Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Fractal Analysis of Rainfall Time Series

Fractal Rainfall

"Two-year series of 1-min rainfall intensities observed by rain gages at six different points are analyzed to obtain information about the fractal behavior of the rainfall distribution in time. First, the rainfall time series are investigated using a monodimensional fractal approach (simple scaling) by calculating the box and correlation dimensions, respectively. The results indicate scaling but with different dimensions for different time aggregation periods. The time periods where changes in dimension occur can be related to average rainfall event durations and average dry period lengths. Also, the dimension is shown to be a decreasing function of the rainfall intensity level. This suggests a multidimensional fractal behavior (multiscaling), and to test this hypothesis, the probability distribution/multiple scaling method was applied to the time series. The results confirm that the investigated rainfall time series display a multidimensional fractal behavior, at least within a significant part of the studied timescales, which indicates that the rainfall process can be described by a multiplicative cascade process."
The above comes from a study done by Jonas Olsson, Janusz Niemczynowicz and Ronny Berndtsson. with the Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.  It was reported on in the WaterSISWEB site just as above - nothing else.

Can anyone tell me what this means and why it might be important?  John Fleck?  Is this up your alley?   I understand that fractals are patterns that exist at various scales so I'm guessing this report is saying that rainfall patterns are similar over various scales... of time?  Distance?  Intensities?

When I first read it I was sure it was an attempt by the Three Swedes to prove the 23 Enigma!  But I think now it's more sophisticated than that.  Now I'm thinking it's design is to expose the 6 degrees of separation from any of the 23 enigmas!  A mind-bender any way you look at it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Water Poet - John Taylor

John Taylor Portrait from his 1630 Poetry Anthology
John Taylor lived in London in the late 1500's and died in 1653.  He dubbed himself "The Water Poet", but it's maybe not for the reasons you may be thinking - and certainly not for the reasons I read the explanation.

He didn't write incessantly about water and how spiritual it is, or anything like that.  No, that would have been a gold mine of information for this kind of blog.  The truth is he was a Thames waterman - a member of the boatman and ferry guild that transported people and products across the Thames River in a time when only 1 bridge - the London Bridge - spanned the great river. 

It is only through his writings that some of London's history relative to the ferry industry has been captured.  The best examples of this are his works: To the Right Honorable Assembly (Commons Petition); and The True Cause of the Watermen's Suit Concerning Players.  In these two works he describes how the workers try to change the leadership of the watermen's guild to more of a democratic operation, and the watermen disputes of 1641-42 when the theater companies moved all the theaters across the river to eliminate ferry charges - a move that did not sit well with the tightly organized ferrymen.

He was not a particularly refined writer, but he did know human nature and was a good observer of  people and social styles of the period, so was reasonably popular.

He did many works by subscription - suggesting a book, asking for subscriptions, and writing the book only after receiving enough support to cover the costs.  The Pennylesse Pilgrimage (The Moneylesse Perambulation of John Taylor, alias the Kings Magesties Water-Poet); and How He TRAVAILED on Foot from London to Edenborough in Scotland, Not Carrying any Money To or Fro, Neither Begging, Borrowing, or Asking Meate, Drinke, or Lodging are two such examplesAnyone who defaulted on their promised subscription would be roasted the following year, though, and remember, he was NOT a refined writer so the followups tended to be embarrassing.  

His only other "water" work was "The Praise of Hemp-Seed" - a tale of his journey traveling from London to Queenborough in a paper boat with two fish tied to canes for oars.  Incidentally, this work was one of the first to mention the passing of William Shakespeare (died in 1616).  It was written in 1620.

Two final tidbits just for added interest.  First, John Taylor is credited with the early palindrome "Lewd did I live & evil I did dwel.".  Being a ferryman I can actually believe this one.  Secondly, he also authored a new language called Barmoodan.  You have to wonder about someone who invents a new language when he is the only one in the world who can use it.  I can't find any examples of this language, but I'd like to believe John was influenced by the Eskimo and created 22 words for "water".  That would be fitting. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Groundwater: Too Much or Too Little - Earthquake!

Groundwater hydrologists have known for a long time that injecting water into the subsurface can change the hydrology enough to trigger small earthquakes.  Just listen to all the current rhetoric regarding hydraulic fracturing and the increased incidents of small regional tremblors in oil and gas producing areas.  The injections not only pressure up the local systems, but also lubricate the faults that slip and slide - releasing the stored energy of a mobile, but temporarily stuck crust.

But a recent study of the May 5, 2011 earthquake in Lorca, Spain has concluded that groundwater pumping was a significant factor in that earthquake.  First, this was a very shallow quake - only .6 miles below the land surface.  Such a shallow earthquake is unusual.  In this immediate area the groundwater declines have been extreme - on the order of 800+ feet over the past 50 years.  In essence, the dewatering was bounded by a geologic fault (the Alhama de Murcia fault), and, according to the study, the weight of the removed water actually increased the stresses on the fault in those specific areas. The researchers used satellite imagery and GPS stations to come to these conclusions. 

It was a surprise to the study scientists that the relatively small stress changes due to dewatering could have had sufficient impact on such a large scale fault system.  In fact, the calculated stress increases due to the dewatering were not much more than normal atmospheric pressure changes.  The study concluded that the energy released by the 5.1 quake actually included not only the increased stress due to dewatering, but also several centuries of normal stress buildup due to the much more common regional deformation. Kind of like the dewatering was the straw that broke the camel's back.

On the surface of it all, it would seem now that we can neither take out, nor put in, water underground without fearing earthquakes - at least in certain circumstances.  And perhaps even more importantly, had this quake happened in Italy, would the hydrologists have been tried for culpability along with the risk assessment scientists?

The report findings are detailed in the October 21, 2012 issue of the journal of Nature Geosciences.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Desalination - An Historical Note

I ran across a 1791 report by Thomas Jefferson (as the Secretary of State) concerning a petition by one Jacob Isaacks of Newport, Rhode Island who was trying to sell his invention of obtaining fresh water from salt water to the U.S. Government to aid in all pursuits maritime.  All he wanted was " convey to the Government of the United States a faithful account of his art, or secret, to be used by or within the United States, on their giving him a reward suitable to the importance of the discovery, and, in the opinion of the Government, adequate to his expenses and the time he has devoted to the bringing it into effect."

Jefferson's report is a classic.  He begins by noting that Sir Francis Bacon had already observed "...that, with a heat sufficient for distillation, salt would not rise in vapor, and that salt water distilled, is fresh. And it would seem that all mankind might have observed, that the earth is supplied with fresh water chiefly by exhalation from the sea, which is in fact an insensible distillation effected by the heat of the sun."  

Jefferson goes on to note that initially filtration and congelation were both tried - unsuccessfully.  So you're thinking there might be some hope for Mr. Isaacks.  He then notes that Sir Richard Hawkins in the 16th century, and Glauber, Hauton and Lister in the 17th century, and Hales, Appleby, Butler, Chapman, Hoffman and Dove in the 18th century had all been successful in producing fresh water from sea water - and with only common items normally found on virtually every ship on the high seas.

Jefferson notes that "With this apparatus of a pot, tea-kettle, and gun-barrel, the Dolphin, a twenty-gun 1761, from fifty-six gallons of sea water, and nine pounds of wood and sixty-nine pounds of pit-coal, made forty-two gallons of good fresh water, at a rate of eight gallons an hour."   He also notes the Dorsetshire's 19 quarts of pure water in four hours with 10 pounds of wood in 1769.  And the Slambal's 10 quarts from six gallons in 3 hours in 1773.  Finally mentioning Dr. Irvin and Dr. Franklin's experiments.

There were ultimately two killers for Mr. Isaacks.  First, Jefferson discovered that Dr. Irvin had actually obtained a premium of 5,000 pounds from the British parliament for advances in sea water distillation twenty years earlier in 1771, and, controlled experiments of Isaack's process - which included "a mixture, the composition of which he did not explain" actually yielded the same amount of fresh water, over a slightly longer period of time, but with slightly less fuel required.

Jefferson concluded that "On the whole, it was evident that Mr. Isaack's mixture produced no advantage, either in process or result of the distillation.".  He also wrote:  "The distilled water in all these instances was found, on experiment, to be as pure as the best pump water of the city.  Its taste, indeed, was not as agreeable, but it was not such as to produce any disgust.  In fact we drink, in common life, in many places, and under many circumstances, and almost always at sea, a worse tasted and probably a less wholesome water."

Out of all this research and experimentation, Jefferson discovered that far too few sailors were even aware of this potentially life-saving process, and as such, he recommended:  "Let the clearance for every vessel sailing from the ports of the United States be printed on paper, on the back whereof shall be a printed account of the essays which have been made for obtaining fresh from salt water, mentioning briefly those which were unsuccessful, and, more fully, those which have succeeded; describing the methods which have been found to answer for constructing extempore stills of such implements as are generally on board of every vessel, with a recommendation, in all cases where they shall have occasion to resort to this expedient for obtaining water, to publish the result of their trial in some gazette on their return to the United States, or communicate it for publication to the office of the Secretary of State, in order that others may, by their success, be encouraged to make similar trials, and be benefited by any improvements or new ideas which may occur to them in practice."

There you have it.  Don't try to fleece the U.S. Government on Thomas Jefferson's watch!  And I have to believe that given a few more years, he would have also been promoting such a process for all the less-than-pure groundwater sources, as well.  What a remarkable American!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Water Data as Art? Perhaps.

Winter 2011 rainfall versus consumption.
"Drawing Water"
David Wicks turns environmental data into art through computer software that he creates.  One of his latest projects has to do with rainfall data and is shown as this post's visual.  (Click to enlarge)  What looks like a cool rendering of the United States, is actually 2011 winter rainfall data by location, tweaked, and placed in reference to regional water consumption by cities. In other words, this is a visual rendering of the relationship of where water falls in the US to where it is used.  The numbers that make up the rendering are rainfall data from the NOAA/NWS and water consumption data from the USGS.  

In his own words.. "The final placement and color of each line are determined by the influence of urban water consumers. The more water a city uses, the stronger its pull on the rainfall. As rainfall is pulled farther from where it fell, it becomes desaturated, turning from blue to black in print and to white in the projected installation."   For more detail on the data and/or the process click here.

My personal take on the artwork is one of trending more toward the abstract.  I don't see the water use relationships that I think were intended to be seen.  I can only surmise that Colby, Kansas doesn't show up because either we don't use much rainfall in the winter, or, we use exclusively groundwater.  It does appear that most of our rainfall heads somewhere East of St. Louis, though.  (I'm only kidding - I never expected to see Colby's influence!)

But actually, that's not all.  His program also includes an interactive component that allows a user to select a smaller portion of the US and to look at the last few days of precipitation, or one of several other preselected time periods.  This could be cool, but I still don't think I'm going to see Colby patterns that will result in an "aha" moment.  However, all said, I applaud Mr. Wicks' interest in the political nature of water and in attempting to portray this critical resource in a new and innovative way.  And I guess I'll mention it before anyone else does - it doesn't seem to me like California or Texas are getting their fair share.  Or am I looking at the picture backwards?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Been Dying to Know This!

How many water molecules does it take to make the smallest possible ice crystal?

Alright, I've not actually been dying to know this, but, the explanation of the answer is pretty interesting none-the-less.

I can understand why 1 water molecule won't freeze since ice is after all a collection of water molecules rearranged in a different lattice pattern.  But you'd think that 2 molecules of water could freeze easier than 50, or a million, or the countless millions that would make up an ice cube.  Well, you'd be wrong if you thought that way.

Turns out the freezing process is related to the vibrational frequencies of both hydrogen and oxygen bonds, and that the intermolecular vibrational frequency of the hydrogen bonds are what hold water molecules together.  Science has known for some time that 50 molecules or less can't seem to stay together as an ice crystal, but counting and watching more than 50 molecules was a serious limitation, so they didn't really know how many molecules was the critical number.

The answer came when a process was designed to organize and count more than 50 water molecule clusters at a time.  Researchers at the Institute fur Physikalische Chemie (Gottingen, Germany) found a way to do this, and so the trials began.  It turns out that 275 water molecules is pretty close to the magic number - any fewer and ice crystals don't form.  Moreover, the freezing begins at the center of the 275-molecule cluster where a ring of six hydrogen-bonded water molecules forms in a tetrahedral configuration - the smallest ice crystal possible.

What good is this information one might ask?  It is expected to aid in climate modelling now that science better understands the extent and timing of the process of ice crystal formation from atmospheric water.  Knowing better how this process influences cloud formation will also give us more information on the earth's radiation budget.  Besides all that, it's just a piece of trivia that should be in every water-wonk's data base.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Water - Refreshing... (and more)

There really are few drinks as refreshing as a cold glass of water, but many don't realize what else is in that cool glass ready to get gulped.  There is energy in there, for one thing.

But you can bet the U.S. Navy knows this.  I read where they are exploring technologies to coax enough energy out of seawater to run their ships.  Think of the advantages they would have by not needing to refuel.  Not to mention the cost and time savings.

What they are looking into is extracting carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the seawater under the ship and turning these elements into J-5 jet fuel.  The trick is to do it at a rate that equals or exceeds their rate of usage in their critical operations modes.

As most know, it takes energy to do the extraction and then the conversion - a fact not lost on the Navy.  They report that the hydrogen production part of the process alone will take 60% of the total energy available in the produced product.  And where will this energy come from?    The two most likely sources are from ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) or nuclear power from onboard reactors. Before you get too excited, the Navy is expecting an 8-10 year time frame before any of this may even get tested.  And that's assuming funding can be found and a cost-effective process can be developed.

First it was NASA turning to water for future mission use, now it appears to be the U.S. Navy.  I suppose next we'll hear from Detroit?!  One thing is for sure, if all our energy needs are eventually going to come from water, I'll bet the water supply shortages are going to get worse.  Of course, if all our water needs are going to come from the ocean, that should help keep the sea-level rise in check.

Finally, for those who claim the Water/Energy Nexus is the next big thing, it sounds like you might be right.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Egyptian Groundwater Dated

Carbon-14 has been the tool of choice when dating old things, but it's not without its limits.  For starters, it is considered accurate only out to 9 half-lives - or around 50,000 years.  That'll catch most age-related things we're interested in, but certainly not all. For example, groundwater dating has some utility in ascertaining recharge rates, but some groundwaters can be very old indeed.

This is where krypton comes into play.  81Kr is a radioactive isotope that occurs when cosmic rays slam through the earth's upper atmosphere wreaking havoc with various particles in the process.  These then fall to earth where they get stored in ice layers, oceans, groundwater and similar places.  The great thing about 81Kr is that it has a half-life of about 230,000 years - allowing age dating on the scale of up to 1 million years old.

The actual process measures the capture rate of 81Kr and a close control isotope of 83Kr or 85Kr.  The ratio of the 81Kr and the control isotope is then compared to an atmospheric sample of 81Kr which reveals the sample's age.

One problem has been capturing enough 81Kr.  There is apparently a fairly low amount of the stuff around, and it is pretty soluble in water.  Previous attempts using this method required huge amounts of sample material - like 16 tons of water to get enough Kr to date.  But a new instrument - the Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) has changed the logistics. It now only requires two tons of groundwater to extract the required 81Kr.

Anyway, all this to tell you that the latest groundwater dating study on a well in western Egypt using the new ATTA equipment has dated that groundwater at 500,000 years old.  That's pretty old water and indicative of zero recharge from the surface - at least in the last half a million years.

I might add that the Kansas Geological Survey has dated some of our groundwater (in southern Thomas County) and reports that it is relatively recent - from 3,900 to 4,700 years old.  The KGS used multiple age determination methods, basically including Carbon-14 and an isotope of Tritium (3H).  For a complete explanation of their age-dating process, see their 2012 annual index well report (Page 48 once you get there).   I helped collect the samples and we only gathered up about a total of maybe 5 pounds of water for each of the 4 wells sampled.  Had they used ATTA, I'd have given them one solid ATTA-BOY - but definitely would NOT have been involved in collecting the 8 tons of water required!  Sure glad our groundwater was young enough to use Carbon-14!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Better Water in 10 Minutes!

Here is another interesting and entertaining water-related device to help you feel good about drinking regular, old water (or wine, or juice or whatever).  Please be aware that I have altered the product's real name for the protection of everyone involved.

"The WATER RESINATOR is the original water balancing technology used by Tibetan and Buddhist monks for hundreds of years. Each one has been meticulously designed and handmade by Buddhist monks. Each consists of a gold-plated platform affixed to a gold-plated frame that is geometrically precise. The gold-plated platform has a neodymium activator magnet at its center on the underside. Mounted to the three precise triangles are the three primary resonator arrays which consist of three Siberian Blue, optically clear, laboratory grade quartz crystals.

Each of the three crystals has two gold-plated, properly polarized, neodymium magnets which are wound against the crystal with powerful pressure which activates the energy of the crystal, much like a quartz crystal watch which pulses to a precise rhythm. This highly pressurized copper winding, combined with the magnetic field of the dual magnets, appears to generate a high power pulsing effect which in turn causes a profoundly positive and beneficial effect on water and other liquid beverages.

It has been generally thought for a long time that passing a conductive fluid through a properly designed magnetic field has an effect on the polar molecules in the fluid. Even wine connoisseurs and professional wine tasters are using magnets these days to realign wine molecules to smooth and mature the taste of a young wine. This effect, or an even more enhanced effect, can be achieved by placing wine or other beverages on the WATER RESINATOR plate.

The WATER RESINATOR is a masterpiece of beauty, workmanship, form, and function. We choose to make no claims regarding the effects of this wonderful device; however, many users report that the WATER RESINATOR is the most powerful water balancing and energizing technology they have ever used.

We are told by the Buddhist monks who make the WATER RESINATORS that each one is personally blessed by Buddha M_______. Each purchase of the WATER RESINATOR includes a special audio CD which features tones, blessings, and chants by Buddha M______ himself.  Each one was hand made by Buddhist monks, so stock is very limited.

The WATER RESINATOR can be used with most any beverages including water, wine, coffee, tea,  juices, and even soft drinks. Simply place your chosen beverage in a clear glass in the center of the WATER RESINATOR. The effect is instantaneous, although most users leave the beverage in the WATER RESINATOR for 5 to 10 minutes for best results. (Water and glass not included.)

The price of the WATER RESINATOR is $495 and Insured Shipping is FREE in the continental U.S."
Well, If I add this product to my collection, I'll now be out a total of well over $3,395.00, but...what a collection it'll be.  I'm banking on the fact that I can mix and match these products - use my MiraculeOfWaters accelerator pendant on the resinator, play the Buddhist Monk chants for the Chrysallis 8 instead of the Gregorian Chants, and loop the Gregorian and Buddhist Monk chants in double stereo for the MiraculeOfWaters device!  And then run it all through the Imploder!  OMG, this is exciting - can you imagine the end water product?.... Anybody want in on the ground floor?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cool Oklahoma Water Website

I ran across a pretty cool water website in the state of Oklahoma... excuse me... in the "United State Of OklaH2Oma" which is worth a visit I think.  It is almost exclusively video driven, but is very well done with high quality pictures and videos.  It was created by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, and really pushes all the water buzz word buttons I've ever heard.

Through video statements offered to music and water scenes, many prominent Oklahoma water folks offer up the seven essentials to water in Oklahoma - which incidentally - make up the elements of their current state water plan.  The overriding themes of the site are to meet every Oklahoman's water needs while remaining sustainable and allowing every Oklahoman to participate in the process with a seat at the water policy table. The sub-themes of rural and urban growth, drought protection and expanded agriculture are prominent as well.

If I had any qualms at all it'd be a question of whether all these things are possible over the entire state all at the same time - that is without some new water coming into the system.  There is of course no mention of needing new supplies, or where any new water would come from, but I'm pretty sure their message precludes any Oklahoma water going anywhere else.  All this said without even mentioning Tarrant County, Texas!  I also wonder if a more realistic rendering of the state's water realities might actually do the Oklahoma state water planning process more good than not.

Regardless of what I think (or think I think) it is a really nice site with lots of visuals to WOW the visitor.  Sure makes Oklahoma look spectacular while issuing an almost spiritual set of heartwarming messages.  I hope they can pull it off.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Promised Land - The Movie

Well, Hollywood has stepped up to the plate finally on the issue of oil and gas production and hydraulic fracturing (or fracing, or fracking, or don't frack with our water, or...whatever...).

Starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinki and Hal Holbrook, this new movie is all about the land and water and people of rural America - and of course the private corporate structure that wants the profits to be made from same.

Some suggest it will be that Hollywood envirofest that will give Erin Brockovich a run for her money - pardon the pun.  And the trailer seems to support this notion.  It certainly ups the ante when in one scene we see the whole farm go up in flames - not just something as mundane as a kitchen faucet.  What a visual.

I won't tell any more about the film so as not to spoil anything, but for us groundwater types that have had an inkling or more of "experience" with the oil and gas industry, it should prove very interesting, indeed.  Oh, and it's NOT a documentary like "Gasland", but a real moving picture show.  It plans to release on December 28, so watch for it in a theater near you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Who Says Water Policy is Easy?

It appears that Oregon Water Policy is a high stress job - at least in and around Portland.  Take the Clackamas River Water District where officials learned this week that they will lose their liability and property insurance soon because of "ongoing instability and internal conflict."  They must deal with tough issues, for sure.

In Oregon, state agencies and special districts (what I assume are special purpose districts much akin to the "political subdivisions of government" we have here in Kansas) are provided liability insurance through an association called The Special Districts Association of Oregon.  This group provider says it has express responsibilities to protect all members from costs and liability likely to be generated by any rogue member - in this case the Clackamas River Water District Board which has been branded a "contentious and dysfunctional board".

This district has in the last 10 years had 6 managers, submitted to three special audits precipitated by claims of mismanagement and fielded a half-dozen ethics and workplace complaints.  Moreover, as of July 1, the board was involved in six lawsuits and an FBI inquiry.  An investigation by the local newspaper concluded that the district wastes an excessive amount of money on infighting, is legally a loose cannon on deck and has the highest legal bills (by far) of any Portland-area water district (mostly over internal personnel disputes).  But one of the final straws came in the September 13 board meeting when the manager and a board member got into a tug of war over an operations manual.  And this following a June board meeting that also erupted in flared tempers. 

With all the legal battles, the internal disputes, the ethics and labor disputes and the harassment claims, the district was finally notified that their insurance coverage is to be cancelled in 90 days.  This follows a January decision to up the district's deductible to $50,000 and eliminate their coverage for ethics and labor disputes.  Their rate paying customers have even entered the fray by demanding resignations from offending board members, which finally had an effect, when one board member did resign in July.  However, this left the remaining four members locked in a hopeless deadlock on most other issues - including the appointment of a tie-breaking replacement board member.  The situation is so bad that they're at impasse on declaring an impasse so the County Commissioners can step in and help.

The latest news finds that two more board members have indicated a willingness to resign - but only if all the board members resign - allowing the district to start anew with a fresh slate.  Of course, at least one of the remaining two has announced no resignation plans, so the stalemate goes on.

Things don't always go smoothly, and once again we learn that passion is great - until it obscures reason.  I hope this board can settle their differences and get back on the track of serving their rate payers.  Water is too important not to have at least an expectation that reasonable decision-making and planning can get accomplished by those you elect.

December 3, 2012 Update:  In October, two more board members resigned to help the struggling situation - leaving just two active board members.  On October 30, the two remaining board members appointed two more members, fired the attorney and placed the general manager on administrative leave.  However, these actions were challenged and a local judge ruled that the remaining two members did not constitute a quorum and therefore their appointments and administrative actions were illegal.   In November, the Clackamas County Commissioners appointed three new board members, who were elected as officers, and on November 20, they held their first "normal" board meeting since September.  Their first issue?  Get insurance. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kansas Stamp In The Middle Where It Should Be!

The USPS has just issued a new series of Forever stamps commemorating "Earthscapes".  The cool thing about this series is that all the stamps are pictures taken from the air - all the way from an ultralight craft to satellites orbiting earth. Another cool thing is that one of them is from Kansas. 

The pictures are themed in this new series of stamps - with the top row being scenes from "Nature", the middle row showing "Agriculture" scenes and the bottom row representing "Urban" views.

The middle stamp is from Kansas, and shows about a 25 square mile area of Grant County, Kansas - north and east of the County seat of Ulysses.  How do I know that?  I looked and found this quite distinctive pattern of pivots on Google Earth.  This picture was taken by the Landsat 7 satellite, but it's an older one - because the current Google Map shows 5 new pivots in this same tract of land.

According to the USPS the agriculture row depicts the growing or harvesting of salt, timber, grain, cherries and cranberries - all requiring water I might add.  And actually, water plays a role in most of the natural and urban scenes as well.  Most notably in the upper right stamp called "Inland Marsh", taken by Cameron Davidson.  This picture is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

USPS art director Howard E. Paine designed this unique series of stamps, which were issued just days ago to kick off National Stamp Collecting Month.  Leave it up to the USPS to have Mr. Paine create the newest pane of stamps.  With a little luck this unique set will also help mitigate the current fiscal pain of the USPS - I'm going to buy several sets!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Norman, Oklahoma Water - 1918

I ran across a copy of the July 9, 1918 Daily Transcript - the newspaper for Norman, Oklahoma, and was surprised to find 5 articles therein that mentioned "water".

The first was on the front page and was reporting on the water quality results of a new well Norman had recently completed.  The article reads:  "Analysis of water coming from the new city well shows it to be fully the equal of that of the old well, according to a report made to Mayor S.W. Hutchin, by Dr. Edwin DeBarr, state chemist, who has recently completed an analysis of the water for drinking and domestic purposes," says Dr. DeBarr in his letter to the mayor.  No pathogenic germs nor acid-forming bacteria are present in the water, according to the report. The chemical analysis of the water is as follows:  Odor, none. Albuminoid ammonia, .22 parts per million.  Free ammonia, .4 parts per million. Nitrogen as nitrates, .0005 parts per million.  Chlorine, 17 parts per million.  Magnesium oxide, 4 parts per million.  Calcium oxide, 53 parts per million.  Sulfuric anhydride, 119 parts per million.  Alkalinity, 175 parts per million.  Total solids, 315 parts per million."

As a student (many years ago) at OU I remember that the chemistry classes were always held in DeBarr Hall.  Now at least I know where they got the name for that building.

There is also an article reporting that Chicago's drinking water from Lake Michigan was undergoing "strong chlorination" due to an unusual number of dead fish washing ashore.  It's nice to know that the Health Department tested the fish and found no poison was involved, and found no pollution of the Lake Michigan water either.  You don't suppose the 17 parts per million Chlorine in the Norman City well was a result of Chicago's shock treatments, do you?

Another article covered the daily routine of the quartermaster  in the Office of the County Food Administrator.  It included a visit from " elderly spectacled gentleman who looked neither decidedly sweet nor sour..", and from ".. a middle-aged, stout, healthy "farmerette".." who asked "Do you think you can arrange for us to have some water soon for our crops?"  No, she wasn't wanting rain, but an irrigation well.

All in all, an eclectic set of articles for a 1918 newspaper from Norman, don't you think?