There’s a long, but very interesting piece at POLITICO about Las Vegas, and how it’s attempting to become the Silicon Valley of water technology. The effort is unsurprising, given that Vegas gets a mere four inches of rain a year and the city’s explosive growth over the past 25 years or so has coincided with a rather severe period of drought out west. As a result, the water levels at Lake Mead, the reservoir created in the Colorado River’s basin just above the Hoover Dam, have dropped precipitously over the past several years and the city fathers in Las Vegas have responded by imposing all kinds of water restrictions on the residents and commercial entities there. New houses in Las Vegas aren’t allowed to have grass lawns, the city pays people in old houses with grass lawns to rip up their turf and the city’s casinos spend millions of dollars to conserve and recycle water.
In other words, Las Vegas is a good place to pioneer technologies that conserve and recycle water. And given the economic catastrophe the Great Recession was to the gaming and tourism industry in Vegas, you can’t blame the folks there for spending some resources creating a clearinghouse to vet and incubate startup companies applying 21st century technology toward water use.
The water industry is by nature risk averse, since a mistake can have catastrophic health consequences (see Michigan; Flint). But with more pressure on water supplies around the United States and the world, innovation is increasingly important. Las Vegas’ focus on water—and the constant pressure on its supply—has driven years worth of public experimentation, establishing the area’s umbrella water utility, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, as a nationally recognized leader in water quality treatment. The utility boasts a state-of-the-art laboratory that produces ground-breaking research and a roster of scientists who routinely publish in major academic journals.
About 18 months ago, the region took an even bolder step forward. In a move driven in part by Nevada’s near-collapse during the Great Recession, the state, the city, the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute, the regional water authority and private industry teamed up to turn that reputation for water innovation into a catalyst for job creation.
They created WaterStart, a tiny incubator that finds and tests promising water technologies and helps hasten them to market. Technologies, for example, to remove nitrates from well water; that use drones to measure plant stress from the air to improve irrigation precision; or, as with those nondescript listening devices stashed along the Strip, to detect leaks before they can cause millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue.
There’s a certain element of government-boondoggle in Nevada’s WaterStart program, but on the other hand there is some sense to it as well – the water authorities there are using the incubator as something of a gatekeeper against the oodles of entrepreneurs pitching snake-oil panaceas to their water shortage problems. If somebody wants to get the Southern Nevada Water Authority or the water board in Las Vegas to buy into some idea they’ve got, they first have to prove it works through the WaterStart people.
Reading the article, though, one thing seems striking – it’s amazing how it’s necessary to have all of the innovative water technologies in Las Vegas, because there’s no water there, when the simpler solution would seem to be to get them more water.
And with all of the constant blabbering about public infrastructure projects we hear, one wonders why there never seems to be any about the most obvious one – namely, to build a system of pipelines and reservoirs to transfer water from the Mississippi Valley, where there is never a shortage, to the Mountain West and Pacific coast, where there always seems to be.
Would it be expensive to do that? Of course it would. California is trying to build a train from Los Angeles to San Francisco and it’s already estimated to cost upwards of $68 billion. This is a lot less intricate a project than that despite its scope – it’s a pipeline connecting a bunch of holes in the ground going west to hook up with the Colorado River. Much of the infrastructure it would rely on is already in place thanks to Mother Nature.
And the fun thing about reservoirs is they’re a reserve. Once you fill a reserve you can draw from it until it’s empty. If it gets drained a little you can refill it.
Meaning if Las Vegas and California and other parched parts of the West start getting their fill of rain, it isn’t necessary to transfer water from Louisiana and Mississippi and Texas and Arkansas to them.
It’s probably one of the larger public infrastructure projects in world history to pipe water 2,500 miles or so from, say, the Toledo Bend Reservoir or the Old River control structure to Lake Mead. But the amount of water that it would generate for that part of the country and the economic development which could result from that increase in their water supply should make for a return on the investment. It’s basic economics; Louisiana has water Nevada needs, so Nevada buys water from Louisiana.
And if all this global warming stuff is actually true and droughts out West will be a permanent feature of life there, somebody’s going to have to figure out how to solve the water problem for them – right?
Our readers are welcome to shoot holes in the idea if you want. We think it’s so simple and obvious as to be self-explanatory; of course government would never embark on an obvious plan like this.
Instead we’re supposed to spend federal dollars on passenger rail, which was the breakthrough technology of the 19th century.
– Donald Trump’s dumb statement that transgender people ought to use whatever bathroom they want yesterday has sparked a bit of a firestorm, and Ted Cruz’ campaign has jumped on the opportunity with both feet.
There is this…
The Left and the anti-Cruz crowd are going to say he’s intolerant of transgenders and so on, but here’s the thing – there are like 40 people in this universe of oppressed Americans who will now be rushing into gender-inappropriate restrooms across the fruited plain. The transgender bathroom thing, and Corporate America’s insistence on foisting it on traditional Americans as some of the more obnoxious boycotters of North Carolina and Mississippi seem to be doing, is one of those seemingly stupid issues that could actually turn an election.
Most of the country sees this business of transgender people as absolute lunacy. There’s a good deal of science on the side of the argument which holds that gender dysphoria is a mental illness, not a civil rights cause, and coddling people who can’t even figure out what sex they are is not tolerance and it’s not love; it’s standing by and watching their neighbors destroy themselves. There is an appallingly high suicide rate among post-op transsexuals, who find out that trying to change out the equipment won’t chase away their demons.
Deep down everybody knows this. But you’re not supposed to say anything about it, or else you’re a bigot.
Trump’s appeal to his people has always been that he would give the middle finger to the cultural Marxist crowd and “tell it like it is.” Well, as Matt Walsh said he’s about as popular as cigar smoke or wet towels on the bathroom floor with women as it is, so when he decides to depart from telling it like it is by saying it’s OK for a sexually-confused man to wander into a women’s bathroom how electable do you think that makes him?
And how do Trump’s fans who are traditional Americans justify this? All the evangelicals who chose Trump throughout the South – is this what you voted for?
Or do the major cultural issues in the country not matter to you? Really? It’s about the economy and nothing else?
Because Trump’s other big statement was that he’s OK with soaking the rich on taxes. Does that sound like a way to get the economy growing?
It will be interesting to see if Trump can pull off a sweep of the five states voting Tuesday the way he did in New York. Connecticut and Rhode Island are proportional states, and Maryland and Pennsylvania could be competitive – Cruz was in Maryland earlier this week and had a pretty enthusiastic response. There is some buzz he might be poised for a lot better showing there than people expect.
At some point people are going to have to make an assessment of Trump along the lines of whether he’s what he’s presented himself to be to his voters. It’s hard to make the case he’s the real thing when he sabotages his narrative over and over again.
– Back to the transgender bathroom thing for a second, because Ben Howe has beaten you using the tactics of the Left…
As any single parent will tell you, your role becomes both father and mother when your children are in your care. But society is not always tolerant or helpful in this regard.
For years there were no tables to pull down in the men’s bathroom to allow changing of diapers. Still to this day there are no stand-up urinals in women’s bathrooms to accommodate mothers who have penises.
And now it’s my turn to stand up against discrimination. I, a father of 3 daughters and 1 son, all of whom are of a very young age, am only able to escort my young son to the bathroom or locker room simply because society refuses to accept my status as both father and mother.
My daughters are forced to hold their need to go to the bathroom when in public because I refuse to allow them to go into the bathroom by themselves.
To be clear, it’s not a new event that I won’t let them go in there by themselves. This isn’t the result of the NC law that has been making waves. Predators are a concern any time I take my children into public, regardless of any law that might permit a random guy from claiming he’s female to get into the ladies bathroom.
This isn’t about fear, it’s about accommodation. I had assumed that the world was too big and complex to try and accommodate every single individual need of every single person, but the activist left has proven me wrong.
Everything must have special rules & laws built to coddle that one particular person’s needs and I don’t think I should be an exception.
Of course it’s absurd. Everything the Left is pushing on the cultural front currently is absurd. They’re doing it deliberately, and here’s why.
Virtually everything the cultural Marxist Left engages in is designed to destroy the morale of people who do not depend on the Left for their livelihood or self-esteem.
Your morale must be destroyed so that you will accept less in order to make their aggressions go away. But of course their aggressions will never go away. They will merely find the next absurdity to make into reality. Bestiality, pedophilia, pathological obesity – you name it, there is a “civil rights” cause coming out of it soon, fueled by junk science to indicate the self-destructive people at issue were “born that way” and can’t help themselves.
Equality of outcome, which must be enforced by a massive, well-paid commissariat educated in the intricacies of grievance. They’re training that commissariat on American college campuses right now.
And you will accept it, because your morale as a member of the most successful culture in the history of the world will be broken. That’s the game.
There has been a copious flow of sadness over the loss of one of our greatest musical talents. But here’s a tribute to the man who made the 1980’s fun – it’s Chris Cornell covering Nothing Compares 2 U…