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Sunday, March 29

Phys.org's great section about water

Yesterday I took a good-natured if exasperated swipe at Phys.org  because they headlined their report about research on Syria's water crisis "Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?"  They were only quoting the claim made by the researchers, and at least they didn't add "manmade" to the title.  Yet it was very clear from the report that actually water shortages helped spark it -- all of them human-made.

But the organization is a great resource for reports about water issues that don't get much if any attention from the mainstream press.  I'm going to be quoting from a handful of their reports, so I thought it only polite to take a moment to thank all the people involved in the site, which makes its reports free to the public and without putting the reader through any hoops.

Here is the link to the water section; it's simply lists of hyperlinked report titles as they come available.  The lists run many pages.  So when they say "water" that means everything to do with water -- from cutting edge experiments to purify water, to research on farms in the Atacama Desert abandoned 500 years ago, to headlines on California's drought.  To spend a few minutes perusing the report titles is a fast way to get an appreciation for the incredible scope and urgency of water issues.

I'll assume that the "phys" in the organization's name refers to physicists; if so the organization branched out since its inception.  Here, from the site's About section, a little background on the site (emphasis mine):
Phys.org™ (formerly Physorg.com) is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies.
Launched in 2004, Phys.org’s readership has grown steadily to include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. 
Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
When I make time I'm going to find websites that focus exclusively on water issues or like Phys.org have a big section about them.  For now I generally prefer the hunt and peck method of using keywords; a look at the titles in Phys.org's water section explains why.  I'm like a kid in a candy store when I visit.  

All right.  Again, thank you, a heartfelt thanks, to the people who make the website possible and highly readable, and a thank-you to all the contributors to the water section.

Phys.org is truly performing a vital public service.

I'll close by noting that visiting the site is a great way to banish the blues.  Yes, we're all going to hell in a hand basket but there are many, many very bright and concerned people working like mad to slow the march.  One recalls that after spending a little time at Phys.org.

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