Re: Science and Unemployment...

Michael L. Siemon (
Fri, 30 Jun 1995 23:40:28 -0400

In article <3t1qqm$>,
(Christopher C. Wood) wrote:

+Yes, Andrew is essentially correct. There is a big aquifer underneath
+the "high plains" states. I forget its name, but it was written up in
+Nathional Geographic about two years ago. I almost remember now; is
+it the "Oglala Aquifer", or something close to that?

Yes. When I was a wee lad and going to school in Nebraska, much was
made of the fact that this was the single largest body of potentially
available water in the country. In subsequent decades, it's been tapped
to an astounding degree by the boring of deep wells, with some rather
interesting exploitation by radial irrigation systems. My brother (10
years younger than I) was involved for a while in the rapid expansion
of center-pivot well/irrigation systems on the high Nebraska plains.
Any flight over that region will show the phenomenon unmistakably --
close-packed green circles in the midst of barren brown surroundings.

The water table is dropping *very* fast. In a few decades. all this
recent capital expenditure will go bust. Presumably the investors
hope to make their pile before then.

The lesson (one Jared Diamond urges strongly in _The Third Chimpanzee_)
is that WHEN humanity finds a resource to exploit, it does so to the utter
destruction of the resource. This is what economists call "rationality."

Michael L. Siemon (

"For all but the last ten thousand years of human history,
unfettered travel was impossible, and diffusion of sweatshirts
was very limited." -- Jared Diamond