It's been a mix of significant heat and a steady drizzle that slowly dampens everything. Even skin feels sticky. At the same time, I was vacationing in Colorado where the smoke from the California fires had made the air quality challenging in Denver. This was surprising since I didn't think the smoke would scale up the Rockies and over.
Images of firefighters dumping water to quell these led me on a research trail on the state of water as a potable resource for humans. And it's a bit of a grim picture. Interestingly, the growth in EV batteries doesn't help the water situation, needing up to 500,000 gallons of water per tonne.
In a similar vein, I started listening to The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson; I'm not very far into it, but I can say he creates a heat-infused claustrophobia pretty damn well.
BBC Future goes through a series of anecdotes and explorations around water as the source of conflicts. One link in particular, the Water Conflict Chronology is pretty expansive (I was going to say exhaustive, but it's still being added to), presenting a map with dots highlighting where water conflict (be it large scale battles, or single murders) have occurred. As the article explains, there isn't a cause-effect relationship, since there are nuances on what the scarcity really is (eg. actual drought, vs quality of water), as well as whether there is infrastructure that creates resilience against the scarcity.
Interestingly, I came across this AMA by Arkady Martine - author of Teixcalaan series - that took place a couple of weeks ago (I was too late to actually participate). Apparently her new project Prescribed Burn is about "water wars, arson, drought, smart grids..." I've recommended her books previously on Frivolous, so I'm very interested in reading this when it comes out.
Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis
On face, this is an extra-terrestrial cover-up conspiracy story based in the United States in our near past. What's unique about Ellis' treatment is the self-aware tone (how many of these stories and movies have there been, even about first contact in general, let alone conspiratorial ones?) and the down-to-earth ramifications of such a cover-up, presented through the main character relationship to her farther. The sequel comes out in October 21. Should be fun