26 July 2007

Introductions


Hello out there! I'm new to the blogging world, so here goes...

As you will see in the "About Me" section to the left, I work as a research scientist in hydrology. I have an academic background in Physics, Geoscience, Atmospheric Science, and Civil Engineering Hydrology. In my work over the past few years through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, I've seen a lot about science policy, basic and applied research, funding issues, research opportunities, fundamental questions about the water cycle, and problems and issues in Earth science and hydrology to be addressed around the world.

Yes, believe it or not, NASA looks at the Earth too. We study all aspects of the global water cycle, and build conceptual and computational models to address most of those processes, but that does not mean that we understand it all or can piece it all together in a single, coherent demonstration of what we do. You can be assured, however, that we're not in it for the money. Scientists crave interaction with, and validation from, the public that benefits most from the results of our work. This is one of my efforts at that kind of communication.

There are many aspects of issues around the world today that have roots and influences in hydrology and water resources availability. The driving influence in much of global political and societal interactions today may be attributed to the forces of Globalization, and I've listed a few fundamental references on that topic at left. We also have the driving influence of a lone, semi-benevolent superpower: the United States maintains the most agile, capable and advanced military in the world. Some see this influence as an agent of polarization throughout the developed world, looking at the influence of US self-interests in its global reach, while others promote military superiority as an agent and driver of Globalization itself, in the best interests of all.

One of the latter, Thomas Barnett, has written two fantastic texts on the transformation of the US military establishment that are needed to promote this role in Globalization (also listed at left). He sees a "military-market nexus" where few others had dared to postulate: a radical shift from Cold War "Great Power" struggles to cooperative efforts among "Functioning Core" countries, those that have become most developed and technologically advanced over history thus far, to establish and enhance connectivity within the "Non-Integrating Gap" areas, those countries and peoples that are not yet fully integrated into the economic and social net that is Globalization. He emphasizes that political "processing" is necessary, that rogue leaders and regimes must be removed, that the people must own their governments and their leaders in the ways that we do in democratic societies. He also emphasizes that democracy and free-market capitalism go hand-in-hand. He sees the radical restructuring of the US, and global, military community in an effort to promote and protect such processing of developing states.

My role here is the examination of slightly more fundamental requirements in such development, especially the basic human need for water. Food, shelter, education, agriculture, industry, economy, government, trade: none of these occur if a person doesn't know where or when their next drink of water will come.

I have short backlog of recent events to discuss, and then I plan to get into a regular posting schedule at about 2-3 times per week. Your feedback is appreciated, as comments or direct e-mail, and I encourage you to send links to news articles and resources on the web that will be of interest to readers of this blog, and your contributions will certainly be acknowledged. However, my focus here is on intelligent analysis of the topics at issue, and not simply to post links to articles elsewhere on the web. Also, you won't see sensitive information on current projects in which I and my colleagues are involved. Press releases, news articles (from global sources), and scientific journals will be the primary sources of information for analysis and dissemination here.

On with the show...

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