"A state commission working on a much-discussed report titled 'Foundations of State Cultural Politics' will release their findings in two weeks, presidential advisor Vladimir Tolstoi announced last week, adding that the basic formula of the report could be summarized as 'Russia is not Europe.'"
Today, March 20, is the vernal equinox, the official start of spring. (Or, in the southern hemisphere, autumn. Sorry.) We celebrate two main sets of holidays pegged to the orientation of the Earth vis-à-vis the Sun—the “equinoxes” and the “solstices.” A few years ago the team at NASA's Earth Observatory used observations from a EUMETSAT meteorological satellite to make the video above, which shows what the solstices and equinoxes look like from space.
On the equinoxes, like the spring equinox today or the fall equinox in September, the length of the day and night are as close as they'll get. The northern hemisphere's summer solstice, in June, is the day with the most hours of sunlight. The winter solstice, in December, has the least daylight. All of it has to do with the fact that the Earth's rotation axis is tilted 23.5 degrees relative to the orbit we take as we circle the Sun.
For those inclined towards exploring Earth-Sun interactions, playing around with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Sun Simulator is a fun way to make a little more sense of the various factors that control how the Sun appears in the sky.
"Mexico City is a giant laboratory of urban morphology. Its 20 million residents live in neighborhoods based on a wide spectrum of plans. The colonial center (above) was built on the foundations of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire. The old city was on an island in Lake Texcoco. The lake was drained to prevent flooding as the city expanded.
"OK…so let me clarify that title. I honestly think textbooks are on their way out…or at least I hope they are. Really it should read “Flipboard as core curation artifact for classrooms” but that wouldn’t have you here reading now would it. "
Donors, businesses and research groups have united to pledge to boost wheat yields by 50% in the next 20 years. Rob Dawson explains why and how (RT @cgiarclimate: Global food security: could wheat feed the world?
"As the world's cities undergo explosive growth, inequality is intensifying. Wealthy neighborhoods and impoverished slums grow side by side, the gap between them widening. In this eye-opening talk, architect Teddy Cruz asks us to rethink urban development from the bottom up. Sharing lessons from the slums of Tijuana, Cruz explores the creative intelligence of the city's residents and offers a fresh perspective on what we can learn from places of scarcity."
If Crimea ‘historically’ belongs to Russia, these other regions ‘historically’ don’t.
The rise and fall of empires, two World Wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union mean the map of Europe has been redrawn more times than Russian President Vladimir Putin has posed shirtless. And anyone who claims they owned anywhere first would, if they were being entirely honest, probably have to admit that someone else got there before them.
That was Putin’s logic for the Russian annexation of Crimea. It used to be ours. Therefore it always was, therefore it still is.
Well, by the same token, several other countries could take bites out of Russia. The world’s largest country didn’t start off that way. Just like every other empire, it invaded, conquered, negotiated and seized the lands it now calls its own.
Some of those lands are fiercely disputed to this day, some are the subjects of uneasy settlements, and some have long ago been relinquished to Russia’s unchallenged control. But here’s a list of the most important Russian territories that other countries could, if they chose, try to claim back.
The growth of these cities will create a host of environmental and health problems.
By 2210, the global population is expected to grow from just more than 7 billion to 11.3 billion — with 87 percent of the population living in urban areas, according to a new working paper by researchers from NYU’s Marron Institute.
Most of these individuals will be in what’s now the developing world — creating a host of environmental and health problems.
If projections are correct, these new urban dwellers will require the world’s existing cities to expand six-fold to accommodate triple the residents, Richard Florida wrote in The Atlantic. Plus, the world will need 500 new “megacities” of 10 million or more, he wrote.
J.C. Penny in peril, Sears is sinking. Is this the end of the American shopping mall?
Last Friday sandwich chain Quiznos filed for bankruptcy protection citing high debt loads and heavy completion. Coming just days after a similar filing from pizza chain Sbarro, Quiznos’ bankruptcy was the second half of a one-two gut punch for shopping malls at a time when they’ve never been more vulnerable. A decade ago there were more than 1,100 enclosed shopping malls in the U.S. Since then more than 400 have either been “re-purposed” or closed outright. No new malls have been completed since at least 2009.
Belarus signed up early to join the Eurasian Union, but has started hedging its bets since Russia's annexation of Crimea -- and understandably so. According to Putin’s reasoning for seizing Crimea, Belarus could be the next target.
There is a bitter irony at the heart of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Putin’s short-term victory is already coming at the expense of his most cherished long-term strategy -- the creation of a Eurasian Union, a trade union linking Russia and its closest neighbors. In other words, as the invasion expands Russian territory, it will diminish Russian influence in the very places he’d like to increase it. One need only look to Belarus, which is already beginning to hedge against its alliance with Moscow, to see why.