Ronald Reagan was right. Well, nearly. One of the former US president's most ridiculed statements was that acid rain came from trees.
Up to half the acidity in rainfall over the US in summer does indeed come from volatile compounds given off by plants – just not the compounds Reagan was thinking of.
Formic acid is produced when we burn fossil fuels and biomass, and when plant compounds called terpenoids are oxidised by sunlight....
New satellite data shows more than 100 million tonnes of formic acid is produced naturally each year – far more than thought and 10 times the total from all known [artificial] sources.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.