ignorant people want to destroy their countries let them. Just as people need heros to hold up we need those who failure misserably to serve as a warning to others.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967346)

Unfortunately the world is so interconnected that the failures do not just destroy themselves, they put me at risk to. It is a lot like driving. If I drive badly I am as much of a threat to you as I am to myself.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968612)

Finally a ray of light....I don't care. If ignorant people want to destroy their countries let them. Just as people need heros to hold up we need those who failure misserably to serve as a warning to others.

Except that Uzbek and Kazakh fishermen who relied on the sea to feed them for centuries weren't the ones who put in place policies that led to its destruction, nor had they any say in them.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969040)

That's an interesting point. The -istan countries were bent over and raped by Mother Russia.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31969234)

It's not as simple as that (in this case, anyway). The major reason for Aral drying up was because water from rivers feeding it was diverted for irrigation of those very same countries (and also Turkmenistan) - leading to a large increase in agricultural base. So it's win for some and lose for others within the same country. I'm not even aware of any benefits Russia (as part of USSR) has derived from this project.

Speaking more broadly, it's a touchy topic, but there are two things to keep in mind. For most of 20th century, the country raping everyone wasn't "Russia" - it was Soviet Union. While it definitely built itself on top of the existing structures of the old Russian Empire, and that shaped it in some ways - e.g. use of Russian as the common language, and Cyrillic for newly invented alphabets for local languages - it was not, as such, a truly Russian project. Heck, it was ruled by Georgian who spoke Russian with a thick accent for the most prominent (and bloody!) part of its history! Indeed, in many ways, Soviet Union raped all its constituent republics, including RSFSR - even if you simply go by body count, most victims in absolute numbers were also Russian.

At the same time, specifically with respect to Central Asian countries that were part of it, I think that they have derived more benefits from being a part of the USSR than was taken from them. In terms of losses they have suffered some erosion of their culture, but not to any significant extent - local languages were always taught in schools in national republics, there were national quotas for leadership (e.g. everyone knew that the head of each republic had to be of the titular nation of that republic), and so on. Religion was suppressed, but to a much less extent than what happened in Russia itself, and it stopped earlier, too. In general, most of cultural erosion they suffered happened because of rapid modernization of society, and enforcement of some ethical norms (e.g. communists were very keen on women equality and rights, which obviously didn't mesh well with Islamic cultures of the region).

At the same time, if you look at resource and money flow, Central Asian republics have always got more from the USSR than they had produced. This is because the region was extremely backwards in terms of development and infrastructure availability as part of Russian Empire, and had to be built up significantly as part of USSR to remain on par with the rest of the country - and commies did that. Practically all of their modern industrial objects and housing date to Soviet times, and were built on money and by workers coming from other parts of the Union.

Ditto for education. In Imperial times, the locals were completely cut off from the education system, and USSR changed it in a major way - instituting quotas for national republics in developed major universities (most of them in Russia), as well as building new universities in those republics - with those people educated on those quotas then serving as faculty staff for the newly build universities. Indeed, if you look at the educated classes in all those republics today - most of them have studied in Moscow or Leningrad, and practically all speak Russian as a consequence of that.

So, all in all, "raping" is probably not a good word to describe the relationship.

The problem with all this - and this is where we get back to this Aral thing - is that the locals weren't ever asked if they want it all, considering the benefits and the trade-offs. But then, no-one asked the Russians, either - the USSR wasn't a democracy at all, not even for any particular nation.

Re:So What, Seas Dry Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31966478)

Ok, what the fuck is wrong with you idiots?

Screwing shit up because nature screws shit up too doesn't mean it's good for us. It's like all those jokes about arsenic being natural. NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, RIGHT?

Asteroids are natural, too! If one were to come careening at the Earth, well, it happens plus it might have some totally awesome iron ore or platinum family metals!

It's important to maintain ecosystems. Yes, some people want to just be able to look at it. Others tend to want it around for their livelihood or, well, they simply want those trees above the hill to stick around so the whole fucking mass doesn't come crashing down on their town.

Me? I personally don't care about the Dead Sea. It's a salty lake with no life in a desert with fucking religious jackholes who kill each other because of god damn fairy tales. In the scheme of things, life will go on without the Dead Sea. However, if you trash this place and no one can live there and they have to go somewhere else and they trash THAT place and no one can live THERE and they just keep moving and fucking up every acre of land and water IN THE SPAN OF BARELY HALF A HUMAN'S LIFE, then we're all fucked. It's time humanity gets off this junkie phase but that doesn't seem likely when we can't even get past bullshit Sunday stories.

NaCl, we don't need no stinkin' NaCl (1)

pr0f3550r (553601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31967090)

Bringing water from the Red Sea will only serve to increase the salt levels of the Dead Sea. Remember, the Dead Sea is normally only fed from 'fresh water' sources. Feeding this evaporative basin with salt waters will only dramatically INCREASE salt levels. It would be better to draw waters from the north or north-eastern sources. However, the best solution for this problem would be better conservation of the exist water. Sadly, the likely scenario that will 'fix' this problem will be increased violence in the region and a reduction of population. Iran will likely use attacks against Israel to include statements like: 'Doing our part to fix the Dead Sea problem.' Sometimes environmental engineering chases stupidity with stupidity.

The dead sea is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31967698)

Isn't that kind of redundant?

Refilling the Aral Sea. (1)

penguin_zoo (958185) | more than 3 years ago | (#31968924)

I propose a mass of decentralized solar desalination plants, along the coast lines of Yeman, Oman, and most of the unpopulated areas of Saudi Arabia, and most of the equatorial region of Africa. Could we not then use this method to refill the Aral sea, whilst providing an almost infinite source of water to those regions that have very limited rainfall. If we could then increase the surface area of the Aral, by increasing its capacity, would this not then provide an increase in regional rainfall. Why not whilst we are at it, start this as a mass project in any area with enough sunlight and start refilling the natural aquifers that we seem to be plundering. Nevada, Texas, California to name a few. I am sure they can all benefit from this. Would this not displace some of the sea water, whilst providing a solution?
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