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Wed, 23 May 2018
The World for People who Think



Pope shuts off Vatican fountains for first time in living memory as Rome suffers with drought

Vatican City fountain
© Max Rossi / Reuters
All 100 Vatican City fountains, including two Baroque masterpieces in St Peter's Square, will be shut off in the coming days as a drought sweeps Rome and other parts of Italy.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said it was the first time the Vatican could recall turning off all of its fountains and reflected Pope Francis' views on the environment.

"This decision is very much in line with the pope's thinking on ecology: you can't waste and sometimes you have to be willing to make a sacrifice," he told Reuters.

"This is the Vatican's way of living [in] solidarity with Rome, trying to help Rome get through this crisis," Burke added.

While the decision is likely to upset summer tourists who look forward to viewing the Vatican's famed fountains, water conservation is being widely encouraged as Rome's authorities consider the introduction of strict water rations.

Bizarro Earth

Rome faces water rationing as city bans pumping water from drought-hit Lake Bracciano

Lake Bracciano Italy drought
Authorities have ordered a halt to pumping water out of a lake near Rome following a prolonged drought, a decision that could force city officials to impose water rationing in the Italian capital.

The head of the local Lazio region, which is centered on Rome, said on Saturday the ban on withdrawing water from Lake Bracciano would come into force on July 28.

"Sadly, it is a tragedy," Nicola Zingaretti told Tgcom24 TV station. "The truth is Lake Bracciano has fallen too much and we risk an environmental disaster."

Acea, the utility firm which runs Rome's water system, has said that two years of lower-than-average rainfall have dramatically reduced water levels in reservoirs feeding the city, with a prolonged, ongoing heat wave making matters worse.

Comment: Rome water fountains run dry as heat wave sparks 'exceptional' drought across Italy

Ice Cube

Forget extreme temperatures: Nothing kills as many people as moderate cold

Cold in Kashmir
© The News Tribe
Some are scoffing at the idea that rising heating costs will kill people. But check out the number-one temperature-killer in 74 million deaths across 13 countries. It's not the extremes that we need to worry about, the deadly phrase is "mildly suboptimal temperatures". Look at the blue finger of death in the graph below, starkly showing how irrelevant "extreme heat", or any other ambient temperature zone, is.

Do you need an excuse to turn the heater on in winter? Low ambient room temperatures will thicken your blood.

Moderate cold accounted for as many as 6.6% of all deaths. Extreme temperatures (either cold or hot) were responsible for only 0·86%.

Join the dots — will we save more lives by:

a) making homes cold now in the hope that lower "carbon" emissions will,

b) mean less deaths from heat in 90 years time despite people probably having better access to heaters and air conditioners?

Would you sacrifice ten years of your life...


Extreme weather 2017 caused by cosmic rays not CO2, the grand solar minimum amplifying effect

Galactic cosmic rays
© YouTube/Adapt 2030 (screen capture)
Inversion of weather extremes is the theme of the year on Earth in 2017, extreme cold wipes out vineyards in Europe through May, but now record heat. In the USA record floods turn fields in to lakes, but now record drought in crop lands. All time record droughts reversed in California and Florida in a matter of months, Australian wheat crop plunges by 40% from 2016. What no body is talking about are cosmic rays causing all of this. There will be a 19% increase of cosmic rays over solar cycle 25 which will make all of theses weather anomalies of 2015 until now look small in comparison. Are you ready?

Comment: See these related articles for more information:


U.S. food price rises: Spring wheat up, winter wheat up, pork & beef up

US wheat price rise
© YouTube/Adapt 2030 (screen capture)
With drought over the Dakotas after a soggy start to the 2017 spring wheat planting season, the crop is in peril of above 70% losses, this was preceded by a 35% loss of winter wheat across the USA. Now Canada is forecasting lowered yields as well. You need to ask yourself where else it is happening planet wide also. These are the types of events that are related to grand solar minimum unstable growing patterns that occur every mini ice age. Prices will rise further from this point, and if the same pattern repeats next year, food prices will more than double.

Comment: 2017: The year that food becomes an investment - Prepare for a food crisis now


Rome water fountains run dry as heat wave sparks 'exceptional' drought across Italy

Rome water fountain
© Andrea Ronchini / Global Look Press
Rome's traditional water fountains will be shut off for the first time in more than 140 years as a punishing heat wave continues to affect much of Italy.

The fountains - nicknamed 'nasoni,' or big noses for their long nozzles - are a source of relief for residents and tourists alike during the hot summer months, continuously dispensing water on piazzas and street corners.

The water, which is drawn from the volcanic Lake Bracciano to the north of the city, will be stopped Monday.

"We know perfectly well the inconvenience that this will cause, but it is due to the exceptional drought," Paolo Saccani, the head of the utility company that manages the fountains, wrote in a letter to Virginia Raggi, Rome's mayor.

Local authorities are alarmed by the falling level of the lake in recent months - but while the city has laid the blame for the measures on the heat wave, others have highlighted the city's poor plumbing and infrastructure.


South Africa's Cape Town contends with worst drought in over a century

Cape Town drought
The worst drought in a century is forcing the most stringent water restrictions ever implemented for South Africa's second largest city. Cape Town has less than 10% of its useable water remaining for its nearly 4 million residents.The city is implementing Level 4 water restrictions, which ask residents to limit daily usage to 100 liters (26 gallons) per person.

The measure is meant to reduce demand and conserve what little water is still available, and means significant sacrifices for residents.For Cape Town resident Suzanne Buckley, the restrictions mean adapting to a new lifestyle. "We have buckets in our shower and bathroom sink to save excess water," Buckley said. "The gray water is then used to flush our toilets."

The restrictions are in effect across the city in an aggressive effort to preserve its remaining drinking water, but it may not be enough. South Africa ranks as the 30th driest country in the world and is considered a water-scarce region. A highly variable climate causes uneven distribution of rainfall, making droughts even more extreme.

Speaking to CNN, Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille explained her concerns about the growing water crisis."Climate change is a reality and we cannot depend on rainwater alone to fill our dams, but must look at alternative sources like desalination and underground aquifers."

Eye 1

Saudi Arabia arms sales 'good for industry' says Tory Amber Rudd in UK election debate

amber rudd
© Stefan Rousseau / AFP
Amber Rudd has suggested arms sales to Saudi Arabia are good for British industry.

The Tory Home Secretary said during the live BBC Debate in Cambridge on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia "has the right" to purchase weapons.

Amid questions about the arms deal from both Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, Rudd said: "I will make no apology for being a government that wants to defend this country.

"We will make sure that our defence budget is well-funded and we will do that by having a strong economy and make sure we can do that by having a strong industry."


Food bills set to rise as drought threatens to wipe out UK crops: Farmers warn lack of rain is hitting barley, wheat and sugar beet

Bone-dry conditions are wiping out crops which could hit shoppers with higher food prices, farmers have warned. Spring crops of barley, wheat and sugar beet are all suffering damage from a lack of water after driest winter in two decades

Bone-dry conditions are wiping out crops which could hit shoppers with higher food prices, farmers have warned. Spring crops of barley, wheat and sugar beet are all suffering damage from a lack of water after driest winter in two decades
Bone-dry conditions are wiping out crops which could hit shoppers with higher food prices, farmers have warned.

In the latest stark warning, farmers have said that spring crops of barley, wheat and sugar beet are all suffering damage from a lack of water.

If the dry conditions continue over the coming month, shoppers could be facing higher food bills, according to the National Farmers Union.

Yesterday the Daily Mail revealed more than four fifths of the country's rivers are running drier than their long term average, following the driest winter in the past two decades.

The latest warning comes as:

Arrow Down

The 'March to Silence' - Shots fired at building housing leading climate skeptic scientists

© Image via Google Maps Street View
National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building.
A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy's office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. It doesn't matter that we don't "deny global warming"; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvement in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.

Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday's march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

Maybe the "March For Science" should have been called the "March To Silence".

Campus and city police say they believe the shots were fired from a passing car, based upon the angle of entry into one of the offices. Shell casings were recovered outside. The closest distance a passing car would have been is 70 yards away.

This is a developing story. I have no other details.