Geographic information about people and the planet is critical to making better decisions and using resources more wisely, and will be vital to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals that countries have recently agreed on, according to a United Nations expert on the issue.
"Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots."
"The city of Paris will start removing padlocks from the Pont des Arts on Monday, effectively ending the tourist tradition of attaching 'love locks' to the bridge. For years, visitors have been attaching locks with sentimental messages to the bridge in symbolic acts of affection. Some further seal the deal by throwing keys into the Seine River below. It was considered charming at first, but the thrill wore off as sections of fencing on the Pont des Arts crumbled under the locks' weight. The bridge carries more than 700,000 locks with an estimated combined weight roughly the same as 20 elephants."
History (and sometimes, unfortunately, current events) shows us just how easily national borders can change, but we still like to think that they are permanent fixtures. These photos of different national borders around the world show you how both friendly and hostile nations like to fence off their turf.
"In some ways, all 2D maps of Earth are interrupted at some point, even if it’s just along the antimeridian at 180°. Interruptions are often in areas of less interest e.g. oceans for a land-focused map."
"It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam."
Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress. In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest to help create a variety of rice that can survive prolonged flooding. She shows how the genetic improvement of seeds saved the Hawaiian papaya crop in the 1950s — and makes the case that it may simply be the most effective way to enhance food security for our planet’s growing population.
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