Daily Archives: February 19, 2018

Movies, Politics and History with Oliver Stone – Conversations with History


University of California Television (UCTV)
Published on May 23, 2016

(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/) Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes filmmaker Oliver Stone for a discussion of his career as director, screenwriter, and producer. Stone describes formative experiences, talks about different aspects of the filmmaking process including working with actors, writing screenplays, and postproduction. He focuses on the themes that have drawn him, and emphasizes the distinction between a historian and dramatist who works with historical materials. He concludes with a discussion of recent works including Alexander and the 10-part documentary on The Untold History of the United States. Recorded on 04/22/2016. Series: “Conversations with History” [6/2016] [Humanities] [Show
ID: 30881]

Day Zero: Lessons from Cape Town’s crisis | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

16 February 2018
Dan Drollette Jr

Cape Town, South Africa, has been in the news a lot lately, due to its water crisis, labeled “Day Zero.”

But what exactly does the term mean? How did a water crisis like this came about, how bad is it, and is it a portent of the future for other cities? Are major cities expected to be in this predicament—and what can we do about it? Are there any lessons the whole experience may hold for those of us living in other parts of the world?

To answer these questions and more, the Bulletin’s Dan Drollette interviewed scientist and water conservation specialist Peter Gleick, who received a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship for his work on the consequences of climate change for water resources, and the risks of conflicts over water. Gleick helped to define basic water needs and the human right to water—work that has been used by the United Nations and in human rights court cases. He has pioneered and advanced the concepts of the “soft path for water” and “peak water,” and founded the Pacific Institute.

…(read more).

David R. Montgomery on Symbioses in the Soil


centerforfoodsafety
Published on May 24, 2016

David Montgomery, co-author of The Hidden Half of Nature and Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington, describes the amazing symbioses between plants and microbes in the soil. To watch more interviews visit: soilsolution.org/interviews/ Transcript: Over the last 20 or 30 years we’ve learned a lot about the role of soil life in soil fertility. Particularly the role that microbial life plays in helping to make nutrients that are in that mineral part of the soil available to plants that can take them up as nutrients. The arguments about sort of what frames soil fertility go way back through history. Obviously people have long thought about the mystery of fertility. Early on in our history we deified fertility, ascribed it to the workings of the gods.

Today we’ve come almost to the opposite end of the spectrum in thinking of microbial life as the great engines driving fertility in the soil, helping to facilitate the breakdown of organic matter—dead things in the soil—that contain the nutrients that used to be alive that can be recycled into new life if only they could be unlocked from that organic matter. And, also from the mineral matter. Now, we can’t eat rocks, right? But if you look at what makes up our bodies, other than the carbon, the nitrogen, and the water, all the other sort of minor elements that are so critical to our health ultimately all are derived from rocks.

Plants can’t eat rocks either. What does? Microbes. The microbes are incredibly important. That soil life, the invisible part, the hidden half of nature we can’t see with our own senses is the part of soil life that really helps bring out the fertility in natural soils and facilitates that with plants. One of the truly amazing things that’s been speculated about for over a century but has really been documented in the last couple decades is the degree to which microbial life forms partnerships with plants. True symbioses between the microbial life living in the root zone, or the rhizosphere of the soil—sort of, close to plant roots—how those microbes are exchanging nutrients with plants for the benefit of both. Plants of course have a monopoly on photosynthesis.

They can take sunlight and turn it into complex organic molecules. Turns out that they’ll pump a surprising amount of that stuff out of their roots into the soil. I was trained to think of soil, or roots, as straws—things that draw material out of the soil for the benefit of plant nutrition. But it turns out they’re two-way streets. They’re putting out material into the soil. Why would they do that? Why would they waste all that energy? Well they’re not wasting it. It’s to feed the microbes that are actually providing the plants with things in return. Things like phosphorous, zinc, manganese, the micronutrients that help facilitate plant health. But they’re also producing things like plant-growth promoting hormones.

Why would microbes do that? Well, in exchange for sugars and other exudates that plants put out through their roots. And that partnership, the partnership between mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria and plants goes back to the very first plants that colonized the continents. The first fossils that we know of from some 450 million years ago, of plants on land, actually have mycorrhizal fungi entangled with the roots. The microbes colonized the continents first and helped the plants come ashore.

David Montgomery Takes Audience Questions On Soil Erosion


The Real Truth About Health
Published on Feb 18, 2018

Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it’s everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. David R. Montgomery finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it’s no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, David R. Montgomery tells us that the compelling idea we are—and have long been—using up Earth’s soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, David Montgomery traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil—as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations. Connect with The Real Truth About Health http://www.therealtruthabouthealth.com/ https://www.facebook.com/The-Real-Tru… https://twitter.com/RTAHealth