Rosa Lyster

Rosa Lyster's research on the global water crisis is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Diederik  De Beers took full control of the distribution channels, setting prices and constraining supply to ensure that diamonds remained aspirationally expensive even as the astonishing output of the South African mines showed that they were not particularly rare. It would be a perfect story for explaining the concept of monopoly to a child. 

At the V&A: Fabergé in London

Rosa Lyster, 27 January 2022

The eggs are shorthand for hysterical opulence, an easy target, so that even someone as patrician as Nabokov, from his deckchair on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, could dismiss them as grotesque. They are toys that children can’t play with, objects of pure whimsy that must be handled with utter seriousness, embarrassingly over-the-top trifles made for unembarrassable people.

From The Blog
26 January 2022

Someone, or possibly a cartel of someones, was impersonating influential figures in the publishing industry to get access to unpublished manuscripts. They would pretend to be a heavyweight literary agent, say, or an editor, and would send convincing-looking emails to publishers asking that they send on the soon-to-be released novels of an array of writers, some famous and some not. Sometimes they’d approach the writers themselves. They’d make such underhand moves as changing a letter or two in their email address (e.g. instead of, using great sneakiness and considerable amounts of time and energy to do – what? To read a book slightly earlier than everyone else did.

Diary: Louisiana Underwater

Rosa Lyster, 7 October 2021

When people in Louisiana say that a city will disappear, they don’t just mean that it will be taken over by industry, or abandoned after one too many hurricanes or floods. They mean that it will actually sink into the Gulf of Mexico. Erosion is eating away at the coast at a rate of an acre every hundred minutes, dramatically increasing the state’s vulnerability to hurricane storm surges.

Diary: Along the Water

Rosa Lyster, 6 May 2021

The Nile as it arrives in Egypt has two main tributaries, which converge near Khartoum: the White Nile, rising in Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, rising in Lake Tana in Ethiopia. Exact figures are disputed, but almost everyone agrees that at least 80 per cent of the river’s water originates in the Ethiopian highlands. An academic who spent his career studying the hydropolitics of the Nile Basin until he was forced to leave Egypt told me I had to understand the psychological dimension to the country’s water issue. What I had to understand about Egypt and water was that Egypt didn’t have any. It all came from somewhere else, which meant that the upstream countries could, in theory, turn off the tap. People who grow up in the desert tend to think of rain as a big deal. Even in the cities, they celebrate a downpour when it happens. Farmers elsewhere look to the sky and ask for water, he said, but in Egypt they look to Ethiopia. While I was there I heard over and over again that Egyptians think of the Nile as their water, stored in other people’s countries.

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