Take a dip in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, visit a surprisingly musical milking parlor, get swept away by the surreal majesty of "underwater rivers," and go birding in the urban alleyways of Cambodia—all in this week's landscape reads.
Could the Dead Sea be saved by merging it with the Red Sea? Or would that kill it even faster? The Dead Sea has been shrinking, dying if you will, as water sinks into underground holes, but there is a controversial plan to save it. [Nautilus]
Humans aren't the only ones who could use some music for relaxing. For dairy cows, songs like REM's "Everybody Hurts" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" played during milking lead to more productive cows. A full milking playlist is available for your perusal. [Modern Farmer]
Forget penguins and polar bears. If we want to talk about what climate change is going to do, we have to talk about plankton—the tiny organisms at the bottom of the marine food chain. If climate change continues unchecked, acidification will doom plankton and the doom the entire ocean ecosystem. [Aeon]
Last summer, a new bird species was discovered right in the middle of Cambodia's capital city. We tend to think pigeons and barn swallows—essentially rats with wings—when we think of city birds, but the largest global survey of birds in cities yet finds surprising diversity of native species unique to each city. [Salon]
The ocean deeps are flowing with mysterious underwater rivers: "Drain all Earth's oceans and you would find that underwater rivers have gouged a maze of conduits known as abyssal channels. The rivers that rush through them may look like terrestrial rivers, but they behave much more like avalanches, dust storms or the pyroclastic flows from a volcano. Their destructive power makes them a major hazard for the telecommunication cables that snake along the ocean floor carrying most of our transoceanic voice, data and internet traffic." [New Scientist]
Top image of the Dead Sea by AP Photo/Ariel Schalit