In the blockbuster movie Bruce Almighty, a television newsman is given a set of divine powers, including the capacity to perform such miracles as the parting of a bowl of tomato soup, à la Moses’ parting of the Red Sea. When God wants to communicate with Bruce, God displays a telephone number on Bruce’s pager. In the weeks after the movie’s release, anyone who shared God’s seven-digit number was besieged with calls from cranks, practical jokers and a lot of people desperate to connect with God.
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).