Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Newspaper sub-editors: bless them...

 Satellite photograph: Saharan dust, blowing westwards, carrying plant nutrients to the Amazon

There's an invited article in today's Telegraph by Steve Jones. His academic title is Professor of Genetics at University College London, but he's better known as a high profile author and TV presenter.  He is writing on Mother Nature's dust bowl phenomenon, scourge of farmers past and present, but tempered with the recognition that dust, stripped off land in one continent, can  provide nutrients thousands of miles away.This is a topic on which I blogged on the old Dreams and Daemons site.

Did you know that the nutrient-poor laterite soils of the Amazon basin are fed by dust blowing in from across the Atlantic - from the Sahara desert in fact, and from a relatively small part thereof (a  particular dried-up lake bed - the Bodélé depression- that is subject to ferocious sandstorms - or should that be dust storms?).

And what title has the Telegraph sub' used on the Home Page.  Wait for it: "View from the lab:  Beware of the dust".  The lab?  Well now, that's you pigeon-holed Professor Jones. Did they ask for a picture of you in a crisp white lab coat,  peering intently into a test-tube?

 Steve Jones

PS I see from Wiki we were both born the same year, but you already qualify for the State pension. This retired lab wallah still has a short while to wait.

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