Asia

That’s Nuts: Almond Boom Strains California Water Supply

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 22, 2014   View Article

Asia’s love of nuts is draining California dry.

Amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, farmers are scrambling to find enough water to irrigate lucrative almond trees they planted after abandoning other, less thirsty crops.

Why’s there such a market for California nuts? As incomes in countries such as China, South Korea, and India have risen, so has demand for nuts that formerly were out of reach for many Asians. Added to the mix are Wall Street firms who, smelling a quick buck, are paying top dollar for vegetable farms and converting them to orchards.

Could big quake happen here? Yes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 11, 2011   View Article

As the world tunes in to the disaster following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan today — and with waves rattling nerves along the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii — a question rises to the fore: Could such a disaster happen here?

The short answer is yes. It already has. Major quakes of a similar style rupture along the 680-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone, a fault that runs from Northern California to British Columbia, every few hundred years. They trigger tsunami waves reaching up to 15 feet high that hit the shore about 10 to 15 minutes later.

The fault last ruptured in 1700 – a magnitude-9 event that sent tsunami waves crashing into Japan. Experts believe it is a matter of when, not if, the next one will happen, according to Brian Atwater, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington and an expert on the 1700 event.

“There’s no reason to question the history here,” he told me today.

Where Did Dogs Become Our “Best Friends”?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 3, 2009   View Article

DNA from scrappy dogs in African villages is raising doubts about a theory that dogs first became “man’s best friend” in East Asia.

Based on DNA evidence, scientists believe that domestic dogs originated from Eurasian gray wolves sometime between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Ancient Ginkgoes, Redwoods, Threatened in China

Publication: National Geographic Magazine   Date: April 16, 2008   View Article

China is home to more than 31,500 plant species, about 10 percent of the world’s total. Several species, including the dawn redwood and the maidenhair tree—also called ginkgo—are as old as the dinosaurs.

But 20 percent of these plants are at risk of extinction due to human pressures, according to Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Ancient Climate Change Rocked Tibetan Cultures, Research Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2007   View Article

An abrupt change in weather 700 years ago may have forced people on the Tibetan plateau to abandon their farms and reorganize their society, an anthropologist says.

Mark Aldenderfer of the University of Arizona is leading a research project in far western Tibet to piece together how the Asian monsoon—a system of summer winds that brings heavy rain—shifted and how the culture adapted.

China’s Earliest Modern Human Found

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 3, 2007   View Article

An early modern human from China dated to about 40,000 years ago adds to evidence that the first Homo sapiens sapiens occasionally mated with older human species such as Neandertals.

The remains—which represent the oldest known example of modern humans found in China—share a few characteristics with older human species, according to a new study.

Pig DNA Study Suggests New Path of Pacific Human Migration

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 20, 2007   View Article

Like following a trail of genetic breadcrumbs, researchers have used pig DNA to reconstruct the migration route of humans out of Asia and into the Pacific.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach