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Drought, Mars tremors and pandemic response failures: This week's recommended reading


In the future, Germans will have to pay more attention to their water consumption. Climate change could force it. Will sprinkling lawns and washing cars become luxuries?

With the exception of last year, there has been an exceptional dry period in this country since 2018.

Andreas Marx from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig even speaks of an “extreme situation that has not existed in the last quarter of a millennium”.

And Claudia Pahl-Wostl, water expert from the Institute for Environmental Systems Research at the University of Osnabrück, warns of future "conflicts of interest" in water use and has been observing a "careless handling of water" in Germany for some time: "We have to adjust to the fact that water in this country is becoming a scarce goods - that's a novelty for Germany," she says.

It all reminds me of my time as a SPIEGEL correspondent in San Francisco in the early 2010s.

Even then, Californians were regularly asked to stop watering their gardens and not filling up their swimming pools.

How will the Germans react when it means no longer watering the garden and washing the car every week but only once a month?

Climate change could also force the next generation in this country to pay much more attention to water consumption.

Can we also be world champions in saving water?

Californians have no other choice.

Especially in the particularly dry southern California there has been a drought since the year 2000.

Crops dry up, animals die of thirst, forests are consumed by fire.

Experts speak of a "mega drought," the worst for at least 1,200 years.

And some fear that the drought could shape the future of this region as a permanent symptom of the climate crisis.

My colleague Viola Kiel looked to San Diego and described how the adaptation could also succeed in private: with energy-saving shower heads, smart water pipes - and without a lawn.


Yours Philip Bethge

I also recommend you:

Cerebral fluid in young mice makes the memory of old conspecifics fit again:

the ability to remember decreases with increasing age, which is no different in mice than in humans.

But now an experiment shows that the memory function can be improved in a complicated process.

Fiona, the pregnant fish dinosaur:

In a glacier in Patagonia, a paleontologist has discovered a special fossil: a petrified ichthyosaur with embryos in its stomach.

The animal can now help to understand the development of the primeval giants.

The biggest mistakes in fighting the pandemic:

thousands and thousands of avoidable deaths, neglected children, a failed vaccination campaign - this is how politics failed in the pandemic.

How Germany could now prevent another Corona autumn.

Plants grown on lunar soil for the first time:

Could agriculture be practiced on the moon?

At least some plants at the University of Florida have grown on soil that comes from Earth's satellite.

However, they did not thrive particularly well.

At the limit of what is possible:

Radio astronomers have taken a photo of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way.

Nobody knows their way around there, in the heart of the galaxy, as well as Reinhard Genzel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Planned oil and gas projects worldwide:

The currently planned oil and gas production for the coming years could overturn the 1.5 degree target.

Corporations like Gazprom, Saudi Aramco and BP are investing billions of dollars in raw materials that are harmful to the climate – despite all the warnings.

The treasure in the apartment:

For decades, a furniture dealer from Kiel hoarded works of art from Africa in his apartment and amassed a unique collection.

Now ethnologists are pouncing on it - and reconstructing the crazy life of the collector at the same time.

Return from the ISS:

Astronaut Maurer is not very enthusiastic about space tourists.


  • Between 1930 and 2000, global water consumption roughly doubled, increased sixfold or tenfold?

  • How big is the daily water footprint of every German, i.e. the total amount of water that is required for the production of all goods and services consumed in one day?

    200, 1000 or 4000 liters?

  • How much water is used in total to make one cup of coffee?

  • *You can find the answers at the bottom of the newsletter.

    picture of the week

    Colorful corals grow under shimmering purple light

    in the laboratory of the US project »Coral Morphologic«.

    Since 2007, the marine biologist Colin Foord and the musician J.D. McKay have been trying to draw attention to the global threat to coral reefs with installations, videos and compositions.

    There isn't much time left.

    After another heat wave in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is currently experiencing the fourth mass bleaching in just seven years.

    Over 90 percent of the world's largest coral reef system has now been damaged.

    (Feedback & suggestions? )

    *Quiz answers: 1. Sixfold 2. 4000 liters 3. 140 liters

    Source: spiegel

    All tech articles on 2022-05-14

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