As the climate shifts, rivers will both flood and dry up more often, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shortages are especially likely in parts of the world already strapped for water, so political scientists expect feuds will become even more intense. To track disputes worldwide, researchers at Oregon State University spent a decade building a comprehensive database of international exchanges—-both conflicts and alliances—over shared water resources. They found that countries often begin disputes belligerently but ultimately reach peaceful agreements. Says Aaron Wolf, the geographer who leads the project, “For me the really interesting part is how even Arabs and Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis, are able to resolve their differences and find a solution.”
"Occasionally we need to be reminded that the concepts of distance and area are important to the day-to-day understanding of breaking news stories, as well as many of our daily personal decisions. Although modern communications and transportation have reduced the roles of distance and area in some activities, by no means has it eliminated the utility of these concepts."
Volcanic islands can seem to appear out of nowhere, emerging from the ocean like breaching monsters of the deep. Below, Mika McKinnon explains how these odd geological formations are born, how they evolve, and how they eventually vanish back beneath the waves.
"Fans may not list which team they favor on the census, but millions of them do make their preferences public on Facebook. Using aggregated data provided by the company, we were able to create an unprecedented look at the geography of baseball fandom, going down not only to the county level, as Facebook did in a nationwide map it released a few weeks ago, but also to ZIP codes."
"The Southerners were considerably more certain of which states are their own. While the top few Midwest states barely pulled 80 percent of the vote, nearly 90 percent of respondents identified Georgia and Alabama as Southern, and more than 80 percent placed Mississippi and Louisiana in the South. South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina all garnered above 60 percent."
"Population statistics are like crystal balls -- when examined closely, they can help predict a country's future (and give important clues about the past). Kim Preshoff explains how using a visual tool called a population pyramid helps policymakers and social scientists make sense of the statistics, using three different countries' pyramids as examples."
Halal means permissible, the opposite of Haram which means forbidden or illegal.
Halal meat means that has been prepared in accordance with Islamic traditions and is therefore permissible for an observant Muslim to eat (very similar to Kosher for Jewish people).
Within the European Union more Muslims are migrating to Europe. Some Europeans, however, feel that the Halal labeling and marketing is a change to the cultural landscape that they are not comfortable with, and don't want to see it become more mainstream. Other meat companies try to present their products as Halal, but don't adhere to all of the customs according to some more strict Muslims. Halal, then is a lightning rod, in either direction right now in Europe. - From Seth Dixon
"More than a billion people around the world subsist on a dollar a day, or less. The reasons differ but the day-to-day hardship of their lives are very similar. A book by Thomas A Nazario, founder of the International Organisation, documents the circumstances of those living in extreme poverty across the globe, accompanied by photographs from Pulitzer prizewinner Renée C Byer. Living On A Dollar a Day is published by Quantuck Lane."
Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank living on under $1.25 per day. The geography of of extreme poverty highly uneven--two thirds of the extremely poor live in just 5 countries (India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and DR Congo) - Seth Dixon
"Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number. How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past."
"The light that a city emits is like its glowing fingerprint. From the orderly grid of Manhattan, to the sprawling, snaking streets of Milan, to the bright contrast of Kuwait’s ring-roads, each city leaves its own pattern of tiny glowing dots. See if you can ID these cities based on the way they shine."
Bill Gates introduces Mosquito Week on his personal blog, the Gates Notes. Everything posted this week is dedicated to this deadly creature. Mosquitoes carry devastating diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.