"United Nations, June 2008 - The bio-fuel, ethanol, is generating a revolution in renewable energy that could help reduce the world's thirst for oil. In Brazil, the production of ethanol from sugarcane is booming, but what is not clear is the impact it is having on the industry's sugarcane cutters." Transcript of video available here.
In the latest attempt to corral society's growing quantities of digital data, Harvard University researchers encoded an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA, the basic building block of life, and then accurately read back the text.
Valentin Chirosca's insight:
The technique likely is a long way from being commercially viable.
In collecting cartographic materials relating to the events of 9/11, the Library's Geography and Map Division is concentrating on documenting the role maps played in managing the recovery effort.
This page from the Library of Congress, hosted by the Geography and Map Division is a visually rich resources of geospatial images (aerial photography, thermal imagery, LiDAR, etc.) that show the extent of the damage and the physical change to the region that the terrorist attacks brought.
The 2012 NCGE conference has been tremendous; I plan on sharing many of the resources that I’ve discovered with you over the next few weeks. October 6th is the day of my presentation and I’ve uploaded my slides (with hyperlinks included) here: Empowering Students: The Digitally Curated Textbook.
Since its introduction in 2008, HTML5 has been heralded as the future of the Web. No longer would we be held back by individual plugins like Flash. The Web would be a free and open place with the many APIs provided by HTML5 leading the way.
Until now, there has been a lack of solid, comprehensive spatial data about African groundwater resources. Researchers have now done so. For a more academic article on the subject, here are their findings in Environmental Research Letters.
This annual arts festival with a strong counter-cultural ethos literally is an experiment in producing alternative urban and cultural geographies. They reject many normative regulations embedded within mainstream society. These geographies created last only about a week, as an escape from the regular strictures of society. The ephemeral alternative geographies then fade back into the desert but not without creating a visually remarkable place that has a lasting impact for participants. A word of caution, it is a 'clothing-optional' event, so launching a Google image search live in class is not recommended.
I'll let the producer of the video explain: "It is an 8-day event which takes place annually in late August in the temporary city of Black Rock City located in a dry lakebed in northwestern Nevada, USA. The radial streets are laid out like a clock face, from 2:00 to 10:00. I have marked some of these streets as well as some of the prominent and favorite theme camps and villages. The attendees are all participants in a sense and are themselves the attraction. There is no corporate sponsorship or presence of any sort. Only ice and coffee are sold (and proceeds benefit community projects). Everything else is brought in under the concept of 'radical self-reliance' or gifted by others. Most 'burners' participate by finding the creative or artistic thing that they enjoy most and do best, do it to the fullest extent, and share it as much as possible."
Tags: art, culture, unit 3 culture, popular culture.
Language barriers prevent us for completely connecting. But what if the language barrier didn't exist?
DB: Presently we are living in a rapidly changing world where the spread of ideas and items are occurring at a rate unprecedented in history. In this globalized and increasingly interconnected world, the variation of languages spoken is drastically decreasing. As some of the most genuine characteristics of a culture are intertwined within its langue, a reduction in spoken languages and increased interaction is threating the duration of some traditional ways of living. Likewise since economics is one of the thriving factors behind globalization, the ability to communicate with your market has become paramount. However technological innovation is currently in the process of making up for the shortage of qualified linguists around the globe. Although possessing a universal portable translation device is currently beyond our capacity, it is likely that such a device similar to what was once believed possible only in science fiction may be readily available within our lifetime. Whether it becomes a public utility or a commensal asset as well as who has access to it remains to be decided. Yet this also brings up an important question of how culture will be affected if the language barrier is overcome through technology? Can geographic cultural diffusion continue to function if everyone can easily understand each other? What happens when worlds lose their cultural significance for the sake of convenience?
The last section of dam is being blasted from the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula on Tuesday.
For almost half a century, the two dams were widely applauded for powering the growth of the peninsula and its primary industry. But the dams blocked salmon migration up the Elwha, devastating its fish and shellfish—and the livelihood of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. As the tribe slowly gained political power—it won federal recognition in 1968—it and other tribes began to protest the loss of the fishing rights promised to them by federal treaty in the mid-1800s. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Washington tribes, including the Elwha Klallam, were entitled to half the salmon catch in the state.
"The Pew survey sorts people into major groupings--Christians; other religions, including Jewish and Muslim; and 'unaffiliated,' which includes atheist, agnostic and 'nothing in particular.' Roll your cursor over the map to see how faiths and traditions break down by state."
Praying, fighting, dancing, chanting — human rituals could illuminate the growth of community and the origins of civilization.
As an example of how rituals can cause values and preferences to become sacralized, Atran points to his studies showing that, in the United States, people who attend church more frequently are more likely to consider the right to bear arms a sacred value11.
“Emotionally intense rituals have bound us together and pitted us against our enemies throughout the history of our species,” says Whitehouse. “It was only when nomadic foragers began to settle down did we discover the possibilities for establishing much larger societies based on frequently repeated creeds and rituals.”
The big question, he says, is whether this kind of unity can be extended to humanity at large. For Whitehouse, understanding the ways that rituals shape group behaviour is the first step towards finding out how they can be harnessed to dampen down conflict between groups. He hopes that such insights could help policy-makers to “establish new forms of peaceful cooperation, as well as bringing down dictators”.
Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage.
Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more.
Generally, when we talk about magnetism’s role in the realm of technology, there are just two types: Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. Ferromagnetism has been known about for centuries, and is the underlying force behind your compass’s spinning needle or the permanent bar magnets you played with at school. In ferromagnets, the spin (i.e. charge) of every electron is aligned in the same direction, causing two distinct poles. In antiferromagnets, neighboring electrons point in the opposite direction, causing the object to have zero net magnetism (pictured below). In combination with ferromagnets, antiferromagnets are used to create spin valves: the magnetic sensors used in hard drive heads.
In the case of quantum spin liquids, the material is a solid crystal — but the internal magnetic state is constantly in flux. The magnetic orientations of the electrons (their magnetic moment) fluctuate as they interact with other nearby electrons. “But there is a strong interaction between them, and due to quantum effects, they don’t lock in place,” says Young Lee, senior author of the research. It is these strong interactions that apparently allow for long-range quantum entanglement.
Not every state is equally impacted by migration, and the demographic profile of migrants is different for every state. This is an online mapping tool to search a large database that can give the user state specific information about the impact of economics and politics based on migration from Latin America and Asia on any given state.
Tags: Immigration, unit 2 population, migration, economic, statistics, mapping, political.
It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.
This is an excellent video for population and demographic units, but also for showing regional and spatial patterns within the global dataset (since terms like 'overpopulation' and 'carrying capacity' inherently have different meanings in distinct place and when analyzed at various scales). It is also a fantastic way to visualize population data and explain the ideas that are foundational for the Demographic Transition Model.
Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.
This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands. This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.