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FROM THIS EPISODE

Global warming, drought and increased population are combining to increase the pressure on water supplies worldwide.  Is desalination the solution…a stop gap…or technological overkill that's not worth what it costs?

Also, South Korea scrambles to contain the latest MERS outbreak. On today's Talking Point, handguns made with 3-D printers are old news.  Now, you can make your own AR-15 out of metal — an automatic rifle that can't be traced by law enforcement. It's easier than you might think. 

Photo: Ambassador Daniel Shapiro visited and toured the Hadera Desalination Plant, the newest and most modern desalination facility in Israel on July 26, 2012. (US Embassy Tel Aviv)

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Evan George

South Korea Scrambles to Contain MERS Outbreak 6 MIN, 30 SEC

In South Korea, two people are dead, 1300 have been quarantined and 500 schools have closed their doors — all because of an outbreak of MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. There's no vaccine and no cure. Laurie Garrett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, now senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Special thanks to Sarah Sweeney for production assistance.

Guests:
Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Relations (@Laurie_Garrett)

More:
World Health Organization on the MERS outbreak

Betrayal of Trust

Laurie Garrett

Does the World Need Desalination? 32 MIN, 44 SEC

Water is humankind's most precious resource. Demand is rising and resources are running low. Conservation and reclamation are needed all over the world. Water shortages in the Middle East, Australia and the Western United States are creating an appetite for new water supplies. Greater efficiency and re-use of water that's now being wasted are obvious fixes. Beyond that, there's desalination of ocean water to create new supplies. That takes expensive technology. Will it discourage conservation? Is it worth the energy it demands and the impact on the environment?  We look at the available options to cope with an inevitable, worldwide crisis.

Guests:
John Vidal, Guardian newspaper (@john_vidal)
Udi Tirosh, IDE Technologies (@idetechnologies)
Conner Everts, Southern California Watershed Alliance
Peter Adriaens, University of Michigan (@padriaens)

More:
IDE's Carlsbad desalination project
Poseidon's Huntington Beach desalination project

Building Your Own Untraceable AR-15 'Ghost Gun' Is Easy 10 MIN, 35 SEC

Gun control advocates — and gun lovers — talk about "ghost guns" that are made at home and can't be traced by law enforcement. Andy Greenberg made his own "ghost gun" in his office at Wired magazine. It's a metal AR-15, that required no waiting period, no background check—and no serial number. He's written extensively about it in Wired.

Guests:
Andy Greenberg, Wired magazine (@a_greenberg)

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