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Icebergs have always been forces to be reckoned with, notoriously concealing the majority of their mass below the surface. Approximately 90% of an icebergs is concealed underwater, a trait that led to the disaster that fell upon the ill-fated Titanic. But what are icebergs, and why are they floating around in the sea? In contrast to the saltwater in which they float, icebergs are pieces of frozen freshwater. Saltwater would require much lower temperatures to remain frozen, hence the use of salt to de-ice roads. These pieces of ice are the result of breakages within glaciers, with the effects of force or heat causing a piece of ice to break away. These smaller pieces of glacier more commonly known as icebergs, can then form into pack ice. If allowed to venture into shallower areas of the sea this can then gouge up the seabed.

It is this distinctive trait of gouging that causes icebergs to create ‘doodles’ in the seabed. These doodles aren’t just pretty pictures, however they do rather wonderfully illustrate the beauty of nature. Every mark, swirl and line shows the movement of an iceberg. The Geological Society of London have spent the last 4 years compiling these doodles. This ‘atlas’ shows the changing landscape of sea beds across the world, with images from over 20 countries. 250 scientists have worked on this masterpiece, which will be a focal point of the European Geoscience Union General Assembly. They’re meeting this week in Vienna, and will be discussing a wide range of ideas around the field of geoscience. The information about iceberg doodles will be presented by Dr Kelly Hogan, who works as an editor for the British Antarctic Survey.

So, what do iceberg doodles tell us?

These images are undoubtedly beautiful but what is the practical use for these glacial imprints? Well, the movements of the icebergs that generate these striking images reflect weather patterns. From studying this atlas of the sea beds scientists can gain an understanding of climates and their histories. Speaking about this research, Dr Hogan added that “We can see where the ice has been and what it’s done, and this allows us to compare and contrast. Looking at what has happened in the past can help us understand what may happen in the future with modern ice sheets as they respond to climate change”. So, much more than just providing a glorified weather report, these doodles can help track global warming. But, alas, they do not provide a solution to this ever growing threat to the environment.

Proud geek since 1988. I'm never happier than when I am enjoying a good film. Of course, as a Brit, the film watching experience is always better with a nice cup of tea.

Environment

What will happen to Lake Mead in 2024?

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After a record-setting summer of found bodies in 2022 and historically low water levels that cut off the Colorado River’s connection to the sea, Lake Mead still seems to be feeling the effects of climate change and population growth, as its water levels have dropped quickly over the past few years.

Lake Mead is the biggest reservoir in the United States by volume. It provides water to about 25 million people in the area between Nevada and Arizona. At full pool, Mead is 104.6 kilometers (65 miles) long, starting at the Hoover Dam, and can be as wide as 9.3 miles (15 kilometers). It can hold about 36 trillion liters (9.3 million gallons) of water.

But as the environment changes and more people use water, the lake’s size is quickly shrinking. In July 2022, the area had the lowest water level ever recorded, at 317 meters (1,040 feet). The next year, 2023, wasn’t much better. At the end of the year, the water level was only 324 meters (just under 1,065 feet), which was much lower than the regular 365 meters (1,200 feet) seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

As of the beginning of 2024, the lake’s water levels are high, which is a big change from the previous year. Lake conditions looked better at the start of the year than they did at the same time in 2023, when the water level was 325.5 meters (1,068 feet) and rose to a peak of 328 meters (1,076 feet).

Newsweek talked to Jennifer Pitt, the Colorado River program director for the National Audubon Society. “The combined storage of Lakes Powell and Mead, the two large reservoirs on the Colorado River, has declined somewhat since the beginning of the year,” Pitt said.

But “Lake Mead, which receives water released from Lake Powell and makes releases to water users downstream, has since January 1 increased by about 7 percent, or around 600,000 acre-feet.”

Although water levels typically decline in March as summer approaches, this year’s unusually high water levels are projected to persist into the summer due to above-average snowpack levels.

Snowpack is the accumulation of snow on the ground in hilly areas. When this snow melts, it serves as a crucial water source for several lakes and rivers. Elevated snowpack levels in the adjacent mountains will result in augmented water resources when they gradually thaw over the warmer months and stream into the Colorado River, which accounts for 97 percent of the influx into Lake Mead.

Regrettably, this serves as only a transient solution for a somewhat more substantial problem concerning Lake Mead. Despite a promising start to the year, predictions show that water levels at the end of the year will be even lower than in 2023, a year in which higher-than-average snowpack levels also had an impact.

According to a recent 24-month operation plan by the US Bureau of Reclamation, the water levels in the reservoir are projected to decrease steadily for the remainder of this year, resulting in a decrease of 5 meters (17 feet) by December. By 2025, it is projected that the water levels in December may reach a mere 318 meters (1,044 feet), which is only a little more than 1 meter above the unprecedented low recorded in 2022. If the water level of the reservoir ever dropped below the critical point of 273 meters (895 feet), it would be incapable of supplying water to the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona, as well as some areas of Mexico.

The increased supply demands brought about by a growing population, the impact of climate change on rainfall patterns that result in protracted droughts, and the rising rate of evaporation are all having a significant negative impact on the health of this essential water source. Furthermore, the diminished water levels are adversely affecting the quality of the remaining water, indicating that the situation in the area is unlikely to ameliorate without implementing dramatic measures.

Pitt highlighted that the disparity between supply and demand will increase as climate change persists in reducing the size of the Colorado River, resulting in quicker depletion of the reservoirs.

“The decision-makers responsible for the Colorado River are currently engaged in negotiations to establish new regulations for the reservoirs,” she informed Newsweek. “Their ability to effectively manage the equilibrium between supply and demand will be crucial in ensuring a reliable water supply for all organisms reliant on this river.”

Managing the lake is challenging because of its large size. However, the loss of its resources will have a significant impact on millions of people, as it is one of the most crucial reservoirs in the United States.

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Environment

11-Year-Old Scientist Creates Lead Detector for Water.

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11-Year-Old

Genius can show itself in many ways, some people have propositions, others create. It’s all a game of “Who can implement these solutions to a full extent?”. This 11-year-old girl decided to take the matters into her own hands and revolutionized the world of science and health. By creating a lead detector device, this girl contributed to end the massive contamination of the liquids in her region once and for all.

The story begins at Flint, Michigan. An 11-year-old girl named Gitanjali Rao took notice of the water crisis people were having at the time. The drinking water became contaminated with led and caused a major public health crisis.

“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” Gitanjali told ABC News. “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”

When she saw the current solutions that were painfully average and slow at best. The girl decided to step up and fight this, but how? Lead isn’t that easy to detect in contaminated water, right? Well, like any inventor, she made her best effort to make this an easy process for everyone.

She told Business Insider that: “I went, ‘Well, this is not a reliable process and I’ve got to do something to change this,’ ” And so, she went on a quest to find the best solution to the problem.

First, she went to the MIT’s Materials Science and Engineering website to see “if there’s anything’s new,” she read about new technologies that could detect hazardous substances and decided to see whether they could be adapted to test for lead.

Once she found out a project that worked best, she created a device that fulfills one basic purpose: Identify lead compounds in water, portable and relatively inexpensive. And she succeeded.

The device consists of 3 essential parts: There is a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays, an Arduino-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment, and a smartphone app that can display the results. The name? Tethys, like the Greek Goddess of Fresh Water.

How does it work? The carbon nanotubes in the cartridge are sensitive to changes in the flow of electrons. Those tubes are lined with atoms that have an affinity to lead, which adds a measurable resistance to the electron flow.

Once the cartridge is dipped in water that is clean, the electron flow doesn’t change and the smartphone app shows that water is safe to drink. However, if it is contaminated water, the lead in the water reacts to the atoms, causing resistance in the electron flow that is measured by the Arduino processor. The app then shows that the water isn’t safe to drink.

This invention is such a work of art and creativity; it deserves the greatest amount of recognition. And as such, Rao was dubbed “America’s Top Young Scientist” in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge this distinction comes with a check for $25,000, more than enough compensation for saving many.

Here at GeekReply, we hope that this child genius aspires to the greatest of futures. With the recent contributions that have been helping science and health developments. People like this could be a great help for the brighter future of human society.

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Cars

General Motors to Release 20 Electric Cars by 2023

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Motors

There have been a lot of new pushes to take the electric cars to the next level. A lot of countries have been approving laws that will decrease the use of fuel cars for the sake of a better future. It seems like General Motors is going to add more to the plans of a greener environment where cars are usually hybrid or electric.

In a push to produce cars powered by batteries or fuel cells, General Motors laid out a strategy to vastly expand the number of electric models in the marketplace. G.M. said it would introduce two new all-electric models within 18 months as part of a broader plan toward what the company says is the ultimate goal of an emissions-free fleet. The two models will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that G.M. plans to bring out by 2023.

G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, announced in September that the company, America’s largest automaker, expected the industry to move aggressively toward an automotive future with zero emissions, traffic accidents and highway congestion.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Mark Reuss said at a media event at the company’s technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, G.M. is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”

He declined to specify what type of new models will be built off the Bolt’s underpinnings, but the chief of G.M.’s electrification strategy, Pam Fletcher, said the company is focusing on the development of sport utility vehicles and car-based crossover models.

There still isn’t a set timeframe for an all-electric portfolio of products, and the company expects to continue making cars and trucks powered by gasoline engines for an indefinite period of time. But at the very least they want to make some progress like many other companies have.

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