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Comment: Re:What food crisis? (Score 4, Informative) 107

by TimmyDee (#41052853) Attached to: First Evidence That Some Insects May Rely On Photosynthesis

I made that infographic you posted above (the one where you said there'd be plenty of room), and your claim isn't exactly true. You obviously didn't see my follow up infographic, showing that we'd all have to live lifestyles somewhat less resource intensive than the average Chinese person.

Simply having enough space to cram people isn't everything.

+ - US incomes less equal than imperial Rome's->

Submitted by TimmyDee
TimmyDee (713324) writes "Over the last 30 years, wealth in the United States has been steadily concentrating in the upper economic echelons. Whereas the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent. It's a trend that was for decades brushed under the rug but is now on the tops of minds and at the tips of tongues. Since too much inequality can foment revolt and instability, the CIA regularly updates statistics on income distribution for countries around the world, including the U.S. Between 1997 and 2007, inequality in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent, making it more unequal than Russia, infamous for its powerful oligarchs. The U.S. is not faring well historically, either. Even the Roman Empire, a society built on conquest and slave labor, had a more equitable income distribution."
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Earth

+ - 7 billion people in one city->

Submitted by
TimmyDee
TimmyDee writes "The world crossed a milestone today--7 billion people. Getting a handle on the magnitude of that number is tricky, but this infographic helps a bit. It answers a simple question: If the world's population lived in one city, how large would that city be if people lived as dense as Paris, New York, Singapore, San Francisco, London, or Houston?"
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Science

Can Long Term Research Survive the Coming Age of Austerity? 306

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the the-investors-disapprove dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Alexis Madrigal writes that everyone agrees you need science and technology R&D, but when budgets get tight, research into quantum dots or the fundamental forces that cause earthquakes has a hard time holding the line against health care or tax cuts for the richest Americans. Different countries are taking different approaches. Japan is focusing on its most elite researchers, giving up to $50 million to 30 different people. Other countries are just giving up on some areas of research to focus on others; for example, US particle physicists who will spend their careers trying to drive from the backseat as our European counterparts run the Large Hadron Collider. A third approach might be to reduce redundancies in research. 'An idea to provide funding in a larger number of key areas that would avoid duplication is to create dedicated research centers where several investigators can work in parallel on complementary topics,' writes Joerg Heber. "If we do less research we need to do it right. And using this crisis to think about our research infrastructure needn't be a bad thing. It should be seen as an opportunity to reform the academic research system in a more comprehensive and fundamental way than the academic community and the politicians normally dare to think about.'"
Politics

+ - Speech Analysis Shows All Politics Is Cultural->

Submitted by TimmyDee
TimmyDee (713324) writes "The rhetoric in Washington, D.C., of late has been rather monotonic. The political landscape seems dominated by the economy, from stimulus bills and consumer protection agencies to tea parties and anti-tax rallies. Yet despite Capitol Hill's singular focus, a new study of congressional speeches suggests the left and the right are separated by a cultural divide rather than different views on the economy. Previous analyses of congressional speeches relied on manually classifying the content, a time-consuming and laborious process. The approach used in the new paper supplants man-hours with processor time, using intelligent computer programs to distill hundreds of hours of transcribed speeches into clarified political ideologies."
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Science

+ - One in five vertebrates threatened by extinction->

Submitted by TimmyDee
TimmyDee (713324) writes "Twenty years ago, nearly all the world's nations agreed to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. (The United States signed the accord but, like other treaties, the Senate has not ratified it.) Well, it's 2010 and we are nowhere near that goal. While the Convention on Biological Diversity is currently meeting to update its targets for 2020, a new study released by Science says one-fifth of the world's vertebrate species are threatened with extinction. But the good news is things would be a whole lot worse if we had done nothing at all. "What our results show is that conservation efforts are not wasted. They are making a noticeable difference," said Ana Rodrigues, a researcher at the Center for Evolutionary and Functional Ecology in Montpelier, France, and one of the authors of the study. The researchers compiled the status of over 25,000 vertebrate species as rated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. "The rates of decline in the Red List index would have been 18 percent steeper" in the absence of conservation programs."
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+ - Of bouncers and snap decisions on social status->

Submitted by TimmyDee
TimmyDee (713324) writes "Sociologist Lauren Rivera knows what it takes to get behind the velvet rope. She recommends, 'Know someone. Or know someone who knows someone. If you're a guy, bring attractive women—ideally younger women in designer clothes. Don't go with other dudes. And doormen are well versed in trendiness, so wear Coach, Prada, Gucci—but don't show up in a nice suit with DSW shoes.' No, Rivera doesn't write an advice column for the rich and the restless. But the Kellogg School of Management professor did go undercover to expose how people evaluate status in a glimpse. Specifically, she wanted to know how the meaty doormen positioned outside exclusive clubs—bouncers in nightlife language—determine who enters."
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Comment: Source journal may give clue to veracity (Score 1) 256

by TimmyDee (#32433386) Attached to: New Estimate Suggests 5.5M Species On Earth, Not 30-100M

I'm not saying the researchers didn't do their homework, but for something of this gravity, I would have expected Science or Nature to pick it up, not American Naturalist. Not that American Naturalist is a bad journal, but its certainly easier to get a paper in there than other journals (even Ecology, if I'm not mistaken). In light of that, I'm a bit skeptical of their claims.

Comment: Re:Other websites knowing your facebook account (Score 5, Informative) 154

by TimmyDee (#32254974) Attached to: Open Source Utilities For Facebook Privacy

I wish it were that easy. I have the "Instant Personalization Pilot Program" disabled on my account, but FB Connect popped up on CNN Money this morning.

What did I do? I specifically blocked any URL containing "fbconnect". Problem solved. OmniWeb let me do this using RegEx, but I'm sure the same can be done with AdBlock.

Comment: Lots of work required...believe me, I know (Score 2, Interesting) 235

by TimmyDee (#31431846) Attached to: Digitizing and Geocoding Old Maps?

I spent a summer doing this in grad school for the Vegetation Type Mapper project at UC Berkeley. I'm not going to lie to you--it was a ton of work. But the results were cool. The site has all the old maps georeferenced, plus ways to download them.

Needless to say, the library was involved in the project, as was a giant scanner. We relied on ERDAS Imagine software to georeference the old maps to current USGS base maps. There was also a lot of accuracy assessment involved to make sure we minimized error in the georeferencing process. Probably one of the trickiest parts was making sure the old landmark you were using as a control point had not substantially changed in the intervening decades.

My professor and her colleagues published a paper detailing the project.

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?

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