NYC is Sinking?

NYC is Sinking?!?Is NYC Sinking

If you live in NYC, you’re probably like, “Oh, just another thing to worry about.”  High taxes, unhoused individuals increasing by the day, the litter, the great “smoke shop” takeover, subway violence and now…sinking?!?  Yes, NYC has its issues…mostly because it’s a big city with lots of people, and more people equals more problems. But despite its many problems, it also has a lot of great attributes- Broadway, diversity and different cultures, Central Park and shopping if you are into spending money on high fashion. I also don’t mind the smoke shops, but from the beginning of the pandemic till now, it’s a noticeable (and amusing?) takeover. They are everywhere! just to give you an idea, within a block’s distance from my apartment, there are now 4 smoke shops. I also don’t mind weed or the smell…but I do wish I could go on a run or walk around the city or even sit in Madison Square Park and not smell it. That’s just not the case anymore: I smell weed almost every day now.

A couple months ago, headlines ran with the idea that NYC is sinking. Some headline were more outrageous than others, creating a panicked buzz, particularly for folks who live in NYC. People wondered how long we had, and if the city would sink so low so that rising waters would eventually overtake all the new smoke shops and such. Well, as it turns out, the headlines weren’t so accurate. They oversold the tragedy. It’s funny, because there is such a push to clamp down on “misinformation”, even anecdotes shared by individuals on their personal social media accounts, yet no one has called out hypberbolic headlines from media powerhouses as misinformation. Sure, they get people to click and that increases ad revenue and journalists and editors need a paycheck…but if the headline is inaccurate and dramatized…how is that not spreading misinformation? You could at least argue that the “spirit of misinformation” is on display.

But NYC is sinking????

Well, let’s see: In this episode of Causes or Cures, I chat with Dr. Tom Parsons about his study called The Weight of New York City, Possible Contributions to Subsidence from Anthropogenic Sources published in Earth’s Future. He tells us what subsidence is and how it is measured, how and by how much the skyscrapers and buildings of NYC are contributing to it, why we should care about it, and what the potential short-term and long-term implications are. He talks about the potential implications from a “One Health” perspective, specifically in the realm of how our environment impacts our health and vice versa. He also talks about what his study shows versus how it was presented by many media outlets, serving as an interesting case study for those in the scientific communications field.

Dr. Tom Parsons earned his PhD in geophysics from Stanford University and is a Research Geophysicist at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. You can learn more about his work, publications and research interests here. 

So, NYC is sinking??? Well, listen to the podcast here and tell me what you think.

And don’t forget to check out some of the recent blogs and podcasts, including this one on the war on misinformation and elephants on the battlefield. And this podcast on genetically-modified mosquitoes that could be a good plot for a scifi novel! ;)

Thanks for reading and for all your support with the podcast!

Eeks X

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