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AID Data: Open data for international development

AID Data: Open data for international development | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"The AidData Center for Development Policy creates geospatial data and tools enabling development stakeholders to more effectively target, coordinate and evaluate aid. Funded through a five-year, $25 million cooperative agreement with USAID, the Center is a partnership between the College of William and Mary, Development Gateway, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Esri."


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting database/viewer for exploring international development/metrics.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 24, 2013 3:12 PM

This article in the Washington Post asks if foreign aid can make elections more competitive (spoiler alert: mapping the data at the sub-national level helps answer research questions like this).  What intrigued me even more than the article was the mapping platform that it was introducing. AidData is a fabulous new mapping platform to access information about international aid, it's effectiveness and where it is needed and what current projects are being funded by U.S. AID. 

Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Welcome to Sustainability Science

Welcome to Sustainability Science | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Welcome to my curation site for the emerging science of sustainability.

 

Here you will find an array of stories, examples, relevant cautionary tales, and data related to our hunt for a more sustainable economy with a reduced ecological footprint.  While my students, colleagues and I are interested in all aspects of sustainability, these pages have an historc emphasis on:

 

- human population growth rates/demography 

- product design/construction, especially:

    - triple bottomline

    - life cycle analyses (LCA)

    - sustainable supply chains

 - carbon footprints (especially carbon "finprints" of seafood)

 - food production/distribution systems

 - energy production/storage systems, especially:

    - dams and flow diversions

    - wind turbines

    - tidal power

    - solar panel efficiency/material advances

    - fuel cell design/material advances

 - general building design/construction, especially:

     - green roof/wall construction and plant palletes

     - lighting systems

     - elegant design

     - redevelopment/reuse

 - urban planning

 - role of mobile technology in fostering sustainability

 - elegant and effective communication

 

Thanks for visiting.  Please enjoy and let me know if I can answer any questions or be of any other help.

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Ecological Footprint & Pollution Calculators

Ecological Footprint & Pollution Calculators | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Calculate ecological footprints, calculators to help you determine your footprint on the Earth
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California drought: Dramatic before-and-after photos

California drought: Dramatic before-and-after photos | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
California is in a historic three-year drought, and recent photos taken in Northern California put a visual exclamation mark on the issue. The images were captured in August by Justin Sullivan of Getty Images, in the same locations at Lake Oroville and Folsom Lake where the California Department of Water Resources took photos in July 2011. Lake Oroville in Butte County is currently at 31 percent capacity, while Folsom Lake near Sacramento is at 38 percent of capacity.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Another great use of visual slider to show contrasting images (before and after) across California

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Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet

PRB's Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet provides the latest estimates of births per woman and other indicators for 150 countries, including the percentage of women using modern and traditional family planning methods, unmet need for family planning, and use of modern contraception by wealth group.

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Burlington flood: Cities face 'new breed' of storms, climatologist says

Burlington flood: Cities face 'new breed' of storms, climatologist says | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Canadians are facing a ';new breed' of storms, and governments should change the way they plan for the kind of wild weather that caused a flash flood in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. And not only in Canada. All around the world, infrastructure is aging and breaking down. We need to take into consideration the new climate and look for innovations like green roofs, porous pavements and storm management solutions like the various and complementary water solutions at BetterWorldSolutions.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is increasingly a problem for our coastal zone worldwide.  And beyond the coastal zone as well.  Just this week we saw flooding outside the Arizona Cardinal's stadium in September and the greatest single day rain event in Nevada history.  While we are always cognizant of not wanting to confound "weather" with "climate," it should be clear to just about everyone that our infrastructure and hardened infrastructure is increasingly not up to the task of 21st century natural hazards.

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RIP: The Apple iPod, 2001-2014

RIP: The Apple iPod, 2001-2014 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Quietly, even stealthily, Apple this week brought about that moment that many of its most loyal followers dreaded would happen: It killed off the iPod .
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The iPod is one of our modern classics of design.

 

Sure there are issues (you couldn't replace the battery, high embodied energy and materials in the computer innards, etc.), but this was clearly a stroke of design genius.  It solved a problem folks didn't even know they had: how to listen to your music collection...your whole music collection...when you weren't home.  Or didn't have a CD player in front of you.  Or were on an airplane at 30,000 feet. Or in eastern Turkey.  And apple famously did so with design being at the forefront of the process.  Usability, minimalization, and human-scale engineering were the guiding principals.  And even though many people laughed at it at the time (I think roughly 100% of my friends did), it came to be the central phenomenon of the past decade for mobile music.

 

Good design is never wasted.  Good design can be impactful.  Good design can change the way people see the world.  Or interact with it.  Just look at Apple's stock and market capitalization.  Or peer inside any teenager's back pocket.

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Drug War Statistics | Marijuana Statistics | Mexico Drug War Deaths | Drug Policy Alliance

Statistics on the Mexican drug war, drug war incarceration, drug war spending, marijuana arrests, drug-related death and disease, and tax revenue.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Spending $51 billion dollars a year on the drug war might not be the most sustainable approach to the problem of illicit drug use.

 

This is especially true when you consider the lack of impact on habitual drug users, ecological impacts associated with narco trafficking, and the inability of governments to actually be anywhere close to where we were supposed to have been with these policy outcomes.

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How Ethiopia solved its abortion problem

How Ethiopia solved its abortion problem | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A generation ago, botched abortions were the single biggest contributor to Ethiopia’s sky-high maternal mortality rate. Then, the country liberalized its abortion law.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We see time and time again, clear benefits to open and cheap access to modern family planning.

 

This is true despite the best efforts of those who would for political or other reasons prefer it to be otherwise.

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Japan's real-life superhero, Mangetsu-man, is literally cleaning up the streets of Tokyo

It's a one-man crusade against grime.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Well... this is totally Japanese.  Tackling the litter problem in one of the world's cleanest cities is certainly novel.  And hey, can you really knock someone for wanting a clean home town?

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The geography of the global electronic waste (‘e-waste’) burden

The geography of the global electronic waste (‘e-waste’) burden | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste (or “e-waste”), scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

In 2005, more than 38 million tons of used electronics were discarded worldwide. Nearly a quarter of the waste from developed nations went to China, India and five West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.

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Freakonomics » Parking Is Hell

Freakonomics » Parking Is Hell | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"The episode begins with Stephen Dubner talking to parking guru Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the landmark book The High Cost of Free Parking. In a famous Times op-ed, Shoup argued that as much as one-third of urban congestion is caused by people cruising for curb parking. But, as Shoup tells Dubner, there ain’t no such thing as a free parking spot."


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Everyone searching for a parking space has at one time felt that there are not enough spaces where and when you need them...did you know that their are at least 3 surface lot parking spaces for every car in the United States (not including garages, driveways, etc)?  With 250 million passenger vehicles for 316 million people, that means there are 800 million surface lot parking spaces (that account for only 60-70% of our parking needs).  Parking then is a much bigger issue that we want to believe; this is one of the reasons why IKEA is starting to rethinking their construction model that historically has been designed around huge parking lots.   


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 23, 10:01 AM

Everyone searching for a parking space has at one time felt that there are not enough spaces where and when you need them...did you know that their are at least 3 surface lot parking spaces for every car in the United States (not including garages, driveways, etc)?  With 250 million passenger vehicles for 316 million people, that means there are 800 million surface lot parking spaces (that account for only 60-70% of our parking needs).  Parking then is a much bigger issue that we want to believe; this is one of the reasons why IKEA is starting to rethinking their construction model that historically has been designed around huge parking lots.   


Tags: urban, urban ecology, transportation, planning.

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Green Roof & Wall Projects

Green Roof & Wall Projects | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Being a horticulturalist I am passionate about the way plants grow. This is further fuelled by my role in greening urban infrastructure. There are many species suitable for growing on buildings and this can be seen by the proliferation of green roofs and vertical gardens around the world. My favourite pastime is exploring the rich habitat I live in, on the northern edge of Sydney, Australia.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Some nice examples here about green roofs (and landscaping more generally) in arid settings.

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5 Futuristic Food Wrappers That You Don’t Have to Throw Away | Design | WIRED

5 Futuristic Food Wrappers That You Don’t Have to Throw Away | Design | WIRED | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Before it’s even time for dinner, the food-to-trash transfer has happened several times. Nixing that transfer entirely is the task at hand for Hannah Billqvist and Anna Glansén.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Why do we need packaging in the first place?

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Elon Musk Dreams of a Martian Metropolis

Elon Musk Dreams of a Martian Metropolis | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Just last week, Elon Musk revealed that one of his main goals for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is to eventually build a city on Mars, ushering in an age when humanity is a multi-planet dwelling species.
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Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business

Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
While the MTA regulates the taxi industry, the state Public Utilities Commission has claimed jurisdiction over the new ride services, which typically contract with people to use their personal cars to carry passengers who hail them with a smartphone app. The new companies, unlike taxi operators, have lesser insurance requirements, no restrictions on the number of vehicles they put on the streets, no clean-air standards and less-stringent background checks. Among biggest impacts of the ride services has been the drop in taxi rides taken by people in ramp taxis, which carry people in wheelchairs. Director Malcolm Heinicke wants to make it mandatory for taxis to have e-hailing apps, and taxi drivers said they want the city to keep ride services and limousines out of transit-only lanes and taxi stands.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Change is hard.  This is perhaps a classic example of how poor planning can kill an industry that provides a social good.  Is your grandma going to be able to jump on Uber and get in someone's car when she lands at the airport for Thanksgiving?

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ESRM Tenure Track Job Search Fall 2014

CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) invites applicants for the position of Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM). The ESRM Program…
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Position Description:

           CSU Channel Islands invites applicants for the position of Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM).  Our ESRM Program seeks an energetic, creative colleague interested in making substantial contributions to our rapidly expanding program.  Prospective candidates should have a strong record of teaching, research, and service (or be able to provide strong evidence of their promise in each of those areas).  We are particularly interested in candidates with two or more of the following disciplinary interests: hydrology/watershed science, land use planning, coastal restoration, environmental policy, sustainability science, biostatistics/data visualization, remotely piloted systems, protected area management, and Geographic Information Science.  More important than specific disciplinary interests are the candidate’s broader qualifications.  The prospective candidate should have strong methodological skills with experience or substantial interest in developing community-based research.  CSU Channel Islands promotes interdisciplinary inquiry, community engagement, service learning, and an international focus; candidates are expected to share those commitments.  A Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management, Conservation Biology, or a closely related field is required by time of appointment. 

 

For additional information and to apply please visit:

https://www.csucifacultyjobs.com/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1410822788143

 

Application review begins on November 3, 2014

 

Please direct any and all questions to our Interim Chair:

Dr. Sean Anderson  office: (805) 437-8948  sean.anderson@csuci.edu

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, September 15, 10:58 PM

Position Description:

           CSU Channel Islands invites applicants for the position of Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM).  Our ESRM Program seeks an energetic, creative colleague interested in making substantial contributions to our rapidly expanding program.  Prospective candidates should have a strong record of teaching, research, and service (or be able to provide strong evidence of their promise in each of those areas).  We are particularly interested in candidates with two or more of the following disciplinary interests: hydrology/watershed science, land use planning, coastal restoration, environmental policy, sustainability science, biostatistics/data visualization, remotely piloted systems, protected area management, and Geographic Information Science.  More important than specific disciplinary interests are the candidate’s broader qualifications.  The prospective candidate should have strong methodological skills with experience or substantial interest in developing community-based research.  CSU Channel Islands promotes interdisciplinary inquiry, community engagement, service learning, and an international focus; candidates are expected to share those commitments.  A Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management, Conservation Biology, or a closely related field is required by time of appointment. 

 

For additional information and to apply please visit:

https://www.csucifacultyjobs.com/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1410822788143

 

Application review begins on November 3, 2014

 

Please direct any and all questions to our Interim Chair:

Dr. Sean Anderson  office: (805) 437-8948  sean.anderson@csuci.edu

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China seeks to fight smog by brainstorm: All ideas welcome

China seeks to fight smog by brainstorm: All ideas welcome | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The city of Wuhan is considering building skyscrapers coated with a high-tech substance that can "eat" air pollutants. An artist is offering to suck particulates out of Beijing's dirty skies using a giant vacuum-cleaner-type device and sell jewelry made with the collected contaminants. One researcher is suggesting an "urban wind passage" in the Chinese capital, regulating the height and density of buildings so that smog has a dispersal channel.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Very interesting to see the arc of history repeating.  I recall many of the crazy ideas here in California.  A similar story was had when we needed water during a drought.  And for our famously traffic-clogged highways.  

 

When you go down the same road creating a problem we know is going to happen and just think you will "deal with it" later, the next phase is the outlandish responses to dealing with those problems.  Eventually we get to the mature adult phase wherein we actually tackle the problems of our own creation.  It would be nice if we could just jump to the last phase in the first place.

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L.A. heat wave: Medical emergencies expected to spike this weekend

L.A. heat wave: Medical emergencies expected to spike this weekend | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A heat wave that’s forecast to bear down on the Los Angeles region this weekend is likely to bring not only a heightened threat of wildfires but also a spike in medical emergencies.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Thank you climate change deniers and failed leaders who think that tacking climate change is a "waste" of energy and time.  Although, I suspect the people that will die in this heat wave and the ensuing waves of heat stress over the coming decades won't be so appreciative.

 

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Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement Report

Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement Report | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement: Voices and Reflections from the Field is a snapshot of an emerging movement. This movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what often are seen as separate movements—environment, soci
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Why Sustainability Makes Business Sense

Why Sustainability Makes Business Sense | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Sustainability is a priority for food and beverage companies, yet it’s a challenge to implement, according to a survey by Grant Thornton.

Via Acquisti & Sostenibilità not-for-profit
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Clearly some see a business need for sustainability.

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Nicaragua's government is telling its hungry citizens to eat more iguanas

Nicaragua's government is telling its hungry citizens to eat more iguanas | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Central America is suffering from a severe drought that's devastating crops and killing livestock. Nicaragua has one answer to the grim situation.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Fight the drought with Iguanas???  This whole climate change end-of-the-world thing is getting interesting, to say the least.

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Roadside Land Offers Huge Carbon Storage Potential

Roadside Land Offers Huge Carbon Storage Potential | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Roadside shrubbery and grass soak up a lot of carbon, and with better management it could soak up a lot more.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Road edges can be seen as something other than an weedy zone that spreads negative impacts and invaders.

 

Interesting idea.

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Robert Rubin Echoes Robert F. Kennedy: GDP Is Fatally Flawed Measure Of Economic Health

Robert Rubin Echoes Robert F. Kennedy: GDP Is Fatally Flawed Measure Of Economic Health | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
He explains that tackling climate change won't harm the economy, but will save it. But we need a new measure of economic health, much as RFK argued in 1968.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made a similar argument in an an op-ed in the New York Times last month, arguing that a carbon tax is needed to help avert “The Coming Climate Crash.”

 

Rubin’s point is that we need a new GDP “that incorporates the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.” Instead of simply tallying up “the goods and services produced by our economy” we need a GDP that can “account for the present and future damage resulting from the emissions involved in producing those goods and services.”

 

His bottom line:

“We do not face a choice between protecting our environment or protecting our economy. We face a choice between protecting our economy by protecting our environment — or allowing environmental havoc to create economic havoc. And a major step toward changing the debate is to change the way we measure the health of our economy, our fiscal conditions, and the health of individual companies and businesses to better reflect the world as it will be.”….

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ScienceCasts: The CCL4 Mystery in the Ozone Layer

Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for more. Almost 30 years after the Montreal Protocol put the brakes on ozone-depleting chemicals, one compound remains stubbo...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Things are much better in the stratospheric ozone word now thanks to one of the most successful environmental treaties in history: the Montreal Protocol.  But while the ozone thinning has been becoming less of a challenge in recent years as the atmospheric system heals from the onslaught on ozone-depleting chemicals, one compound persists.  CCl4 is lingering longer than we thought.

 

Behind only the most nasty of the CFCs, CCl4 is the 3rd most destructive anthropogenic compounds we created post-WWII.  This is still a massive success story, but it highlights that these atmospheric systems are quite complex. 

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The WWI Battleships That Saved (And Doomed) the British Empire

The WWI Battleships That Saved (And Doomed) the British Empire | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
World War I was shaped by the new vehicles developed during the four years of conflict. A century after the start of the war, we’re looking back at the most remarkable vehicles—the planes, cars, tanks, ships, and zeppelins—it helped bring about. Aviation and the automobile were in their infancy when World War I started in…
PIRatE Lab's insight:

An interesting take on design here.  We all know the adage "generals fight the last war."  Here this is a literal description.  But there are also clear implications for sustainable design (or design more generally).  Bad design fails to put the object in the real world hands of its users and properly envision how both humans and the environment directly and indirectly engage with the item.  

 

Be it guns that are too big to quickly reload or packaging that is not compostable that slices open you knuckles as you try to unseal the contents, good design often requires thinking unpopular thoughts.

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Tesla mines gold in Silver State

Tesla mines gold in Silver State | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Nevada's economic incentives for Tesla Motors won the state a coveted battery factory and an estimated 6,500 jobs, but at one of the highest costs a state has ever paid to lure a company — nearly $1.3 billion.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

There have been a host of stories the past two days centering around the formal announcement of the winner in the five state competition to house the new Tesla battery factory.  Nevada won.  But did it?

 

The vast majority of economists who have explored state subsidies and tax break incentives to lure businesses from one state (or region) to another find that they have very little impact on the actual economy and/or jobs.  Mostly these things end up costing the tax payer and the companies go about getting a massive subsidy.

 

See for example:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-vs-texas-economy-20140824-story.html#page=1

 

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/federalstate/tax-based-business-incentives-corruption/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/us/how-local-taxpayers-bankroll-corporations.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Part of the problem seems to be this notion of "winning" relative to your competitor.  Here in California, tons of folks were ticked off as Texas Governor Perry made multiple trips to the Golden State to try and entice businesses to the Lone Star State.  Egos get involved and press releases fly.  But ultimately politicians seem to be poor pickers of long-term economic boons.  

 

In any event, the Tesla PR machine keeps on cranking.  There are many more stories about the promises of tens of thousands of jobs then stories about the public good of locating the factory in location X vs. Y.  A few are here:

 

http://www.treehugger.com/cars/teslas-5-billion-gigafactory-looks-even-cooler-expected-22000-jobs.html

 

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2014/09/04/nevada-strikes-billion-tax-break-deal-tesla/15096777/?con

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-tesla-nevada-gigafactory-20140903-story.html

 

 

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