Nile Dam Accord

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Sign Nile Dam Accord | Al Jazeera America.

No details on the water sharing agreement from what will be Africa’s largest dam, but they have one.

Ethiopia, the source of Blue Nile which joins the White Nile in Khartoum and runs on to Egypt, says the dam will not disrupt the river’s flow and hopes the project will transform it into a power hub for the electricity-hungry region.


Climate Change and Civil War

Climate Change Hastened Syria’s Civil War – Scientific American.

Climate change can make storms stronger, cold spells longer and water supplies drier. But can it cause war? A new study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says drought in Syria, exacerbated to record levels by global warming, pushed social unrest in that nation across a line into an open uprising in 2011. The conflict has since become a major civil war with international involvement.

More severe droughts are on the way, according to climatologists.  Although the US is a pretty stable place, what will happen when the water runs out in the west?

Drying and drought in Syria from 2006 to 2011—the worst on record there—destroyed agriculture, causing many farm families to migrate to cities. The influx added to social stresses already created by refugees pouring in from the war in Iraq [.]

Will we see “water wars”?

Although civil unrest is far less likely there, tension is indeed growing between political leaders in northern and southern California over who gets the increasingly scarce water from rivers, underground aquifers and snow melt, all of which are declining.

What about locally?  Electro Purification has met with a lot of protests from local residents as they drill in an unregulated portion of the Trinity aquifer.  What will happen when the neighbors’ pumps run dry?

Climate Change Hastened Syria's Civil War - Scientific American

No men allowed!

IMAGINE the secret-society feel of a British private members’ club mixed with the casual dress of a pyjama party. That is the atmosphere of Luthan Hotel and Spa, a women-only establishment in Riyadh, the austere Saudi capital.

via Segregation in Saudi Arabia: No men allowed! | The Economist.

Of course women don’t want to be confined at home, so the wealthy women of Saudi Arabia are finding a safe have in “women only” facilities.  These include spas, gyms, and one floor of the ritzy Kingdom Mall.

 Curves, an American gym chain, has found favour by offering its facilities to female fitness fanatics unencumbered by their men. The new trend means more jobs for women too. In the Luthan, female porters, cleaners and IT staff cater to the guests’ every whim.

Since they can’t drive, they still need men to take them there.  But things are changing, much too fast for many clerics.

 Some Saudi clerics have campaigned for women-only gyms to be shut down; one preacher declared that sport could cause women to “lose their virginity”.

However, as more women join the workforce change is inevitable.  How can you run an office where the men and women are keep segregated?

Langar – Feeding the People

For the volunteers handing out food here, this is more than just good charitable work. For them this is a religious duty enshrined by the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, over 500 years ago. At a time of deep division by caste and religious infighting between Hindus and Muslims in India, Guru Nanak called for equality for all and set forward the concept of Langar – a kitchen where donated produce, prepared into wholesome vegetarian curry by volunteers, is freely served to the community on a daily basis.

via BBC News – Why homeless Britons are turning to the Sikh community for food.

As the economy collapsed, more people started showing up at the temples for food.

Today, thousands of free Langar meals are served everyday in Sikh temples throughout the UK. The Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, thought to be the biggest Sikh temple outside of India, says it alone serves 5,000 meals on weekdays and 10,000 meals on weekends.

It’s Warming Up Everywhere Else

Here’s a map of all the places that are unusually hot this week – Vox.


Ancient rock, sacred space.  Nice piece about Jerusalem from anthropologist Martin Gray.

Maps Lie


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