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When the rivers run red

[ by Charles Cameron — science and / or apocalypse, quirky, not analytic ]
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The upper image of this par shows the Yangtze River recently, as reported by the Daily Telegraph under the delightful header, Red China:

I got it from Scence, Space & Robots, which commented:

NDTV reports that Chongqing’s Environmental Protect Bureau is blaming sand for the color change in the river. They claim flooding upstream washed sand downstream which turned the river red.

Okay, so as anyone who has stirred watercolors with their fingers knows, water can be all kinds of colors…

But what it it’s the apocalypse?

That was one possible conclusion Live Science found whehn they asked people about the red color of a lake in Texas (lower image):

The color has some apocalypse believers suggesting that OC Fisher is an early sign of the end of the world, but Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries officials say the bloody look is the result of Chromatiaceae bacteria, which thrive in oxygen-deprived water.

So — when you see red water, do you think “aha! daub time” or “ooh, chromatiaceae” — or “OMG, it’s the end, it must be”?

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Do you prefer to get your explanations for curious events from science, or from religion?

As Caitlin Fitz Gerald — who has an impressive acquaintance with watercolors as the artist behind the Clausewitz for Kids project — kindly tweeted:

John the Revelator puts it this way, in Revelation 16.4:

And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

Even the Onion mentions the streets running red, though out of concern for good taste, I won’t quote…

One Response to “When the rivers run red”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    I’m afraid that once again the comments were turned off without my conscious intent. ¬†Until now, I have tended to place the blame on stray electrons. ¬†Now I am beginning to think St Paul has the right clue in Romans 7.19:

    for the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

    Sorry folks, comments are back on.


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