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Miscellaneous, Seen on the 'Net

Misc Monday – Resources

06.28.10 | Comment?

The US isn’t the only country facing looming water shortages. Parts of China are draining groundwater and aquifers up to twice as fast as rainwater can replenish their supply. If this continues, “China will lose the ability to feed about 10% of its 1.3 billion people.” (Bonus material: We were also recently treated  to a rare admission from a Chinese official about they really see the U.S.)

Speaking of water, in climate change news new research into the rapid melting of Antarctic’s Pine Island Glacier is casting doubt on global warming as a cause. Apparently the melt-off has been in the works for a long time and would be happening now with or without global warming. This research does nothing to disprove global warming, but it does remove a piece of “evidence” from the table.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the vast mineral wealth found in Afghanistan? The article says that they could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” If managed properly, these mineral resources could replace opium as the main source of income for many Afghanis. Of course, getting access to these resources will mean major infrastructure improvements, such as railroads, roads, and reliable electricity. With this much wealth at stake, I think you can forget Afghanistan being abandoned. Even if we completely turned out backs on the country, the Chinese would immediately step in. Batteries play a huge role in our “green” future, which means our insatiable appetite for oil will be replaced for an insatiable appetite for minerals like lithium. The big question is, what will it take to keep the Taliban from sabotaging efforts to improve the infrastructure of their own country? Because they control the roads, they have already stopped an effort to revitalize a hydro-electric plant and return reliable electricity to the southern part of the country.

Want to argue the politics of our place in Afghanistan? I don’t. If you want to chew on politics, I was recently reminded of this old article in which the author suggests we abandon the old two-dimensional left-right political spectrum in favor of a more sophisticated model for political axis. It’s as good as any. Or, you could check out some of the others mentioned on Wikipedia. They have the benefit of prettier graphics.

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