Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers in decline

Nationwide analysis shows depletion of groundwater widespread and worsening

SUBLETTE, Kansas – Just before 3 a.m., Jay Garetson’s phone buzzed on the bedside table. He picked it up and read the text: “Low Pressure Alert.”

He felt a jolt of stress and his chest tightened. He dreaded what that automated message probably meant: With the water table dropping, another well on his family’s farm was starting to suck air.

The Garetson family has been farming in the plains of southwestern Kansas for four generations, since 1902. Now they face a hard reality. The groundwater they depend on is disappearing. Their fields could wither. Their farm might not survive for the next generation.

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China achieves breakthrough in pulse weapons technology

China has achieved a technological breakthrough that could help introduce pulse weapons to the People’s Liberation Army’s arsenal, reports the Global Times, a tabloid under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

According to the report, the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has successfully developed a third-generation X-ray pulsar simulation source. The technology, which can create an X-ray pulsar source in X-ray tubes to generate arbitrary waveform pulses, officially passed evaluation tests on Jan. 17. Continue reading

France’s Sale of 2 Ships to Russians Is Ill-Advised, U.S. Warns

WASHINGTON — In a closed-door meeting in February 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged his French counterpart not to proceed with the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia because it “would send the wrong message to Russia and to our allies in Central and East Europe.”

The French official, Hervé Morin, acknowledged that each of the ships — so-called Mistral-class vessels built for the French Navy to carry troops, landing craft, and helicopters — was “indeed a warship for power projection,” according to a confidential diplomatic cable on the meeting, which was made public by WikiLeaks. But Mr. Morin “asked rhetorically how we can tell Russia we desire partnership but then not trust them,” the cable added. Continue reading