Stories tagged Mono Lake

Dec
02
2010

The shores of the alien world: Mono Lake, California, Earth.
The shores of the alien world: Mono Lake, California, Earth.Courtesy Eeek
Big news from NASA today, y'all.

NASA scientists are holding a conference at 2:00 EST today, and I hate to spoil the surprise, but word on the street is that they've discovered life on the planet Earth. Ah... but it's not what you think—word is that they've discovered life that's really different from everything else here.

Last year, I posted about the theory that this sort of thing might exist, but it wasn't until now that it has actually been discovered. Here's the gist: bacteria living in the mud of weirdo Mono Lake have been found to use arsenic as a building block of their bodies. That may not sound like much, but, if it's true, it would mean that these bacteria are different than every other living thing on this planet. Everything else that lives on this planet is made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. These creatures use arsenic instead of phosphorous.

Aside from being super cool and different, the discovery suggests that if life can exist in ways we didn't think was possible, it can exist in places we didn't think life was possible. Like other planets and moons in our own solar system.

More details after the conference, hopefully.

Oct
15
2010

California water wars
California water warsCourtesy Los Angeles
Every year, my friends in California give me a Mono Lake calendar. I will be there next week to see for myself how the Lake is doing. Mono Lake is recovering after the California Water Wars.

California water wars started 100+ yrs ago

Water diversion, speculation, and fighting has been going on in California for more than 100 years. About 110 years ago some of the visionary leaders in Los Angeles decided to dig canals all the way across the state to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and divert and carry its water to their growing city.

Battle in courts to save Mono Lake

Because the waters were diverted, the water level in Mono Lake started to fall, and the Mono Lake ecosystem became severely impacted.

In 1978, the Mono Lake Committee was formed to protect Mono Lake. The Committee (and the National Audubon Society) sued LADWP in 1979, arguing that the diversions violated the public trust doctrine, which states that navigable bodies of water must be managed for the benefit of all people. The litigation reached the California Supreme Court by 1983, which ruled in favor of the Committee. Further litigation was initiated in 1984, which claimed that LADWP did not comply with the state fishery protection laws.

"In 1994, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) established significant public trust protection and eco-system restoration standards, and LADWP was required to release water into Mono Lake to raise the lake level 20 feet. As of 2003, the water level in Mono Lake has risen 9 feet of the required 20 feet. Los Angeles made up for the lost water through state-funded conservation and recycling projects." Wikipedia

Water scarcity will cause more wars

I read recently that a UN Development Program report predicted that Scarcity of water, over the next 25 years, will possibly be the leading reason for major conflicts in Africa, not oil.’

[It's Blog Action Day 2010, and this year's theme is water.]