Science as lifesaver dates back thousands of years to the Nilometer, but now some politicians want to turn back the clock

Science as lifesaver dates back thousands of years to the Nilometer, but now some politicians want to turn back the clock
Ron DeSantis speaks during an event to give out bonuses to first responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. - Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/TNS

Five thousand years after the Egyptians demonstrated science’s ability to hold death at bay, Florida’s governor is committed to denying his constituents that benefit. The Egyptians invented a device that archeologists call a Nilometer. Basically a column erected in the upper reaches of the Nile River, it measured the depth of water that would flow downstream to irrigate a narrow ribbon of arable land. Too little or too much predicted a crop failure, famine and starvation — unless grain from a previous harvest was stored. That experience is echoed in the biblical story of Joseph explaining Phar...

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