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Cake day: January 3rd, 2024

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  • Right, I just looked and saw there are some conflicting ideas about this.

    The brine issues seem quite abd:

    And even the desalination industry agrees concentrated salt is a problem. Because it is heavier than seawater, the brine tends to settle toward the bottom of the coastal areas where it is released—unless it is diluted. The excess salt decreases dissolved oxygen in the water, suffocating animals on the seafloor. Technologies exist to reduce brine waste prior to disposal or to mine pollutants out of the waste for commercial use—but this is generally cost-prohibitive. Instead, plants use other strategies to minimize damage.

    One such alternative involves situating plants in areas where strong currents help disperse the brine. But this is not always possible. For example, the Arabian Gulf is shallow, lacks strong currents and has seen incoming freshwater slow to a trickle due to upstream dams and to people in the region diverting water for drinking and irrigation. The Gulf is also a receptacle for salty “produced water” from the oil and gas industry. As a result of these factors, the Gulf is now about 25 percent saltier than typical seawater, with hotspots double or triple its regular salinity. In addition to harming sea life, extreme salinity also makes desalinating the water more difficult and expensive. The Red and the Mediterranean seas are also growing more saline.

    Some plants make efforts to better mix the brine into the ocean when discharged, either by using multiple waste outlets that spread it over a larger area or by pressurizing the waste flow to disperse it by force. A recent six-year study at the Sydney Desalination Plant in Australia found its pressure diffuser reduced excess salinity in coastal areas where waste brine was released. But the abnormally fast flow prevented species with slow-swimming larvae—such as tube worms, lace corals and sponges—from colonizing the impact zone. At the same time, species that thrive in high-flow conditions—such as barnacles and bivalves—increased in number, says study lead author Graeme Clark, a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales’s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. The study showed an attempt to reduce the harm of extreme salinity can change the composition of species living in the outfall area. “It’s a bit of the lesson for the industry,” he says, about considering the impact of hydrodynamic changes. Nevertheless, he adds, the impacts are “less sinister…than the toxic effect of high salinity.”

    Scientific American

    It’s quite a complex issue.










  • India’s government-run NITI Aayog public policy centre forecasts a “steep fall of around 40 percent in freshwater availability by 2030”, in a July 2023 report.

    It also warned of “increasing water shortages, depleting groundwater tables and deteriorating resource quality”.

    Groundwater resources “are being depleted at unsustainable rates”, it added, noting they make up some 40 percent of total water supplies.

    It is a story repeated across India, said Himanshu Thakkar, from the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, a Delhi-based water rights campaign group.

    This is “typical of what keeps happening all over the country”, Thakkar said, adding it represents everything “wrong with the political economy of making dams in India”.

    “While projects are planned and justified in the name of drought-prone regions and its people, most end up serving only the distant urban areas and industries,” he said.

    Truly, India needs to rapidly supply water to these areas, perhaps with massive desalination projects like they do in the Gulf region, where areas like Riyadh have 7 million people dependent on water pumped in from the cost.











  • I do agree that money and power dictate the outcome of elections more than debate and principles, which is sad. Democracy is quite… flawed. But that is also why I just believe in inalienable constitutional rights that never collapse and are beyond the reach of would-be dictators.

    I also think that having a culture that is crazy about these values is great insulation against tyranny.

    So, I always support free speech… and I like to use it to try to kindly reach out to the other side and defuse situations. It may not change their mind, but it will make them hesitate about supporting people who are dictatorial, IMO.


  • You’re absolutely, completely right.

    I think he might be an honest-to-God sociopath with zero empathy for other living things, perhaps due to a big hit to the head or just born without this capacity… When someone has this condition, their only hope is that they develop an intellectual respect for the principles of justice, or become devoutly religious and committed to those virtues. Even then, as you say, they are not someone you want to be around at all because the normal emotions that would make any of us stop from using extreme violence are missing in them…

    What he did to that cat is absolutely insane. It overwhelms me…

    And what mental health support is he really going to get…? Little to none. It’s going to be grandpa carrying the weight…

    Honestly, it seems hopeless, but I pray there is someone who can help him turn the corner on his mental health issues… mostly for the sake of all the people who will ever have to interact with him.

    It is a famous fact that serial killers often start out on animals. I certainly hope he’s not headed down that path.