Thailand is 20 percent underwater, and makes the most hard drives in the world after China:
There may be a shortage of hard drives for the big Christmas retail season because of the catastrophic floods in Thailand. By some estimates the total global output of magnetic hard drives could fall as much as 30% in the final three months of 2011.
Car production is affected too, as many auto makers use electronic parts made in Thailand. Toyota will slow production of cars in the US because of a shortage of Thai-made parts. Shipments of cameras will be impacted, too—and likely, their price.
10 percent of China's farmland is contaminated by heavy metals (and not the music kind):
Though no doubt much is lost in translation, this story just out of China, carried by AFP and other outlets, asserts that, "About 10 percent of China's farmland contains excessive levels of heavy metals due to contaminated water and poisonous waste seeping into the soil, state media said Monday, citing a government survey.
Pollution from heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium is often blamed for poisoning entire villages and crop-growing land in China as factory bosses flout environmental laws and farmers use toxic fertilizers."
Lead mercury and cadmium are commonly found in coal, and Chinese coal is notoriously heavily laced with toxic metals.
Meanwhile, in England, energy companies are openly admitting that fracking is causing earthquakes:
When two small earthquakes struck near Blackpool, England in April and May, suspicious eyes turned toward the hydraulic fracturing operation in the area. In a move few expected, Cuadrilla Resources, admitted that its shale fracking operations were indeed responsible.
Where's the Rational Optimist when you need him?
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