Editor’s Note: MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) is a local coalition that aims to foster connections and build on our strengths to improve our individual, family, and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
"Every one of the major challenges facing us is complex. But our organizations are not designed for complexity. Our education institutions do not teach an understanding of complexity. Our workplace training does not factor in complexity. While not all of our problems are complex, the simpler issues are being dealt with. We need to take what Clay Shirky calls the cognitive surplus, and use it to wrestle with complex problems. Understanding complexity must be part of any informed discussions on government policy or governance. We ignore it at our peril."
The news of society's growing inequality makes all of us uneasy. But why? Dan Ariely reveals some new, surprising research on what we think is fair, as far as how wealth is distributed over societies ... then shows how it stacks up to the real stats.
Memes were originally framed in relationship to genes. In The Selfish Gene, Dawkins claimed that humans are “survival machines” for our genes, the replicating molecules that emerged from the primordial soup and that, through mutation and natural selection, evolved to generate beings that were more effective as carriers and propagators of genes. Still, Dawkins explained, genes could not account for all of human behavior, particularly the evolution of cultures. So he identified a second replicator, a “unit of cultural transmission” that he believed was “leaping from brain to brain” through imitation. He named these units “memes,” an adaption of the Greek word mimene, “to imitate.” Dawkins’ memes include everything from ideas, songs, and religious ideals to pottery fads. Like genes, memes mutate and evolve, competing for a limited resource—namely, our attention. Memes are, in Dawkins’ view, viruses of the mind—infectious. The successful ones grow exponentially, like a super flu. While memes are sometimes malignant (hellfire and faith, for atheist Dawkins), sometimes benign (catchy songs), and sometimes terrible for our genes (abstinence), memes do not have conscious motives. But still, he claims, memes parasitize us and drive us.
Detailed knowledge of the energy needs at relatively high spatial and temporal resolution is crucial for the electricity infrastructure planning of a region. However, such information is typically limited by the scarcity of data on human activities, in particular in developing countries where electrification of rural areas is sought. The analysis of society-wide mobile phone records has recently proven to offer unprecedented insights into the spatio-temporal distribution of people, but this information has never been used to support electrification planning strategies anywhere and for rural areas in developing countries in particular. The aim of this project is the assessment of the contribution of mobile phone data for the development of bottom-up energy demand models, in order to enhance energy planning studies and existing electrification practices. More specifically, this work introduces a framework that combines mobile phone data analysis, socioeconomic and geo-referenced data analysis, and state-of-the-art energy infrastructure engineering techniques to assess the techno-economic feasibility of different centralized and decentralized electrification options for rural areas in a developing country. Specific electrification options considered include extensions of the existing medium voltage (MV) grid, diesel engine-based community-level Microgrids, and individual household-level solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The framework and relevant methodology are demonstrated throughout the paper using the case of Senegal and the mobile phone data made available for the 'D4D-Senegal' innovation challenge. The results are extremely encouraging and highlight the potential of mobile phone data to support more efficient and economically attractive electrification plans.
Using Mobile Phone Data for Electricity Infrastructure Planning Eduardo Alejandro Martinez-Cesena, Pierluigi Mancarella, Mamadou Ndiaye, Markus Schläpfer
Neighborland empowers people to take action on local issues. We are providing residents, organizations, and city agencies a powerful civic engagement platform designed to move community projects forward.
Want to know what makes us stand apart from our ape cousins?
Cooperation—no other animal does it quite like us. Developmental psychologist Michael Tomasello explains why if chimps had a self-help bestseller, it would be titled, How to Outwit Rivals and Get More Fruit.
Carefully considering all well-known worries about privacy, professor Dirk Helbing raises a great concept: The Planetary Nervous System (PNS). Roughly, this idea involves connecting our smartphones worldwide to build a global measurement network and create a flow of information on all kinds of topics.
Much of our commerce and traveling depend on the efficient operation of large scale networks. Some of those, such as electric power grids, transportation systems, communication networks, and others, must maintain their efficiency even after several failures, or malicious attacks. We outline a procedure that modifies any given network to enhance its robustness, defined as the size of its largest connected component after a succession of attacks, whilst keeping a high efficiency, described in terms of the shortest paths among nodes. We also show that this generated set of networks is very similar to networks optimized for robustness in several aspects such as high assortativity and the presence of an onion-like structure.
Generating Robust and Efficient Networks Under Targeted Attacks Vitor H. P. Louzada, Fabio Daolio, Hans J. Herrmann, Marco Tomassini
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